Sex is a healer, as well as a destroyer.
How sex became my crutch for emotional avoidance and also my ultimate tool for self-discovery.
As Shirley Manson once sang on the 2005 alt-rock album Bleed Like Me - “It’s our conviction, sex is not the enemy,” — at least that was so we thought.
The whole sexual liberation and free love movements that flowered in the hippie generation of the 60's and 70's eventually led to the hairspray encrusted, "big dick energy" atmosphere of the 80's and 90's. Sex was everywhere! The seed was finally planted.
These seeds that were planted during those eras eventually led to today: the easy, breezy, always easy-to-navigate walk in the park turned toxic cesspool that is the hookup and dating culture that we know and love today.
Now, I know it can be a bit brash to discuss sex where physical touch is feared and the slow crawl of adjustment to social distancing measures have placed strain, and changed the way people act, think and feel about socializing.
Stay with me though. I'm not talking about finding randoms to blow in the alley behind the Piggly-Wiggly (“Ah, those were the good old days?”) But these new strange parameters have shed ultraviolet light on people's inner demons and shadow aspects to frightening degrees. People are literally losing their minds on camera every day and revealing the worst aspects of humanity. But let’s not judge others for the things that we don’t understand. We can sure as hell call them on it though.
It's easy to see how genuine connection is hard to come by these days. The world we live in is getting increasingly soaked in some new level of existential nightmare that we didn’t know existed yesterday, and it can drive people to do the strangest of things. For instance, some people may repress themselves in an effort to self-preserve. Or someone may lash out in aggressive take-downs online or IRL. Or even seek comfort in good 'ole denial and avoidance. Some people avoid the good old fashioned way with copious amounts of drugs and alcohol.
Myself, I use sex.
Hear me out. Sex is great. It’s an easy, physical activity that increases dopamine and seratonin levels naturally, can lower blood pressure, reduce anxiety, and may even guard against prostate cancer! It also briefly takes you out of your daily mental rigamaroll of daily tasks, anxieties, and questions, which are constantly draining your soul, and replaces it with a simple action that feels good. It's kind of the perfect outlet.
But what does sex look like in the age of COVID-19? Well, for one your safest sex partner is yourself. Masturbation is GREAT! Can't think straight? Rub one out! You'll feel less clouded literally the moment you finish. Then go make a sandwich and continue about your business. Probably wash your hands before you make the sandwich, though. Don't be that guy.
The next closest thing is someone you live with or someone you trust. Live-in friend with benefits? Sure. Or how about that one person who you were hooking up with for a while before quarantine that always works from home? Perfect. Close friend? Of course. Anything like this is acceptable as well, just limiting new partners is obviously the goal. It’s difficult, but it can be obtained.
Now, sex can also be one of the world's greatest weapons. I should know; I've destroyed many lives pursuing sex. Or rather, in pursuing an escape from the harshness of reality. You see, the world is dark and weird and crazy, and when you're a perfectionist by nature, you tend to want to be perfect at everything. When you live in a world that doesn't allow perfection to even be an option, life can feel... Less engaging. Almost completely fruitless. Draining. It's almost as if the fear of not being perfect creates a vacuum that only wants to suck the life out of everyone at the party. (No pun intended.)
You see, the thing about striving for perfection is: perfection is the world's greatest deceiver dressed up in a nicer blouse - what it really is is the fear of failure. Why even attempt to do something if it cannot be done perfectly? What are the standards? How do you even start to unpack that mentally? Why would anyone attempt to do anything after that when we can just mindlessly scroll through Instagram instead?
You know what's easier and more fun than actually dealing with the mental anguish ruling over your own fears and insecurities? Having sex. Some may say you can become addicted to it. It’s plain to see if you put it that way. There's a certain thrill that goes along with it.
What does that mean? Well, the same thing that heals your body, promotes connection with others, and gives your mind clarity can also be seen as a destroyer or even a distraction from your own goals in a way to self-sabotage your own success? Whoa. Mind, blown. (Again, no pun intended.)
So this is my confession to you, dear reader: Hi, I'm Demi Wylde, and I am an addict, a jaded perfectionist, and a sexual deviant of the highest order.
Welcome to the circus, we're glad to have you.
Sex is great, but truthfully sex has been a crutch for me, I'll admit. When I'm at my lowest I'll try to seek distraction with almost superhuman speed and precision. I've perfected this art of avoidance much more than the average human, and these skills are second to none. I’m like the world’s best tantric, sacred yogi, but the world’s worst decision-maker. Great.
However, sex has also been my ultimate tool for self-discovery. I've gained more clarity on what my boundaries are as a person and undid a lot of age-old intimacy issues and repression simply by tackling them at the source and experiencing sex fully. I've also learned how much better I can be in relationships, and what I want when I’m in one. If we could open up about these things without the fear of persecution or judgement instead of avoiding them like the plague the world would be a much happier place, truly. It’s always trial-by-fire learning on Earth, but you’re still here, still breathing. You are loved.
So what can we learn from sex? Well, we already understand that sex is ultimately a good thing. It is healing. It builds connections with people. It's also a very personal thing. Just like snowflakes, no two sexual journeys are alike. No two preferences are alike. No two chemistries are alike. We can also assume that we do not have sex figured out, clearly. Like at all. It’s just like we're all just poking around in the dark trying to see what fits. (I'm sorry, these jokes are clearly too easy.)
So if sex isn’t the enemy then what is? Does that mean sex has an enemy? If sex had an enemy what would it be? Abstinence? Polygamists? Scientologists?
I think the real enemy here is fear. By releasing our own egos and just accepting all that there is in the world, AS IS, we can learn to navigate this world a little bit easier, and make it easier for others in the process. Learning to communicate your boundaries, your fears, as well as your passions is the essence of what life should be made of. It’s the good mixed in with the bad.
Look, I've answered one of life's toughest questions today: is sex good or bad? The answer is: it's both. I've done all the research so you don't have to. You're all welcome. Now you can use that extra time that I’ve saved for you by reading a book, taking an online class, or fighting the patriarchy. You know, whatever floats your boat.
There's not much else we can do at this point, but the future is definitely going to be interesting to witness. The way we view sex will also change, maybe for good, maybe for bad. The bright side is: At least now we have another tool that, when used properly, can be a method of deeper human connection. And you thought this moment would never come again. Silly you.
Worst case scenario? You masturbate every day until your arm falls off and Lady 'Rona has left us behind once and for all. But please remember to always wash your hands afterwards. Humanity depends on it.