Wednesday, 30 November 2011

Il Desiderio

If there is anything that I have noticed about the culture around me, certainly more so of people the same age as myself is that there is an unhealthy obsession with two topics: Sex and Alcohol. To be more precise, graphic discussions of the former and the overindulgence of the latter. The subject of this post is primarily concerned with the ethical implications of both such facets of our world, as well as how such ethics have shaped our own existence and culture.
I suppose that people would say that I am boring and “need to get out more” or “get a life” when I say that I think that sex has become far too deeply rooted in our culture. All we have to do is glance towards the media to see sexualised men and women (more often the latter) used for many kinds of advertising (which I am told is effective, though I cannot say that I have ever found such adverts anything but off-putting). In our lives we are, certainly from a media angle, completely immersed in images and words that attempt to conjure sexual attraction within us in an attempt to steer us towards certain activities. If ever I needed proof of how sex is used in this manner, I take the example of an anti-smoking leaflet, the main point of which seemed to be that smoking reduced one’s chances of getting laid. Of an eight page leaflet, only a few sentences were set aside for the actual health risks posed by smoking. Not only that, but these sentences were at the back of the leaflet, the place least likely to be glanced at by a casual passerby, so to speak.
Personally, I just don’t see the need for this sexualised culture.
Freud argues that almost every facet of our mental health, including negative aspects such as phobias and nightmares, are shaped and defined through the influence of deeply repressed sexual feelings. Try arguing that you don’t have such repressed sexual desires and he would likely say that they were very deeply buried. Though I maintain that the majority of people do not have repressed sexual desire to the level that it shapes their psychological makeup, Freud is certainly correct to identify that we do have some form of repression when it comes to sexual identity. There is a certain taboo within our culture, perhaps stemming from our catholic roots and our ancestor’s views on chastity, that sexual acts and discussions are disgusting and somehow dirty and wrong.
This is a view that I disagree with. This is not to say that I have somehow deluded myself into thinking that our culture does not have a degree of sexual repression, for it is evident that it has high levels of such repression, but that I do not support the fact that it does have this level of repression. Personally, I think that it is the number of mixed signals that has sparked my own generation into being so graphic and poignantly clear when it comes to discussions of sex. Half of our society seems to damn any form of sexual expression in public and then there are the parts of the media and advertising which exploit sex to sell perfume or clothing. Those around their late teens/early adult years love to rebel, it gives each generation the feeling that they are important, despite the fact that each generation does the same.
So, why do I think that my generation should stop being so obsessed over sex?
My generation think they understand what they obviously do not. Some people my age see sex as a purely physical act, and some see it as something far more emotional and complex. People of my age think that they are ready to handle the emotional influx that walks hand in hand with sexual activity when 95% of the time they are not. I know of individuals who have had their relationships completely crushed because they have rushed in at a physical level and then been unable to handle either their own or their partner’s emotional responses to the sexual activity.
I would also go as far as to say that anyone who feels as if they need and should talk about sex so openly and graphically is almost certainly insecure about it and is seeking affirmation that what they are thinking is normal and correct from the people around them. It is a social technique they are using to assess their normality.
Sex if far too deeply rooted in our culture, and therefore people rush into it before we are ready. However, another side of our culture disapproves of this and from our past we have inherited the social stigma and taboo where sex is concerned. Most people my age are not emotionally ready for sexual activity but are all too ready to delude themselves into thinking that they are.
This is not to say that emotional disaster is imminent for those who have sex at this age, for it is not. I would argue that being ready enough for such activity depends mainly upon the circumstances in which certain acts are being undertaken. Committed, monogamous relationships are the way forwards, for they introduce a level of stability which helps people deal with strong waves of emotions which can be caused through sexual activity, especially during one’s later teenage years.

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