We need new sexual scripts. The ones that we have are very limited. There are two basic types of sexual scripts, those that deal with how to be sexual as an individual and those that deal with sexual relationships. The boundaries of these scripts are defined with terms such as perverted, sick, twisted etc. And it is not just the uptight religious right that defines the limitations of these scripts it is also many of us who seek a broader perspective. I don’t know how many times I have heard someone who is way into some fetish that most would consider perverted say something like “but I’m not into sick stuff like (fill in the blank with any of those things that you think are sick.)” We, as a culture, need to come to a more liberated and tolerant sense of sexuality.
The fact is that in most cases these things aren’t sick. They are, in fact, healthy. Just as dreams are our way of processing things in our subconscious, sexual fantasy and fetish is how we process them in our immediate, if not meta-conscious. We use our sexuality as a means of healing wounds and insecurities. Often we do this by sexualizing that which we need to process. For example, a significant number of people who declare BDSM to be their fetish have had traumatic sexual experiences as children. The more pervasive the fetish the more likely the correlation to past abuse. People into BDSM are not sick; they are healing. The more we know about the restorative powers of sexual fantasies and fetishes the better equipped we will be to make ourselves secure. This is a crucial aspect of actualizing human potential.
There are also scripts for how we are sexually within a relationship. The socially excepted script is one man and one woman who have no fantasies or fetishes but who enjoy warm intimacy within the confines of vanilla sex no more than once a week behind the closed and locked doors of their matrimonial bedroom. These people do not dwell on, or speak about, this basically dirty and sinful aspect of life.
There is another script as well. It is the script of the perverted. The perverted are any couple who act outside of the accepted script. This is a villain’s script, which is avoided and usually denied when taken. The only people willing to take on this script are couples with two very high libidos. Such couples are usually driven mostly by the physical pleasure. They tend to diminish the emotional aspects of sex. These couples are often very clear in the no-strings-attached nature of what they are after. The purely physical pursuit of this lifestyle tends to reinforce a negative stereo type for most other.
There are two major problems with this pervasive two-script world view. First of all it leaves a lot of people unintentionally living by disingenuous scripts, whether they are living the perverts script and seek psychologically deeper connections or they are stuck in the conventional scrip and seek broader expression. Generally speaking most men seek more and kinkier sex and most women seek deeper connection in sex. This dichotomous world view also leaves our sexual potential, which is essentially the same thing as human potential, crippled.
The mechanics by which this world view has been created and maintained are complex. And, like most complex things created over a long period of, it is durable and seemingly sustainable. Changing this world view will take time and energy. The fact is that we do not want to destroy this world view. There is more baby than bathwater in the whole system of human connections.
Yes, we are talking about the whole structure of human connection here. It is folly to consider sexuality, one of the strongest forces in the creation of human bonds, without recognizing the far reaching implications of such forces.
One of the reasons that our view of sexuality is so limited is because we have always considered sexuality only as a very personal and private thing. But in fact sexuality is one of the basic binding force on which we build all of civilization. Failing to consider it in the broader context allows such limited perspective as we have with the two basic scripts.
Those who think that the sexual revolution happened in the sixties and seventies are looking at the foot hills and calling them mountains. The sexual revolution is not what happens when we open the doors to our bedrooms; it is what happens when we open our minds to the power and potential of human sexuality.
Cross posted at http://www.flickr.com/groups/sexissues/