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Society and Sexuality

By Mr.Mustard in Culture
Wed Jan 24, 2001 at 09:11:23 AM EST
Tags: Round Table (all tags)
Round Table

Sexuality is a recurring theme here on kuro5hin, from stories about sexual repression in the United States to polls about sexual experience to inquiries into the nature of rape to a discussion about the legality of prostitution. However, something missing from the discussion is an understanding of the variation in the way different societies treat sexuality.

While most people have a good understanding of how the society they live in treats sex, the culture gap and the taboos that some societies place on sexuality makes it hard to know where other people are coming from, and what they deal with every day.

I believe the major factor in human sexuality and sexual development is the way the society you grew up and live in views sex. So, taking this into consideration, I would like to have a discussion about the social pressures that you see in your culture and what impact they have on individuals in your culture.

  • What are children taught about sex?
  • Where does information about sexuality come from?
  • What are the culture's mores, norms, and taboos?
  • What are the sources of those mores?
  • How is sexual diversity dealt with?
  • What messages does the media give about sexuality?
  • What do you think are the advantages and disadvantages of the way the society you live in deals with sexuality?
  • What would you change about the way your culture views sexuality, if you could?

I'll start with my perceptions of the United States and, in particular, the south eastern United States:

When I was growing up, children were taught very little about sex. Parents don't talk about it in front of kids or with them. Teachers only talked about the three pages of information about contraception in the health class book. Sexuality was not generally demonstrated to be a normal or healthy part of life. As a child, my peers talked about sex, but they knew few facts and mostly spread spread stupid or dangerous myths.

In great contrast with these views is the fact that the media in the United States sexualizes almost everything, yet never actually shows nipples or genitals. From racy television shows like Fox's Temptation Island to print ads which blatantly use sex appeal to sell unrelated products to the portrayal of women as sexual objects in video games like the Tomb Raider series. The media oozes sexuality in an attempt to attract attention and sell things. We shun pornography, yet behind each other's backs we make it a multi billion dollar a year industry.

The "Religious Right" and "Family Values" groups argue about how decadent the United States has become. Things like the CAP report tell us that we are destroying the youth of this country and that the homosexual agenda is to lower the age of consent so that "they" can take advantage of children. Conservatives push for Abstinence-Only education programs by supporting them with federal grants even though there is evidence that suggests such programs do not work as well as comprehensive sex education. While sexual diversity is gaining ground in this culture, it is still highly contested ground in this part of the country.

There is a lot of pressure to become sexually active at a fairly young age. Masturbation is viewed at by many is a negative and unhealthy thing. Joycelyn Elders was fired from her position as Surgeon General for suggesting that teachers might explain and promote masturbation as a healthy and safe sexual activity.

The biggest problem I see with these attitudes is the creation sexually charged teenagers who do not have the knowledge or tools to sexually express themselves in a safe way. Despite the attempts made to hide sexuality from children and young adults, the United States has high rates of teen pregnancy and Sexually Transmitted Disease.

One of the advantages of living in the United States is that this society is permissive enough that individuals generally have enough freedom to try to change what they don't like. Because of this freedom, it is possible to raise children in a way that avoids some of these problems, and it is also possible to insulate oneself from many of these issues.

Now, if you don't mind sharing, what is your view on your society and sexuality?


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Society and Sexuality | 33 comments (28 topical, 5 editorial, 0 hidden)
Mom said... (3.60 / 5) (#2)
by Dr Caleb on Wed Jan 24, 2001 at 12:57:57 AM EST

it would make me go blind.

It didn't.

But seriously. I believe hiding things like this from kids is wrong. When the time is right, depending on each child (age, maturity) these things should be openly discussed. Children are curoius. They will find out sooner or later.

Why not make it a healthy experience?

Vive Le Canada - For Canadians who give a shit about their country.

There is no K5 cabal.

A different perspective. (5.00 / 4) (#16)
by SpasticReb on Wed Jan 24, 2001 at 10:25:53 AM EST

Well, as a college junior who will be 18 in a few days, i've got a very different view on sex and sex ed.

