She scoffed at every kiss, every sweet show of closeness and intimacy on screen. Exclamations of disgust drooled out the corners of her mouth as if she forgot to swallow a bite of food. Sexuality was shocking, and even a hint of it was met with “Ugh, why did they have to show that?” and “It was a great scene until that happened.” I stewed in my seat, sometimes replying with simple explanations why love is beautiful and married people showing affection is wonderful and normal. She would have none of it.

I’m shocked by how sheltered and closed-off some of my friends are to the real world. Was I ever so afraid of honest, sweet intimacy that I would jeer and shy away at the most innocent hint of it in a PG-13 movie? Yes, I’m sure I was. But why? Why is healthy, loving sexuality a taboo? I can’t answer this, but it bothers me.

I am not shocked or offended by much of anything anymore. My sensitivity to the more basic, animalistic, and often gritty and private parts of humanity has been taken away. Perhaps I miss a bit of my innocence that was lost–sometimes unwillingly–between the sheets, in dark corners, and sitting in front of the computer screen.

My “innocence” consumed so much time, thought, and energy. I worried and fretted about “How far is too far?” and wondering what God and my friends thought about every little thought and curiosity. My most special and personal moments were worthy of scrutiny, bringing shame and anxiety along like heavy luggage.

Without these cumbersome emotions and worries, I think I’ve finally reached a semi-healthy sexuality of my own. I have a lot to work through and erase from my repressive and self-hating past. I love sex; I love love; I adore intimacy, closeness, and passionate fun.

So as we watched this tame, precious love play out on screen between a married couple worth admiring, I smiled, hoping to enjoy the same passion in my future. She blushed, turned her face away, and sighed loudly. Should I wish her innocence away? No, but I hope her blinders come off before she’s confronted with her own love, sex, and intimacy and sabotages a good thing because it’s “gross”.

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20 thoughts on “When Sex is “Gross””

Veritas · January 10, 2010 at 1:07 pm

I don’t know. Innocence is overrated, and a concept of the modern world. It was not all that long ago that childhood innocence was considered a crutch (at best) and a crippling state (at worse), when childhood was supposed to be a quick step to adulthood, using firm methods to strip away innocence so that we can produce strong productive members of society.

Now that we have the luxuries of drawing these things out – indeed, now that many people, women, minorities, have the luxury of choosing their own destinies – we have reasserted the value of innocence to our self (rather than as a point of sale, which certainly it was in respect to women up until entirely too recently, and indeed, still in some areas of the world).

But a well-adjusted individual is one who loses their innocence at appropriate points, not one who clings to it well into adulthood. By the time we enter the world as an adult, we should have experimented with drugs and alcohol and sex, and probably should have broken some minor laws, and rebelled against our parents, so that this stuff holds no mystery as we attempt to forge our own path.

Yep, a little preachy. Eh, sorry.

Roy F. Tottie · January 10, 2010 at 1:18 pm

I envy you. Even after shedding christianity I still have a less than stellar relationship to my body and to sex. I’m very fortunate though to have found a partner who loves me even with all of my quirks. And who doesn’t set off my touchphobia.

    GG · January 11, 2010 at 10:25 am

    My reoccurring issues have to do mostly with poor self esteem and a history of dating selfish users. I’m still dealing with them, but having the right partner is a huge help!
    .-= GG’s last blog ..When Sex is “Gross” =-.

Bailey · January 10, 2010 at 1:30 pm

I’m actually engaged in a discussion regarding innocence/sex with a Christian at the moment (although the guy defends Biblical incest solely because it’s in the Bible, so he’s really not much of a debater), and I think it’s a really interesting topic. When I was a Christian, sexuality was presented a dirty, shameful thing and I could never wrap my head around why, but I still felt guilty for even thinking about sex.

Once I began to branch off from my faith and actually look at the ramifications of belief, I realized that what I was told about sex was all a bunch of BS. Telling people sex is bad is simply another way to control believers through their fear and their guilt, and that to me is more disgusting than anything.

Physicality, sexuality, intimacy, love, affection, canoodling, whatever -it is important, all of it, for a full and healthy life. Awareness of your body and what brings you pleasure is a good thing, and I have a deep resentment towards religion for poisoning that pleasure for so many people.

Ruby Leigh · January 10, 2010 at 2:25 pm

Aside from wanting echo what Bailey has said so eloquently, I thought I would add my own two cents, which is: I wish I could take many of the moments I spent feeling guilty about “love” , but also the times I spend making others feel guilty.

Camels With Hammers · January 10, 2010 at 10:34 pm

Repulsion towards sex is not an innocent response from anyone but a pre-teen. A religiously cultivated generalized antipathy towards such a fundamental feature of human life is not innocence, it’s corruption, it’s an eye which sees evil where there is none.

Camels With Hammers · January 10, 2010 at 10:35 pm


Bailey:

I’m actually engaged in a discussion regarding innocence/sex with a Christian at the moment (although the guy defends Biblical incest solely because it’s in the Bible, so he’s really not much of a debater), and I think it’s a really interesting topic. When I was a Christian, sexuality was presented a dirty, shameful thing and I could never wrap my head around why, but I still felt guilty for even thinking about sex.
Once I began to branch off from my faith and actually look at the ramifications of belief, I realized that what I was told about sex was all a bunch of BS. Telling people sex is bad is simply another way to control believers through their fear and their guilt, and that to me is more disgusting than anything.
Physicality, sexuality, intimacy, love, affection, canoodling, whatever -it is important, all of it, for a full and healthy life. Awareness of your body and what brings you pleasure is a good thing, and I have a deep resentment towards religion for poisoning that pleasure for so many people.

