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Sex in society: Stigmas and realities

Sophia Xepoleas

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Illustration by J.Q. Hammer

I am a female sex columnist for a college newspaper and am fully aware of the implications intertwined with my title. When I tell people what I do, some awkwardly giggle. A few commend me on my willingness to discuss a provocative subject. What these people have in common is their assumption that I am experienced in my field of interest.

My friends — you are correct.

Since the time my 17-year-old self became sexually active, I have in fact experienced and indulged in the mysterious world of sex, and there is nothing wrong with that.

Because sex is an essential factor of human existence, society’s apprehension toward the subject is unreasonable.

Unless you’re asexual or just in denial, sex is a basic human need that all either take part in or wish to take part in. Regardless, most have a hard time discussing the topic in fear of feeling judged or embarrassed.

Although it has been shown in a negative light at times, sex can be an exciting and enjoyable activity when exercised with the right moral intentions.

I do believe that some have ruined sex for the rest of us. Sexual assault and harassment have added to the taboo associated with the subject, and the prevalence of sex in the media doesn’t help in depicting what healthy sexuality looks like.

There is nothing wrong with expressing your sexuality in whichever way you choose. But there are a few things to keep in mind in doing so.

Use a damn condom

In a college town full of sexual tension and drunken decisions, you can never be too careful. STDs are real and don’t discriminate.

Not using protection when having sex with multiple partners is a dangerous game, and it’s only a matter of time before you will find yourself shaking hands with a not-so-pleasant infection. Although it isn’t always as pleasurable, it’s well worth the effort.

This, and being proactive about keeping up with STD screenings, is the best way to avoid adding to the “dirty” stereotype usually associated with having multiple partners.

Enough with the numbers game

It doesn’t matter how you spin it, people will always find something to judge you for. You’re either sleazy for sleeping with too many partners or a prude for not sleeping with enough.

You are the only person that should influence your sex life, and as long as you’re being safe, you can choose to express yourself however you desire. Society’s opinion should never be a factor when deciding whether to withhold or partake in sexual activity.

You don’t owe anyone anything

The media is constantly putting out sexualized images and creating a subconscious standard of sexuality. Some people aren’t as comfortable with intimacy as others and by no means does that render them inferior or inadequate.

Just because someone is capable of having sex does not mean they are obligated or expected to do so. It’s your body, and you can do with it what you choose.

Recognize the root of your guilt

Guilt is a pretty common feeling after engaging in sexual activity, but it is important to be able to identify exactly why. If you’re allowing society’s stigmas around sex to influence your thoughts regarding your actions, it will take away from the enjoyment of the experience. Regretting something you had once desired is a waste of time and energy.

On the other hand, if taking part in casual sex happens to reflect poorly on your self-image, your guilt may just be a lesson in personal preference. Knowing what you want and enjoy between the sheets will help maintain a more satisfying and comfortable sex life.

Although society’s view on sexuality may be relatively skewed, your sex life belongs to no one but you. Be wary of societal influence in regard to sex and carry your thoughts and opinions confidently. At the end of the day, the only person that can judge you is yourself.

 

 

Sophia Xepoleas can be reached at [email protected] or @soph_mxx on Twitter.

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Sex in society: Stigmas and realities