Let me start by saying i didn't fully understand sex until i was about 15. Sure, i knew the basics when i was much younger, and my dad would explain to me anything i asked about, but it took a long road for me to fully understand what occurred.

I don't think that's a bad thing.

I guess for me, growing up in a home where sex was viewed as a natural and wonderful thing helped alot. I'd always been given the perspective that sex was a gift from God, to further enrich a healthy marriage.

However, sex outside of that context was often hurtful and unfulfilling. Why? because sex is not love. and love is not sex. Sex could be unfulfilling even within a marriage, if the marriage was not healthy.

My experiences in sexual activity outside of marriage mostly showed me that it can become a really selfish thing. It's all about love me, fulfill my longings.

As cliche as it may sound, after dating a few jerks and finally finding a nice guy who avoids getting us in over our heads...

I've come to the conclusion that true love really does wait.

[ Parent ]
My experience (none / 0) (#25)
by retinaburn on Wed Jan 24, 2001 at 03:01:22 PM EST

I a few years ago I was just starting out on a new relationship. We were both going to be going to College/University in a while so we held of doing /anything/ meaning sex, unsure if we would be together. We were both 20 at the time and I had told her that I wanted to wait and see if this panned out. I knew that if we did have sex then she went away to school (2 hrs) and our relationship ended up not working then I would have lost a great friend and girlfriend, but if we waited and the relationship ended I would still easily be able to have her as a friend.

Well it worked out, we waited about 3 months I guess ...and that was 2 years and 3 months ago :)

I still remember the first night we started to make out heavily, we were both a little drunk and suddenly she started to cry. I stopped (obviously :) and asked her what was wrong. She replied that " I'm going away to school in a few weeks, and...and...I don't know whats going to happen to us.". She looked up at me with little puppy dog eyes and I came up with the greatest line of my life "I guess we'll wait and see :)" ..I gave her a big smile and a big hug.

I think that we are a young species that often fucks with things we don't know how to unfuck. -- Tycho

[ Parent ]
Sex == Lost Friend? (4.00 / 1) (#26)
by Mr.Mustard on Wed Jan 24, 2001 at 05:23:48 PM EST

I knew that if we did have sex then she went away to school (2 hrs) and our relationship ended up not working then I would have lost a great friend and girlfriend, but if we waited and the relationship ended I would still easily be able to have her as a friend.

Why do you assume that a breakup without sex will leave the two of you as friends and a breakup with sex won't?

My personal experience tends to disagree with your assumption.

Mr.Mustard [ fnord ]
[ Parent ]

Not a breakup (2.00 / 1) (#27)
by retinaburn on Wed Jan 24, 2001 at 07:06:19 PM EST

If it was too hard with the distance then I could have seen us still being friends, a more /involved/ relationship had not flourished yet. However if we had sex then even with a mutual breaking up it would be difficult (though not impossible) to still be friends.

I think that we are a young species that often fucks with things we don't know how to unfuck. -- Tycho

[ Parent ]
I'm stil missing it (3.50 / 2) (#28)
by Mr.Mustard on Wed Jan 24, 2001 at 07:58:15 PM EST

I still don't see why it has to be difficult or impossible to remain friends with someone you have had sex with.

Maybe if you explain your viewpoint in a different way?

Mr.Mustard [ fnord ]
[ Parent ]

I just figure (none / 0) (#29)
by retinaburn on Thu Jan 25, 2001 at 09:38:11 AM EST

that it would be easier to remain friends if the relationship was fledgling and sex had not entered into the equation.

I have often seen in my limited experience that those that have sex, then breakup and some point often do not remain close friends. They may not hate each other but they certainly are not more than aquaintances.
This of course may change (for the better or worse) as time passes after the breakup.

In our case if we had began having sex early on and then we found the distance to be too much of a problem, coupled with first year post-secondary education as well, then the breakup would have been harder than if sex had not been involved. Especially if one of us had wanted to throw in the towel and the other didnt.

