I'm thinking of turning this site into a sexology blog. [For my Facebook readers: this was originally posted on Blogger. Facebook automatically imports my Blogger posts.] How do you guys feel about that? It would be wonderful to combine the topics of sexology and intrinsic human goodness into one space, but that seems like a peculiar mix. I combine the two areas of study in my everyday life, but will it translate into an understandable blog niche? Let me know what you think; I love my readers here, and don't care that there are so few of you!
At the moment I'm working on an essay for a course entitled Psychology in a Sociocultural Context. The prompt is to write on one specific human need, and one way in which that need is suppressed by society.
I'm writing on the need for sexual satisfaction. "What a surprise," Dan Moore said to me when I told him as much.
Sexual satisfaction is desired by nearly all human beings, and often very strongly. Not only do we have a biological drive to procreate (or at least go through the actions of procreation while using contraceptives,) sex is tied into the need for love, intimacy and tenderness. Biologically, sex is necessary; emotionally, perhaps it is even more so!
Sexual urges are also unavoidable; in the Laws, St. Thomas Aquinas speaks of "the law of the members," a phrase not uncommonly used by men of religion. The law of the members refers to the uncontrollable nature of erections. Though it is not talked about frequently, women also feel uncontrollable, sometimes frightening urges for sexual satisfaction.
I was talking with a guyfriend the other day when he praised a writer for "being perfectly suited to teenage boys, speaking of matters that are relevant to boys at that time... for example, he describes the uncontrollable need to masturbate."
"Girls feel that too, you know," I replied.
"Not in the same way," he assured me. As if he could have known!
I've been poring through the Annual Review of Sex Research, Journal of Sex Research, Annual Review of Psychology and other academic journals to find research on the specific ways in which society (I hate using that term; so cliche, and usage of it is baited with the possibility for truisms) suppresses the need for sexual satisfaction.
I have three ideas so far.
One, I could write on the need for sexual confidence, which significantly contributes to sexual satisfaction as a whole. For this, I may focus on society's presuppositions of males as magisterial, always-turned-on sex machines. We talk a lot about how society fucks up women's views of themselves by telling them that they should be both sexual objects and totally demure, but in fact adolescent boys are also victims of sexual expectations. Those young men that are not in constant pursuit of sex may feel inferior in several ways. (Rostosky, Dekhtyar, Cupp, Anderman, 2008.)
Two, I could write about the ideas of scientists and society as regarding female sexual pleasure. I'm reading Technology of Orgasm by Maines, and it's reinforcing an idea I already have: women have been expected over the years to enjoy sex less than men, and have less orgasms. Wouldn't this almost-necessarily lead to women not seeking nearly as much sexual satisfaction as they are actually capable of?
Then there's the inability of both women and men to speak up about their sexual urges. One's sexuality can feel abnormal and scary, because dialogues about sexual fantasy are not strongly discouraged in most facets of society. Did you know that rape is a common fantasy for women to have? (I don't have any academic sources right now, just a current New York Times Magazine article, but I can find several articles and statistics on the matter upon request.) Obviously these women do not want to be raped, but the fantasy appeals to them. Would this not lead to feelings of disgust at one's self, not knowing that their fantasies are normal and widely shared?
I'll post the essay when I write it.