Speak Your Shame

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Shame, Sexuality, Taboo

Western culture is a culture of various taboos. We have cultural norms of things such as acceptable vs unacceptable conversation and acceptable vs unacceptable views on sexuality. There’s this unspoken belief that ‘sex is dirty’. For example “good girls don’t…….” and fill in the blank with any number of things. We have inner conflicts with puritanism vs hedonism.

Even women’s bodies are hypersexualized; breasts, nipples, bottom’s. In other parts of the world such as Brazil, women wear less clothing and men don’t ogle them like they do in North America.

Many North American’s (especially those of the Baby Boomer generation) believe that providing sex education in schools will encourage young people to have sex. Therefore, they have the belief of preaching abstinence which is very unrealistic in this day and age. However, Europeans in contrast view adolescent sexuality as part of development and have a much more open view about sex. It also should be noted that there is considerably less incidences of teenage pregnancy in Europe than in North America.

Is it possible that the more taboo we make sex the more excess driven sexuality becomes?

Being that Western culture has its roots in Catholism that lends itself to this discussion. As many religions reinforce the belief that ‘sex is dirty’, not for enjoyment or pleasure (especially for women), done in the context of marriage and only done to procreate. Anything other than that is sinful.

Sexuality is as much a part of us as anything else. We are sexual beings. The sooner we start to own that and be unapologetic about it and look at it is as our need to eat, sleep or breathe then I think we stand a chance of reclaiming our sexuality as a culture in a healthy way. I do understand that some may take issue with my comparison to the need for sex to our other needs like air, food, water etc as we wont die if we don’t have sex; however, I am simply making the point that it is a primitive part of us as natural as our need for those other things. How can a natural act that is primal and innate to us as human beings be dirty? We need to start having a healthy view and attitude towards sex and stop being so judgemental of one another! Let’s take a page out of the book of the European’s as they seem to have it right.

Good reading on this topic is a book called Come As You Are by Emily Nagoski.