Is It Really That Lewd?

18 02 2009
[Full disclosure: this article is by no means, a declaration of my opinions, judgements, or personal preferences. It is just simply, something I have been thinking about.]

Imagine this: you’re in a public area with a high concentrated amount of people, let’s say the Metro, or a Metro train. You see two attractive young people, a man and a woman, in their late 20s to 30s, completely naked, having sex. They are going at it for a pretty lengthy time period and it is pretty intense. This is not an act of art; it is not performance art. Forget that this is illegal for a number of reasons (public indecency, public disturbance, etc.). Forget about the voyeurism. What is the average person’s first thoughts upon seeing this take place?

Answer:  “Ew. Gross. I am offended.”

Well, my question is why? Why is our initial response to a public display of sex, disgusting? Most people viewing this will know what sex is. (Forget about the children who could be viewing this, only for the case that some families choose to educate their offspring about sex ed. in their own personal ways.) Sex, in the most basic understanding, is the way our species reproduces. Reproduction is a matter of science. It promotes our race. It continues us forward. It keeps us up with time. It is a must to continue our population.

Another way of thinking about sex is that it is a way for (two) people to show how much they care for each other. It is an act of love, passion, and compassion. If you think about sex in that way, it is a wonderful thing. It is an expression which people make. It is beautiful.  

So why then is our initial reaction to turn away? What made sex so bad in our minds? Why do we turn away in disgust? Who said that sex is bad?

If the problem with this situation, is that we really can not get away from this act being in public, then why still, does pornography have such a negative connotation? In the case of pornography, it is still the act of sex, but not being viewed on in public. Pornography (for the most part) is intended to be viewed in the privacy of one’s home or personal space.

Or, in a less extreme situation, how come a sex scene in a movie is fine? Watching  a movie with a sex scene (or sexual encounter) in a move theater is completely fine. It is not illegal (unless of course, you take into account the laws ruling how old you must be to view this sort of thing in public).

Or, again, in a far less extreme situation: the public kiss. Whether it is a kiss on-screen or in public, sometimes (not always) people see this as disgusting, disturbing, bothersome, or inappropriate. But why? It’s a kiss. It is a way for people to release endorphins in their body. It is a harmless way for people to feel good. It is a sort of “legal high.” Again, it is an act out of love. Come on, people. Love is supposed to be (taught as) a good thing. Loving someone should not be looked down on. And yet, that is our initial reaction to such displays of love, sometimes.

(Ok. If your reasoning behind such negative feelings is merely, out of jealously, then I understand. That is completely separate from this discussion of good vs. bad in the ways of looking at sex/sexual acts/displays of affection. That delves more into personal emotion which is not what I am discussing in this article. Personal emotion is in a completely other category of discussion.)

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