Let’s talk about sex, baby
By Barbara Crowley
Chameleon Staff Writer
[EDITOR'S NOTE: Some of the persons quoted in this article chose to remain anonymous or to use a pseudonym for privacy reasons. The views expressed in this piece do not necessarily reflect those of the LUChameleon editorial staff.]
We think about it while we sit in class, browse online, and walk around campus. Most of us have it, some incredibly frequently and others rarely, some while in a relationship and others with complete strangers.
Sex excites and makes us feel good. Why is sex taboo? If we all either have it or think about it regularly, and if we insert it into every aspect of media possible, then why can’t we discuss it freely without a blush or shocked response? I find that there are many who do not discuss this aspect of their lives with their families or friends.
Yes, sex is an intimate act, physically and sometimes emotionally too. However, we talk much more freely about our sexualities and who we have sex with than our actual sex and how we like to have sex. Why is what we do during sex more uncomfortable to talk about than who we do during sex?
When I began to look for people to interview, I found many were not willing to discuss their sexual experiences publicly, even if they were to be kept anonymous. This gave me the idea that I was not going to find people who would discuss sex freely. But I did. I interviewed various people who had completely different sexual experiences and preferences about how they share them.
What is interesting is that all willingly gave up their sexuality, or who they have sex with. Many of them said they were quite open with their sexuality, but some had reservations about sharing other aspects of their sexual experiences with others, or how they like to have sex. Some are anonymous, while others are quite open with their identity and every aspect of themselves sexually.
My audience ranged from “straight” Luisa Blanco who boldly stated, as if it was nothing bold at all, that she was “extremely open with [her] friends and siblings and would often even directly announce when [she] was horny or had recently had sex” to “gay” Tom Brown who responded that he divulged “none” of his sexual experiences with people, saying he was “not comfortable talking about it” because “someone else is involved and that makes it an incredibly personal, shared experience between the two of you.”
I was truly intrigued by this idea of a shared experience and secrecy due to lack of consent that “gay” Glenn Bush remarked upon, saying, “It would have felt weird to talk about it without the other person’s consent.” On this subject, Tom and Glenn seemed to agree.
Glenn said that though she was “an open book about [her] sexual experiences,” she said it also depended on “the person and the relationship.”
“If it’s like ‘make love’ sex, I’m not gonna talk about it [something] that personal, because sex can be physical or emotional or both,” she explained.
There seemed to be a huge distinction between the sex that was “just physical” and “personal, intimate, emotionally connected sex.” My question: “Shouldn’t the emotionally connected sex be easier to discuss since it seems more widely accepted than physical sex based on an animalistic need?”
My anonymous source explained, “I think that people nowadays don’t have that much emotionally connected sex. A lot of people in college are not trying to be in a relationship or trying to tie in emotion.”
It seems sex is becoming much more widely accepted as this natural and physical need. In response to this attitude toward physical sex being common, intimate and emotional sex seems to have become more cherished rather than, as some may believe, dismissed.
Another intriguing topic that came to light was our unwillingness to share with our parents the details of our sex lives. I do not think I am totally ready to divulge my intimates to my mother and learn the intimates of her life with my stepfather or father. No, thank you. But I was still wondering why this was. Why do we have this one major limit in our relationship with our parents?
There seemed to be a generally accepted belief that it was uncomfortable and embarrassing but why? What about our physical sexual lives make it off limits to our parents? Luisa brought to light how “honest” and “physical” sex was, but if so, I wondered why this honesty and intimacy could not to be shared with the people who were honest and physical in the first place to create us? Luisa explained that it [discussing the topic of sex] was “just a boundary [between your parents] and unspoken limit you had.”
It seemed we came to a standstill in this subject, until Tom and a “gay” anon I was speaking with agreed on an interesting theory. Tom suggested it was our view of our parents and their view of us that makes us uncomfortable with that level of intimacy and vulnerability.
“I see my parents on this whole other level,” he said. ”I look up to them as role models and thinking about them in that vulnerable way…”
My anon added that, “Our parents see us as their children. They will always see us as their innocent, pure, blissfully ignorant babies.”
I became intrigued in this idea of sex, this vulnerable experience, as an equalizer. Not only does the sex act itself equalizes, but the discussion of sex. Glenn so eloquently brought to light the idea that it is not that we do not discuss sex because it is “taboo” or “shameful.” The type of sex my interviewees kept to themselves was the sex that they cherished.
Perhaps this idea that we are a generation who abuses sexuality is wrong. Perhaps we are actually a generation who sees the truth behind sex, that all of us have it, for the most part, and it can be had in different ways. Sometimes sex is emotional, entangled with love, and needs to be cherished and not demeaned in graphic detail. But other times, sex is like any physical act, one we discuss because it is a part of our lives.
To contact Barbara Crowley, email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.