Thursday, April 4, 2013

Psychology Today: The End of "Normal" Sex

Marty Klein published a new article today on Psychology Today, "The End of 'Normal' Sex."

I have an academic crush on Marty Klein, and so it's hard for me to criticize his pieces and books. However, I think some vanilla friends of mine saw something in his article that I breezed past. And in the name of being balanced, I decided that I would re-read that section and think about the potential issues with his stance and choice of words.

One of the more problematic sections of his article, according to my vanillies, was the last part:
"Oh sure, millions of today’s politically conservative young people loudly demand that politicians continue to criminalize alternative sexualities--while many of them privately do those very things. The really religious ones (often home-schooled) talk about virginity until marriage, the unreliability of condoms, the horrors of commercial sex, masturbation as infidelity, and strict heterosexuality in thought, deed, and fantasy.
Until, of course, they get drunk, those blissful few hours when they love strip clubs, premarital blowjobs, and watching girls make out with girls.
They’ll support a narrow, punitive vision of normal sex once again when they sober up. But for the rest of us, no matter how ordinary our sex lives are, the days of normal sex are just about over."
I delight in Klein because he doesn't bullshit and he's not afraid of making generalizations or rocking the boat. The last part of this article is a lot of that: generalizations, rocking the boat, and his unfiltered views and opinions.

A friend of a friend on FB commented that: "Interesting read, actually. Although I do have to say I tend to hold that my still being a virgin is a legit choice of sexual expression and not something I do until I'm drunk enough to [lose] my ability to choose and engage in oral. (fwiw this is my personal choice and I know others make other choices as is their right having a unique conscience). It's just odd to me that virginity is only for homeschooled losers who don't mean it and not a legit and robust sexual expression in its very negation."

I think this was a good point, and I am sure Klein offended any moderate to conservative readers. It's not fair to say that all young conservative people secretly want the liberties of casual, drunken, queer sex, or engage in them secretly. I am sure there are other people like my friend of a friend above who genuinely live by a personal integrity that posits virginity (or some other kind of more restrained sexual expression). And I agree with her stance: "
still being a virgin is a legit choice of sexual expression." Yes, it most certainly is. Abstinence and celibacy are certainly forms of sexual expression, and people who sincerely engage in those practices ought to feel healthy and happy, just as those who express their sexuality in other ways. Of course, the problematic point is when those who engage in abstinence or celibacy promote their way of sexual expression as the only, right, and moral way of expressing sexuality.

That being said, I still like Klein's bottom-line: "normal" sex (i.e., heteronormative, virgin-until-married, missionary, monogamous) is in its final hour. And thank goodness.

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