There are many issues in life that we are bound by. The need to be validated, to know that we matter. The need to be loved. The need to know we are being heard and understood. However, of all the issues that we are bound by I believe SEX is one we all share. Even those that choose not to have sex, sex is an issue for them by the mere fact they have chosen not to have it.
With the latest sex scandal making the news about General Petraeus and his mistress, we are all once again focused on someone else's sex life. Someone else betraying their marital vows. Someone else throwing away their profession and accomplishments for an orgasm....or two.
It got me thinking about SEX and the value we as a society place on it. In my book club we are discussing E.L. James book Fifty Shades of Grey, the steamy sexually graphic book that has taken over the world for the last year and has the most meek and mild mannered women among us, losing their minds! It is a book about a woman that loses her virginity to a man that dominates and controls her.
On the surface, one would think most women would be outraged by the premise of the book. A man with his own deep issues in regard to self esteem and intimacy seeking out women he can control not just sexually, but physically right down to what she eats. One that demands she agree to a contract that includes as the submissive, she can not look at him directly. I would venture to guess if you would stand on any street corner in the world and ask any woman would they agree and accept a man controlling them, you would be besieged with a litany of angry responses. Yet this book intrigues women, arouses them, tantalizes women. Why?
When I think of General Petraeus I think of a man that has to deal with extreme and important military matters. I understand and can appreciate that many women are intoxicated by powerful men. I happen to be one of them, I admit it. There is something heady about the idea of a man that holds extreme power and authority, I respect and admire that. Men that choose to do what others do not is sexy. It's why I pray I end up with a member of the Navy Seal Team Six. :-) It's why I have lusted after certain presidents. But.....There is a vast difference between lusting after someone and acting on that lust. Especially if you are married or in a committed relationship. What makes a man risk losing his career simply to engage in sex with a woman that isn't his wife? Is the promise of something younger, tighter, firmer really worth it? The idea that this new woman will hang on your every word, find your every opinion to be deep and profound, make you feel as if you are the very embodiment of masculinity.....is that enough to risk losing all that you have known and worked so hard to obtain?
I guess the answer is yes.
But why is it yes. Why do we obsess so much on sex?
The book club I belong to is an interesting one. One half of the group is made up of women that are like myself, pretty open minded about sex. We don't come up with cutesy names to describe body parts. Our vagina is our vagina, not our "vajayjay" (as Oprah describes hers). We actually like looking at the male body and are not intimidated by it. The other half of the group is in denial about sex, their own bodies and any comfort in discussing sex. They each have read Fifty Shades of Grey and treat it as if it is a vibrator. Something naughty that must be hidden in a dresser drawer or in a box high atop their closets. The mere fact that they have read this book makes them blush - and as a group of mostly Black women, that says volumes! :-)
I would be the first to admit, I criticize certain European cultures that have a more liberal view sexually than America. To me, they represent a permissive culture of loose morals. I see them as out of control. I am not in favor of legalizing prostitution. I am not in favor of teachers discussing abortion and sex ed in classrooms that involve birth control, and I am certainly not in favor of condoms being handed out to teens. I cringe at the thought of what America will be like in as little as 10 years. There is a line that we walk (in America) when it comes to sex that is difficult and sometimes blurred.
On one hand people such as myself condemn pornography in all forms, rail against strip clubs and the objectification of women. Yet I look at porn, visit Chippendale's once a year when in Vegas, and as a staunch heterosexual woman, I objectify men all the time. I didn't watch the movie Magic Mike for the well written dialogue and plot. :-) So there is an overt hypocrisy that many people like myself have when it comes to sex. On the other hand we have people that are too open and upfront about sex. They allow their sexual freedom to obscure any sense of personal privacy or decorum. They impose their open sexual views to impact on their children by way of permissive beliefs and attitudes, and to the demise of social civility. I believe they flaunt sex in ways that are inappropriate for our social values.
So what to do....what to do.
Do men like General Petraeus cheat on their wives because they are tempted by the availability of sex? Or is it the availability of forbidden sex that corrupts men like himself? Do women like myself and the millions around the world, cling to literature that is at its foundation, everything that women should hate in men (and ourselves) because of the titillation of the forbidden fruit? Fifty Shades of Grey is selling like hotcakes in countries where promiscuity is not only acceptable but almost expected. So what does that say about my argument that women are drawn to it because it is a forbidden way of thinking sexually?
Sex is not dirty. It is not to be seen as something that we should be ashamed of. It is to be embraced as a wonderful part of life (and if you are lucky to have a stable partner) a beautiful way of expressing affection. Yet it is misunderstood and much too often misused and is leading to a complete and total watering down of morality in our nation.
We are becoming a country that is divided by race, ethnicity, religion and politics. We are also becoming a nation divided by those with morals and those that are lacking in that area. The problem is and always will be, who dictates what is morally appropriate? It use to be society - we collectively without benefit of a formal meeting or discussion, simply decided what our social morals would be. No one had to tell you it is wrong to belch out loud in a restaurant, pick your nose in the middle of a job interview or spit on the floor while inside a home...that was something as a society we just evolved in knowing we should not do. Now.....that mindset is gone. We are now left to our own devices when it comes to deciding what we will and will not tolerate.