I guess the idea was not to get to emotionally involved with each other early on, in case we had to end our relationship. Its easier to reach the shore in one piece when you are still near the land.

I think that we are a young species that often fucks with things we don't know how to unfuck. -- Tycho

[ Parent ]
Thanks (none / 0) (#31)
by Mr.Mustard on Thu Jan 25, 2001 at 10:29:58 AM EST

I think I understood your viewpoint better that time. Thanks for taking the time to explain it again.

Mr.Mustard [ fnord ]
[ Parent ]

A lot of sexuality talk in the diaries too... (3.75 / 4) (#6)
by skim123 on Wed Jan 24, 2001 at 01:21:35 AM EST

For example:

Speaking of which, I've really enjoyed the diary aspect here on k5. I've only posted a short story to my diary, but I love reading others' diaries. :-)

Money is in some respects like fire; it is a very excellent servant but a terrible master.
PT Barnum

sex in other societies (4.50 / 2) (#8)
by danny on Wed Jan 24, 2001 at 01:49:43 AM EST

Shostak's book Nisa gives some idea of how sexual relations work among the !Kung-San hunter-gatherers of southern Africa. (A sequel, twenty years on, has just been published, but I haven't read it yet.) And Elizabeth Marshall Thomas has written novels Reindeer Moon and The Animal Wife, set in the Paleolithic, that paint a vivid picture of a hunter-gatherer life. (I really recommend these - they are way better than Jean Auel, where the sex is just is romanticised soft-porn.)

Historical fiction generally is a good way of "getting under the skin" of people from other societies and eras.

[900 book reviews and other stuff]

One teenager's view (5.00 / 13) (#9)
by AmberEyes on Wed Jan 24, 2001 at 02:03:22 AM EST


I figured I would at least answer your questions from a teenager's viewpoint (well, at least this teenager's viewpoint).

What are children taught about sex?

Far too little, if you ask me. Most parents don't seem to want to talk about it, most seem to think that kids will learn about it from their friends/media, and that if they don't think about it, their kids won't do it. Bad moves, all of them. As uncomfortable or as funny as it might be to hear your dad try and talk about a penis, you're better hearing it from someone who is experienced than, as you put it, from peers that spread stupid myths and dangerous advice. The whole "Oral sex isn't really sex and it doesn't spread sexually transmitted disease" myth is a great example of this.

Where does information about sexuality come from?

As far as I see it, three main sources. Peers, media, and parents. Friends talk about it a lot, the media talks a LOT about it, although they are sneakier about how they do it, and your parents, if you are lucky, can be a valuable source of information. My own sources are mainly from friends and media, and a bit from talks with my parents, although sometimes I wish that more did.

What are the culture's mores, norms, and taboos?

This is an interesting one. American culture (I cannot say anything about other countries) seems to say that you should hide it until you are 30, never talk about it with anyone, and turn off your libido once you leave the bedroom. Obviously, some of this stuff is unrealistic - kids are not going to stop having sex, and I know from experience I can't just "shut off" my libido once I leave my house. It just doesn't work that way. I suspect the American Culture is raising a group of kids who spend the first 20 years of their life wondering if they are normal for feeling how they feel about issues like sex, until suddenly, they realize that they're actually perfectly normal, and they go on to perpetuate this confusion to their kids by telling them what they were told when they were young.

As far as taboos go, it depends on a lot of things. Age, locale, religion.... In general (note the "general" part), Southern states are more against homosexuality than Northern states. Try and find a chapter on "Sexual Positions" in your high school health book. And heaven forbid you engage in this sex stuff before marriage if you are a Catholic. None of this stuff is going to kill you, but we act like it will. I don't have any idea why we do this. Personally, I don't care if some guy wants to have sex with his boyfriend while a dog humps him, and he watches dominatrix porn on his TV set. As long as he's not imposing that stuff on me, it's fine. And I care a LOT about how we don't teach our kids anything except a plain vanilla "heterosexual missionary position" type of sexual behavior in sex ed classes. As I stated before, when was the last time you heard "Anal Sex" in a high school sex ed discussion. In fact, my high school, to the best of my knowledge, didn't even HAVE a sex ed class, nor does it now. Go figure. BTW, I live in a generally heterosexual Christian middle-class community. What does that tell you about what gets taught and what doesn't?

