The dreadful topic of conversation that makes every eye in the room look anywhere but in the eyes of the others.
We live in the 21st century, floating on ideas like equality, sexuality, liberty, freedom, homosexuality, etc., but never walk over these. A small advertisement for condoms makes us uncomfortable and guilty as if we are the actors on the screen.
Why is the air so tensed when you are watching an intimate scene with your parents? Or when the word ‘sex’ pops up in your text? Why is the talk around sex still taboo, as if it were the ‘dirtiest, most indecent’ sin? It is wise to remind ourselves that if humans are capable of showing their hesitation, it is because of sex!
Why Is Sex A Taboo?
Before we delve deeper into the need for normalizing conversation around sex, it becomes crucial to establish why, in the first place, it is an abnormal and uncomfortable topic. Society thrives on its power to add labels on things to reinforce its legitimacy and domination.
We need to understand that society works on power dynamics. The superior section holds the key to influence, and uses it to subordinate the “inferior” section, dictate norms and moral codes, draw boundaries, and play with labels. It is in this context that I shall analyze the reason behind sex being taboo.
Sex – A Private Affair.
Sex has always been seen as a private activity performed for the only purpose of bringing babies into the world. By default, a loose thread of legitimacy and appropriacy hangs around sex. Society draws boundaries that sex is to be performed only after marriage by labeling a child born outside wedlock as illegitimate and the woman of inappropriate character. The morality of sex is then propagated, taught, and retaught through socialization by the family- the heart of the society that ensures its breathing.
We are then conditioned into believing that sex is something sacred and not to be spoken of. It’s just an act performed on a creaking bed within the four walls to reproduce. This is furthered by poetically fitting the idea of virginity. A woman who, god forbid, loses her “virginity” before marriage is deemed a slut, a whore. Through the power of language and words, a taboo is created, furthered, and propagated.
Taboo- Curtailing Female Sexuality
Any conversation around sex must also incorporate the nature of the society, which incontestably, is patriarchal. Sex is taboo, not for men but primarily for women. Virginity is a construct not for men. A man can sleep with any woman outside marriage, but the woman will be the whore. Adding taboo to the idea of sex is a way for society to curtail female sexuality and ensure that her hymen slits open only for a stranger that the family deems suitable.
When we understand the reasons behind the stigmatization of sex, the need for normalizing conversation around sex becomes of utmost importance. Talking about sex is important because it’s something very central to human desire. How many women actually have felt sexual pleasure? How many women know that orgasm or release is a core part of having sex? How many women know that saying No is crucial, and they can? How many women know that using contraceptives is a choice?
If you are wondering why all my questions are directed towards a woman, my dear readers look around and examine society. Nevertheless, I do not negate the men, but the stigmatization impacts women, LGBTQ+ community so much more.
The primary reason to normalize sex is to break the societal shackles and stereotypes which are unjust for women, the LGBT community, and other concerned stakeholders. The normalization will mitigate the ostracisation of those who indulge in sexual pleasure. Instead of making them feel guilty, it will teach them to embrace it, for sex is normal. It’s not a big deal. This will help them understand that the world exists beyond the predetermined binaries and their sexual preferences.
Normalizing will help impart sex education to the population, which is crucial given everybody is having sex or will have sex. We all secretly know what sex is. But how many of us know the multi-layered complexity that characterizes it? Having sex talk will help in increasing awareness around the usage of contraceptives, and it’s complications. It will also teach us that using a contraceptive is not the burden of a woman, and it’s a matter of personal choice.
When we normalize sex talk, the world will be more educated, and the right labels would be put to use. Instead of finding synonyms to look down upon sexually active women, it will help you learn about various identities like asexual, pansexual, etc., which just makes you a better human.
Moreover, normalizing sex will help individuals enjoy sex for what it actually stands—- pleasure, not procreation. It will dismantle the myths that sex is for procreation. Kids are just a consequence of sex, not the cause. Sex is meant for pleasure, for feeling good. Having a sex talk will establish the real necessity of sex and educate us on the need and benefits of participating in it.
Lastly, when you normalize sex talk, you make the world a better place by ensuring that no one is violated and forced into doing something they disapprove of. Consent is crucial whenever you engage with others in any capacity. We are socialized into accepting sex as a taboo, but we are never taught that saying No is essential. We are never taught to draw boundaries because we don’t know where they must exist. Normalizing conversation around sex will help in understanding the necessity of consent before partaking in sexual acts.
Society assigns us gender roles even before we are born, based on our genitals. There is no room for otherwise. A man is supposed to display machismo and domination, while a woman is supposed to be docile and submissive. A man is taught to be demanding and wanting sex at all times, while a woman is trained to give the man what they want.
This rigid dichotomous structure paralyzes the society, pushing it further into the den of oblivion. To break this dichotomy, one has first to initiate a conversation around it. Normalizing conversation around sex will deconstruct the binaries, the myths, the labels, the constructs. Sex is normal. You owe your existence to sex. Let’s talk about it. Make the world a free place, as it claims to be.