No doubt, the act of sex, like many acts and institutions left to human discretion, has been abused. As you eloquently point out, all you have to do is turn on the nightly news to hear stories of the types of abuse and misuse (of the sex act) you describe.
There’s little doubt that collectively, we have been exposed to a lot of dark stuff involving human sexuality. However, as mammals, we still possess the innate drive to procreate, and the pleasure (emotional as well as physical) we have the potential to derive from the act is scientifically instilled in us. The fact that humans continue to procreate suggests that people are having sex and are able to overcome the more violent and negative associations with the sex act in most cases.
Not everyone is affected in the same way by exposure to negative topics in the media. Certain groups of people may be more sensitive than others to negative portrayals of sex in the media. For example, individuals who have, themselves, been victims of a sex crime, including unreported abuse, suffer greatly and almost always require extensive counselling before being able to engage in the act of sex or lovemaking in any type of “normal” way. For victims as well as others who – for whatever reason – have trouble viewing lovemaking as the gentle and pleasurable act it can be, I recommend paying particular attention to the type of sexual partners chosen. For example, individuals sensitive to violent or negative associations with sex, whether because of the media or because of their own past, would not likely be a good fit for someone who is into “S&M.” They also would not likely thrive in a relationship defined by “selfish sex” (i.e., the “friends with benefits”) scenario in which the sex act is objectified and each person is in the relationship only for his and her own gain.
Finally, if a person has trouble overcoming negative associations with the sex act, even in the context of a loving relationship, s/he should definitely talk to his or her partner about the emotional and physical limitations so that the partner does not feel rejected. In conjunction with communicating openly with a loving partner, the person should seek third party counselling for ways to overcome sexual inhibitions.
My first instinct was to disregard this tough question and pretend that I never received it but, after mulling it over, I decided to give it my best shot! So here goes: We are part of the animal kingdom. We are also one of the few who has sex for pleasure and not simply to propagate the species. We are at the top of the food chain when it comes to intelligence, communicating and inventing complex things from computer software to motorized devices etc. And yet, as the superior beings we are flawed and a carnal appetite and a certain evil manifests itself in some of us. We can debate endlessly if it’s a consequence of bad genes, abused upbringings, bad drugs, too much testosterone or simply evil deeds by evil people, some for profit (trafficking). Persons who perpetrate these crimes are the pariahs of society with no regard for the human beings involved or for their own souls. Make no mistake about it, they are sick!
BUT I stress that we cannot let a small number of people negatively influence our very being. Sure we can focus on these atrocities and have intercourse only to ensure a continuation of our species or we can step back and put things into perspective. Think of any world crisis, big or small where people rally and good triumphs over evil; the recent tsunamis or earthquakes, the stupendous efforts to save trapped killer whales or the fireman who saves that trapped puppy and we all cheer. These are all expressions of love for each other and our world! Healthy sex between consenting adults has to be viewed exactly this way- as a loving act! Sadly, for our sensationalizing media and for the jaundiced viewers, it’s not ‘hot news’ to report the stories of 300 million happy couples, who just had a wonderful and intimate sexual coupling! But mention just one of these atrocities and its front page headlines! This is the reality of our world and so we can choose to view the glass as half-full or half-empty. For me, the best feeling in the world is when my wife and I are cradled in each other’s arms!
Let us divide this answer into two expressions: Inhumanity and Kindness. Evidence of “man’s inhumanity to man” is overwhelming as poverty escalates and wars never seem to end. Human trafficking is a manifestation of poverty that forces starving adults and children into extreme conditions that make them vulnerable to exploitation. Cheap labor has far greater profit gains than forced prostitution in societies where street prostitutes sell themselves cheap. Though lesser than poverty-forced labor, sex trade slavery receives much more media attention.
Rape and child sexual abuse occur separate from poverty. These pockets of isolated inhumanity receive such massive media attention they force themselves into our consciousness until it appears as if these relatively rare occurrences surround us. Facts show that in Canada, rape and child sexual abuse, and all violent crimes, are actually in decline.
Kindness shines brightest when we are sharing. Sex is the expression that is ours to share or decline. Regrettably, children are incapable of judging what not to share beyond what parents and guardians tell them. In ten-years of sexually catering to thousands, we met many clients who were sexually abused by family members or close acquaintances. We never met one who was raped by a stranger. The dark menacing rapist is the character of theatre that twists the ugly anger of rape into a sexual act. It is not. Rape is a projection of devastating anger that thankfully affects very few people.
As loving humans eager to express our kindness through the intoxicating sharing of sex, it is up to each of us to separate this loving act from the distortions of violence and poverty. Morality is a conditioned response that grows from love; it is inherent in sexual expression. We feel it our hearts when we are sexual, whether our partner is a one-night stand or a lifelong mate. Sex is a basic human desire that will forever be manipulated. Guiding it toward expansion is a duty of all loving humans who wish to remain intimately free.
A significant amount of negative energy surrounds the term “sex” in today’s society, notably due to its association with atrocities such as rape, human trafficking and child sexual abuse. In fact, documentaries, movies and the news ceaselessly imply that in many cases, sex is being used to harm (rather than pleasure) others. Despite all of the sexual brutality and human injustices that we as a society have witnessed, how can couples still view sex as a loving act?
Let’s use food as an analogy to answer this question. Food can be a great thing, especially when prepared by someone who cooks well. A marinated grilled chicken breast with a salad can be healthy compared to a triple-meat hamburger with fries and a large soft drink. True, the hamburger might have a better taste but later you will realize it wasn’t the best choice. If we continuously overindulge, we can drastically affect our health in negative ways. Unhealthy foods surround us everywhere, but having a healthy eating perspective helps us to fully enjoy life – the same goes for a healthy view of sex.
Like unhealthy views of food, negative views of sex surround us. So how can one change their view of sex to a loving act instead of a harmful act? First, evaluate how you view sex individually. Are you able to manage sexual impulses? Has something happened in your life that causes you to view sex negatively? Just like food, if we abuse a good thing, it can turn bad, and harmful effects will occur. Make sure your personal perspective of sex is healthy. (Tokii’s Health and Mentality game helps)
Communicate your views of sex with your partner. The everyday stressors of life can change intimacy to just a physical encounter instead of a loving act. Psychologist Robert Sternberg mentioned if a couple is not equally matched in levels of passion, intimacy, and commitment, then they are incompatible. Communication can help the relationship remain on the same level and avoid allowing unhealthy views of sex to interfere with your loving acts. (Play Bridging the Communication Gap)
Finally, avoid unhealthy energies related to sex. If you are on a diet and stop by a fast food place, chances are you will order an unhealthy dish. Don’t visit places where sexual injustices can ruin your relationship. If this require discontinuing favorite TV shows, avoiding certain sites on the internet, or omitting yourself from negative environments then do so. Our impulses can become weak and allow society to distort sex as a loving act. (Check out Tokii’s Love and Conflict game)
So the next time you think of sex visualize food. If we abuse food we abuse our bodies. If we abuse sex we abuse our relationships. Don’t abuse your relationship. Make sure you have a healthy outlook on sex which prevents making something good, harmful.