Lose the shame around sex

Tuesday, April 7th, 2009

January 29, 2008 Ed Cartoon

Former sex addict Michael Leahy spoke on campus last Thursday at the Campus for Christ-sponsored event Porn Nation.

Leahy discussed the prevalence of pornography in our hypersexual culture. This raises some interesting questions about the existence of porn in society and its influence on people’s sexual behaviour.

Some worry that pornography in all its forms in the media desensitizes us to sexual images and consequently sex loses its meaning. Leahy warned that a reliance on porn could ruin one’s otherwise healthy sexual attitudes.

However, blaming porn is merely making a scapegoat of people’s underlying sexual repressions and emotional issues. Individuals choose how to behave sexually and how to approach sex. An addiction to porn leading to immoral physical action occurs among a very small minority of porn users.

It is important to remember that anything we watch on television or in the movies is sensationalized, porn especially. People never see the hard work or the darker, seedier sides of the porn industry because producers aim to sell the spectacle of sexual fantasy and unrealistic sexual relationships.

People need to have the sense to question what they see on screen, so that porn is not perceived as a realistic adaptation of what sex is or what it should be.

Our society is hypersexual in that sex sells products. Humans are inherently sexual beings; therefore, it is vital that our society broadens sexual horizons rather than narrow them. Different people’s sexual wants and tastes should be embraced as there is no one “right” way to enjoy sex.

Pornography and the sex industry at large is a vice just the same as gambling, tobacco or alcohol. We grant people a certain amount of impulse control when using these products. Like any vice, some people will abuse pornography.

If dialogue is opened in the family setting and the shame surrounding sex eliminated, people by and large will have healthier sexual attitudes. There is still an entrenched taboo about open sexual discussion " it is hard to get people to talk about what a realistic portrayal of sex ought to be.

Ultimately, Leahy coming to Western and sharing his views is constructive because it further expands the discussion about sex. While Campus for Christ may present one specific view, any event that discusses healthy sexual behaviour is a positive that should raise confidence and provide direction for individuals’ stance on sex.

Hopefully, continued frank discussion will permit future generations to eliminate the shame around sex and sexuality.

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