What are the sources of those mores?

Religion mostly, I suspect. When you ask people why gays are bad, usually their answer is "because the bible says so". Sometimes they say stuff like "because a man and a woman are meant to be together...two guys? It's not natural." So in other words, men are defined as to how macho and manly they are by what goes in their anus. Wierd. I wonder how the multiple figures that show that 30 to 40 percent of men have tried anal sex in some form or another with their wives, and about half of those continue to and enjoy anal sex from their wives, could be used to interpret this...

We seem to have a lot of remenants of a weird Puritan upbringing - I think this has a lot to do with how television commercials and shows can arouse us to no end, but we can't see a single nipple from that hot supermodel. It's all right to tease, but not to actually go through with it - that's not kosher.

How is sexual diversity dealt with?

It's shunned or flaunted, depending on where you live, what religion you are (or the others around you are), and other factors. Some people like to blab on and on about their sexual encounters. Others don't. In religious areas, it's hidden. Isn't it interesting that a lot of bestiality rumors circulate around the stereotyped Bible-Belt farmyard? I guess it's not as easy to supress or deny your sexuality as the religious ones among us believe, and like to tell you. How about all the priests that are dying of AIDS? Guess that abstinence based on faith, in regards to a facet of sexual diversity, isn't as easy as it might seem.

What messages does the media give about sexuality?

That it's ok, it's great, and you're more of a man/woman if you are having sex, lusting over supermodels, and bragging about it. That it's cool to drink and have sex, it's cool to smoke and have sex, hell, that it's cool to do ANYTHING and have sex. That's how advertising works. In this case, it's effective. It preys on something that we all have within us, and uses it quite effective to influence our views about it. The fact that sex is generally a taboo is even more of an edge - remember how great it was when you were young to break taboos just because you could?

What do you think are the advantages and disadvantages of the way the society you live in deals with sexuality and what would you change about the way your culture views sexuality, if you could? ?

I don't see a lot of advantages, to be quite honest. Maybe the scare tactics that society imposes on those who choose to have sex underage helps to prevent unwanted pregnancy and the spread of STDs, but I doubt it. If anything, I think it, like the commercials, helps to amplify it by making it a desireable and forbidden activity.

As for disadvantages, I see plently. Like you, I am disgusted that people hide sexuality like it's dirty or something to be ashamed of. I'm sickened that people try to make sexual diversity something to be ridiculed or denied, because it's doesn't gel with their own morals. And I'm ashamed that we let religion and taboos dictate how our sexual expressions and sexual identities are formed and molded.

Is a society with rampant sex, no taboos, and no religious leashes (in regards to sexuality) a good one? Beats me. But I have to think it's better than one where gays are beaten and humiliated, women are seen as dirty sex objects, and men can figure out how manly they are by not only WHO they have sex with, but also how many times. Stuff like this makes me sad.


"But you [AmberEyes] have never admitted defeat your entire life, so why should you start now. It seems the only perfect human being since Jesus Christ himself is in our presence." -my Uncle Dean
Anal sex /from/ their wives? (3.00 / 4) (#10)
by Seumas on Wed Jan 24, 2001 at 02:52:46 AM EST

Did I read this wrong?

I wonder how the multiple figures that show that 30 to 40 percent of men have tried anal sex in some form or another with their wives, and about half of those continue to and enjoy anal sex from their wives, could be used to interpret this...

I understand how anal sex with their wives would occur, but how would anal sex from their wives apply? It sounds quite complex and very painful.
I just read K5 for the articles.
[ Parent ]

yup (3.00 / 1) (#11)
by AmberEyes on Wed Jan 24, 2001 at 04:22:27 AM EST

Nope, you didn't read it wrong at all. In terms of this, the males that had engaged in anal sex with their wives were stimulated with a sex toy, or their wife's finger(s).

