Final Reflection: A Post on Society & Sex

Upon being asked the question of what the most important and influential concept to understanding the relationship between sex and society covered in this semester, I began to think about all the different concepts talked and read about in class. When thinking about everything, I began to see connections between different terms that came up throughout the semester that were discussed that I had never seen before. The concepts are all fairly different, yet are all still related in some ways because of the manner that society has been formed over the years. Agents of socialization, sex education, social constructions, and heteronormativity have all become interconnected, creating an environment of hostility towards people who do not identify as heterosexual.

The agents of socialization people are exposed to impact their views on everything in life. However, their views on sex are affected more so than some other aspects of life are. The socialization of sex and sex education has a more prevalent impact on how a person forms their ideas and views on sex. The environment a person was raised in, their religion, schooling experience, family, friends, and the media all heavily influence the formation of what sex means and should mean to a person. But, this can be dangerous- with the amount of societal constructions (such as what “good” or “normal” sex is, gender, etc.)  that exist today, it is easy for the manner in which a person was socialized to negatively affect their views on sex or gender. For example, many religions do not condone homosexuality, so if someone is raised in that environment, it is likely they would judge and discriminate anyone who is homosexual.

SInce gender is a social construction, it easy to stereotype and discriminate against those who do not fit into the gender binaries that exist today (boy and girl). So, those who appear as  lesbian, gay, queer, bisexual, or transgender are easily stereotypes and judged. The heteronormative ideals that are held by the majority of the people in this country also lead to stigmas and discrimination. When people who have other sexual orientations other than heterosexual, they are often mistreated by society and can even be susceptible to violence, sexual violence in particular (as seen in the video of the transgender man who used the bathroom of a New York McDonald and was beat for it by the manager, yet was charged for a misdemeanor when in actuality he was the victim ).

Over the years, this problem has perpetuated. It has become easier for discrimination and violence to occur without any repercussion on the perpetrator. The connections between these terms and these societal constructions and manifestations all lend to why society is as it is today and why people discriminate, act violently toward, and outcast nonheterosexual people. Having a good understanding of all these terms allows for a person too see the interconnectedness and understand why these horrible things occur. It allows for people to be aware of  the problem and not lend to it or be an enabler.

What’s Sex Got to do With Bases?

baseball

What is the first thing that comes to your mind when you hear the word “bases?” When I hear this word baseball is the first thing that comes to mind, but would you believe me if I told you bases can refer to sex? Well believe it because every base is a step to going all the way with your partner. In my opinion, first base is kissing, second base is touching or playing with one’s private part, third base is oral sex, and a home plate is penetrating the penis into the vagina. Kathleen Bogle defines the usage of bases in two different ways. The first way was from “only yesterday:” first base is kissing, second base is deep kissing, plus groping and fondling, third base is oral sex, and home plate is going all the way. In today’s world was the second way: first base is deep kissing, second base is oral sex, third base is going all the way, and home plate is learning each other’s name. From personal experiences I would agree with Kathleen Bogle’s second definition of bases.

In this situation bases can also refer to going on dates or hanging out. For example, my first year at Vanderbilt I met a girl and the first time we hung out we were deep kissing. The second time we hung out we had oral, and by the third time we hung out we went all the way. After going all the way my partner and I started to go on dates and attend events together. Looking back on the situation it amazes me how so called relationships on college campuses work. Like Kathleen said we have sex first and then get to know each other.

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Why is it that in today’s world we have sex first then get to know someone after sex? How would you define these bases?  Do you still hear people use the base terminology in today’s world?

What’s sex have to do with …romance?

 

Have you ever been in love? I’m not talking about the love where you exchange ring pop, kiss on the playground, and post pictures with cute captions on social media. I’m talking about falling in love with someone, making love with them and marring that person because you two belong together. Well isn’t that what happens in romantic movies? Two meet and cant resist each other and although they don’t have sex until the end, they do everything in their power to make it to that point.

I connected this to Kerwin Kays “sexual intercourse” article because I feel that sex when it comes to love isn’t just an act. When it’s romantic sex, it’s calling making love. Having sex is natural but making love is a step farther when it comes to sexual intercourse.

In love and basketball, the two main characters are in love. They go through ups and down. The double standard is shown in this movie because the guys has sex with multiple girls just because he is/wants to be the man while the girl saves herself for him.

Here is the YouTube link to the sex scene in love and basketball.

 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xduuf4xdEvw

Is this scene cute and romantic because they both obey the double standard? If she had been having sex with other guys, would it still have the same meaning? If he didn’t know how to put on the condom because he does have experience, would this scene still be as special?

 

Walk of Pride?

