We live in a world where women are sexually repressed, marriages are failing and sex toys are being used as a replacement for intimacy. We’re encouraged by our elders to have a lifelong sexually monogamous relationship but our brain can tell us otherwise, we don’t know the difference between love and lust and we’re throwing pills at sexual dysfunction. Sex is broken. Here’s why:
1) Women have been sexually repressed for centuries.
For much of recorded history, marriage was a property transaction. The man imposed his rules on how she should act, especially regards to her sexuality. Unfortunately, we’re still living in the dogma of this old world and it’ll take decades to change — hence the feminist movement.
Women have a higher sex drive than our current societal norms support, and probably more than men. Both men and women would have a more fulfilling sex life if women were free to sexually express themselves.
2) Lifelong sexual monogamy is difficult and in the US the probability of your marriage ending in divorce is between 40–50%.
Sustaining a healthy and happy marriage involves nurturing both emotional and physical intimacy yet, when it comes to physical intimacy we — both men and women — desire the excitement of the unknown: adventure, novelty, mystery, risk and surprise. It’s lust that makes us horny, not living in a suburban house with one partner and 2 kids. No wonder sexless marriages are an “undeniable epidemic”.
This is a summed up by Esther Perel in her TED talk, The Secret to desire in a long-term relationship —
“So we come to one person, and we basically are asking them to give us what once an entire village used to provide: Give me belonging, give me identity, give me continuity, but give me transcendence and mystery and awe all in one. Give me comfort, give me edge. Give me novelty, give me familiarity. Give me predictability, give me surprise. And we think it’s a given, and toys and lingerie are going to save us with that!?”
3) $15B a year is spent on sex toys worldwide and it’s growing at 30% pa.
Don’t get me wrong, there are things that a sex toy can do that no other human can anatomically achieve. Furthermore, they’re great at helping us imagine new scenarios in the bedroom to encourage sexual exploration and they can be empowering.
However, when sex toys are a replacement for intimacy with another human being, that’s when it’s broken. When individuals are spending more time playing with their toys than a partner because they don’t feel they can express themselves in a society that judges them, or when solo play with a toy is more pleasurable than being intimate with your partner because they can’t or won’t sexually satisfy you, that’s when it’s broken.
Furthermore, the expectation that simply buying a silicon toy or 2 is the easy solution to a more fulfilling sex life in your long term relationship? A fallacy!
Sex toys are fantastic and it’s great we’re becoming more sexually liberal, but simply buying things isn’t going to solve the problem. We need to change the way we think — we need to educate ourselves.
4) We don’t know how to talk about sex.
When was the last time you had an open and honest discussion about your sex life with friends? We talk about all sorts: sport, food, work, politics, celebrity gossip and travel.. but not one of the most emotionally important parts of our lives, sex.
It partly stems from our education system: we’re taught about disease, pregnancy and how condoms can break, but not pleasure, consent or sexual orientation. Thus, the act of sex is deemed in a negative light and totally inappropriate for us to talk about from an early age.
Sex will matter to one’s life about as much as how one uses grammar, and if we spent as much time teaching our kids about sex as we do grammar or algebra, I’m convinced we would have a far happier, healthier and more peaceful society.
5) We don’t know how to do it.
“None of us are born knowing how to make love, we must be taught.” — Phillip Hodson.
Given that we don’t talk about sex openly, most of us are terrible at giving and receiving pleasure. In many other parts of our life we take classes, lessons and have guided instruction. We get certificates, rewards and celebrate our success. We share our knowledge and inspire others. This doesn’t happen with sex, and it’s one of the reasons why women have about one orgasm for every three a man enjoys. This is known as ‘The Orgasm Gap’ and it’s partly due to an ‘Education Gap’. Women who sleep with women have many more orgasms than heterosexual women, and almost as many as men who sleep with women. Of course, orgasms aren’t everything, but it is one indicator of sexual satisfaction.
6) Every second, $3,075.64 is being spent on Porn.
Watching pornography can be great. It can be used to learn a technique or two, share ideas with your partner or discover new kinks.
Having said that, if it’s the only form of education young men and women have available to learn about sex, we do have a problem! The majority of freely accessible pornography has been created for men (not women) to get off, and it rarely teaches us how to pleasure our partner. It’s often sexiest, objectifies women and can be addictive to the extent that it desensitizes real sex.
Solo masturbation whilst watching pornography is far too often used as a replacement for sex because we don’t have the time, education or an open enough society to have enough mutually satisfying sex with an intimate partner(s).
Shouldn’t we be creating a world where we become better together, not better apart?
7) The est. revenue generated from prostitution worldwide is $100B.
Of course, most relationships involve a transaction: we exchange time, love, money etc. for the mutual benefit of all parties involved, and given prostitution is considered the world’s oldest profession it’s certainly not going anywhere, anytime soon!
However, if we look at the reasons why men (specifically) use the services of prostitutes, it’s often because they’re not sexually and/or intimately fulfilled in their relationship. This is not laying blame on our partners, it’s laying blame on the society we live in given our social expectations and the rules we feel that we must live by.
Prostitution is deemed unacceptable (and in many places illegal), yet our society doesn’t provide us with a better solution. It’s a hypocrisy!
8) The pharmaceutical industry covers up the real problems.
The erectile dysfunction drugs market is expected to reach $3.4B by 2019. We’re throwing pills at psychological problems that are routed in our nurture, not nature, and multinational corporations are laughing to the bank.
Pills are great when our testosterone naturally declines in later life, but when guys are being sold pills thinking it will make their penis bigger because they feel inadequate; or they need pills in order to get an erection because they are only turned on by a specific genre of pornography which they can’t experience in real life, that’s when it’s broken.
9) Our sexuality is repressed.
Even today, many parts of the world deem anything but heterosexuality unacceptable and it was only in June this year that gay marriage became legal in the USA. We know for a fact that sexual orientation isn’t black and white, nor is it a choice. Our repressed sexuality makes it difficult for millions of people to express their sexual preferences and thus be sexually fulfilled. This is broken.
10) With technology invading every corner of our lives, the future of sex looks uncertain.
On the one hand, pornography is going to become incredibly immersive with the use of virtual reality and teledildonics, so much that that you’ll be able to feel what it’s like having sex with your favourite porn star.
The world is being shaped by our new generation. Sex will be more fun with a computer very soon (for both men and women) unless we start getting better at sex, together.
Which future do you choose?