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We in Western society tend to have a preoccupation with sex, to a greater or lesser degree. And that's every side of the sexy coin: whether you're preoccupied with getting it and looking at it, or with making sure no one sees it or knows it exists. Very few people are safe from sex in one way or another, and I applaud that. I think sex is pretty great. I would be having sex while I write this article if it were logistically possible and, you know, anyone wanted to have sex with me.

As much as we obsess over sex, however, it seems like many people have a very awful way of looking at it, which I guess makes sense. The more people focus on a thing, the more diverse and bizarre those focuses (foci? Is that a word? I like it) will be. Some will be good and, like everything in our world, many will be awful.

5
As an Identity

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Some of the scariest people I have ever met are those who have managed to meld their identity and sexuality into one. Please never do this. If you're gay, if you're straight, if you're anything and everything else, it doesn't matter, but don't let that be the first and most important thing about you. Would you ever introduce yourself by saying, "Hi, I'm Jimmy, and I like to pork any hole that smells"? No. No! But so many people do this in an unspoken way.

Having sexuality is great. Loving sex is great. But when you let sex become your identity, you reduce yourself to a use or a user. This can really be seen in the world of "the lifestyle." Do you know the lifestyle? Hold on to your butts if you don't, and I mean that literally.

"The lifestyle" is what people in it use to refer to swing culture, or BDSM, or any sort of organized pansexual "thing." It's hard to describe, but it can and will involve orgies and get-togethers in which no sex actually happens but people exist in clearly defined roles as dominants and submissives, and they are always "on" in a weird, sexually judgmental way.

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"I submit. Now touch my teats."

Much of what I say here will be met very antagonistically by people in the lifestyle, and they'd likely say that I don't get it or it's their choice or if it's not for me then who am I to judge? It's the same sorts of criticisms any group will toss back at people passing judgment on them. But the thing is, it strikes me as creepily complicated and weird, and you can't convince me it's not.

There are people living in 24/7 submissive and dominant relationships. They may actually deprive these submissives of sex, or affection, for weeks and months as a kind of power play, which is where they get their kicks. The subs are entirely subservient at all times. They will even wear collars out in their public lives. They clean, they make dinner, they act as footstools. Shit, they act as human toilets. This stuff really happens. Meanwhile, the dominants exist in a world in which it is clear to them that they are better than the person they dominate.

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Shit's about to get kinky.

Now, some might argue that there must be genuine trust and affection between the two, and everyone must respect limits and yadda yadda -- but this is your life. Can you imagine living your life like this? Can you imagine being so beholden to your sexuality that if someone wants to poop on you, you think "Yeah, that seems swell!"

If you like being pooped on, by all means you go to a different room from me, with a working vent in the ceiling, and get pooped on. But after you have a few showers, you come back out of that room and then go plant a shrub or fix your scooter or do something that doesn't have you wearing a leash. No one is actually a sex toy, and if you think of yourself or others like that, you're kind of insane.

4
As a Weapon

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The only thing scarier than someone who can't separate identity from sex is someone who can't separate power from sex and will then use sex as a weapon. Because that's a shitty way to be. The only way sex should be like a weapon involves things exploding, and you probably don't need me to get that grossly descriptive with you if we haven't been on at least two dates.

It's a bit of a modern cliche that dysfunctional marriages have this sort of dynamic, where typically a wife withholds sex from her husband to prove a point or manipulate him into doing something. Sorry, ladies -- it's just the popular stereotype. There's probably one or two dudes out there who have tried this same approach. I just can't imagine them having a ton of success.

Using sex as a weapon (and in this case I mean to get your way or to punish someone, as opposed to actual sexual assault and rape, because my joke book doesn't have a chapter on that stuff and I don't want the Internet to hate me) devalues sex. If sex is a delicious milkshake, weaponized sex is a milkshake someone shaved their pubes in. It's not cool anymore, and no one wants it.

I wholeheartedly believe sex is meant to be fun for two or more people. So when you ruin that and make it about teaching lessons or spite, then you may in fact be the villain from an HBO drama. Is that what you want? To be Cersei Lannister? She bumped uglies with her own brother and had the biggest asshole in seven kingdoms for a son. Don't do that.

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3
As a Chore

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As much as I loved the show Married With Children back in the day, I was never able to understand Al Bundy's relationship with sex. Sure, I was just a teenager at the time, and even looking at a balloon inflated to the proper dimensions gave me a boner, but the idea of sex being a job was just insane to me. And it still is.