Everything she said.

Pony · January 11, 2010 at 1:10 am

Sex is only gross if you’re doing it properly.

Steph · January 19, 2010 at 2:03 am

What I’ve always wondered about is that people can be so prudish about sex and then turn around and watch ultra-violent shows- a true defilement of the human body and even have their kids watch them.
But if they see Janet Jackson’s oopsie on tv, all hell breaks loose.
.-= Steph’s last blog ..Mental Disorders and Religion =-.

    GG · January 19, 2010 at 2:40 pm

    Yes, astute point. Many people don’t let their kids watch much violence, but they themselves don’t mind blood and gore for a good time. Isn’t it interesting how one has become so hated over the other?

    Then again, sex is a personal, intimate, “sacred” act kept private. Violence, while also personal, does not involve our vulnerability and sense of self in the same way. We can watch a war movie without feeling like we’ve stumbled into someone’s secret diary, but if we see a love scene between a newly married couple, we feel like voyeurs to something that should not be publicized or shared.

CrazyCrazyXtian · January 22, 2010 at 1:41 pm

My question to you is this: Where do you claim this prudity (I just made that word up but love it!) stems from? I argue that the issue is cultural, rather than based in religion. We can merely examine global norms on sexuality and see that religion really isn’t the major factor of influence. Rather, those cultural values are expressed in one’s religion.

    GG · January 25, 2010 at 10:20 am

    Do you see an explanation for why people in the same cultures can view sexuality in drastically opposing ways–with the teachings of their belief system being the major difference between them?

Givesgoodemail · February 11, 2010 at 3:24 pm

Bet she’s fun on a date. Not.

BTW, #11:
“religion really isn’t the major factor of influence”
Wrong. If religion reflects culture, riddle me this: why is the Christian ban on pre- or extra-marital sex universally extant among all Christian groups in all corners of the world?

Bettejo Dux · September 4, 2010 at 4:51 pm

The answer is simple: control someone’s sex life and you’ve really got him or her by the ‘short hairs’. Please pardon the expression. It’s interesting, and very revealing, that it’s the women who catch the brunt of this and not the men. Well, god is a he, is he not? A patriarchal god and Eve ate that apple. What is iust too too really really annoying is that the religious right female loons…Palin and her pals…have ‘stolen’ Susan B. Anthony. Is there no end to the depth to which they will not stoop? Peace and love Bettejo

Eclectic · November 11, 2010 at 2:17 pm

I do find it terrible that murder is shown hourly on TV shows and movies rack up body counts worthy of minor battles in WWII. This is a rare act that I have never done, don’t want to do, and (if you want to use a religious justification) is explicitly forbidden by the Ethical Decalogue.

Sex, on the other hand, is a common act and expression of affection that I do several times a week. (Or a day, on weekends, lucky me.) And biblical restrictions are about the manner serve more to indicate that it is expected than forbidden.

So why does it seem to happen so much less often?

I could understand if christians protested porn on the grounds that it was both adultery and not simulated, but if unreality is a defense for movie murder, it should be equally valid for movie sex.

I understand that there are other even more common things that are rarely shown (as they say, where are the bathrooms on the Enterprise), but bathrooms do get mentioned and shown without horror whenever relevant. (Or funny. Anyone remember Danny Glover sitting pantsless on a bomb-rigged toilet in Lethal Weapon 2?)

Colie the Magical Closet Athiest · April 3, 2011 at 6:07 pm

Back when I was 9 up to the time I turned 13- being raised as a ‘good christian girl,’ mind you- I was scared whenever I thought about sex and felt a deep sense of shame if I ever masturbated. I was so afraid that god would send me to hell for these thoughts. I cried quite a bit, and had low self esteem and confidence. And oh, how I cringed during sex scenes at the movies! When I started really doubting my Christianity last year (when I was 14) all of these things changed. I didn’t see myself as a sinner anymore- I felt pretty free and confident! It was great! Sex still kind of was a bad and dirty thing in my eyes, after being told this for years, and I wasn’t quite the free-thinking atheist girl I am today. This year, however, that changed. I found that sex can be a beautiful thing when love is involved. It’s not bad or wrong- it’s healthy! I hope the woman you were talking about finds that out, too.

Colie the Magical Closet Athiest · April 3, 2011 at 6:10 pm

Healthy when done safely, I should add. Unwanted babies and STD’s aren’t so healthy :p

Bmccook · August 4, 2011 at 5:19 am

You are one awesome chick! We should be best friends. Lol.

Apathetic-Bob · December 18, 2011 at 12:19 pm

I was raised in a secular houseshold, so thankfully no religious scars here. However, I for one think there is too much sex in movies. It is usually at those parts that I’ll go make popcorn or whatever. It seems that screenplay writers feel so obliged to insert some sex scene that it often seems forced or out of context, ruining an otherwise entertaining flick. I just don’t get it. I’ve gone my entire life without sex. I realize that puts me in the minority, but really, is everyone so totally sex-obsessed that they can’t sit entertained for just the 90 friggin’ minutes of a movie without a gratuitous dose of soft-porn? Think about that.

Ian · December 16, 2012 at 10:34 pm

Ever heard of asexuality? Sex is not a necessary component for a happy life. At least not for everyone. My teenage years were spent in a neurotic tizzy because I thought it was expected of me to like, and want lots of sex; so I forced myself to have lots of sex, despite the fact that I was thoroughly grossed out by sex in general. Xanax anyone?

Thankfully, I got over that by the time I turned 22. That’s when I realized that it’s OK to not like sex; I don’t have to do something I find aesthetically disgusting just because everyone else likes it.

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