by Lincoln Sayger
There is a grand, terrible focus in our society on the pleasure and allure of sex that extends beyond the act to the character of our sexuality in particular and in general. This is not a healthy focus. A focus on sex hinders friendships, love, identity, and other important areas of our lives.
A focus on sex gets in the way of friendship. In this society that views a virgin's death as a shame, to the extent that people facing imminent death want to have sex with almost anyone before they die, that crusade to break virginity before they die leads many people to forget about friendship, focusing only on the sexual goal. In this way, many opportunities that could have blossomed into wonderful friendships, and then possibly into committed loving relationships, are overlooked based on the unlikelihood or the unattractiveness of a successful sexual encounter. The general loss of the platonic relationship in our society has made us weaker. It has also made many men and women bitter concerning friendship and sex. Objectifying others in our focus on sex, we forgo the many wonderful nonsexual relationships we could be building and find ourselves more alone and miss the biune pair of friendship and love.
A focus on sex gets in the way of love. Certainly, sexual activity within the context of a committed love relationship is a good thing that strengthens the bond between two people, but that is one of the reasons sex gets in the way of love. It is important to consider the crusade to break virginity before they die, which leads many people into ill-advised relationships that have no chance of long-term viability. Sex is also used in many cases to mask the lack of love in the relationship, as people often think that the quality of the love is equal to the quality of the sex. This is the cause of many a divorce, as the quality of the sex begins to wane, and the partners think that the lack of sexual pleasure means a lack of love. The bonds sexual activity creates between people can be a good thing or a bad thing, depending on the presence or absence of love. These bonds help to strengthen a loving relationship, but they cause turmoil and pain when sexual activity creates these bonds with people one does not love. The pull toward someone one does not love creates tension within one's will. And those bonds can hinder bonding with a future romantic interest when the new relationship does have love. Sex is a great blessing in the bounds of marriage, but when the focus is on the sex, problems arise.
A focus on sex also gets in the way of our rich, full identities as human beings. When we define ourselves by our sexuality, we make ourselves one-dimensional. Prostitutes are the only type of person whose identity is with partial legitimacy defined by their sexual behavior. People who use sexuality as their central characteristic are taking meaning away from their identity by minimizing the legitimate characteristics that do define them. Moreover, people who willingly bring attention to and claim as their centrally defining characteristic one thing to the exclusion of other things actually invites stereotyping, and through it, prejudice.
A focus on sex also gets in the way of our mundane pursuits of food, clothing, and shelter. The ways are myriad: pornography eating up time from our work week, office adultery destroying both families and careers, prostitution being a two-pronged weapon creating both illness and scandal as well as the above mentioned interference with love relationships, and sexual harassment which would not occur in its sexual acts form, were we not so focused on sex.
Sex is a wonderful thing, but like paint, it must be carefully and thoughtfully applied to the canvas of our lives in order to form a beautiful thing, for if we splash the paint around indiscriminately, all we make is a mess.
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