The worst part of declaring that my post-graduate future (which hangs ever so delicately in self-conscious limbo), which will revolve around human sexuality, is telling my parents.
They keep asking how I will make money, tip-toeing to avoid the large elephant in the (very small) room—that their first born is switching from pre-healthcare to TRIPLE-X SEX!
I fully stand by my decision to actively participate in society’s compound knowledge of human sexuality. While perceptions of those who study sexuality can range from perversion to a lack of seriousness, I contend that sexuality is incredibly important and more pervasive than we give it credit for being.
Think about it: try to name one person who hasn’t been affected by their own sexuality and/or the sexual culture around them. You can’t.
It used to sneak up on me. A friend once told me that her introductory psychology textbook stated that sex is the foundation for society. Without it, we wouldn’t have a next generation.
However, sexuality is so much more than procreation. It is a greater entity: one that can have strong emotional, physical and mental associations with fulfillment, self-esteem, intimate bonds, health, objectification, power, violence and so much more, even death.
The pioneering researcher and founder of Behaviorism, John Watson, was the first to push for the scientific study of sex in the early 1900s. He wrote, “It is admittedly the most important subject in life. It is admittedly the thing that causes the most shipwrecks in the happiness of men and women.”
Some days I am so excited about the strides we have made in our understanding of sexuality.
We get that the clitoral stimulation is what most women need for orgasm. We know that orgasm is good for your health in many ways.
But there are other ways in which our society doesn’t appear to be so advanced. Far worse than some mild awkwardness with my parents is how upsetting it is to know how far our culture is from acceptance of human sexuality.
We have socially conservative shame thrown at all of us sluts that want to have access to STI testing and birth control so we can have safe sex. We are lucky to have had the chance to learn about safe sex in one way or another. Don’t even get me freakin’ started on abstinence-only sex education.
So many wires have been crossed in our culture’s thinking about sexuality. In commercials and advertisements, so much is sexualized for the sake of marketing that we have trouble telling the difference between nonsexual, sexual and sexualized images or situations.
We blame sexual violence on sexual urges when it’s really about power-based personal violence that likely result from the pressure of repression and shame.
And these negative “moral” connotations are thrown on sexuality by a small population that lacks sexual diversity yet has so much fiscal, and therefore political, power.
Human sexuality is such a huge, amorphous blob that society is built on, run by and, thanks to all the s*** I just outlined, a lot of times stunted by.
Clearly we need more people to research and advance our understanding and acceptance.
We are sexual beings. Not sex-crazed, mind-addled sluts and assholes. We are products of this mixed up culture.
And this culture is practically begging for a honest, compassionate and straight-forward dialogue about sexuality.