Sexual Non Liberation – Free Ebook

We’re repeatedly given messages that we live in sexually enlightened times. That we belong to a liberated age and therefore the implication is that we ought by now, to be finding sex a straightforward and un-troubling matter we’re not after all Victorians or prudes. The standard narrative of our release from past inhibitions go something like this. For thousands of years right across the globe due to a devilish combination of religious bigotry and pedantic social customs people were afflicted by a ridiculous sense of confusion and guilt around sex. They thought their hands would fall off if they masturbated. They believed they might be burned in a vat of oil because they ogle [look at] someone’s ankle. They had no clue about erections or clitorises. They will see that sometime between the first World War and the launch of Sputnik 1, things change for the better. Finally people started wearing bikinis, admitted to masturbating, grew able to mention cunnilingus in social context, started to watch porn films, and became deeply comfortable with a topic which had almost unaccountably been a source of needless carotid frustration for most of human history. It seems almost inconceivable now how hung up our ancestors had been. Sex came to be perceived as a useful, refreshing, and physically reviving pass time: a bit like tennis. The one that could sit perfectly well within the context of bourgeois [middle class] family life once the kids were in bed. This narrative of enlightenment and progress, however flattering it may be to the modern age, conveniently skirts an unbutching fact. We remain hugely conflicted, embarrassed, ashamed, and ought about sex. Sex refuses to match up simply with love and remains as difficult to subject as ever, with one added complication: it’s meant to be so simple. In reality, none of us approaches sex as we meant to: with a cheerful, sporting, non-obsessive, clean, loyal well-adjusted outlook that we convinced ourselves is the norm. We are universally odd around sex, but only in relation to some highly and cruelly distorted ideals of normality. Most of what we are sexually remains very frightening to communicate to anyone whom we would want to think well of us. People in love constantly, instinctively, hold back from sharing more than a fraction of their desires and tastes out of a fear, not without foundation, of generating intolerable disgust in their partners. In the choice between being loved and being honest, most of us choose the former. But we are then burdened by sexuality, which refuses to stop haunting us. We suffer, and yet may find it easier to die without having had certain conversations. The priority seems evident: to find a way to talk to ourselves and our partners about who we really are, to tell one another without setting off catastrophic panic, offense, or fear what sex really makes us want. It may be someone else or them in a uniform. At the heart of the dilemma is how simultaneously to appear normal and yet achieve honesty about our sexual appetites. Our commitment to feeling normal is important and touching. It means being, or at least trying very hard to be: patient, gentle, considerate, Democratic, intelligent, and devoted to treating people with respect and loyalty, and yet, our sexual imaginations simply refuse to bow to any normative parameters. To start the list, here are just some of the unpalatable truths that stir in our sexual imaginations. It’s very rare to maintain sexual interest in only one person, however much one loves them, beyond more than a few years. It’s entirely possible to love one’s partner and regularly want to have sex with complete strangers. One can be a kind, respectable, and democratic person and at the same time want to flog, hurt, and humiliate a sexual partner who’ll be on the receiving end of a very rough treatment. It may be easier to be excited by someone one dislikes or thinks nothing of, then by someone one loves and respects. Though we may try to tame them, our sexual desires remain often an absurd, irreconcilable conflict with many of our highest commitments and values. We need to admit to ourselves that whatever the self congratulation, sexual liberation has never, in fact, happened. This is about more than the ability to wear a bikini. We remain imprisoned, fearful, and ashamed, sometimes with few options but to life for the sake of love true liberation is a challenge that remains before us as we patiently build up the courage to admit to the nature of our desires and learn to talk to our loved ones with pioneering honesty about the contents of our own minds. [LIGHT SWITCH CLICKS]

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