Turn on the television. Check out the Internet news headlines. Pick up a magazine. How many of these contain topics related to sex? An overwhelming number of the stories are at least peripherally related to sex. When you’re at a party or other social gathering and someone tells a joke or “funny story” its theme is usually sex. Why? Sex is the great equalizer, isn’t it? Most people have had it, are currently having it, or wish that they were having it. Or, at least wish that they were enjoying it. After all, with the topic of sex being on the front page of print and electronic news stories, dominating most television shows and highlighted throughout a major number of movies, featured in so many magazines (and let’s face it, either overtly or subliminally used in just about every advertising campaign), there’s no wonder that sex is such a great part of our lives. And that’s a good thing. Isn’t it? I think so. But then, as a Sexologist and Sex Therapist, I may have a slightly biased opinion. So why then, I ask you, why don’t people want to talk about sex? I mean really talk about it, without all the winking, nudging, righteousness and innuendo. Why must we treat sex like a subject that isn’t discussed in “polite” company or in front of people who we think “might be offended” by it? Why must it be shrouded in humor, hidden in not-so-subtle advertisements, used as a weapon against those we’d like to humiliate or reserved for stories of scandalous behavior?
Just recently I was reading a column in a local newspaper, written by a visiting op-ed writer who was filling-in for the regular columnist. She wrote an opinion piece about a State government official who has been in the news lately for a couple of alleged underhanded and possibly illegal tactics. According to this writer, this politician’s allegedly unethical or lawless activities weren’t “all that bad.” She explained her opinion regarding his (alleged) deeds as “par for the course” as far as political maneuvering goes, and then she said: “Well, at least he wasn’t involved in any sex scandals. He’s a decent family man who is faithful and true to his spouse.” Yeah, but he’s probably mean, vindictive, underhanded and quite possibly a criminal.
But his sexual standards are impeccable, right? Well, as far as the public is aware of. So he gets a pass from Ms. Righteous of the temp-journalist league.
Yes, there is a certain thrill when some matters are reserved for whispered comment and a feeling of self-righteous indignation when we discover the salacious behaviors of the privileged few who roam among us, but if straight talk about sex almost always remains in the dark, we all lose in the end. We don’t talk about sex and then our children don’t talk about sex, and the idea that sex is a joke, a scandal or a crime continues to be passed down from one generation to the next, society doesn’t grow and evolve. A society that stays stagnant can’t survive. Repression must be overcome or it will invariably become oppression. We’ve seen it happen before. And I predict that, without the lifting of the veil of repression, it will happen again and again. But, fear not good people, I am optimistic that with the availability of information, especially via the Internet, and with the open & honest discussion that my Sexologist colleagues and I have undertaken, sex talk will expand and blossom.
Next month I plan to continue this thread by talking about my recent journey abroad and how more expression and less repression moves us forward.
Until then: Let’s talk about it!