Let’s talk about sex more, baby

Nymphomaniac - a four hour plus long epic about sex

Nymphomaniac – a four hour plus long epic about sex

I love sex. I don’t just mean the act itself, but everything about it. I love how it binds people together. Why people have it and how they have it. Like love, sex is a lot more complicated than it first appears, but whilst people love to talk about love, sex is an entirely different matter.

You’ve had probably heard of the controversial new film, Nymphomaniac, which  follows the life of a woman who claims she is addicted to sex. Now, apparently there is no thing as sex addiction, but personally I believe you can be addicted to anything. After all, for most people, sex is such an amazing experience. It’s not hard to see why someone would do almost anything to have it, to get that rush of endorphins. What really surprises me is when films like Nymphomaniac come out, they’re always seen as controversial. We see female nudity all the time and no one blinks an eye, but real erections on the big screen? *Gasp*.

Of course the real problem that many people have with Nymphomaniac is that it doesn’t really show sex in a good light. The sex she has isn’t loving or caring – the only type of sex that is considered normal. We teach our children that mummy and daddy have sex to make children and while I agree this is the correct thing to tell very young children. We should be more frank and honest with older children and even, ourselves.

As a young adult I never really spoke about sex with my friends. I was only when I got to university that this became a widely talked about subject, and you know what? I loved it. Finally I had met people as open as me, who were happy to talk frankly about something that is, in the end, completely natural.

In fact it’s generally considered okay for men to openly talk about sex or in particular, masturbation, but not so much if you’re a woman. I have never really understood this. Indeed society tells us that men have bigger sex drives or even enjoy sex more than women, but we all know this simply isn’t true. Men masturbate and so do women, it’s just not talked about as widely – or even shown as much (unless it’s in porn for another man’s pleasure).

Fifty Shades of Grey - not the best erotica in the world, but it was a huge hit

Fifty Shades of Grey – not the best erotica in the world, but it was a huge hit

The whole world seemed to go mad when Fifty Shades of Grey rocketed to number one in the book charts and became such a huge hit with all kinds of women. Young women were reading it and older women were reading it. It almost reignited this whole revolution that women love sex too and it became acceptable, normal even, to see a girl reading erotica on the train to work. A huge number of similar books tried to profit off this popularity, but to me it is a shame that this trend didn’t seem to last for very long. Weirdly, I never did read Fifty Shades of Grey, because the sections I saw were so poorly written and too full of innuendo. See. Not only can we not talk about sex, we can’t write about it either.

There was some good news announced today that teenage pregnancy rates have declined to the lowest level seen in 40 years. Of course there is still a lot more to be done on the issue and I believe the main problem is a lack of sex education. I received okay sex education in school, but I have heard too many stories from people who had no sex education at all, or the lessons they had were very poor and taught them next to nothing. My mother is the person to praise for mine. She got books out from the library, she rented tapes and most importantly, she wasn’t afraid to talk about it. She always made it clear that I could come to her for advice, no matter how embarrassing. Whilst I haven’t always shared everything with my mum, I share an awful lot with her, probably a lot more than other people do with their parents. I think that willing to talk to someone about something that is potentially embarrassing shows that person that you trust them and love them. They may not come to you for sexual advice (I didn’t), but they’ll come to you for emotional advice, which is arguably a lot more important.

It has already been proven that better sex education leads to lower teenage pregnancy rates, but it’s possible that being more open about sex could lead to other benefits too. For example, a couple of the men I know have told me they turned to porn to learn about sex. This is potentially dangerous. Whilst I am all for porn, as it can have many benefits as well as disadvantages, it is one of the worst ways to teach young people about sex – for obvious reasons. If we were happier to talk about sex casually, children wouldn’t feel the need to turn to the internet for guidance. They may still turn to porn for entertainment, but at least they would be able to put things into context. When/if I have children, I will tackle the subject of porn when the time is right. It’s only a matter of time until they or their friends discover it exists, so surely it is best to educate them beforehand than to leave them confused.

