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Warning: this contains controversial subject matter.

“Everything in the world is about sex except sex. Sex is about power.”
― Oscar Wilde

What is it about sex? Why does it catch everyone’s attention in a way that other subjects do not? Let’s face it if you open a newspaper and there is some scandalous snippet about a well-known politician, do your eyes not immediately wander over to what you might perceive to be something juicy, something to gossip about on the telephone, by the water cooler: “Who would have thought it? Yes, and he’s married with three children!” Sex elicits shock, surprise, disbelief, smugness. It questions morality. It excites. It turns you off. It turns you on. It can bring on a headache. Some can take it, others prefer to leave it. Some will only do it if you put a ring on it. Or so Beyoncé would have us believe.

So what is this three letter word all about? Why is it so pivotal? Is it because we cannot exist without it? We can’t exist without the air we breathe, but does talk of “air”, (incidentally another three letter word) impact the human race in quite the same way as sex does? An article on air and an article on sex? Which do you read first? Air or sex? Sin -an old-fashioned word with religious connotations. Sin too is pivotal to the human condition. Who doesn’t sin each day, intentionally or not. Sin excites, shocks and questions morality, but not in the same way as sex does.

We cannot live without sex. It is central to our lives. And if this is the case, why is it not revered? The association with dirt cannot be denied. When I was growing up, my mother could not say the word “sex”. So I was introduced to menstruation, by being given a little pamphlet about it with the warning: “Don’t fool around boys”. That was the extent of my sex education from the woman who gave birth to me. You would have thought that I would have been given more detailed information from someone who had been there, done it, got the “T” shirt – right? So the shy, confused eleven year-old, was left to negotiate her own sexual journey armed with a pamphlet and an ambiguous statement. What exactly did “don’t fool around boys mean”? Don’t appear to be an idiot in the presence of boys? What would a boy consider to be foolish behaviour?

Sex, sadly is also a commodity. This some would say, beautiful expression of connection between two people can be bought, sold, bartered, negotiated, and disposed of. Sex has been reduced to a retail concern, with economic connotations. Just as you can “pop” to Tesco for your bread, milk and potatoes, you can pop out to buy sex too. Both sustain you. But when was the last time you got excited about spending a night in with your loaf of bread? Isn’t sex more satisfying? Especially with a loved one with whom you’ve forged emotional ties.

So what is sex? A beautiful expression of connection or a physical urge which needs to be satisfied? It would appear to be both. A sexual paradox?

And then, there’s abuse. Using sex to ruin a child’s life. Wrong! Forcing yourself on an individual who does not want to be part of your desire to satisfy your own physical urge. Wrong! How can it be acceptable to be irresponsible about sexual gratification if it involves stealing a child’s right to explore their own sexuality in their own time, at their own pace, when they want to? Yet this is what child molesters, paedophiles, and those inclined to this criminal behaviour would want to impose on those of us who find this reprehensible. This is not sex. This is depravity. Make no bones about that. Once you have stolen someone’s innocence, you might as well have killed them. Yes, I know this is unpalatable for many. But it is the reality. I have to shock you. Because I have no other way of stressing the hurt, the pain, the distress, the emotional turmoil, the mental turmoil, the taking of a valuable life. Who knows what that child, young person would have achieved had they not found it necessary to heal that trauma in later life? Hiding away from the world, instead of boldly shining their light.

So I’ve dealt with “sex” and I’ve touched on “ties”. Now you’re wondering what I’m going to say about “which road to take”. It was in fact a play on the words “Sex, Lies and Videotape”, that well known film starring Andie Mcdowell and James Spader. I have nothing more to say than I hope you appreciate my pun.

~ MEW

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