Again, it's a big world out there. Somewhere, I seem to recall "Good Vibrations" (some sex toy shop in San Francisco I think) reporting that through an impromptu survey of their customers, a little less than half of dildo/vibrator purchases were at least partially intended to be used on men from their wives. Take that with a grain of salt though, but I believe I saw that statistic somewhere.


"But you [AmberEyes] have never admitted defeat your entire life, so why should you start now. It seems the only perfect human being since Jesus Christ himself is in our presence." -my Uncle Dean
[ Parent ]
That's hardly the same thing. (3.00 / 3) (#12)
by Seumas on Wed Jan 24, 2001 at 06:54:34 AM EST

Anal sex and playing with toys are two very different things. Trust me, I've never had a girlfriend who used sex toys and considered the sex toys "sex" itself. Granted, I'm just nit-picking here, but the wording was quite bizarre considering the context of the discussion, if you ask me.
I just read K5 for the articles.
[ Parent ]
Good point (4.00 / 1) (#13)
by AmberEyes on Wed Jan 24, 2001 at 08:19:54 AM EST

Good point - I would tend to agree that they are definently different actions. However, my own opinion is that while they are different actions, the connotative definition and the implied action is still anal sex, regardless of the tool (pardon the pun) used. That's just my own interpretation on it though. It's interesting to hear your own interpretations on it as well.


"But you [AmberEyes] have never admitted defeat your entire life, so why should you start now. It seems the only perfect human being since Jesus Christ himself is in our presence." -my Uncle Dean
[ Parent ]
That's sex in my book! (4.00 / 2) (#20)
by Paul Crowley on Wed Jan 24, 2001 at 01:17:42 PM EST

Er, isn't that a rather Clintonesque definition of sex? Someone strips you naked and probes your ass with a butt-plug, and you'll say "I did not have sex with that woman"? I'd certainly consider that level of intimacy sex. A lover used a strap-on on me recently and it certainly seemed to us that we were having sex!
Paul Crowley aka ciphergoth. Crypto and sex politics. Diary.
[ Parent ]
What is sex? (4.00 / 1) (#21)
by Mr.Mustard on Wed Jan 24, 2001 at 01:28:48 PM EST

I agree with you.

This thread is getting into the tangent of how "sex" is defined.

Maybe in the future, a story will be posted to discuss that topic. I'm sure the debate would be lively.

Basically, there are two camps. One side says that sex == vaginal intercourse (i.e. penis in vagina); everything else is foreplay. The other side basically says that all intimate activities are sex. Of course, there are infinite shades of grey between these points of view.

I would say that Paul Crowley, AmberEyes, and I are in the second camp, using "sex" in a broad sense, and that Seumas is in the first camp, using "sex" to only mean vaginal intercourse.

Does that clear up anything? The trick would be to get everyone to agree to the same meaning.

Mr.Mustard [ fnord ]
[ Parent ]

Raising Children (5.00 / 1) (#14)
by mattyb77 on Wed Jan 24, 2001 at 09:15:21 AM EST

I believe that children who are raised in a sex-negative environment and those that aren't taught to be open about sex will become teenagers that are more suspectable to STD's and early/unwanted pregnancy.

Being open with children about sex isn't necessarily going to lead to more teenagers doing it. I think you can be sex-positive while promoting health and abstinence simply by being honest, and thus removing the taboo.

Unfortunately, this won't happen any time in the near future or even in my lifetime. Society doesn't change that quickly.

"I bestow upon myself the `Doctorate of Cubicism', for educators are ignorant of Nature's Harmonic Time Cube Principle and cannot bestow the prestigious honor of wisdom upon the wisest human ever." -- Gene Ray, the wisest human ever
Too many factors (none / 0) (#15)
by BehTong on Wed Jan 24, 2001 at 10:08:33 AM EST

Most of the comments here so far seem to be pretty US-centric. It seems very strange to me that in the US, where sexual depiction is something publically widespread, people are actually complaining that kids don't get "enough" sex education, whatever that means. And even stranger that they blame the high rate of teenage pregnancies and sex crimes on the lack of sex ed.

