T O P I C ††† R E V I E W
Member # 108563
posted 09-29-2013 09:17 AM
Iím 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 arenít 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 Iíve 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 isnít any of my business and it wonít 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 Iím 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 donít 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. Iím not even sure if this has a solution beyond ďget over it.Ē
Member # 42505
posted 09-29-2013 09:22 AM
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?
Member # 3
posted 09-29-2013 11:11 AM
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. 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.
Member # 108563
posted 09-29-2013 02:12 PM
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 Iíd 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 youíve 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 canít put myself in other peopleís shoes because I canít imagine how having sex would change me or my relationship with a person. Itís all big and confusing and not very pleasant to think about.
Member # 3
posted 09-29-2013 02:28 PM
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?
Member # 108563
posted 09-29-2013 04:27 PM
That sounds about right.
Theyíre all very set in who they are and what they like, or alternatively theyíre so relaxed about sex that not knowing exactly what they like doesnít seem to bother them. Meanwhile, Iím constantly wrought with insecurities about almost everything. Occasionally Iíll question if sex is even something I would enjoy having. Thereís 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.
Member # 3
posted 09-29-2013 05:47 PM
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.