I can only hope that the next few generations will be happier to talk about the things we get up to in the middle of the night, morning and afternoon. Sex isn’t something to be ashamed of. It’s a natural instinct and one of our basic needs (see Maslow’s hierarchy of needs). Not to mention there’s a whole number of health benefits – it’s great for your body and your mental health. Even if you’re not currently having sex, masturbation can be incredibly good for you too. Of course not everyone wants to hear what you got up to last night with your girlfriend, but the next time someone bravely comes to you advice, open up and share a little. It’s only sex, wonderful sex, after all.

Why I’m glad I never had a teen romance

Ahh young love, puppy love, it’s so cute! Isn’t it? Well no actually, it’s not. You can call me a cynic or heart-less or whatever but in fact I’m neither of those things. I’m a realist. Let’s look at today’s society: teenage pregnancy is only going up, children are giving birth. Now that is wrong. There seems to be no such thing as a childhood any more, everyone is desperate to grow up.

That’s pretty normal, wanting to grow up I mean. You think things will be easy, you’ll have more freedom, etc. As we now know as adults, that’s not true. Being an adult is just as hard, if not harder, than being a kid. But when you are young, there’s pressure to have a boyfriend or girlfriend and there’s often pressure not to be a virgin. Now, when I was in school I did have a boyfriend for about a month but now I wouldn’t call him a boyfriend, we were just friends that awkwardly hung out. The only reason he came round to see me was probably the social pressure of having a girlfriend. He always brought a friend with him when we went out, and we only went out twice and that was simply just going for a walk. We never held hands, kissed or anything like that. So we were never really in a relationship. But what do you expect? I was only about fourteen or so at the time. At around the same time, one of my friends started going out with a boy in the year above her. Of course she thought they loved each other and all that stuff so she lost her virginity to him, soon after he broke up with her. I always knew she was being stupid but my friends argued, “Oh she’s more mature, she knows what she’s doing”. No, she doesn’t. Every kid thinks they’re mature at that age, it’s a natural cockiness that comes with being young.

So in fact, I never had a proper boyfriend until a lot later in my life. I waited until I definitely knew I was in love (and not the fake kind of love I felt before). That may sound corny and old-fashioned but what’s the advantages of having a teen romance?

Let’s see: Possible pregnancy, pressure to lose your virginity, embarrassment, depression…have I missed anything? You don’t have a proper relationship at that age, really.

Aww so cute...*pukes*

Although, there is a counter argument for that. I know people who have had successful, adult relationships which started when they were around fifteen years old. It may not start off mature, but it doesn’t mean it can’t bloom into a more adult relationship. There are downsides to this too though, people change. That’s a fact of life but you’re most likely to change during your teenage years. You may love to be a goth at sixteen but by the time you’re twenty you might be a hipster. You tell kids that and they go “oh no I’m going to like x thing forever”. There’s a large possibility you won’t. It’s part of growing up and people can change dramatically. You can go from the shyest guy in the school to a famous actor, it happens! The majority of relationships starting from this age will not continue in adult life. I don’t think that should necessarily put you off relationships until a certain age but personally I’m glad I never had to go through that.

I remember feeling desperately sad I wasn’t in a relationship during both my school years and college. Why did I want one so bad? Was it the social pressure (one of the many reasons I dislike Valentines)? Did I feel insecure and lonely? Maybe. The main reason, I believe, was that I wanted to feel normal. Even when I was in a sort-of-relationship with someone later on, I still didn’t feel normal. I wanted to be able to do that simplest thing that, at that time, wasn’t possible for complicated reasons I won’t go into. I just wanted to hold his hand while I walked down the street with him. It’s those sorts of feelings which depress teenagers and pressure them. Everyone at that age just wants to be seen as normal, even if they’re trying their hardest not to be normal, everyone just wants to be accepted.

Maybe love is glamorised too much in film, TV, etc. But the problem is it needs to be glamorised, we don’t exactly want to say “yay! One night stands!” All I hope is that teens can realise that just because they don’t have a boyfriend doesn’t mean it’s not the end of the world. It is hard when you’re young, you feel ugly, you’re bullied, people tell you on a daily basis how unattractive you are. People want reassurance that that’s not true so they think having a partner will help. It doesn’t, you need to be comfortable with yourself first, don’t listen to what other people say, you don’t need people showering you with compliments every which way to be considered attractive. It sounds cheesy but whoever you are, whatever you look like there will be someone out there who’s attracted to you. You just have to wait patiently and find them first.