Written by Dr. Ziggy
Why is it that merely mentioning the word “sex” makes people so uncomfortable? After all, sex is perfectly natural, the biological requirement for procreation. Yet, I am continually amazed to see how uncomfortable people look when the word sex is uttered in their presence. Judging from their reactions, it’s easy to assume that the word “sex” immediately unleashes a chain – gathering event that is sure to infect everyone in the room and may eventually wipe out the entire world population.
Of course, psychological wisdom infers that anxiety-provoking events (including ideas) trigger defense mechanisms that protect us from the threats of those events. But why is sex – a wonderful and blissful experience in most instances – so often perceived as an anxiety and stress-producing event?
The answer is simple, yet complicated. Let’s start with the “simple” part:
Everyone knows what sex is and that it’s main purpose is reproduction. Right?
Wrong. There’s another aspect to sex – pleasure. That’s where the trouble begins. Think about it.
If sex was really unpleasant, how many people do you think would want to do it? Certainly, we wouldn’t be lining up to do the “nasty deed.” (Perhaps not even the most ardent disciples of S&M would step up to that plate.) But because sex is pleasurable (some say the ultimate) we not only have volunteers lining up for it, we even have some who are willing to die for it. Consider this: the adultery rate in countries that punish it with the death penalty is about the same as it is in countries that don’t punish it at all. Now, we proceed to the complicated part.
In our society, sex has been highjacked by religion and politics under the pretense of Sexual Ethics. Ideas about morality, socially acceptability, and deviancy — are all closely identified with sex in the language and attitudes of our culture. Sex has become a control mechanism and a tool of cultural conformity.
However, we must transcend these narrow views and look at sexuality with a more logical approach. Here are some questions to illustrate my point:
- What is the function of sex? Is there just one?Should sex be exclusively heterosexual or is homosexual sexual behavior “normal?” Where does that leave bisexuality?
- What’s the relationship between sex, love, intimacy, and marriage?
- Can sex be independent of emotional feelings?
- What is the connection between sex and moral character?
- Is it OK to get laid more than twice a day, or do we have to have a fixed schedule?
Obviously, ideas about sexual behavior can get very, very complicated. Suffice to say, sex has become inextricably intertwined with philosophy, religion and politics.
No lesser man than the great Sigmund Freud long ago hypothesized that sexual repression was at the root of neuroticism and hysteria. Today, science tells us otherwise. However, repressed sexual feelings are recognized as a contributor to many psycho pathologies and can also affect other (physiological) medical conditions, such as ulcers, high blood pressure and even heart disease. The intertwining of sexuality with philosophy and religion is nothing new.
In ancient times, the Greeks and Romans believed that the body and the mind were separate entities. This “dualistic” view distinguished between the physical (and impure, like sex) and the spiritual and aesthetic (no sex), which meant that bodily pleasure was devalued and the ideal of self-denial was elevated. To Plato, sex was just a distraction from more “intellectual” pursuits – in short, a necessary evil.
Then came Christianity. Drawing on the ideas of the Greeks, Christianity added some of their own – namely the very clever story about a man, a woman, a serpent, and an “apple” (a metaphor for sex), which resulted in the expulsion from Paradise and the idea of Original Sin. Henceforth, in the prevailing western consciousness, sex was sin and women were considered villains. So now you have it. That’s how Sexual Ethics became prohibitions and sex became Guilt.
Over two thousand years, the Church and the State created taboos and passed laws to control the sexual behavior of citizens. They knew that sex was the means to control the masses. That is why today, sex is still a “taboo” topic of conversation and makes people so uncomfortable. We’re afraid that people will learn about our secret, forbidden fantasies and the desires of our rich imaginations. But wait a minute. Did we forget that sex is about biology? The lack of sexual openness and acceptance is a major reason why swingers still go up to the attic to play and make sure no one sees them; this in an era when homosexuals have come out of the closet in droves.
Time to wrap it up, so, my final thought on the matter. If it feels good – just do it.