problems seem to generate from the idea that we 'should' do things
a certain way and feel, perform and react in a prescribed fashion.
Our humanness and infinite spectrum of responses prevent this
from being possible and cause a good deal of frustration and emotional
Our family backgrounds,
the way we learn about sex and society's attitudes are all factors
in this prescription. Sex is a perfectly natural biological
function and offers emotional as well as physical pleasure, if we
allow it to happen with the minimum of intervention. Unfortunately,
sex has been taken out of the private context and is now big business,
highly commercialised and very public. It is, therefore, no
longer just something that takes place between two people to express
love and make babies.
The media, particularly
popular magazines, have shaped the way in which average men and
women see themselves as sexual beings. Sexual identity is attained
by such statistics as size of breasts and penis, number of sexual
partners, number and quality of orgasms, frequency and length of
intercourse. As with weight and 'body beautiful' issues, those
who don't measure up feel inadequate and lose their confidence.
That's why we are largely a society of lonely singles, disillusioned
separateds and bitter couples. I don't say this in a spirit
of pessimism but as a counsellor who has to operate in the real
world. There are so many unhappy people around, and, while sex isn't
the only reason, it's certainly one of the prime causes of confusion
and low self-esteem.
Those who are unlucky
enough to be in sub-cultures, such as gays, transsexuals and transvestites,
or who are classed as deviants because they enjoy bondage and discipline,
sado-masochism or pornography, are treated as second-class citizens
in our society and forced to live on the fringes. Yet, if
the truth be known, many upright members of society probably enjoy
the odd bit of dressing-up, whipping or dirty movies too!
The distorted views of
sex, created by the multi-level activities that now come under its
umbrella, have generated a tremendous amount of guilt which, in
turn, causes furtiveness and negative behaviour that come from the
dark side of human nature. I dislike labels of all kinds and
would prefer to see them all banished, particularly sexual labels
like normal and abnormal, homosexual and bisexual, deviant and pornographic.
I realise we need labels for identification, but as far as I'm concerned,
labels are for things, not people. Labels stamp and restrict
us and make us feel prescribed, as if we really can conform to the
expectations of parents, friends and society in general. Behave
sexually by your own standards and by what feels right for you.