Sex from a Seventy Five Year Old Perspective

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Before you read any further, ask yourself this question.  Can a White Elderly American male say anything generic about sex?  To be quite clear, can I say anything relevant for women and men of color?  Can I say anything about sex that will resonate with women and men of other cultures like China, Indonesia, the Mid-East, or Indigenous peoples over the vast globe?  Will my thoughts on sex have any meaning for GLBTQ people?  Can I speak words of wisdom that will have any importance for those of Generation X, Y and Z?

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When a writer starts talking about a subject, they start from a viewpoint that is uniquely their own.  It can be no other way.  That is what makes writing so interesting and variable.  No two people will see life exactly the same way or tell exactly the same story.  Martin Luther said, “Here I stand, I can do no other.”  A writer must have grit or ice in their veins to attempt to say anything at all.  No matter where I stand, someone will say, “You are a heretic.”

Let this tome be my heresy about sex.  Bury me with a stake through my heart if you do not like what I have to say.  I don’t have much more time to say it anyway.  Those who are offended can write their own scribbles to debunk my thoughts and theories.  To paraphrase Old Abe, the world will little remember nor long care about my ideas here.  It would be nothing but cowardice to forego one’s opinions because they might be misunderstood.  Nevertheless, I pray as the song goes “Oh Lord, please don’t let me be TOOO misunderstood.”

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Sex is one of the most beautiful things in the world.  It has an appeal that goes beyond the aesthetic.  Sex is both an individual and group activity that entails five key elements.  The physical, mental, emotional, spiritual, and financial elements frame the actual conduct or act of sex.  My emotions, my physical abilities, my mental state, my spiritual beliefs and even my financial capacity will determine the breath and depth of my sexual activities.  But there is a great deal more that governs how sex is controlled in any society.

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Sex can be seen as a vast continent.  The continent is divided into two major regions.  There is the Region of Permissions and the Region of Prohibitions.  Each of these regions has three seasons.  There is some overlap between each season but also some significant differences.

One season is cultural.  This season brings influences to sex based on traditions and beliefs about what sex should be like, who we should have sex with and how sex may be performed.  There is the political season.  This season establishes the legality of sex.  Who may have sex, where they may have sex and when they may have sex.  Finally, there is the religious season.  This season defines who may have sex but further informs a purpose for sex.  Sex within the religious sphere is generally assumed to be permissible when associated with procreation.

Sex may take place between a man and a woman, between multiple men and one woman, between multiple women and one man, between multiple men and multiple women, between a man and a man or between a woman and a woman and any other multiple combinations thereof.

Couple_Bed_1296x728-header-1-1296x728Some of you are already thinking that this description has gone too far.  The reality of sexual practices throughout the world would astound most individuals.  There are those who believe that some sex is right, and some sex is wrong.  If there is a right and wrong when it comes to sex, the question is not easily answered.  The seasons of sex, the regions of sex and the individual capabilities all noted above will determine what is considered right and wrong sex.

In the following blogs, I will discuss my views on sex pursuant to the following areas:

  • The Region of Permissions and the Region of Prohibitions
  • The Season of Religion
  • The Season of Politics
  • The Season of Culture
  • The physical, mental, emotional, spiritual, and financial elements affecting sex.

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Who am I to talk about sex?  What qualifications give me the right to discuss the multitudinous varieties of sex in the world?  An old White guy who has been married twice.  A man who has had several but not really that many sex partners.  I read that Wilt Chamberlain had been to bed with over 20,000 women.  A man who when he was younger did not understand women very well and probably still does not.  A man of limited variety when it comes to cultural and ethnic relationships with women.  A straight guy who has had no interest in gay relationships.  These are my obvious limitations.  I suspect I have others that I am unaware of.

sex in pandemicOn the other hand, I read widely.  I think a great deal about things and what constitutes right and wrong.  I have been to 34 countries.  I am old enough to have seen many things that work and many things that do not work.  I have had friends from many cultural and ethnic backgrounds.  I am not unduly influenced by religious, cultural, or even some legal restrictions governing sex.  As for the legal aspects, I believe in the protection of young children from pedophiles and other exploiters.  However, I have long believed in the right of people to choose their sex partners regardless of ethnic background.

The anti-miscegenation laws that were passed by some states were racist laws that enforced racial segregation for marriage and intimate relationships by criminalizing interracial marriage and sometimes also sex between members of different races.  I abhor such infringements on the individual rights of people based on racist xenophobic and bigoted concepts of what is right and wrong.

In 1975, I received my B.S. degree in Health Education.  I also received a license to teach this subject in grades 1 to 12.  What I did not realize at the time was the resistance to teaching Health Education in most schools.  Many parents and even schools associated Health Education with Sex Education.  In 1975, Sex Education was a highly contentious subject.  Twenty years later in 1994 Joycelyn Elders was forced to retire from her post as U.S. Surgeon General after she said that masturbation “is part of human sexuality and perhaps should be taught.”

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Sex is both the most popular subject in the world and the most taboo subject.  We will look at some of these issues when we discuss permissions and prohibitions in my next blog.  Today there are more sex education classes taught then when I received my degree forty-five years ago, but the subject is still something educators must tread lightly on.  A recent article in the New York Times discusses a progressive educator who resigned her position due to parent criticism concerning her teachings.  “A Private-School Sex Educator Defends Her Methods.”

“Twenty-eight states require that abstinence be stressed in sex education classes, and six states require that only negative information be provided on homosexuality, according to the Guttmacher Institute.”  https://www.nytimes.com/2021/07/07/style/sex-educator-methods-defense.html

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Here I sit in the middle of one of the so-called most advanced countries in the world, and we have roughly one half of our nation that thinks abstinence is the key to sex education.  As an educator who continues to be a teacher in high schools in Arizona, I can only shake my head in disbelief.  We live in perhaps the most highly sexualized nation in the world and yet we act as though our children will practice abstinence until they are married.  One could not think of a more bizarre case of denial.

“Many Indian schools provide no sex education, leaving it to parents to talk to their children about sex and relationships. But often they are unsure what to say, sex coach Pallavi Barnwal tells the BBC’s Megha Mohan.”   —  ‘Indians don’t talk about sex – so I help them’

Americans are not alone in denial when it comes to sex.  As far as I can see, sex has what could be called mysterious parameters in every country that I have been to and many that I have only read or heard about second hand.  What is it about sex that makes it so popular and yet also so taboo?  The psychologist Wilhelm Reich had one theory which I will discuss later but it is one among many competing theories.

Next Blog:  The Region of Permissions and the Region of Prohibitions

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