In my Critical Thinking and Writing class, I assigned my Honors students the task of sharing academic ideas outside of the academic context. Students wrote on a variety of subjects. This subject is near and dear to my heart as I begin exploring my "side project" which I am calling my sexuality project... but more on that later.
Those kids today with their sexual freedom and irresponsibility spreading STDs and having babies that are going to end up on welfare. Does this sound familiar? It should. It is the same rhetoric the younger generations have been hearing for years and years and years. After years of being told we were sexually irresponsible, statistically our generation has a lower teen birthrate and lower STD occurrence than any previous. How is this possible? Perhaps the discouragement of absence only sexual education, perhaps the women’s body empowerment movements, perhaps greater awareness of rape culture and holding men accountable for unacceptable behavior. Most likely all of the above.
There are, however, a couple things to consider in this new age of Tinder and random hook ups. Enter responsibility. The saying, “When two people lay down together one gets up with feelings” is this true and if it is should the ramifications of this statement be taking into consideration when hooking up? In a society already vastly disconnected should there be some mindfulness around the intimacy and vulnerability involved with having sex? Or is it just like face book friends and twitter feeds?
Another question that comes to mind: is it possible for two people on their first liaison to meet all the criteria for a mutually consensual, respectful, and safe sexual encounter? The general scenario goes something like this: two people match, then they meet to get drinks, then they go back to whoever’s home and get it on. Simple enough right? But if any alcohol is involved is it consensual? How much can someone know about personal boundaries and what it takes for someone to feel safe and comfortable in only one meeting? Does one have a responsibility to themselves and the other to attempt to create a safe space or should all be pushed aside in the name of the mighty orgasm?
How much responsibility does one have for the intentions one brings to the encounter? For instance: if someone is simply lonely and seeking if only for a moment a feeling of love and acceptance, but the other person is just trying to rack up numbers what kind of damage does that do to the lonely person? Is there a way to understand and validate the other’s needs? Yes, but it takes time, effort, and energy. In my experience men have a really hard time being vulnerable and intimate. Men are indoctrinated from a very young age about what is acceptable behavior and what is not. Crying and showing emotion is not acceptable and is discouraged often at the price of the boy’s emotional well-being. Sex is an intimate act, in my opinion, so how much damage is done personally and culturally if the gravity of the one situation where men are allowed to show love is reduced to which way one swipes the screen.
I am in no way trying to shame anyone’s sexual choices or activity. I am just trying to understand if perhaps some more thought should be given to the fast and loose rhetoric about sex becoming common place in our culture.