Sexually Active does not mean unprincipled

One of the ways Nepalese culture gets sex wrong is by linking sexual activity with assumptions of being unprincipled, unethical, and  immoral. 

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Historically, yes, we can somewhat blame the society for upholding an atmosphere of sexual vigilance, where any deviation from heterosexual marital intimacy was violently punished. People who had affairs, or performed bestial acts, were often punished, or occasionally put to death. . And people who went beyond the social norms were brought back into the fold once they’d been taken to task.

Fast forward to today, when  a number of other cultural shifts, we have more public discourse about sexual intercourse and less flogging people for stepping outside the line; our society still has an emphasis on heterosexual monogamous procreative marital sex as the only acceptable sex. And even within those confines, there’s such a thing as too much sexual desire, too much masturbation, too much consumption of erotic materials. We can trace some of this to the ways in which ideas about sex spread slowly into public awareness.“The writings of Sigmund Freud” best symbolize the new direction that sexual theorizing took in the twentieth century. Freud had  presented that the sexual impulse is an insistent force demanding expression. This impulse could of course be suppressed, but not without consequences, both psychological and physiological. And the proper, moral thing to do in the eyes of many is to sublimate or channel more productively the sexual impulse, because letting it simply have its way could wreak disorder and chaos.

This concept is still with us today,  though of course it’s not the only way to perceive sexuality. Rather than viewing sexual desire as a raging force of nature that’s potentially destructive, it’s possible to view sexual desire as a natural part of humanity that deserves healthy expression.  “Just as people drink  water in different way to quench their thirst , differently , so should they have sex to satisfy a different kind of urge; there was no need to complicate the matter with romance or love.

Thanks to the rise of Freud thought as well as other historical factors, today in Nepal people have started talking about their different sexual desires than society expects.. Worse, there’s a stigma that being sexually active carries somehow taints the rest of a person, making it seem that because they’re so interested in sex, they’re somehow incapable of upholding their other agreements or obligations. This is why we end up with awful things like slut-shaming sexual assault survivors. We also need to combat the notion that “sexuality is this awful dark drive that taints your whole person.”

We need to remove a misconception that once someone has engaged in consensual sexual activity without being dedicated to a relationship or marriage, they can no longer be trusted to be reliable in other areas of their lives,  and not considering a generally principled human being. Basically, it comes down to this: no amount of sexual desire or sexual activity is inherently unprincipled or immoral, unless the way you go about it involves non-consent.

I know that we’re conditioned to view sexuality according to how our culture perceives it, and I know that cultural norms don’t change overnight. But if we get enough people to join the conversation, hopefully we can start to make progress in a more sex-positive, less needlessly judgmental direction. We live in society where people expect sex should be done only after marriage; it should be between a man and a woman, opting group sex  or sex between the same sex, or  sex with transgender & intersex people. They also view sex merely a way to reproduce which absolutely is not true. Do you think people who have two or three kids have had sex only two or three times in their lives?

I know that we’re conditioned to view sexuality according to how our culture perceives it, and I know that cultural norms don’t change overnight. But if we get enough people to join the conversation, hopefully we can start to make progress in a more sex-positive, less needlessly judgmental direction.

Influenced and modified from this blog