I’m really tired. I’m tired of people who think they know what is normal and what is not. There is a lot of societal messaging about what constitutes appropriate sexual practices and relationships out there –the “vanilla” of sex if you like. Now, “vanilla” is entirely wonderful and probably completely satisfying for lots of folks out there.
But there are many consenting adults who like to have non-vanilla sex or relationships with other consenting adults, and who get mighty fed up with the finger-wavers telling them that what they’re doing is wrong, unhealthy, immoral, or weird. I mean, judge me if you must – but keep it to yourself, please.
I’ve had enough of closed-minded folks who love to use the name of God in support of their intolerant statements. They have convinced themselves that they know God’s opinion on such matters, and feel justified, compelled even to wade into other people’s private lives.
They’ll use phrases like:
“God wants us to do things this way” or “God only approves of love between man and woman” or “God doesn’t want us to have anal sex” etc. etc.
Now, I’m not a lesbian and nor do I particularly enjoy anal sex, but when I hear/read statements like those above my blood boils! I can only imagine how they affect the ones at whom they are directed.
And before I’m labeled just another atheist heathen, you should know that I consider myself a Christian. Only I believe in a God who is tolerant and who accepts us and loves us just the way we are. I believe in a God who wants us to enjoy our freedom, as long as we’re not hurting anyone else and we have a willing partner. And it’s a surprise for me that it never occurred to those people that maybe God just wants us to be happy and not miserable or sexually repressed?
God made us sexual and sex is one of the core parts of what it is to be human. Why wouldn’t He want us to enjoy that part of ourselves? He created the world in which one of the most beautiful human experiences we can have is the connection with another through intimacy and sex. Who are these people who want to associate this powerful aspect of the lives of so many with guilt and shame?!
I had intended to write this post for some time now. I wanted to challenge those people to ask themselves about why the sexuality of a large part of our societies is being constantly shamed. Most of us have sex and rather enjoy it. Sometimes really enjoy it. It is an essential part of the lives of most, like breathing. But for many still it seems, sex is still shameful or dirty – certainly if it is practiced outside very strict boundaries.
As part of growing up in a very catholic family, I had love/hate relationship with sex. When I was younger I enjoyed it but at the same time, I hated myself for enjoying it.
That guilt is now behind me. Together with my husband I manage online magazine Euforia Online. Through the website, we hope to bring together a wide variety of stories and articles under the umbrella of “sexuality” in all its many forms.
We try to come at the subject from various perspectives – Straight, gay, bi, fetish, alternative, humorous, health, advice, eroticism, love, his perspective, her perspective, and general news. We want to be engaging, relevant and tolerant. We’re definitely not a porn site though we’ll write about porn from time to time.
So it was quite a disappointment for us the difficulties we’ve had advertising on networks like Google, Facebook and even Twitter. Especially given the latter seems to be full of “in your face” adult images and language.
It got me wondering – why in the 21st century do we still stigmatize sex? Why are guns, for many of us, ok, but sex is dirty? Our TVs, cinemas, games, and internet pages are full of violent images and hateful statements, but sex – vital to the continuation of the race and enjoyable to most – shouldn’t be spoken of…
It’s hard though to fight against giants like Google, or Facebook. They pretty much own the web. I guess, some consolation comes from the knowledge that we are not alone.
Not a long time ago I listened to an interview of Vishen Lakhiani, founder of Mindvalley with Psalm Isadora and an American tantric coach. She said few thinks that struck a chord with me. Psalm Isadora has a very engaging and effective way of delivering information that is extremely helpful in ending the suffering that people feel about their sexuality. She explains:
“We blame sexual desire for the human experience. So in religion, they say, ‘Okay, you’re on this planet, and this planet is kind of screwed. We have suffering, we have problems, you’re sick. The problem is you’re here and what got you here was sex’. Religion, in order to control people decided to control their sexual energy. Once you control people’s sexual energy, you can control their minds”.
“At the moment in the United States STDs are on the rise with millennials and there’s huge hypocrisy because Facebook and Twitter have the morality that you can’t have an ad for a condom company, you can’t have an ad for safe sex”. Psalm continues “I can’t run an add about tantric sex, as a higher way of having sex and connection, because they say that’s all porn. So the word “sex” equals porn, but we all know what a lot of people are really doing on Twitter and Facebook. They’re exchanging naked pictures, they’re hooking up. So now we have this spread of STDs because the same morality that we have had in religion is now actually proliferating in social media, which we think is so free and open. I believe all they have to do at Facebook or Twitter is to pay somebody who’ll decide that this is porn and that is sex-education. That’s porn and this is a safe sex ad.”
I couldn’t agree more! It would be nice to live in a tolerant world, where we are not afraid of expressing ourselves without the fear of being judged. In a world where instead of guilting us about our sexuality, proper sex education is provided. In a world where we are open and honest about sex with our kids, so they aren’t getting their sex ed from porn, which is exactly what is happening right now.
And then those kids will have the possibility to grow up to be women and men who enjoy the sexual part of their nature. Who know how to openly talk about sex and their needs, without feelings of shame. I believe that if my parents had been more open and we’d been able to talk to one another about sex, it would have saved me lots of the guilt that accompanied me throughout a big part of my life.