You'll still see this theme in pop culture, and again it's usually the woman who feels this way as opposed to the man -- that having sex with your spouse is like Taco Tuesday, a thing you do because you have to. If I ever have a sex life that boring, I want my last memory to be waking up in a fish tank while soft, caring hands hold me under to put me out of my misery.

Sex is arguably better than if you managed to magically merge Xbox with an open bar and a jet pack that has tits and a chicken wing dispenser. The day you start viewing that as mundane is the day you'd better show up to work riding a dragon while gold doubloons dribble out of your asshole, because you're the most fantastic creature in all of history, fictional or otherwise, and earthly sex is passe because you've graduated to Mecha-Sex, a thing so mind-blowing, if I were to show you a picture of it here, your brain would melt in ecstasy.

2
As a Victory

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This kind of sex is also frat sex, or douche sex, or the sex of the pick-up artist, where you don't actually give a shit about what you're fucking, just that you're fucking. If you view sex this way, I want you to go find a mirror and look at yourself for a moment, then turn away quick -- see if you notice your reflection not moving in synch with you, since you have no soul anymore.

I'm not sure how this came to pass in the world at large, that people would want sex so much that it doesn't matter who they have sex with, but it's definitely a downer. I enjoy a cozy vagina (or preferred orifice of your choice) as much as anyone, but if it's not actually attached to a whole person that I can at least talk to for a few minutes, I think I'd feel pretty weird. I like my sex partners to have faces and the ability to say and do things that actually interest me in some way, and so should you.

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You got a face, I got a face, what say we put 'em together?

This isn't to say you need to head to MENSA and discuss some Dostoyevsky for a few hours before signing up for a book club together to want to have sex with someone; I get seeing a chick who looks like the physical embodiment of sex in yoga pants and wanting to plow her like a field of soybeans right then and there. It's just that if you're not connecting at least a little, in some way, enough to feel anything about this person, then why aren't you just screwing a Fleshlight?

Maybe I'm the most naive pervert on the block, but I've always viewed the idea of using someone, literally using them, as unfulfilling simply because it seems like a lot of effort to get to the point where you've convinced another person to have sex with you, just to hit it and quit it, as the nuns at my old Catholic school used to say. Wouldn't it be better to at least have that relationship where you enjoy the person and don't have to feel ashamed or embarrassed and you can actually have fun together while having sex? Because that seems way better than using someone's orifices for 20 minutes and then high-fiving your bros while you drink your Pabst afterward.

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1
As a Sin

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This is the toughest of all entries to deal with on this list because I'm standing against thousands of years of established religious doctrine and calling it bullshit. Sorry, Jesus.

Many people view sex and sexuality in various forms as sinful and taboo and wrong. Look how many fundamentalists just cringe at the idea of sex ed being taught in schools. Counter this with the amount of people in the world who think you can't get pregnant if you have sex in a pool, or that sex with a virgin cures AIDS, and you'll see the value in education. But many people have a standpoint that if children are taught about it, they'll do it, as though sex ed were an instruction book that pressures you into doing things, in much the same way math class forces kids to become mathematicians.

Many religions view sex outside of marriage as morally wrong, or sex for non-procreative reasons as wrong. Gay sex is a sin, oral sex is a sin, pornography is a sin, and anything fun or different, or not missionary in the dark for the purpose of having a baby, is wrong. There's no good reason for it, of course, and the best answer you may get is that the Bible, or whatever religious text, speaks against it. Well, the Bible warns against wearing clothes of mingled fabric as well, so let's not pick and choose what words of God we can follow and which we can ignore.

The fact is, sex makes people uncomfortable in much of Western society because we've demonized it. And it's for no good reason at all. You can go back historically and you'll never find a good reason. Reasons, yes, but nothing good or defensible. Stupid reasons. The outcome of this is an abundance of hatred toward gays, an abundance of teen pregnancies, and an abundance of sexually transmitted diseases. That's how stupidity deals with problems. So don't be stupid and view sex and sexuality as bad. If it was bad, it wouldn't be the method by which life is created, for fuck's sake. That's a pretty big deal. And just like you don't always have to eat to stave off starvation, you don't need to bust out the sex swing just to reproduce. It's pretty obvious sex is meant to be fun. You stuck up folks need to chill the hell out.

For more ways we obsess over sex, check out If Sex Was Used to Advertise Everything.

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