I come from a culture where sex just isn't something you talk about. Not necessarily because it's taboo, but it's just not a common topic of conversation. But we don't have problems with teenage pregnancies and sex crimes. Why? I don't know. It might be because people tend to get married at a younger age. It might be just because of the culture.

Or, perhaps, it's because kids aren't taunted by the media like in the US, where TV and movies portray sex as that special thing that you aren't allowed to touch, but it's something secret that everybody's looking for. (In other words, a teaser.) It's human nature that kids always want something that you give them a glimpse of but don't let them have it. So perhaps it's not very surprising that teenagers in the US are all worked up about sexuality -- they've been taunted all their youth that sex is this thing that everybody wants but you can't have it yet -- so in their teenage angst, their reaction is to go "all out" for it.

What's the solution? I don't know. Clearly, it's useless to avoid talking about it at home when just about everything outside portrays sex in some way. But OTOH, I'm not sure sex ed helps that much. Perhaps it does... but it does seem very strange to me that cats and dogs don't need sex ed and they still survive until today (and they don't have the kinds of problems with it that we seem to), but humans have such a hard time dealing with it that they have to resort to things like sex ed?

(I'm not saying sex ed is "bad", just that it seems to be a sign that something is seriously wrong in the US.)

Beh Tong Kah Beh Si!

Sex education? (none / 0) (#19)
by Mr.Mustard on Wed Jan 24, 2001 at 12:45:00 PM EST

I very much disagree that sexuality education is a sign that something is wrong with the U.S.

Sex and sexuality has a lot of complex legal, ethical, and moral issues in almost every human culture. If your dog "knocks up" the dog down the street, it's not a big deal, but if your son does the same for the girl down the street there are far reaching implications that simply don't apply to dogs and other animals.

In addition to this, most other animals don't have dangerous and deadly diseases that are spread by sexual contact. Without sex education of some kind, how is a human supposed to know how to prevent the spread of these diseases?

In the U.S. and some other cultures (I don't know about your culture), it is not socially acceptable for people to act out every urge they have to reproduce. Since that is the case, comparing human sex education to the lack of sex education in other animal species is not really valid.

You are correct, though. U.S. culture does tempt us with sexuality all the time. The problem is that the media doesn't actually give any real information and it usually doesn't address the risks and consequences of sex. The media message is, "Sex is good, go have sex." Unless someone addresses the risks and consequences, problems are sure to ensue.

Mr.Mustard [ fnord ]
[ Parent ]

Temptation (4.00 / 1) (#22)
by BehTong on Wed Jan 24, 2001 at 01:47:58 PM EST

Well, I guess there are different, valid views on sex ed....

But now that you mention it, I think it's likely that the problems with sexuality in the US is caused by the media message. The influence of media is much more than one may think. Especially in the US, kids and teenagers are just soaked in whatever is shown on TV or movies, etc.: it's everywhere. And when the more-or-less constant message you get is "sex is good, do it, do it". And obviously, Hollywood isn't going to put abstinence into their movies, since sex sells and they know it. Add that with today's trendy "I will do what I like to do, I have the right to" philosophy, I guess it's really not surprising that sexuality is such a big issue in the US.

So perhaps the media is to blame... but then you get into the sticky issue of what is "appropriate" and what's not, and there's no answer that everybody will agree on. Sounds like a no-win situation...

Beh Tong Kah Beh Si!
[ Parent ]

a few things... (4.00 / 1) (#17)
by lucid on Wed Jan 24, 2001 at 11:02:34 AM EST

I know little about teen pregnancy rates, but according to Mike Males' statistic-heavy book, "The Scapegoat Generation," all of the hysterics over young mothers is misguided at best. According to Males, somewhere around 80% of the fathers are adults (somewhere between pages 40-45, paperback). I find the missing headline interesting: "Adults helping babies make babies."

