Wizard's Fifth Rule: Mind what people do, not only what they say, for deeds will betray a lie.
-Terry Goodkind
Lord Galen
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Sex is not Shameful
By: Adamantaimai  |  April 26, 2009

Why is it that we, as a society, are so backwards, ignorant, closed-minded and ashamed about sex? People in most "modern" societies, and especially in America, have a lot of hang-ups about sex. Of course, there were plenty of hang-ups and taboos in the Middle Ages too. Probably the most open societies, sexually speaking, are societies that we would consider "primitive," tribal cultures, at least before they started being influenced by American/western culture. They had taboos too, but at least there was no shame associated with sex in general.

We are all taught, from a very young age, that there is something shameful and dirty about the human body, that it needs to be hidden from view because it is so disgusting. But the human body is not vile or disgusting. It is a natural, beautiful thing. I am not a "naturist." I wear clothes most of the time, including in private, because I choose to. But I am not ashamed of my body, or human bodies in general.

I am also not ashamed about sex. We as a culture tend to see something shameful about sex, and I disagree with that. Why do we feel the need to hide everything sexual about ourselves? Sex, in all of its different (consensual, of course) varieties and forms, is a beautiful, pleasurable thing. Why do we as a society cringe whenever someone even brings up the subject? Why can't we talk about it honestly? What is the purpose of the shame associated with sex?

This shame leads everyone to believe that the only accepted, "normal" form of sex is heterosexual, penile-vaginal intercourse in the context of a lawful marriage. And just about everyone is very interested in other forms of sex. And I don't just mean oral sex, but things that are widely considered to be abnormal, or even "kinky". Most people feel themselves to be freaks, because the thought of spanking someone or being spanked turns them on, or they get hard/wet at the thought of licking whipped cream off of another's body, or of being tied up and helpless, or they feel a desire to have a sexual experience with a member of the same sex, or when they were 12 years old they sexually experimented with their 13-year-old brother or sister, or because of whatever other thought or desire they have or activity they've engaged in that no one ever talks about, except in a disparaging way. And the fact is that what they think about or have actually done is no "worse" or no more "abnormal" than other things that just about everyone thinks about or does. Most people feel like a freak, and feel privately ashamed of their own desires or actions, and never talk to anyone about it.

If people were open about these kinds of things, they would feel a lot better, because they would discover that just about everyone is a "freak" like them, although perhaps in a different way. People would be shocked if they could truly know the content of everyone else's sexual thoughts, desires and activities, because they would realize the absurdity of the shared social illusion that people are "supposed" to only have penile-vaginal intercourse in the context of heterosexual marriage.

A great deal of sadness, shame and pain is caused by our (as a society) refusal to be honest and open about sex. I think we should be more open about it, and I think it's nothing to be ashamed of. The cultural prohibition and taboo on even talking openly about sex, much less enjoying it in all of its wonderful varieties, stems largely from bullshit religious prohibitions, a superstition that the invisible man in the sky is going to condemn us to hell if we enjoy ourselves too much here on earth. Not to mention all the sexist bullshit that says that sex is for procreation (i.e. male ejaculation), and that it's shameful for a female to enjoy sex, or have any kind of lust or sexual desire or attraction.

Just about everything that humans think they know is just not so, and almost all of our cultural conventions, especially those regarding sex, are absurd. And it's very sad that so many people have to live their lives thinking that something must be wrong with them just because they want to tie someone up, or they get turned on when someone calls them a dirty name, or when they masturbate they fantasize about sucking someone's toes.

When will the human race learn that shame is only effective at making people miserable? When will we, to risk sounding ageist, grow up, and be open and honest with ourselves and each other?

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