Sex is Special... Or is It?

Baggage we might want to keep... to a point.

Most of us probably got the message somewhere along the way that sex is something important. Something special. Something that can be shared with another person in a beautiful way. And so the seed was planted that sex might be something to look forward to. Something to be mindful about. Something to find pleasure in. And these are great messages... sex-positive messages that we definitely want to hold on to. Because sex most definitely can be and should be an awesome part of life.

At the same time, sex isn't ALWAYS "special." Sometimes it's awkward (even with that "special someone"). Sometimes it's casual. Sometimes it represents a regret we have. Sometimes it's dull or disappointing, to the point that we will fake an orgasm to get out of it. Sometimes a sexual act is a criminal assault. And not only that... most of us were probably given the parameters of "HOW" and "WHEN" sex can be special. In other words... it's special only in marriage, only in the context of monogamy, only in certain positions, when it doesn't involve kink, when you're acting "ladylike," when the man initiates, between heterosexuals, or a variety of other qualifiers you may have received dependent on the culture and background you come from. Therefore, others got to decide how "special" would be defined in the sexual sphere. Some of the important ways this message can go wrong for your sexual psyche are:

  • setting up unrealistic expectations that end up disappointing you or your partner(s) (i.e. honeymoon sex that lacks luster; sexual debuts gone amok - aka "losing your virginity"; the idea that my "special someone" will know exactly what to do and how to meet my sexual needs/fantasies, etc.),

  • giving too much power and meaning to sexual acts that were non-consensual and criminal - not to mention inappropriate self-blame (i.e. "I'm damaged goods because I was sexually abused"; "I must have wanted it because parts of it felt good"; "It's my fault that I attracted that type of attention"),

  • the problematic assumption that all marital sex is healthy or good (i.e. ignoring important aspects like marital rape or coercion; disappointment when marital sexuality deals with common issues such as libido discrepancies and erotic taste differences),

  • diminishing the "specialness" of experiences you've had that don't fit the "sex is special" script (i.e. a one-night stand you enjoyed, a same-sex exploration you were curious about, BDSM play or fetishes you may feel guilty for enjoying).

The best way to go about the "sex is special" rhetoric is adopting the following mantra:

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