Anyways, on the other side, I've written around three different reports using Males' books as source materials. Each time, I came to the same conclusion, similar to his, but was unable to reproduce many of his numbers. I believe some part of it was statistical magic, but I don't know about the rest. Read his books anyhow, they're good.

Personally, I think that much sorrow and misery in this topic comes from the strict and fictitious phasing of life. For example, if I were 20 in the U.S., or even 20 and 364 365ths, my body would not be able to consume alcohol. I would explode, or something. The next day, though, no problem. If I were 18, in the U.S., I could now handle sex, because my genetalia had just appeared the night before. Not really. Of course, that brings us to the whole concept of statutory rape, a way to feign ignorance as to what rape is. But that's just my opinion.

Perhaps a better way to deal with sex - and this is just my particular prejudice - a more Jesus-free way of dealing with this, is to realize that sex, like shit, happens. Does that mean its okay for X and Y to go at it? I don't know, that isn't really my point. My point is that the current way this topic is dealt with in the U.S. rolls right over whole hosts of people quite frequently. It seemed to me that many of the articles that you linked to, and some that I have read previously, indicated that with education on the topic, many were able to make better decisions than their parents, grandparents, and peers may have made. This approach seems amoral, and more rational.

Alarming teen pregnancy rate... (3.00 / 1) (#18)
by ucblockhead on Wed Jan 24, 2001 at 11:07:48 AM EST

I read an interesting statistic a few years back. Basically, the teen pregnancy rate is pretty much the same today as in the fifties. The difference was that in the fifties, most of the pregnant teens were married.
This is k5. We're all tools - duxup
[ Parent ]
What we can do. (4.33 / 3) (#23)
by zaphod on Wed Jan 24, 2001 at 01:56:27 PM EST

Don't be fooled by the rhetoric of freedom and rights - we live in a society founded by Puritans seeking a place where they could persecute others for their religious beliefs. The Puritans maintained a very healthy view on sex: it is evil, and should only be used when you need a child. To the Puritans, physical pleasure of any sort was the Devil's domain, an attempt to lure you into supreme acts of evil. And we feel the effects of their belief structure even to this day.

So don't expect the government to suddenly reverse its stance on taboo, especially now that Duh-bya is in office. His staff seems conservative enough to scare Jerry Falwell into submission - in other words, Teletubbies won't survive this administration. On the other hand, all is not hopeless because the founding fathers did one thing right: they tried to limit the power of the federal government.

You have the right to say what you please (as long as you don't use potty mouth), so use that right. You want sexual revolution? Then talk about sex everywhere you go. Talk about any taboo you like, that's what living in a free country is all about. Shock people - scare them so much that they can't help but discuss it. Sexual freedom may be a long way away, but it's definitely getting closer. If you poll today's teens as to their sexual habits, you'll probably find a much healthier attitude than you would have 40 years ago. What do you think will be the prevalent attitude when today's teens have kids? Just have faith that things are getting better.

On the other hand, there was the recent k5 article "Mother Prosecuted for Teaching Son Safe Sex". While a travesty of justice, it is quite reasonable to assume that these charges will be dismissed by some level of the judicial system (if none of John Ashcroft's cronies get a hold of it first), and this mother will have won a major victory against sexual repression and taboo.
"I do not agree with what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it." --Voltaire

Wow (3.50 / 4) (#24)
by Joshua on Wed Jan 24, 2001 at 01:58:21 PM EST

This is a big subject, and I have shitload to say. I will, however, attempt to be concise. Point number one... everyone has sex. This thing that is so taboo is something that a huge (maybe not quite everyone) number of the people, hell, even creatures on this planet do. There is nothing "dirty" or "nasty" or "animal" about it, it is a very basic biological function and we are driven to do it, or at least, I bloody well am, I don't know about you all! Kids, most especially, have their entire bodies telling them to go and have sex (I say kids as a general, as ages and maturities vary of course). I myself, at 12 and 13 was the horniest I can possibly imagine anyone being. I could think of little else, and had an intense drive to want to experience the beauty of the female body in every way I could. There is absolutely nothing wrong with this, imho, as it happens to quite a few people.

