I made the mistake of meeting someone for the first time on New Year’s Eve. The meeting itself wasn’t a mistake, but the fact that I don’t drink much, combined with a bartender giving me a giant glass of whiskey for free, no ice, coupled with my bluntly sexual new year’s resolution, made for an interesting mix of embarrassment and a strange first impression on my end. It was the most alcohol I’ve had in my body in years, so obviously, when I told someone I had just met three minutes prior that my new years resolution was to finally bottom for the first time, she seemed a little uncomfortable. Only I was highly intoxicated, so I didn’t care.
This is not necessarily something I would have said to someone I had just met sober, and in fact, it’s likely not something I would say to many people I’ve known my whole life. The conversation then veered in the direction of learning how to bottom, and the various ways a self-identifying gay man could test the waters, for lack of a better term. This person was stuck with me at a diner, and the conversation between my friend and I lasted for at least an hour.
I woke up the next morning feeling awkward and wanting to apologize. But the more I thought about the conversation I was having with my friend, the more I realized we weren’t really discussing anything that should warrant someone else to be uncomfortable, or that should warrant an apology. Unless you’re Amber Rose trying to humiliate Kanye West’s sexual interests, there was nothing to be embarrassed of. (Except for when I stood up and accidentally knocked over a Christmas tree by accident.)
I later learned this person was, in fact, a little overwhelmed by my discussion of sex. But the reality is that if someone presents themselves as a liberal open-minded college student who has gay friends, I’m going to think I could talk about gay sex around you. I went to college. I was involved in my campus Gay/Straight Alliance. I rallied around various causes. I’m as progressive as it gets, but I strongly dislike PC culture. I imagine I was raised in much the same way most college kids are raised in 2016. But there seems to be something with the most recent generation of college-aged people and recent college graduates that demonstrates an unhealthy fear of sex and sexuality, and for how progressive this group of people claim to be, I’m convinced they are far more conservative than they realize.
I have a job that occasionally puts me in the presence of celebrities. With the exception of the time Alicia Keys walked through the door and I had to run away for fear I would start crying in front of her, I am generally unaffected. It’s fun spotting random movie stars walk through your building and pointing them out to coworkers. It’s entertaining when some B-lister pops in to see his or her movie, but that’s about as far as it goes.
Recently however, the stunning Olivia Wilde came through and naturally everyone’s jaw dropped. Regardless of gender or sexuality, when you see someone as beautiful as Olivia Wilde, it’s natural to discuss the magnitude and relevance of this beauty. She’s tall. Her face is exceptionally lined, and she fits all the definitions of what is considered stereotypically sexy. Also, she’s even better looking in person.
So when a gay male coworker posted an innocuous sentence about Olivia Wilde on Facebook, he was attacked with statements accusing him of objectifying women. He was called a pig. He was told that his statement was vulgar. It was all very bizarre, considering the accusation of the objectification of a woman was aimed at a gay man (not that this can’t happen, just in this case, it didn’t make sense) and the people doing the accusing were not a bunch of elderly harpies, but millenials.
There was never a point in my life where I would have considered a simple pointed public statement that someone wants to have sex with another person as an objectification. When I say a public statement, I mean that someone within earshot, someone you probably know well (because generally people aren’t discussing sex with strangers, unless you’re drunk on New Year’s Eve) sees someone they are attracted to then tells you out loud they would have sex with said person. What I’m definitely not referring to is going up to that person and telling them directly. But a simple conversation about sex between friends is not offensive.
This sparked the question, why is simply stating a normal interest in sex for a specific person so offensive? Moreover, why was it so triggering?
Most of my friends who are currently in college, or just out of college give or take a few years, have the same overly sensitive idea of sex. I want to go back to school, Drew Barrymore Never Been Kissed style, and infiltrate what is making these new adults so fearful of normal sexual discussion and behavior.
We’re teaching these kids to be so caught up in social justice and to constantly pay attention to the flaws in our system. While much of this is completely valid and for the betterment of society, these same people are refusing to ever look inward, and this same refusal is ultimately what slowly chips away at never fully understanding one’s own sexuality, which then further develops into a discomfort of discussing sex. This manifests itself in such a way that it then allows for these people to see this as normal, because they are taught over the years that sexuality is delicate, and that sex is a flower, as if this were the 1940’s.
It’s an unexpected side effect of an overly politically correct culture. Sex is always going to appear uncomfortable on the surface when it’s new and not part of the mainstream, or not part of your stream of consciousness. But the sad truth is that we are creating a generation of people who never get over this discomfort, because we’re allowing them to believe that never stepping out of your comfort zone is the same thing as someone invading your safe space. It’s not the same thing. Sex, if done properly, is not delicate. Sex is letting go. Sexuality is looking inward then releasing outward.
There is an understanding that comes with acceptance and maturity, and that understanding is having fun. But, as it currently stands, there are far too many boring and defensive identities in response to sexuality. There are too many easily offended people looking for a reason to reinforce their own victimhood. They will create entire worlds to continue to see themselves as a victim. They will gather friends and foster environments that will never allow them to step out of their comfort zone. They will look for anything that will reinforce this. Rather than fixing themselves from the inside out, they seem to want the outside to reflect who they are.
We are becoming a generation of people who feel the need to constantly pick everything apart and reconstruct its meaning into something negative. If I say I want to have sex with someone, but not inappropriately or aggressively say it to that person, this is not an offense. If I discuss sex with a gay friend and you don’t like it, look inward. If I decide I want to have sex with Olivia Wilde because she’s gorgeous and you consider that an objectification, it’s only an objectification if I said it to her face, then diminished everything else about her as a woman. This is what’s called a healthy interest in sex.
It’s all very hypocritical, considering this is thought to be the most widely progressive and accepting generation ever, but things really haven’t changed that much when you look underneath. I can’t tell you how many people, when asked, consider themselves to be “sexually fluid” then turn around and refuse to have sex with anything other than what is expected of them. That’s not fluidity. That’s superficial, and it makes you a liar. Pretending to be progressive and support gay marriage, then being uncomfortable when someone talks about gay sex is not understandable. It’s pedestrian, and we should be pushing ourselves further.
It is a common misconception to view someone else’s normal healthy interest in sex as an objectification. Think about why you would be uncomfortable with someone discussing gay sex when you support gay relationships. Think about why you view a gay man stating a sexual interest in a woman as something dirty. The problem is not the other person’s normal interest in sex. The problem is that your view of sex is negative and shameful and private, and if you didn’t view your own sexuality this way, you wouldn’t view someone else’s sexuality this way either.