Thank goodness for sex
Genuine sexuality is by nature fluid, complicated and sometimes confusing in its expression. It does not always align with what society labels “healthy” or “decent.”
This article deals with a subject I think most all of us struggle with in our lives. Our societies smother us from the very first day with so many rules and taboos. We are taught to feel a certain way about certain things, not because that is how we feel about those things, but because others feel that we should feel that way about those things. Religion and Politics have a large role in this process. And the dangerous thing about it is that most of us don’t even realize it until we are well on our way to becoming adults and raising our own children…often teaching them the same debilitating ideas. Many will never realize it.
I have come to realize that just because the thoughts and ideas I have are not the same as everyone around me, does not mean that those thoughts are wrong or damaging. Just take masturbation…a hot topic for everyone at some point in their lives. Masturbation is a natural process of self discovery. It plays a very important role in a persons life as far as learning to understand their own very personal needs sexually…what they like, what they don’t like, what they long for. Personally, I feel life would be a whole lot less interesting without such a tool of discovery. But, society generally teaches us a very different lesson concerning self-love. We are taught that masturbation is flawed because it is a ‘selfish’ love. We are made to feel that it degrades our sexuality. In years past, it was even taught that masturbation would cause horrible things to happen such as blindness. There is also the belief that masturbation will ultimately lead to a sexual addiction and possibly even sexually deviant actions.
I, being a normal male, struggled with many of these ideas and beliefs. Masturbation was a daily experience. It was a way to feel sexually connected in an environment where being too sexually connected was frowned upon. Without knowing it, masturbation provided me a way to calm my very intense desires to be the opposite sex. It gave me the feeling, even for a moment, that I was unable to achieve in real relationships due to fears I had. It was not until much later in life that I realized that all boys (and later, men) dealt with exactly the same issues. I thought I was the only one who needed a daily fix. I thought I was the only one who was so ‘perverted’, that he couldn’t resist the urge. And, on top of everything else, the heavy hand of religion in my childhood environment provided any feelings of guilt I hadn’t already aquired.
I am now in my forties. I still enjoy masturbation. Often. The difference now is that I enjoy it without any feelings a guilt, except when it is waisting valuable time. This change has been made possible by therapy. I have come to understand the need in my life for an expression of sexuality. I have learned to separate the act from everything society might say about it. I have been able to give it a respectable place in my life, even though those looking from the outside might have very little regard for my choice in that matter. I have learned that masturbation sometimes gets in my way, but that it often also provides a healthy outlet for pent up sexual frustrations, that it provides a very safe context wthin which I can satisfy (to some extent at least) my normal human desires.
This is not to say that masturbation (or any other form of sexual expression) can not be debilitating for someone. In that sense, it is little different from cigarettes and alchahol. They can be used in a healthy and beneficial way, but they can also be abused. When an expression of sexuality is used as a way to hide even bigger problems, then there is call for concern.
I am glad that I have been able to take a step in the direction of more acceptance and legitimacy of my sexuality. Somehow, as long as there are humans, I think they will continue to struggle with their sexuality. It will take a lot to create a society where sexuality, in all it’s many forms, can not only be accepted, but celebrated as the amzing and beautiful aspect of humanity that it is and for the gifts it bestows on our miriad relationships.
Sometimes, I am not sure that there is anything more important. Sex and sexuality go hand in hand. A world with no sex means a world with no ME! Thank goodness for sex.