I look at sex different than most. For me there are many kinds of sex. There is also infinite variety in people, and I am a people person. I love conversation and getting to know people, and to me, sex is almost a form of conversation. Never is anyone as exposed and open as during and after sex. It is really an amazing way of getting to know someone, of learning their depths, of really grokking with someone. This is the best kind of sex, imho, that is the kind that is a great sharing by two people who care quite a bit about eachother's welfare and want to spend lots of time together. There are, of course, quite a few other varieties of sex, including the other extreme, which, for lack of a better term, I will call "drunken party sex". I will be the first to admit that this isn't nearly as good as the kind of sex that is a deep sharing... but it's still jolly good fun, and can be a great way to get to know someone still, including that always-interesting next morning.

"Yes, sex without love is an empty experience... but as empty experiences go, it's one of the best!" --Woody Allen

Of course there is much more to say. There is the fact that in America, and generally in much of the western world, we seem to think that it's better for our kids to be ignorant of things we think aren't good than be educated about them. Some people actually tell their children that babies are delivered by storks... does this strike anyone else as one of the most rediculous things you've ever heard, cause it does me?! I want my children to grow up seeing sex, to know it as part of their lives, and understand what it is, and what it can be. I suspect they probably will start having it at a fairly young age, but I have no problem with that, I think it's natural and good. I'd rather see a sexually open culture than a sexually repressed one. I will of course mention that today's world can be dangerous as far as sex goes. There are diseases and unwanted pregnancy, but we have effective birth control now in many forms, and many other technologies to prevent transmission of disease, and I think that simply teaching people that sex is good and fun but you have to watch out a bit because of the current world we live in, this would become less and less of a problem, when people aren't so desperate to have sex that they will go out and meet someone and have sex with them, but when sex is more accepted, sex between friends could become more common, and I think that is a goodness. Sex is good fun, and absolutely essential to my personal happiness as well as quite a few others, I feel sure. I think this world needs more sex, of the loving, friendly kind.

Anyway, I'm sure I could rant on for ages more, but I won't. Cheers,

about that.. (none / 0) (#30)
by lucid on Thu Jan 25, 2001 at 09:44:41 AM EST

About the storks, it's somewhat similar to the way people tell kids that Santa brings presents at Christmastime. I think the former is more heartless than the latter, but I'm sure there are other lies to tell children.

Anyhow, on to my question. Do you think that more common, casual sex between friends would, in the end, eliminate that intimacy you prize, perhaps by dilution?

[ Parent ]
Why? (none / 0) (#32)
by Joshua on Fri Jan 26, 2001 at 09:19:37 AM EST

Anyhow, on to my question. Do you think that more common, casual sex between friends would, in the end, eliminate that intimacy you prize, perhaps by dilution?

Somehow, I tend to doubt it, but lets look at the alternative. How many monogomous marriages have you seen work? Where people are really happy all their lives? I've seen almost none, and that says something to me. So many things get in the way, like jealousy. I hold that jealousy is not a natural emotion, but a learned, cultural train (there have been cultures that did not have a concept of jealousy). I want to be close to all my friends, and I want all my friends to be close to eachother, and having sex with whichever of them fancies the same, to grow closer and get to know eachother would only increase intimacy. Love (whatever that is) is not a quantum that is lessened when divided, but grows with use, like a living organism.

Cheers, Joshua

[ Parent ]

Well..... (none / 0) (#33)
by Vainamoinen on Mon Feb 12, 2001 at 08:35:14 AM EST

Dunno if any of you have seen this or have outside confirmation but - http://news.24.com/News24/Offbeat/Weird/0,4190,2-16-140_977496,00.html . Seems to put a whole new spin on things. All the way back to endless Sf stories about 'wire' trippers.....
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Society and Sexuality | 33 comments (28 topical, 5 editorial, 0 hidden)
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