Sex Ed in Bed

Uniquely yourself is as “normal” as it gets
By Jallen Rix, Ed.D. (c).

Hands down, the most frequently asked question of a sex therapist is, “Am I normal?” Actually, the most popular question is “Do you conduct a lot of one-on-one research?” (Wink, wink!) But seriously, pretty much everyone is fearful that their particular brand of sexual fun is sure to be perverted. Even the most sexually confident of personalities, when venturing into what they really like doing, can be timid individuals convinced they are degenerates and deeply petrified of rejection. So sexually speaking, it’s the ultimate question, “Am I accepted? Do I belong? Am I OK?!”

I suppose this is not groundbreaking news since our society is saturated with obsessive sexual negativity. With the constant barrage from media telling us that we will be “better” with their particular product (and that’s putting it lightly) it’s a daily struggle to maintain self esteem in general. Sexual health is often the most shell-shocked because sex is used to market their products. Just think, dozens of times a day, somewhere in our psyche, we have to tell ourselves, “No, I’m OK without that product,” over and over again. And these are the subtle messages.

Our society’s unrealistic perfection is a more overt message. The desire to better oneself can be drowned out by, “You must be number one, for there are no number twos.” With such pressure to perform perfect acts of sexual dexterity, thoughts of accepting and exploring our own unique sexual dimensions usually go ignored.

You’d think that since the LGBT community has in some ways been sexually liberated, we’d be immune to such cultural conformity, but the hierarchy of approval (sexual and otherwise) that we infer on ourselves is sometimes ruthless. With whiplash tongues, bar buddies can pass judgment as mercilessly as a fundamentalist preacher, even if they dress up their banter in Will & Grace like humor. A queer community can stir up peer pressure as much as a jr. high lunchroom. Why “come out,” only to sacrifice my own personality? This point may not be specifically about sex, but it has a trickle down effect.

Take for example, gender. What’s the first thing you ask a new mother? Is it a boy or a girl? If you met someone a year ago, you may not remember the person’s name. You may not even remember the person’s hair or eye color. But without fail you remember the person’s gender. There’s nothing wrong with these details per say. Just notice how our thinking is heavily influenced by gender — even before we leave the womb.

Furthermore, sexologist, Dr. Charlie Moser believes that anytime a minority gains acceptance in a society, it’s then easy for that minority to oppress the next. We have seen this when some black communities align themselves with the religious right to condemn queers. We have seen it in our own community’s struggle to understand transgendered and bisexual people.

The recent movie, Kinsey brought to light the monumental accomplishments of Dr. Alfred Kinsey and his colleagues. A great finding in his studies was that America’s sexual activities are far more diverse than anyone lets on. His work surmised that sexual activity is as unique as each and every person. In other words, the most prevalent sexual norm humanity has is that we are all unique! And it’s nothing to be ashamed of. When Kinsey (now known as the father of modern sexology) was criticized for creating a race of nymphomaniacs, he response was, “A nymphomaniac is anyone who is having sex more than you.”

These days, whenever I find myself fearful of showing my sexual uniqueness, a mental bell reminds me to, instead, ask myself, “Will I later regret not showing it?” Usually, the answer is yes, so I go ahead and do it. An easy example was this past Easter. I was going to brunch with a few good friends and I wanted to wear something special. My conundrum was the only thing I could figure out to wear that felt really “me” was a tasteful kilt-like skirt. Oh! The agony of that decision. Yet, it rang true in my heart, if I didn’t wear the skirt I would long regret it. So, skirt to brunch I did wear (without skivvies, of course) and I’m happy to report, not only did I feel sexy, grrrl, I was the bell o’ the ball! I got a handful of compliments, and countless smiles. I felt unique and acceptable just like a spring chick fresh out of an Easter egg. No apologies and no regrets. Uniquely my sexy self and that’s as “normal” as I have to get.

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