“Why the fuck do we need to talk about sex?” asked the spunky conservative Christian woman of about 19, with a smug and triumphant smirk.
“Because people like you exist.” I replied with a look of genuine concern and exasperation.
“One day you’ll find Jesus and realize that you’re giving away your precious gift of sex and damning yourself to hell. Plus you’re a gay so that’s so much worse,” she said, mimicking my facial expression.
I opened my mouth to reply with a well-reasoned and rational explanation of why her statement was both incorrect and damaging. But all I managed to say was, “please go away.”
She obliged and left in huff, making sure that her long bleach blonde hair brushed my face as she quickly turned on her heel.
That night I went home and registered the domain LTASEX.INFO. That’s not true; I did it a week later. But, it was still a direct result that conversation.
After I registered the domain I still didn’t have any idea of what I wanted the site to be. So, I spent the next for months brainstorming ideas.
Whenever I would use someone else as a sounding board, the same question would come up, “Why do we need to talk about sex?” Even now, after the site has launched, had 2 successful years, and spawned a spin-off column in the Eastern Echo, the question still persists.
With the exception of Ms. Perky McBigot, I have, to the best of my ability, answered the question every time it has been posed to me. I’ve given a wide array of reasons but to my recollection I have never, to my satisfaction, successfully answered the question.
It’s one thing to talk about Teen Mom, DL guys, Generation S.L.U.T., and those infamous pregnancy pacts, but it’s something different to confront the real reason why we must talk about sexuality. That reason, is fear.
We don’t talk about sex. Therefore, we don’t teach about sex. If there is no one to teach, then how can anyone ever learn? Since we never learn, we can’t understand. That lack of understanding breeds uncertainty and doubt. Uncertainty is the germ that sprouts confusion; from there you’re only a few bad role models away from the fear that’s so pervasive in American culture.
People can do very amazing and terrible things when they’re afraid. They do things like, lift a 2 ton truck off an infant or stand idly by as millions of people are rounded up and murdered.
When it comes to sexuality, nothing good has ever been bred from fear. Fear of sex and sexuality, even as a concept, can never be healthy or beneficial because it forces us to deny the reason for our existence.
Humans are a progressive species. But we’re not always the most rational. We try really hard to deny that which connects us to our animalistic history in an attempt to seem more civilized. Sexuality is a drive born of purely primal and “uncivilized” needs, which means that it does not fit into the world we’ve created for ourselves. If we have learned anything from America’s history, it would be that which does not fit must be destroyed or, at the very least, hidden from sight.
For references, see Iraq, Iran, Cuba, Afghanistan, homosexuality, immigrants, atheists, agnostics, wiccans, mystics, homeless, poor, overweight, etc.
People often forget that much of our current culture isn’t current at all; it’s simply an updated version of the Puritan societal handbook. You may remember the Puritans from their acceptance tour de force that we like to call the Salem witch trials.
Fear drove the mass hysteria that led to the unjust and unwarranted murder of untold numbers of people during the witch trials of Salem. Fear drives the internalized hatred, homophobia, transphobia, shame and guilt that leads to the unjust and unwarranted murder and assault of people like Matthew Sheppard and untold numbers of others.
People ask me why we need to talk about sex, and I try to answer them. But, no answer I could ever give would be as effective as a face to face confrontation with the fear, uncertainty, doubt, guilt, and shame that we all hold within us. So, I guess the best answer I could ever give is to say that we must talk about sex because we must.
We must not let the fear continue to destroy our nation from within. We must not let one more generation learn that sex is shameful. We must choose to overcome. We must get to a place where we can accept and love our sexuality as a feature of our humanity instead of a burden.
We can do all of this and it can start with a few words. So, come on, Let’s Talk About Sex.