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The Pain of Repressing Pleasure

Content Warning: I will be discussing issues concerning sexuality which may be off-putting to some readers.

What is sexual liberation?

Sexual liberation is a movement that began in the 1960s but is relevant to this day and age

more than ever. It is about being able to express yourself without judgment. The discourse around women and their sexual choices is fraught with anxiety around who women sleep with, how many partners they have, how often they have sex; And many other micro- judgments that make women feel suffocated. To not be pressured by societal expectations and opinions of others on a subject which - is in every way intimate and personal, is the main idea around sexual liberation.

In 2022 - Young people and sex.

In the middle of the pandemic, it has never been harder to find deeper connections with people face to face. In-person interaction has become more fraught and strained due to

almost 2 years of lockdown. This extended isolation from other people has made us rethink the importance of human connection.

Now we are back to seeing people regularly, getting back on the wagon is going to be difficult. And exploring our more sexual and physical needs - is filled with more apprehension and hesitation than it was pre-pandemic.

Why do we all get so in our heads?

Despite sex being saturated into almost everything we see - car and beer ads, M & M adverts, films, and tv shows, the fact that we see it so much - for some people, can make the real thing very unappealing. The internet is filled with raucous fanart and internet porn, and images of bodies that have been altered that can never look like that in real life set up with unrealistic standards for how real sex should be.

What exasperates matters is the lack of quality sex education in schools because the tight-lipped shaming culture around sex leads to it being very poorly taught in the majority of schools. This double standard of sex-saturated pop culture and a conservative school teaching leads to undereducated children who later in life as young adults, are falling into the pitfalls of following the crowd and rushing into having sex as soon as possible. When they still have no idea what they are actually doing.

This woeful lack of knowledge and preparation can lead to unwanted pregnancies and sometimes fatal sexual diseases.

"A rich sex life is both a necessity and a fashion accessory, promoted as the key to good health, psychological vitality and robust intimate relationships. But sex also continues to be seen as a sinful and corrupting force: a view that is visible in the ongoing ideological battles over abortion and birth control, the discourses of abstinence education, and the treatment of survivors of rape and sexual assault."

Why do young people feel so insecure?

Two of the biggest conversations around sexuality - the feminism MeToo movement, and the LGBTQ movement, are popular and important topics for young people, who are struggling to find representation, advice and guidance for many of the questions they have.

Young girls are shamed and judged for the clothes they wear, enjoying or not enjoying sex, who they have sex with, and how many often they have sex. It feels like there are so many societal dos and don’ts around the whole thing, sometimes it is as if it is better to not even bother at all.

LGBTQ sex education is taught less and with more stigma and less accuracy than heterosexual sex education in schools.

So young LGBTQ people feel confused and not sure what to do with their sexual urges as growing up they haven’t been taught that it's okay, and may feel confusion and shame from the lack of information about it.

How we can change this?

More progressive conversations need to be had about LGBTQ sex education, guidance and support for LGBTQ teens and young people who want to figure out what they like and what they want, safe spaces for them to talk and connect with people and explore their urges.


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