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Illustration by Jim Cooke
How do we feel about sex?
Based on my experience of pop culture, television, music, literature, movies, and so on everybody seems to want to talk about sex all of time, but we’re timid and unsure of ourselves, and of the conversation. I don’t think most of us really know how to feel about being open about sex, and I think we’ve, kind of, tiptoed towards the topic in different directions hoping that somebody else will bring it up so that we might have a reason to talk about sex.
It seems that most of us have found a place somewhere in our minds and our homes where we can allow ourselves to be open about sex--at least to a degree--a lot of people still have trouble sharing their likes and dislikes even to those that they are the most intimate with, and I think that-that is, in part, because we still do not know how to feel about sex; people behave as if sex were this occult vice that we candidly pretend to ignore, like the weird little dances we do or yelling at the TV screen when Jeopardy is on or when the LDS drink hot coffee, behind closed doors in the privacy of our homes.
I think that the way that we have popularized sex, in society, is an example of our lack of comfort surrounding sex, and I think Gender Norms are a big (I.E.) bullet point under that heading. The way that we have been conditioned to believe how men and women talk to each other about sex and how sexuality has developed commercially, there is an underlying systemic idea about how men talk to other men, and about how women talk to other women about their sex lives, and how we are supposed to be talking about our sex lives.
It is important to acknowledge, also, in any discussion about sex and sexuality that there is nothing inherently sexual about the human body, wearing clothing that shows skin does not warrant or demand attention, that is completely nonsensical. That is a manipulated justification that has been fabricated to rationalize abhorrent unwanted and dangerous attention. Women, as a primary concern, are not sexualizing themselves, women are being sexualized. Any confusion that might exist only exists because society, on the heels of the porn industry, has spent decades creating and normalizing the concept of sexuality; sex is a human condition, sexuality is entirely man-made.
The idea, I think, is that sex is what the porn industry—as well as other “sex sells” industries: Hollywood, Fashion, etc.--have decided that it is, and the general public has, kind of, accepted it, and then taken the loss. We talk about sex suggestively, with innuendos scattered laxly throughout popular culture…sex exists in every aspect of our culture except publicly. It isn’t likely that you will pick up a book, watch a TV show or a movie, listen to a song, etc., without running into a sexually suggestive, angst riddled reference that we all get and quietly enjoy, but rarely ever reveal. We all still, kind of, secretly yearn for someone to bring it up just so that we feel like we can talk about sex in the elegant, idealistic way that sex merits.
Still, we want to be able to talk about sex without feeling like we are social deviants or are being led cabalistic into the contradictive bowels of perdition, but how do we do that? People really want to feel like they can comfortably talk about sex outside of the deeply rooted contextually aroused abyss that is the porn industry.
Just like any fear or doubt that you have the only way to face it or to feel comfortable with it is to confront it. Sex is not the sloppy, three-way, wet, fish-eye, point-of-view crap that some might want you to believe that it is; sex is, however, exactly whatever you and your partner want it to be.
I’m pretty open about my interests with my partners, and I have been open to experiencing different things although I really don’t over-complicate sex: I don’t have animated or cosplay type fantasies, I don’t need to perform in drawn out over-dramatized personal Rom/Sit-Com’s; your interests, curiosities, likes, dislikes they can be vanilla or dramatic it doesn’t matter, you do not have to have a series of imaginative fantasies to talk about sex, you just need to understand that it is not wrong or immoral, it does not make you a deviant or sinful as long as you are respectful and understanding, and you acknowledge the conceptual and regardful difference between sex and commercial sexualization, but it is important to talk about sex, and to feel comfortable talking about sex, even if you need to oversimplify the act with “Flowers & Watering Cans.”