Sunday, September 28, 2008

Sex, Life, Love and the Pursuit of Happiness

Let me just preface this by saying that my views on love are very different from most people's. I'm not suggesting that my opinions are correct and that everyone should think like me. I understand that love is a very personal subject, everyone's entitled to their own opinion, whatever that may be. There is no right and wrong on love, just different perceptions of it. Again, I'm not judging, just thinking.

This is the fourth and final post in an exploration on love in the world of today. The first part can be found here, part 2 is here, and part 3, here.

Is sex only meant to be shared between two partners who are very much in love? That's what all our social and ethical guides seem to tell us. And yet, there is so much more to sex than intercourse between one man and one woman.

Lets just quickly take a look at some options. Picture yourself in grade school - math class. You're working on groups and trying to find how many combinations are possible.

Man and woman vs woman and woman vs man and man, vs man and woman and woman or man and man and woman... and the list goes on...

Then there's all the different acts, settings, actions, positions...

I think we can all agree that sex is more than a man and a woman in the missionary position on their bed in their master bedroom at night with the lights off trying to have a kid.

Then why is it so hard for us to accept that there can be more than one interpretation of sex? Of course, you've got the extreme views that sex should not be pleasurable if you're doing right. Or that anything sexual is demeaning to females. Or that only men are allowed to be in control.

Yeah, right.

Society's views on sex stem from a religious background. As mentioned previously, religious and social guidelines, though perhaps influenced by revelations from a higher power, are deeply rooted in the social settings of the time when they were created.

Monogamy was a solution to recklessness, disease, and the lack of self-control.
Sex for copulative purposes only was a solution to over-population, and recklessness.

But in our time, in our world, where (hopefully) the use of contraceptives is widespread, do we really need such restrictions?

In many cases, these ingrained values force us to shut down, close up, and hide from the world. We try to protect ourselves from the potential hurt that we've been told exists all around us because of sex. We see sexual acts as a form higher than regular everyday actions like washing your face - as it should be - but then put sex on a pedestal, high above other forms of pleasure.

Our understanding of sex makes us reluctant to let go and give in to the positive feelings that sexual play can bring. Our social environment doesn't accept that the purpose of sex can be purely a physical and often emotional release. That it's a perfectly acceptable, normal response to the hormones flowing in our bodies. That it is a form of pleasure that should not only be tolerated but encouraged. That the high that comes during and after sex can stem from more than just a sense of duty.

Sex, really, is the highest, purest form of physical pleasure a human being can enjoy. That being said, religion teaches us that the highest, purest spiritual pleasure we can experience is finding God and bathing in the understanding of life, the universe and everything. Then why is it so hard to believe that the orgasm that comes from sex is the material equivalent to the spiritual orgasm of being one with God?

I'm not suggesting you go on a sexual rampage with the purpose of finding God. That's definitely not going to work. Because just like in your quest for spiritual upliftment, you can only reach your zenith when everything works. The emotional longing, the intellectual stimulation and the physical attraction are all essential elements of a phenomenal sexual experience, aka orgasm. Without one of them, it might still be good - just not as good. Something will be missing. Something, perhaps, that will keep you from completely letting go and embracing the orgasm. Embracing that moment when everything stops, when the world waits for you, when light surrounds you and you just get it.

Back to society's interpretation of sex. Understandably, we can't go around screwing everything that moves. But that doesn't mean that it's wrong to want someone... many people, whether or not you're in a committed relationship. No matter what society says, sex should not be on a pedestal. It is not sacred to that extent. It's definitely something to be thoughtful about and careful with, but that doesn't mean it shouldn't be explored to the fullest - no many how many different combinations or experiences you need in order to be fulfilled sexually.

Sex does not have to be tied to a relationship. It doesn't have to be done exclusively with someone you love. Or even just like, for that matter. Take, for example, rape. Just because it's not wanted by both parties doesn't make it not "sex".

Our perception of sex is muddled by our wants and needs for a relationship. Rarely do we examine sex alone, free from pretenses. And when some brave souls try to do so, they get shot down with prejudices and stereotypes. They're called whores and sluts, players and pervs. They're not good for you, your family will say. They only care about one thing, your friends will say. But no one will dare say that they're exploring ways to release the sexual tension that's building up inside of them. Because that's just wrong.

It's wrong to want to be happy on a sexual level. It's wrong to love someone yet long to feel another's body next to yours. It's wrong not to be fully committed, sexually, to one person alone.

Uhm, sure.

Do I need to bring up trust and honesty and feelings of insecurity once more?

