In 2014 I was collaborating with a male friend to write a book on relationships and sex. The basic premise was that we thought it would be great to write a “He says/She says” book consisting of several essays written both individually, to give our unique perspectives, and together. I recently came across one of my contributions to this book that never came to fruition, and found it interesting because I ponder things that I’ve since explored on my YouTube channel. So here it is, dear reader!
If human sexuality had to be described in one word, “fascinating”, “complex”, or “bizarre” seem like excellent choices. Take it from two people who’ve had fascinatingly complex and bizarre sex lives. But enough about us, this is about the rest of the world.
Sexual activity is a natural result of a very natural urge that homo sapiens have historically shamed each other for feeling. It’s interesting when you think about it from a more detached, clinical perspective. If you’re receiving a back massage from someone else, moaning in relief from every tense muscle becoming more relaxed, and someone else walks into the room, are you and the person massaging you going to jump up embarrassed and act like you’ve been caught doing something shameful? Probably not, unless you’re both totally naked, but that’s exactly what we’d do if someone walked into the room interrupting something sexual. If you narrow the sexual activity down to its actions, they aren’t much different from that back massage. Yet, it seems instinctive to be extremely private about our sexual hobbies. Or is it?
The Abrahamic religions get a lot of flack for being so sexually restrictive in their rules. No butt sex, no gay sex, no sex before this here marriage contract is signed, no threesomes, no contraceptives, no masturbation. We’re sure we’re forgetting something. However, it’s pretty understandable why some of these oppressive rules evolved in the first place, way back in the day, when you consider the two life-changing possible results from sexual activity: pregnancy and sexually-transmitted infections. For most of human existence, we struggled to treat and cure illnesses, so while nowadays it’s still preferable to avoid becoming infected, it’s much easier to do that while still being able to enjoy our sex lives. We’ve got these nifty advancements like condoms and medications that treat STIs. Plus, hormonal contraceptives and barrier methods are pretty reliable pregnancy preventers when used correctly. Nonetheless, these religions still preach to abstain until marriage, even though the average life span has elongated enormously and the average age of first marrying has also risen. It was easier to hold off on your sexual urges as a horny teenager back when you were encouraged to marry at 14 and have three kids by 20.
Sexual fetishes are one of the more intriguing aspects of human sexuality. Psychologists say a sexual fetish is the sexual attraction to objects, situations, or body parts not traditionally viewed as sexual. Dictionary.com defines sexual fetish as the compulsive use of some object or part of the body as a stimulus in the course of attaining sexual gratification, as a shoe, a lock of hair, or underclothes. More specifically, a media fetish is the attraction to something textual, like leather or silk, and a form fetish the object and its shape are important, like those dudes who love women’s feet. For some reason science hasn’t figured out yet, fetishism is overwhelmingly a male thing. Chicks don’t seem to develop love affairs with inanimate objects at the same rate men do.
What happens in someone’s upbringing that is the catalyst for the swerving of a typical sexual road? Is it environmental? Some experts say that it’s attributable to one of several environmental theories, including Accidental Association Theory, which posits that all those random boners a boy develops could occur at the same time he happens to, for example, be trying on a new pair of jeans and voila, a denim fetish is born.
Many experts also note that men are more likely to be socially awkward and suffer from social anxiety, thus developing sexual fetishes as a result of not being able to connect deeply with women (which could explain why more men than women have fetishes). Having sex with leather and rubber is much easier than having to do all that exhausting courtship stuff, not to mention inanimate objects will never reject you. But that doesn’t explain all the fetishes that involve situations or body parts that theoretically still necessitate having relationships, like a fetish for sneezing or armpits. If you want to get off while someone is sneezing or letting you lick their armpits, you’ve got to develop some skills to build that relationship, right? For some that will be the case but for others, photos, videos, and prostitutes could substitute for a relationship.
I clearly stopped writing abruptly, as there is plenty more I would add. What would you add to this essay if we were writing partners? 😉
Photo of me writing something that I’m hoping others will find useful, funny, or brilliant circa 2014 .