As some of you, I’m sure, celebrated the dawning of 2015 with the party of the year, I observed the occasion with a party of two–me and TV. (No, I am not soliciting your sympathy.) Actually, I felt rather comfortable, lying in bed while eyeing glimpses of my potential future as a sexologist during segments of TLC’s “Secret Sex Lives.”
While I listened to and watched the stories of people express the sexual pleasure they receive from balloons, cars, silicone dolls and other things, I could feel my face contorting in fascination–fascinated by their willingness to reveal their not-as-secret sex lives to a worldwide audience, as well as the commonness of their ‘secrets’ throughout the world.
Let’s face it: Fetishes are common occurrences. Though, the extent to which people experience them and the context in which they are experienced can vary to a large degree. For instance, some people really like big butts (and they cannot lie), while others are really excited by Ford trucks (and they can’t deny). The common denominator of just being familiar with the sensation of laser-like, highly-focused excitement – on some object, on some level – is, well, common. And all things being equal, we are all equal…right?
Hmm. Well, let’s just say for the sake of this post that I am right. (Ah, the perks of blogging.)
So, if we are, then, all equal and we are, then, familiar – on some level – with fetishes, then why is it that we and the rap group Whodini deem our fetish-having selves “freaks” who are only permitted to come out at night? Wouldn’t we all, as people with a common-fetish-denominator, really just be average Joes and Joseys who can come out at any time of the day that we damn well please?
Of course, these are rhetorical questions. You and I both know the answers rest, rule and abide in shame.
It is the idea of shame that creates the idea of freaks. And it is the idea of shame that creates the idea of night as the cover for ‘freakish’ deeds. Though notably progressive in its sex-oriented basic cable programming overall, TLC still mainly airs “Secret Sex Lives” and other sex-enthused shows under the cover of night, where network honchos and many of us still believe sex and the discussion of sex belong. In the shadows. In the dark. Not fit for the light of day.
With that school of thought, how will it ever be possible to rid sex of the stigma of shame – and rape, sexual assault, sex trafficking, etc. – if we don’t openly acknowledge sex, the very basis of our human existence, as a very basic part of our regularly scheduled human programming? It’s 2015 for crying out loud…which, incidentally, takes me back to my opening point and brings me to my close.
In the wake of your recent New Year celebrations, of which I’m sure some of you will remember all year long, I submit one resolution for all of us to follow for the remaining 362 days (and beyond): Never again walk in sexual shame, whether it’s in the dawn of New Year’s Day, another day or otherwise.
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