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» Scarleteen Boards: 2000 - 2014 (Archive) » SCARLETEEN CENTRAL » Relationships » I Don't Want to Judge People for Liking Sex

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Author Topic: I Don't Want to Judge People for Liking Sex
Sometimes Y
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I’m 21 and I have never had sex, nor have I ever been in any relationship beyond a brief mutual crush. When I eventually do have sex, I only want to have it with someone I am deeply intimate with in a romantic way. This preference is not based on any sort of religious upbringing. It is simply my own standard when it comes to sex and it suits me just fine.

Meanwhile, I have several friends with whom I am incredibly close, and over the past year it has become apparent that their sexual standards are very different from mine. The discoveries have been very jarring.

My problem is that I feel like I impulsively look down upon anyone whose sexual standards aren’t as conservative as my own. When a friend tells me that they would be okay with having sex without love or is open to the idea of a friends-with-benefits relationship, I am well aware that they are still the same person I’ve always known and respected, but there is also some part of me that feels a twinge of disappointment in them. A while ago I discovered that two of my friends who are in a committed relationship together were discussing experimenting with group sex. The discovery made me feel very uncomfortable, maybe even a little sick. It isn’t any of my business and it won’t affect me in any tangible way, but knowing about it still really bothers me.

I discuss these feelings with my friends and although I never mean to offend them and they tell me that they remain unoffended, feeling this kind of apprehension towards any sexual liberation makes me feel like I’m a bad person; no better than any kink-shamer or abstinence advocate.

I want to be a sex-positive person, but I fear that means giving up my own standards and becoming someone entirely different. I don’t want to judge my friends, or anyone for that matter, in such a shallow and pointless way. I feel like this is a prejudice in my mind that needs to be reprogrammed and that feels like a really daunting task.

I’m not even sure if this has a solution beyond “get over it.”

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Kachina
Scarleteen Volunteer
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Hmm... maybe you are thinking of this wrong. For example, if one friend like Indian food, but you don't, and you like Mexican food, but they don't, do you look down on them for preferring Indian? Do you feel like you have to lower your standards of Mexican restaurants because of that?

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~Kat
Scarleteen Volunteer

Humans are allergic to change. They love to say, "We've always done it this way." I try to fight that. That's why I have a clock on my wall that runs counter-clockwise. - Grace Hopper

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Heather
Executive Director & Founder
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I'd add in here that I'd say doing what you can to learn to respect other people's sexualities and sexual choices not only helps keep your relationships with them good, it also aids in respecting your own.

In other words, you don't need to be someone different when it comes to your sexuality, sexual choices and sexual ethics. There's nothing wrong with that person because others are different. And if you can work to get closer to that view when it comes to other people, to being accepting of them, that feeling of needing to be different yourself will probably fall away over time, too. [Smile]

Chances are this is a bias, like you say you're feeling it is. The great news is that the biggest step to getting past a bias is realizing and recognizing we have one, and I hear you already doing that. Now you just need to remember that when you get judgy in the moments you do, acknowledge it, and learn to let it go each time. It might also help to think some more about why you're feeling the way you do. Like Kachina said, while this is obviously a bit of a bigger thing, in a lot of ways, preferences with our sexual lives really are a lot like food preferences. So, if you're having reactions like feeling sick or disgusted, rather than, "Hmm, that's not something I want, oh well," figuring out why will likely help you move past this.

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Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
About Me • Get our book!
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

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Sometimes Y
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These biases can probably be sourced to how I had no one to talk with openly about sex until the very recent past. All throughout my teenage years I was forced to cobble together my own opinions about sex from what I’d seen in the media, which is terrible in hindsight. For example, I thought for a very long time that masturbation was something that only perverted morons did, because on television only perverted morons referred to how they masturbated. Until my friends convinced me that it was actually a common, good thing to do, I resisted it despite truly needing it.

In stories on television and everywhere else for that matter, friends-with-benefits relationships always end in someone getting hurt, and group sex is always depicted as nothing more than hedonism. These ideas got hard-wired into my brain and now they make me question if my friends are making terrible mistakes with their lives, but in reality they just like what they like, just like me.

Not helping is that the sociology regarding sex is still just so alien to me. Rhetorically, how do you act around someone you’ve slept with? Do you avoid the subject or even avoid eye contact? How would I react if I found out that two of my friends had casual sex? Would that change the dynamics of how we all interacted, and would they still make raunchy sexual jokes with one another even though the context has changed?

I can’t put myself in other people’s shoes because I can’t imagine how having sex would change me or my relationship with a person. It’s all big and confusing and not very pleasant to think about.

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Heather
Executive Director & Founder
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The thing is, there are not general answers to those broad questions you are asking in the third paragraph there. Human sexual behavior is wildly diverse and highly individual, as well as cultural.

I would agree with you that most depictions of sex and sexual lives in the media are highly problematic, and also add that they are really not at ll sound sources of information about sexual realities. The media, and whoever is making and selling that media - it is generally a big, for- profit enterprise, which is always vital to bear in mind - always has its own agenda.

I hear you saying here, what sounds like, anyway, that some of your discomfort may be coming from your friends having answers to questions about how they feel and react with sex, and what they want, that you do not yet have your own answers to. Does that seem about right?

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Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
About Me • Get our book!
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

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Sometimes Y
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That sounds about right.

They’re all very set in who they are and what they like, or alternatively they’re so relaxed about sex that not knowing exactly what they like doesn’t seem to bother them.

Meanwhile, I’m constantly wrought with insecurities about almost everything. Occasionally I’ll question if sex is even something I would enjoy having.

There’s just such a great juxtaposition between them and me, and a lot of the time their collectively chill attitudes about sex makes me feel like the odd one out.

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Heather
Executive Director & Founder
Member # 3

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Maybe then, some of what you can do to ease this is ask them to perhaps not talk so candidly about sex in your company? It's okay not to be comfortable with any kind of sex talk, after all, and anyone gets to have and set limits around that.

Maybe too, it might be a good time to start pursuing some new friendships, in addition to the ones you have, where friends are a bit more like you in these respects? Feeling like the odd man out in this regard with all of their friends would make anyone uncomfortable, and make anyone feel isolated.

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Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
About Me • Get our book!
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

Posts: 68290 | From: An island near Seattle | Registered: May 2000  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
   

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