What about love? Remember those different kinds of love? One of them is definitely sexual love. Pure physical attraction, the matching of your body with his or hers - or his and hers!

Sex should not be a taboo. It should not feel uncomfortable to talk about sex, at least, not much more uncomfortable than it is to discuss other natural need-fulfilling acts. Eating or sleeping, for example. Or going to the washroom, for that matter, which is only weird because we associate the body parts that take care of those natural releases with sex. Circular logic, perhaps, but none of those subjects should be taboo.

That's not to say that what happens between the bedsheets - or on the kitchen counter, in the movie theatre or on the backseat of a car - should be freely shared with everyone. There is such a thing as privacy, and I'd like to hope that people engaging in sexual acts together have spoken about what's fair game and what isn't. Again, it's all about the trust.

Just like having sex is all about trusting your partner(s), and therefore being comfortable enough to tell them how you feel and what you want, honest enough to tell them what you like and don't like. The concepts blend harmoniously well together, from the emotional and intellectual aspects of sex to the act itself.

And when I mean sex, I'm not talking simply about intercourse. I mean all forms of sexual play, from oral to anal to masturbation, multiple partners, same-sex or transgendered partners, role playing, fetishes and BDSM. None of this should be taboo. All of it is completely natural, no matter how many props you use or holes you choose to fill.

For one thing, sexual activity and the release of associated hormones does seem to have positive effects on one's health - from reducing the chances of senility to keeping your heart strong and your muscles active.

The observations I am making here also apply to sexualized situations. I mean being topless - male or female - or dressing seductively. I mean talking about your period, an itch in your crotch, or that porn you caught on TV last night. I mean walking around in your underwear. If you can stroll public beaches in a tiny bikini, why isn't it acceptable to wear your more covering undergarments in a semi-private location? As long as you're respectful about it and not doing it just to spite someone who is clearly uncomfortable with the subject, then why can't you be overt with your sexuality?

By not investing in sex as necessarily a physical extension of your feelings, you bring the concept and acts down to a more reasonable level. One where it can thrive and help you thrive without all the emotional attachments and heartbreaks that society suggests are inevitable. The feeling of intimacy is there, there's no doubt about that, but you can be physical for the sole purpose of feeling good and releasing sexual tension. No strings attached.

Again - I'm not implying that sleeping around just to be sexually satisfied is optimal. In fact, you'll probably be less satisfied overall. You'll probably feel like something is missing. That final piece of the puzzle that you just can't find even though you've looked inside the box, across the floor, and all over the room.

But sex can and should exist outside of relationships, not only to keep your body healthy, but also to keep you sane. As long as it is a safe connection, that you have the same understanding as all parties involved, and that you're not hurting anyone, betraying or helping to betray anyone's trust, then engaging in sexual activity is a-ok, no matter what society says.

I think that pretty much wraps up this exploration on love. I had a lot of fun - thoughtful fun - writing these, and it feels good to get my impressions out in the open. I hope that sharing them with you has caused you to think or rethink your perspectives, and perhaps this series can spark a discussion on the place and perception of love and all associated concepts in today's society.

Thank you for tuning in, and please stay tuned for more similarly enlightening (hopefully) posts and explorations...

Please feel free to leave comments, as long as they promote the exploration of the topic rather than bash my thoughts and opinions. I'm looking for constructive criticism, not hate mail. If you have nothing helpful to say, please don't bother saying it.

8 comments:

rilms said...

I enjoyed this article of yours and totally agree!

I use to think that sex was only between a couple, but my eyes have been opened in the last few years to other options.

I plan to read the others when I have the time as well!! :D

Naila J. said...

Thank you!!
Please feel free to share your experiences :)

rilms said...

I was dating a girl for a period of time and I felt I wanted to experience other girls, but still be with her. I never expressed it, but after we broke up and then got back together as friends and lovers we were both ok with seeing other people as well. So I did, but I made sure to tell her and she was ok with it as long as I didn't bring anything back to her.

I also attended orgy parties, met people who work in the sex trade, and got to know poli people.

All of it was very intersting and showed me new ways to look at romance, love, and sex.

Also, how do I add this to my LJ?

Naila J. said...

What do you want to add to LJ? The post?

rilms said...

Your blog :)

Naila J. said...

RSS Wise? Click on the RSS ME! link...

or here's the URL: http://starshinediva.blogspot.com/feeds/posts/default

:P

rilms said...

I did that....no option for LJ...

Naila J. said...

Damn. Well, the RSS link I posted should help :)