„I don’t think I am asexual anymore“, a friend told me just recently. Quiet guy, 21 years old, sheltered childhood. “How so?” I asked.
“I had sex”, he replied. “It was fantastic.”
I was not too surprised about the news, though had been quite stunned when he had first told me about his believed asexuality a couple of years before. The sex this time which turned his outlook on his life around, had not been his first time. He had had sex 6 years before with a girl who took half the neighbourhood’s virginity (15 years old herself) and had hated it. Since everyone else seemed to have enjoyed the adventure with her (as they kept bragging about), he figured that something must be wrong with him. A guy – that was the conclusion he came to – who at 15 years old is not in for gang bang parties and wild nights with loads of animal sex and no feelings must be asexual. Well, obviously that is nonsense. Only because a youngster is not a sex machine who fantasizes about humping everyone at any occasion (and doesn’t strive to become one) does not mean he is a lust-less creature.
The media, especially the internet, is filled with analyses of modern sexuality. The toughly debated contradictions are sexual objectification versus sexual liberalization.
Advertisement using women’s bodies either as naked clothing rack or purely as big-busted décor is obviously sexually objectifying.
Women who freely decide about their own clothing – as sexy it might be – and sex life, without caring about society’s opinion are sexually liberated.
Simple as that – or not? The problem is that first is identified much easier than latter, at least most of the times.
Secondly, the opportunity to be theoretically free and liberal brings new challenges and I might even say dangers.
Sex is ubiquitous. At least in Europe. But it is not the sex only, it is the crazy stuff, kinky plays, naughty nights. Most of all, it is not private. Supposedly it is and remains kind of intimate. But actually it is not. It is a competition. But this competition does not have written rules and barely any transparency, so it is impossible to win anything even if tried. At least not in the conservative sense of winning.
Liberalization must be possible. It should free people, women and men, from old-fashioned doctrines of living together. But it should not simply replace old limits with new. If sexual liberalization leads to tons of young women and men believing to must follow a certain path of sexual activity it isn’t really free anymore. The friend above is not the only example among my close friends who felt intimidated by all the expectations that comes along with sexual liberalization.
I would say that I have observed some kind of objectifying of the sex itself. It becomes a product which – just like everything else – should be consumed as much as possible, as special as possible, as obvious as possible as well. More and more (young) people (in particular) don’t make love, they rather go fuck as many people as possible, just for the pure reason of having stories to tell, partners to count and maybe some selfies to share. The cigarette after is out of fashion, a sweaty – yet perfectly made up – selfie after is trending. And we are obviously talking in superlatives here: who wants vanilla sex if you can show off these stylish, puffy handcuffs or impress with a sparkling blindfold (those are just two random examples I found on Instagram during a quick research).
Sex must serve for a good story (since often enough it doesn’t serve a good orgasm). Hence, always the same cuddling with the same man becomes terribly boring, new fantasies must be stimulated. Cosmopolitan follows the origin given by “Shades of Grey” and informs all her readers about their fantasies. Top 3, here we go (German edition, October 2015): 30 to 60 percent get aroused by domination through a partner forcing them for sex. Most of the women love group sex. And around 22 percent are really into onlookers during their performance. I like sex, I won’t lie, but I am not specifically turned on by any of those things. I don’t want to be forced to have sex, I want to choose freely when to get undressed with whom. Having to concentrate on more than one person in ecstasy would probably freak me out. And being observed would take the fun entirely out of it, because I had to care how to look, how to moan, what to say, how to move – pleasing the guest as it is.
Am I unnatural, because I don’t share the same fantasies as “most women in Germany”? Certainly not. I have too many friends who only slept with somebody, because they felt like they had to. None of them enjoyed it. Still, some did it again, because it was part of the game of being a cool student. I know high school pupils who get drunk every weekend and bang somebody in somebody else’s bathroom to gain experience. They want to be well-skilled to be prepared for the man or woman they love. It is a very unromantic concept of love they want to prepare themselves for. I still is not a too surprising occurrence.
It is unromantic, because it is believed that a certain catalogue of criteria must be fulfilled to live a perfect relationship. But most of all it is unromantic, because it is more important how well the partner suits the idea of the life we want than how he happy we can be with him, cut out of the world. Who would want a partner who does not look stunning on the marvelous pictures on our travel blog? What use for a man or woman who does not know how to dress in style when we arrive at a party? Why bother to pair up with somebody who doesn’t look super hot in mentioned after sex selfies?
Sex is being objectified just like people objectify themselves once they accept that trend, doesn’t matter how liberated they feel themselves. Everyone has the freedom to be objectified if they ask so? Theoretically – yes. But only if they stay in charge of themselves. And if they do so when trying to be open, sexy and naughty as possible, only to stay on vogue – that is the question.
Here is a beautiful comic by Ronnie Ritchie explaining the difference between sexual empowerment and sexual objectification: http://everydayfeminism.com/2015/04/empowered-vs-objectified/