Thursday, February 26, 2009

And now for the GOOD news

By Kim Dare.

Okay, I'm not saying that there is nothing wrong with the world today. Some things about sex, sexuality and explicitness are really screwed up.

However - some things are changing for the better too. I think it's easy to forget that sometimes. So here are some silver linings to go with the clouds.

Attitudes to different sexualities are changing - maybe not quickly enough, but change is happening. Take GLBT issues in the UK.

There are same-sex civil commitment ceremonies that grant couples exactly the same rights and responsibilities are marriage. Same-sex couples can adopt. Openly gay and lesbian men and women can join the military. We have openly gay and lesbian elected MP's (Members of Parliament). There are a hell of a lot of people who really don't give a damn if a man is married to a woman or to another man.

Yes, there's still prejudice and there is still bigotry, but not only are individuals attitudes changing - institutions are changing too. I know it's not the same all over the world - but hey, even a little corner of the world is a start. These things have changes as attitudes to sex and sexuality have shifted.

I think compulsory sex education in schools was a step forward too - maybe it is the parents responsibility to teach their child about sex. But the simple fact is, some don't. It's hard for the children of those who don't to fall through the cracks any more.

Yes, there are teenagers who will start having sex too young - haven't there always been? But isn't it still better to make sure everyone gets the basic theory before they try the practical? To me, that doesn't mean sex loses some special mysticism, it means people know what's going on - it means they should know how to avoid unintended pregnancies and STD's. After all, the mysticism isn't about what goes where or how to put a condom on - that's the connection to the person you're with - that the bit you can't teach in a classroom.

Another thing - access to contraception and safer-sex information. The right to decide how many children you want to have or if you want any at all. The ability to protect yourself from everything from AIDS to chlamydia. And it's available to everyone. Isn't that a good thing too?

Even the darkest end of the sexual scale - rape laws have changed too. Marital rape is now illegal. It's no longer acceptable for a short skirt to be used as evidence against a victim in court. It's another system that is far from perfect, but progress, however slow and grinding, is taking place.

There's a lot that's getting better.

And do you know the thing that gives me the most hope of all?

In a world that, as previous posts rightly pointed out, is full of free internet porn and sex everywhere you turn, and in a world in the middle of a recession - people are voting with their wallets. Erotic Romances publishers are one of the few sectors bucking the global downturn.

Where before you could either read sex or you can read romance. Try to find something that was all about both published too long ago and you'll struggle to do it. Now it's a huge growth industry. I don't know if I'm overly optimistic, but I like to see that as some little sign that people are looking for sex that is romantic, that is about love, commitment and happiness and well as physical release.

All that wonder that everyone things has gone from sex? I think it's still there. Sometimes it's hard to see, but it is.

I don't know anyone of my generation, who grew up with AIDS as a fact of life, who thinks about it on a regular basis - at least not past the point of remembering to put a condom on before hand. And the same generation that had access to all the internet porn - I don't think it dulls the senses or stops anyone appreciating the real thing, because strangers on a screen faking orgasms is not the real thing - the way things are now, it's barely more than irrelevant background noise.

I don't know. Maybe it's just me, but I think when you get right down to it, whatever age someone grows up in can be thought of as a golden age - not the same as another generations golden age though - each generation has to make their new golden age, their new sexual revolution and make their own mark on sexual history.

Is what's happening now golden? I'd like to think there are a few bits that glitter. But if you want the real answer, come back in twenty years time - things have a way of acquiring even more sparkle with hindsight.

I wouldn't be surprised if what we have right now is seen as pure gold when looked at from 2035 :)

6 comments:

  1. Optimism- refreshing! It was nice to read some good news from your point of view, Kim.

    And you're absolutely right- every age has its golden aspects, and will be remembered fondly by those who grew up in it.

    Have a great day!

    Jamie

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  2. Kim, you make some very valid points. Yes, times are changing and not all for the bad. In Canada, same sex marriages and civil ceremonies are very much permitted. The mystery of sex must still be there, just not in the same way, but it doesn't have to be a bad thing either.

    I think what has bothered me, is the way advertisement has made it impossible to let a child be a child. By that I mean, kids now want designer labels, where years ago that was unheard of. Things like panties for tots are no longer simply white cotton full panties, but bikinis. That kind of thing tears me up. The kids don't realize what's happening, but I think the parents do, and the grandparents must.

    But again, you are right. Every age has its golden moments. Thanks so much for sharing this with us.

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  3. Yep, not all that glitters is gold, but not all that's seen in the stark light of the moment is lead. What is perceived as the golden age of the sexual revolution changes from generation to generation. The sixties might have been great for some, but were they great for the GLBT community? Not that today is great for the GLBT community, at least not where I live. 'Virginia is for lovers' my ass!

    But things have changed, and will keep chaning - AIDS, sex ed in schools, legal rights for same sex marriage, abortion, birth control. Is it progress? As you said, only time will tell.

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  4. Good post Kim. And thanks for the optimism as well. I think for me, I could see how things have really changed when it came to the election last year. Of course it was amazing that a young black man was elected president, but what is also amazing is that the young people who voted for him weren't especially concerned they were electing a black person. My kid goes to school with black kids, his best friend is black. He knows kids who are gay. He knows all these different people who would have been at the margins of things in my generation, and it doesn;t matter that much to him about race or orientation. He sees people mostly as just people. When you think about it, that is really amazing. There has never been a generation like that before in history. That gives me hope. The barriers in sexual communications are being taken down as the world changes, as you;ve pointed out. I hope I live to a hundred to see how things turn out.

    Garce

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  5. Thanks for the reminders, Kim! I didn't mean my post to be pessimistic! Certainly it's clear from your own writing that the mystery and delight of sexual encounters has not lost its glow for you.

    I suppose that you are right about hindsight. My 86 year old aunt is convinced that her youth was the best time - even though she lived in a time when unintentional pregnancy was a serious problem. I know that she had quite a few lovers (she was married three times).

    A completely off-topic aside - well, it's related to Garce's comment. The day after the recent U.S. election, this aunt emailed me:

    "I'm happy about the election. I feel as though I have a new lover."

    Hugs,
    Lisabet

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  6. Thanks for the post, Kim. I wanted to respond to Jude's comment.

    I believe parents have to really step up to the plate and make sure their children are raised with innocence. That means limiting exposure to TV, internet games, etc. I have three boys 10, 7 and 5. They are the most naive of their friends and I am glad. I want them to have a chance to be children and not have to deal with grown-up issues too soon. They still watch TV and have access to the internet, but I am home monitoring what they see. Just today they were playing a shot-em-up game on the internet that I vetoed. Because they use the computer in the kitchen I am able to monitor their activities. But it has to be important to the parents and some parents don't have the same priorities. And that's what makes our world so interesting!!! We don't have to all agree on the same way to do things.

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