Every student has had the ‘birds and the bees’ talk at least once in their life. It’s a well known topic. One often, if reluctantly, breached by the authority figures in our lives. Yet these talks tend to be cursory accounts of sex and sexuality, quickly glossing over many aspects outside the bare bones basics.
Societies, even supposedly enlightened ones, tend to keep cultural focus primarily on the technical information of reproduction. The obvious main concern in sexual education centers around educating about the possible physical dangers inherent with STD’s and pregnancy.
And while both of these topics are important parts of sexual education, American education fails to branch out into the many facets actually involved in healthy sexual relationships. Yet sexuality encompasses a far wider range of subjects than what is commonly acknowledged.
Social taboos often stop open conversations about sexuality and how to deal with it personally in some of the less common forms; such as fetishes, kinks, and alternate lifestyles, thus leaving a gap in the knowledge of most of the population.
Now though, as sex becomes more and more accessible through the internet, people are beginning to educate themselves about these topics not talked about in ‘polite’ society.
Widespread availability of the internet now provides a plethora of opportunities through which any number of fetishes can be found and accessed. The porn industry has made use of this media to benefit from stigmas associated with the many sexual identities and kinks.
Allowing near complete anonymity through website access has created a larger and more varied industry base. Unsurprisingly though, this greater availability of ‘kinks’ through the internet poses both positive and negative repercussions in social acceptance of new sexual identities.
A positive side effect of this new found freedom of information has been to provide a domain in which people who find they are missing something in the bedroom can have a better idea of just what that may be.
Since many areas of eroticism make up an intrinsic part of how an individual receives pleasure from sex, it seems illogical to create so many social taboos.
However it also fails to show repercussions for situations in which both parties don’t fully grasp the trust and consequences inherent in these types of foreplay or stimulation.
One of the inherent problems in this comes out in how each of these sexual fetishes is viewed. The widespread availability of this information over the internet, coupled with the lack of information through reliable channels, has placed many areas of sexual stimulation even more firmly in the arena of taboos and immorality.
The News-Letter has previously tackled the problem of misinformation surrounding Bondage, Discipline, Sadism/Masochism (BDSM) lifestyles. Similar situations exists with many of the less than well thought of lifestyle choices.
Many sexual desires have a heavy psychological component that requires the parties involved to know the risks and rewards of the behaviors they participate in. Psychologically and sexually deriving a desire from a specific type of action, attribute or object can all be viewed as a sexual ‘deviancy,’ kink or fetish.
Depending on the psychological and relationship needs of an individual, a certain amount of comfort and arousal (sexual release) can be acquired from a ‘deviancy’ that cannot be achieved through conventional or ‘vanilla’ sex.
The term vanilla sex actually refers to a standard, hetero- or homo- sexual relationship, that involves no sexual or erotic behaviors that are not conventional sexual relations.
Generally this constitutes missionary position in heterosexual couples and confines itself to noninvasive sexual practices in homosexual relations. These definitions change culturally and religiously to be more or less severe in the definition of what should be conventional sex. But even this poses a ludicrous standard. Every preference that one can have can in fact be viewed as a fetish or a kink. Its all a matter of how socially acceptable that erotic attraction is.
BDSM quite obviously falls outside of societies boundaries, yet attraction of men to shorter women and women to taller men actually falls under well accepted social ‘kinks.’
Many in fact fall under the category of physical attraction, such a being attracted to a certain height or hair color, but taken to a level of eroticism.
One of the most unfortunate results of information being only accessible through the internet and pornography has been that many sexual “deviations” have been relegated into the realm of the porn star. Any female, or male, who now has an interest in a kink can be seen as being promiscuous, solely on the connotations and general associations with being interested in an area like BDSM.
Many think of most sexual fetishes as behaviors that only prostitutes and porn stars perform or are interested in as a result of how hidden and demonized those communities have continued to be, leaving many to hide their preferences away in a dark little corner to never see the light of day, even in the bedroom.
Many worry about how they would be viewed if it ever came out that they had an interest in a fetish. And truthfully, to many it would reflect horribly.
Much of this lies in how people wish to conform and not be labeled a social outcast. However reinforcement through the lack of information available and through the broadly held view of fetishism leaves many unwilling to risk having their name besmirched for the sake of their sexual identity.
The double standard exists that one cannot enjoy sex with two consenting adults unless it falls within what society has deemed acceptable, “vanilla sex”.
While sex needs to stay consensual and legal in the bedroom, a healthy relationship also needs to be built on a foundation of understanding each others’ needs.
Even if those needs fall outside the societal norm, both partners have to be open to expressing their preferences without being worried about taboos.
Otherwise those relationships will suffer. The best course of action for a trusting relationship is to be upfront with your significant other about your sexual needs and desires.