Is infidelity sometimes just a fart, a natural oopsie, or is it instead a breakup worthy offense? Who’s less deserving of respect – women or men – for being salacious? Morals have loosened. Now how do we decide who to allow between our legs? And perhaps, most importantly, how do we treat the ones we do?
No topic is more confusing for a young adult than our debate on sex. Outlooks on the act are as polarized as the people who campaign for widespread access to birth control and the politicians who try and take it away.
Sex is now approached as a basic need. So much so that people often feel afflicted if they’re not getting it. How many times have you heard a friend say – it’s been (X) amount of months since I last got laid, and I’m losing my freaking mind?! With the internet porn lives just one I’ve gotta have it now click away. Open your Bing bar and pick your poison – big ass, huge tits, girl on girl, or Asian.
Thoughts about sex pass through the average man’s mind 18 times/day, for women about 10. Sex is here. Sex is there. Sex can happen between any two members of the human race. Yet, according to Slate, Millennials judge their peers who’ve had more than a few fingers worth of partners by a certain age. Surprising, coming from a cohort who lives during a time when it takes only a push of a thumb to find a man on Grindr and meet him in an alley for a blowjob on a Thursday evening.
People are getting married later in life now. And for the growing number of us who will spend most of our twenties more or less single, there is time, lots of time, to date and date and date. Knowing they have (X) years left to ride out their glory days before becoming a social pariah does not always have too many hetero men racing to commit to marriage at young age. So as we, guy or girl, hetero or gay, face another new suitor across the restaurant table, as we text that brunette we met for only a second while driving (hands off the wheel), are we fully aware of our intentions? Do we know if we’re seeking oxytocin, companionship, or attention? Are we acting out of curiosity, co-dependence, or conditioning caused from years of staring at Cosmopolitan covers drenched with sex tips which make us believe this is how the fabulous are behaving?
The social dichotomy that causes a growing number of teens to sexually exploit themselves (as mentioned in this Atlantic article by Liz Kulze) does not only affect minors. No. The oversexed, yet religiously moralistic messages we are bombarded by stay in our system until an individual decides how they will uniquely rationalize both the positive and negative extremes of sex. Until that day of clarity arises, many of us will have nothing but the tool of trial and error to make sense of our pleasure seeking urges and the shattered illusions of lust they carry.
“In the absence of any form of realistic social guidance — one that acknowledges their emerging sexual nature and deems it natural — teenage girls are then forced to seek the balance themselves, a golden mean between Paris Hilton and the Pope, sex videos and Sunday School. ‘Slut’ and ‘prude’ are taken as equally offensive,” Kulze says.
Even after people get married, the complex continues. How is monogamy supposed to stay appealing when most men’s conception of sex is formed while whacking off to videos starring at two women with silicone breasts up to their earlobes getting dominated by the shlong one six-packed man? How can the phrase “I do” and the concept of having sex to actually start a family start to sound sexy when all too often these ideals are completely disregarded from the way sex is portrayed day to day? Advertisers and the media are so eager to capitalize off human temptation, but how has this affected humanity?
We should work to find the golden mean Kulze speaks of. We should talk about sex in discussions that involve more than a lecture about STDs and unwanted pregnancy – the threat of which should scare us into exercising abstinence if done correctly. For sex in its essence is more than a medical issue. Sex can be an uplifting expression of devotion. Sex can be an immediate form of stress relief. Sex can be violent. Sex can be regarded as the creative energy dwelling inside us that fuels the development of everything we see. Sometimes sex is love. And sometimes sex is sex. And since human beings are fascinated with fucking, we should be talking about sex more frequently, especially with potential partners.
A proper sex education should include an explanation of its health benefits. A sex education should detail the history of prostitution, of orgies, of the emergence of gay sex and sex toys. But most notably, a sex education should involve a discussion about the deception that causes people to seek gratuitous bodily pleasure, believing this attitude will lead to happiness. A sex education should explain how sex became associated with sin. It should warn women about the cozenage that occurs when they are hit on, and the inherent emotional differences between women and men. That hey! little girl – this random guy who just came up to you acting unusually nice is probably just trying to get in your pants. He doesn’t want a relationship like you do. Maybe then girls will start asking more questions before getting so easily tricked into bed.
We could witness the battle in our psyche by making love to ourselves in front the mirror. We could watch the thoughts of “this is gross,” and “this is vain,” but “this feels good” vacillate in our minds as we perform a ritual most do daily with their eyes closed. For this is the junk that festers in our heads as we blindly follow our animal instincts without facing the whys or the consequences. We must face and learn to understand the sexual garbage within us and around us to heal this schism. We must reach a point where we can look into that mirror while whacking off, feel empowered, and think, “I’m expressing my love for myself, for the person I am right now, because this is a natural thing to do.” Rather than, “I’m going to burn in hell. God, I hate staring at my huge, dimpled ass. But YES, YES, YES!!!”
People should, however, at this point be tolerant of the many ways others define sexual liberation as they sort through this maze. For if one thing has been proven, it’s that premarital sex is now a cultural norm. And the publicity of sex, largely responsible for the loosening of chastity belts, has reaped a huge profit for multiple industries. Because of this duplicity, some of us may define sexual liberation by being able to have sex like a porn star – to experience pleasure and appreciation for aesthetic without a shred of shame. For others, liberation may take on the form of waiting until marriage. And that’s great. But most Millennials will strive to find the balance between these extremely conflicting philosophies.
From uninhibited whores-to-the-core to committed Christians waiting to say I do, every person has to make the decision based on their personal preferences as to the kind of sex they will and will not be having. The sooner in one’s development that all the issues and all the opposing sides on this subject can be sifted through and sorted out, the less the action of sex, which is neutral by nature, will be associated with the cognitive dissonance caused by having a body that craves one thing, a conscious which demands another, while living in a world where we’ve been programmed to act two incredibly different ways.