And finally, wouldn’t it be nice to live in a world where men’s sexual responses would no longer be blamed on women. This stupidity not only has been going for far too long, but it seems to be gaining momentum in seemingly open minded countries. Let’s take Germany for example, where in Cologne a few months ago on New Year’s Eve, about 100 women were sexually assaulted. Soon after, Henriette Reker (Cologne’s mayor) urged women not to go out by themselves after dark. According to her, they should “stick together in groups” and protect themselves from attacks by keeping men “more than an arm’s length away”. Ok, she’s a politician and as we know most of them lost touch with the lives of ordinary people like you and me a long time ago, but still – wtf?!
As Isadora states “Lots of men don’t know how to react around women. They also don’t know how to deal with their sexuality. So somehow, if I’m sexy or I dress in a sexy way and the guy gets a boner then that’s the woman’s fault, right? So we cover her up. And what I found in traveling to India is that, in cultures in which women are forced to cover their bodies, this actually creates more sexuality and its repression leads often to violence. It can lead to rape and a lot of other problems. This kind of morality also creates a duality for women. We say this woman is a virgin and, therefore, a good woman and this one is a whore. So women really have only these two choices. This causes so much damage to women and men.” There are obvious correlations in Muslim cultures.
Unfortunately, we still live in a world where women’s bodies are turned into sexual objects for men. What’s more, women are made responsible not only for their own sexuality and their own urges but also for those of the men around them. That creates a situation where women who are victims of sexual abuse all too often believe themselves responsible for it. They feel guilty because they think that they somehow provoked it. But there is obviously more to it than that.
When I was living in Australia, which by the way is an amazingly beautiful country, what struck me as weird was the manic obsession of government to regulate every little aspect of people’s lives. They want to prevent any possible danger real or imaginary – to de-risk the environment. Now, Australians are one of the friendliest peoples on the planet. They are broadly well-educated, affluent, smart and laid-back. So why does it seem as though their government has assumed they are incompetent, mischievous and dangerous to one another, treating them not like adults but like wayward teens needing many rules to keep things safe and organized? The same goes for Canada, the UK, many parts of the US, and some of the Europe.
Why do I mention this? Because we are all being treated like children by the cultural guardians of our social and religious betters.
Men – when the responsibility for their actions is taken away from them.
Women – when they are told we are worried about men raping you, so in order to prevent sexual violence against you, you have to cover up or never go out!
We are given rules instead of education. We are being shamed for our reactions of our bodies and biology. We are being taught that we should discard our physical needs because they lead us to sin. This kind of morality is given to us because its authors think: if we create shame around sexuality, people will behave. But what really happens is that when people are feeling guilty about their sexual energy they often become more emotionally violent within themselves and unfortunately often to others as well.
Thankfully most of us know now how important the connection with our bodies is. To live a healthy life, we need a balance between soul, mind and the body.
I’d like to cite here one of my favorite quotes by Jim Rohn: “Take care of your body. It’s the only place you have to live”.
Yesterday one of our followers on Twitter tweeted about a Cosmo article on anal sex: “Anal sex is not normal. Vaginal sex is good. Oral sex is ok. God doesn’t want us to have anal sex”.
Needless to say that I felt compelled to answer. In a polite way (I promise) I tried to explain to him that what’s normal for him, might not be normal for someone else. And that it is not his place to give other people such boundaries. What followed was that he flooded our message box with articles and YouTube videos with a very clear message: anal sex will firstly give you hemorrhoids and after will likely kill you (cancer).
So I have a few questions for people like him, these folks who feel compelled to interfere with the sexual lives of others:
Don’t you think there might be less rapes if the boys were taught from an early age how to deal with their sexual responses and the opposite sex? And maybe more girls would live happier lives if they were taught that it’s ok to express their sexuality and that they don’t need to feel responsible for the actions of men? That they are not sluts just because they get aroused and act on it.
Perhaps sexually repressed and unsatisfied people try to make themselves feel better by pointing the finger at others. Maybe moralizing others helps you feel righteous or not as alone. Or maybe you are just simply unhappy and want to bring others down too. As the saying goes – misery likes company.
Is it really too much to ask that they you are more tolerant of others and their choices? If we’re not hurting anyone else and it’s between two (or more) consenting adults, why do you feel the need to butt in? Please, butt out – it’s as simple like that. No one cares what you’re doing in your bedroom. Why you are so interested in what we’re doing in ours?! Do you think this is normal?
Finally, I’d like to leave you with a challenge. I don’t know how many of you are practicing spiritual self-development, but what teachers often ask you to do is to first analyze your belief system in order to find beliefs that are limiting you. These are often ingrained in you from your childhood – by parents, teachers and in most cases they are not even real but perceived. Once you know what those beliefs are you have to challenge them.
I dare all of you today to challenge your beliefs about sex. To rethink your taboos and prejudices. Because as Psalm Isadora says “It is really sad to me that people don’t question why there were given this morality. And instead of questioning it, they are proud of being kept in these moral chains. The bigger their chains are the better they think they are.”