“In olden days a glimpse of stocking was looked on as something shocking now heaven knows anything goes.” Cole Porter.
The Problem: How one goes about implementing their sexuality is influenced by one’s attitudes and values, which “in olden days” were influenced by parents, church, and moral ethics. Unfortunately today’s influence is to a large extent provided by the cultural media which tells us that sex is always desirable, and one can never get enough of it. It is either manipulative and exploitive or uncontrollably passionate, and above all it is not consequential. Women are portrayed as alluring and men as virile. Sex is always to be encouraged as long as you do not get an STD or an unwanted pregnancy, so sex becomes less a moral issue and more of a morale issue.
The Consequences: One in five college women have been sexually assaulted while on campus, typically by a man they know (date rapes). Many universities have initiated a No Means No policy to counteract such wrongdoing. DOD has hired a “special victims counsel” as part of a military-wide defense authorization bill. All this to deal with the 19,000 reported cases of sexual assault. The National Football League has begun a No More campaign, but the ads lauding this policy are aired during games right along ads touting male sexual enhancement. “Until a man can look on the same woman with both respect and desire he remains the victim of his own ambivalence, a boy-child or a playboy.” – Sam Keen
Some Solutions: So what can a parent or grandparent do? We need to shed our resistance towards talking openly about sexual matters. We need to teach that sex can be quite different for women than for men and that differences need to be learned and respected. We need to teach that a condom often fails to provide for emotionally safe sex. We need to discuss the pluses, if one thinks there are any, of abstinence and monogamy. We need to remind our youth that many unwanted sexual encounters occur while either or both persons are under the influence of alcohol. Finally, do we dare resurrect modesty as a virtue? I admit that a woman is always the victim in an unwanted sexual encounter and that she should be able to dress as she wishes and that men need to control their urges, but perhaps a little more decorum would result in a little less ogling. I conclude with this wisdom: “Without caring, sexual intimacy is often just seduction, exploitation, and manipulation…a thrill, a diversion…It becomes an arena in which acting out everything from aggression and anxiety and power…everything except love and mutual pleasure.” – George Bach & Laura Torbet
Written by Ralph Surette a retired WC Psychologist. Comments welcomed at ralphsur@g mail.com