June 2, 2011
I think the hardest thing to overcome is judging yourself and being your own worst critic so to speak. – Nile Rodgers
Earlier, today after I confessed some of my deep and dark desires to my buddy Sam (sorry no big reveal is coming folks…at least not tonight), I rushed in to qualify my statement with something to the effect of…
“I’m so dirty it’s scares me.”
To which my very wise friend, the former undisputed middleweight ‘champeen’ of automotive sex, said…
Will there ever be a time when we can share our sexual desires this openly without shame?
“You know what’s really scary? The fact that we’ve all been taught to be so ashamed of our desires that we can’t share them with others without feeling dirty or scared.”
And that, along with a brief discussion I had with Jon Pressick, Managing Editor of Sex Life Canada (if you’re a Canadian perv and haven’t checked them out yet, you need to – STAT!) about the difficulty of working towards a more sex positive society in the face of a rather insidious ‘sex negative’ cultural mindset, got me thinking about the ways sex negative thinking might be influencing my behaviours, attitudes and general approach regarding sex. In essence, I asked myself the question: ‘Are you more sex negative than you think?’
For those of you out there who read the last bit while scratching your head and asking yourself “what the H-E-Double-Hockey-Sticks is she talking about?”, allow me to give you a working definition of what I mean by ‘sex positive’ and ‘sex negative’.
According to the good folks over at Sex Life Canada being sex positive means: 1) having an enthusiasm for human sexuality in its broadest sense – including its physical, mental, emotional and spiritual aspects; 2) choosing to be open regarding one’s sexual growth by exploring new ways of thinking and/or partaking in sex; and 3) developing an attitude of tolerance for all types of consensual sexual expression.
In direct contrast, being sex negative (a term that I heard for the first time last night as I spoke with Jon) involves: 1) being reticent and/or decidedly unenthused about most aspects of human sexuality; 2) choosing not to explore one’s sexuality; and 3) expressing intolerance towards people who demonstrate their sexuality in ways you don’t. Examples, of such behavior – to my mind – would include:
- The ever popular habit of slut shaming.
- Expressing disdain or disgust upon hearing about sex acts/behaviours that you choose not to participate in.
- Being too ashamed to express or indulge your own desires.
Though in the almost 40 years that I’ve been walking this planet I believe I’ve managed to commit every one of the ‘offences’ listed above, it’s the last one that really resonates with me. Lord knows due to fear of being judged as weird, slutty, or downright depraved because of what I desire sexually (to read my rant against judging people in this way click here), I’ve spent too many years not admitting – both to myself and my lovers – my own sexual wants and needs. And I’m not the only one.
Based on the conversations I’ve had with many (mostly female – but no surprise there right? FML) friends many of us are so busy shaming ourselves into NOT being who we want to be and/or doing what we’d like to do behind our firmly closed bedroom doors, that it’s preventing us from getting the most out of our (arguably limited) sexy time. And that really saddens me. You see, as Kristen Mark pointed out yesterday, Kinsey, in his infinite wisdom came to understand more than half a century ago that
“The only unnatural sex act is that which you cannot perform”
A fact that has me wondering…
Why in these relatively sexually liberated times are we still letting shame, fear, judgment and the often disingenuous claims of morality by more conservative types (e.g. the very anti-gay Bishop Eddie Long who was recently embroiled in a gay sex scandal and the family-values-touting-extramarital-affair-during-impeachment-having Newt Gringrinch) hold us back in the bedroom?
When are we all going to finally shake off all the bullshit we’ve been fed (and obviously internalized in many cases) about sex for sex’s sake being the domain of the degenerate and perverted?
What will it take for those of us out here claiming to have and/or to be moving towards a more sex positive outlook to get to the point where we can comfortably express our sexual fantasies, desires and needs without bracing ourselves for a hailstorm of criticism?
And perhaps most importantly, are most of us actually more sex negative than we think?
Any answers dear readers?