It’s November 1st. As I walk to breakfast, I see two cats, a schoolgirl, a pizza, and a firefighter. Wasn’t Halloween yesterday?

Though everyone knows these individuals are still in costume because they “shacked” or spent the night in someone else’s room, this walk of shame is taken lightly and even seen as humorous.

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50 Shades of Grey : A love story?

An assigned reading for this class that I found very entertaining was E.L. James 50 Shades of Grey. The book, in itself has received a large amount of attention nationwide, both positive and negative. The book, itself, was not praised for its sophisticated writing as its attention was paid due to its provocativeness and sexual content. I found the book to be poorly written and quite shallow but nonetheless I was entertained and it evoked a response from me personally. The book tells the story of a man and woman that engage in a BDSM relationship. As we discussed in class, this type of relationship involves practices involving dominance and submission. In the book, Anastasia is a woman with little to no sexual experience, being a virgin, and Christian Grey is a man that practices this type of sexual behavior already. Anastasia ends up engaging in this type of relationship with Christian Grey and their experiences are depicted throughout the book.

The scenes within the story that describe in great detail these BDSM practices received a lot of attention because of its provocative and controversial nature. A focus point from the story that was paid much attention is the “contract” that was presented to Anastasia by Christian that explained the terms of the relationship and gave her certain restrictions or behaviors she had to agree to participate in and confidentiality that accompanied all of it. The fact that she was a virgin before Christian also sparked controversy.

As discussed in class, we referenced certain interviews and reactions from critics that described the book as equivalent to pornography or even claimed the book told a story of rape. The arguments I found most interesting were those that were skeptical of BDSM and its nature of dominance and submission. The book has been critiqued and analyzed in terms of Anastasia’s lack of “consent” for these BDSM practices and question her actual and realistic desire for it. Since Anastasia was a virgin prior to Christian Grey, the argument of whether or not she knows that this is the type of sexual relationship she wants to be in or not because she is “inexperienced” and has not been exposed to anything else. The other argument that the contract provoked was one that questioned whether or not signing that contract is considered a form of consent if its content in its raw content indicates submission to the other person. The reactions to this book, I feel were more indicative of society’s view of BDSM than the actual story or book as a form a literature.

I feel that the book was beneficial in that it created controversy. It brought about a form of sexual practice that may seem “taboo” or one that is usually behind the scenes and got America “talking” about the topic and for me at least, provided insight on the feelings and drives behind it. I think a limitation that the book has is it’s unrealistic plotline in that the woman is swept off her feet by a man and how they defeat all possible odds and conflicts because of their infatuation with each other by the end of the trilogy.

A connection that I made with this book was the reading that was assigned titled A Loving Introduction to BDSM, that explained the nature of the practices and gave more insight on how and why it provides pleasure for both individuals in the relationship. The article touches on trust as a key element of the relationship and describes the behaviors as “completely consensual.” These practices are considered to be completely non-abusive and merely used to create more sexual excitement. The article connects to the book clearly by its expansion and explanation of where the practices derive from in terms of desire and sexual pleasure. It tells almost a “dummy” version of BDSM that give insight to the book and the behaviors in general. Another topic that I feel connects with this book is the discussions from class that focus on consent and sexual violence. After reading this book and the article, I have a more informed perspective on BDSM and its separation from abuse. As stated in the article, the submissive partner is not free from pain but has consented to the pain and even provided his or her own specifics about the type of pain inflicted upon him or her. Safe words are established and the focus is on pleasure and excitement that is intended to be consensual and desired by both partners in the relationship. I think sometimes there are misunderstandings or questions about BDSM and its “painful” nature and these articles, book, and discussion address some of these.

An example that I found relevant to this topic of BDSM and 50 Shades of Grey was a quote that I came across on the Internet.

This quote addresses the idea of pleasure and pain and how they interact within a person. Although this quote does not imply anything about BDSM it references the supposed basis of the sexual practices. The relationship between pleasure and pain is quite interconnected. I can relate this to the simple act of running. A personal experience of mine would be being instructed to run fitness tests at soccer practice. Running through and past the point of physical achiness and pain is not something that I would immediately describe as pleasurable however there is an aspect of it that I do find exhilarating. There is something about running through pain that I would deem as satisfying, whether during or afterwards. This quote highlights that idea that pleasure and pain often go hand in hand and can provide a basic insight on how and why BDSM exists in society.

 

Would you consider BDSM to be something that would be shameful?

Is consent valid if you are consenting to pain inflicted on by another person?

To what extent is 50 Shades of Grey a “love story” in your eyes?

What deems a relationship between two people as “sexually normal” or acceptable to society?