We are living in a world where it may seem like we are open and happy to talk about sexuality. In a world where we can express our sexual creativity, be open about our sexual orientation and share our fears and desires around sex. Wouldn't that be amazing - if it was safe to just openly chat about sex and sexuality - after all, isn't it one of the most natural acts on the planet?
But instead, what we actually have is a world filled with sexual innuendo and the sexualisation of just about everything.
You just have to look at our music videos, our advertising and the types of clothes we are promoting to see that this is the case.
The saying that "sex sells" has become our reality. What we once thought was unacceptable to portray has now become the norm.
I am not here to judge... I am here to enlighten, and bring an understanding to the differences between sexuality and sexualisation.
When I google images of sexuality, the images that come up are very different to those when I google images for sexualisation.
"Sexuality" shows images - like the collage below - mostly couples lovingly engaged in the act of either making love, or close connection.
On the other hand, sexualisation brings up images that are either objectifying people (mostly women) or showing organisations marketing their products. Very disturbingly, it brings up the sexualisation of children as well, and I feel like this is a whole new topic in itself!
When I tell people that I talk about sexuality and intimacy, I often get a few giggles, or people feeling terribly uncomfortable. I get that...we have been taught to believe that sex is a taboo topic - that we shouldn't be openly discussing it. But why then, are we so okay with seeing sexualisation? Isn't this a double standard? This is confusing for everyone!
Especially for young people trying to find their way in this world. Gosh, on one hand we are saying (with visuals, innuendo and advertising) that it's okay, but on the other hand (sex education in schools), we are saying it's not okay.
I think that we are missing the most important link to sexuality and that is human connection and curiosity. People are curious about sex, so they go into dark places where they won't be found out, so that they can satiate their curiosity, and this in itself shrouds sex in secrecy and adds a level of shame, fear and anxiety to the act of sex and the notion of feeling sexual and exploring our own sexuality.
Yet right there, on our television screens we are advertising sex at every turn. It's in our magazines, on our billboards, on our food packaging! It is EVERYWHERE, but it is NOT OKAY for us to talk openly!
It is time for us to have more meaningful, constructive conversations about sexuality
Here is where I believe we can start:
1. Displays of public affection - let people SEE love in front of their eyes
2. Start talking about pleasure in our sex education, as opposed to just the mechanics
3. Label every part of the body when teaching children, and stop using sexual images
4. Access erotica that shows loving relationships and not porn that sexualises people
5. Open our hearts and minds to the fact that SEX is NORMAL, HEALTHY and FUN!
Here is to becoming more sexually empowered, and less driven by sexualisation in our society. There is a difference.