By Eyal Matsliah
(Re-printed with permission.)
As a sexual empowerment coach, I get to know a lot about what’s happening in people’s bedrooms, and in their minds. When I tell people that I’m a sex coach, some of them get uncomfortable, awkward and evasive. These are educated, intelligent, successful and influential people, so why does the prospect of discussing such a natural part of life evoke such reactions?
After doing this work for over a decade, I’ve had some important insights. I’ve recognized that society has a problem with sex, and as human beings, we have become uniformed, repressive and infantile in our attitude towards sex and sexuality.
Take a moment to reflect on how you feel about sex, sexuality, your body, your genitals, and in turn how you feel about other people’s sexuality, bodies, genitals and sexual expressions. Are you holding on to some shame about sex? Are you dealing with any sexual issues? Do you wish you could be more sexually confident, informed and free? I’d be willing to place a bet that you would answer yes to at least one of those questions.
As the saying goes, there is no smoke without fire. If you want to find the root of the problem, you have to look at its symptoms. After the stifling norms of the 40s and 50s, the sexual revolution of the 1960s brought a new freedom of sexual expression, aided by the pill and women’s rights. The freedom of the 60s spilled over into the 70s, but as the 1980s dawned, the spread of AIDS/HIV brought anxiety, demonization of promiscuity and a wave of self-enforced abstention. Today, as a society, we are once again at odds with our sexuality, and not just when it comes to our sexual relationships, but also how sexuality affects the other aspects of our lives.
The sexual revolution was not a world wide phenomena, and even in the West, it only affected a part of the population. Some religious countries and societies are more outwardly sexually oppressive than others, with women being required to cover their bodies or even their faces, and young boys and girls often subjected to genital mutilation. Sadly, women are punished, excommunicated or even executed for acts that are perceived to dishonour the family name. There are stringent rules around sexual behaviour, and sex before marriage is usually strictly prohibited. Virginity and chastity are virtues. It’s easy to look at such beliefs and think: “That’s so primitive. They are so repressed. We are so open minded and advanced”. But are we really?