Prior to reading Greta Christina’s article “Are we having sex now or what?” I thought that it would be quite simple to define real sex. I had a clear idea in my mind of what I thought sex was, but Christina’s arguments got me thinking. There are many different forms of sex, vaginal, oral, and anal, and many people would include masturbation into the list as well. I would have to say my definition of real sex constitutes the penetration of an orifice. I do not include whether or not an orgasm is had in my definition because sex, for me, is not always about orgasming, nor do I consider masturbation, the stimulation of the clitoris with a vibrator for the purposes of orgasming, to be “real sex.” There were periods of time in my life when I fooled around with friends after a really long study session, or after one too many drinks, but while I consider the actions that were taken to be sexual in nature, if no penetration occurred, it wasn’t sex. I consider those moments to be intimate, but not all instances of “real sex” are necessarily intimate.
I started to form my ideas and values about sexual behavior in high school. I was lucky enough to have a group of friends, male and female alike, who were all mature enough to discuss sexual exploration frankly without giggling or getting embarrassed, and thinking back on it now, my definition of what constitutes “real sex” has remained constant, though admittedly, I never thought about having to frame a specific definition prior to this assignment. To answer the question honestly, I must state that my ideas on this definition were developed through discussion and personal experience, but they were not solidified into a concrete definition until this assignment.
I freely admit to associating with others who have different values and beliefs regarding their sexual behavior, and others who have the same values but a different definition of what constitutes sexual behavior or “real sex.” As a result of this assignment, I sat down with a few friends and, reading them choice sections of Greta Christina’s article, asked them what their definition of real sex was. I received answers ranging from “it’s only real sex if one person orgasms” to “sex is vaginal penetration only.” Outside of the fact that such a question, and the subsequent answers received, sparked a lively debate, our differing beliefs and values have never caused any problems, for several reasons. For individuals to associate with one another, or even be friends with one another, they do not all have to believe the same thing or have the same set of values; if they did, life would be rather boring. For another thing, simply because an individual associates with someone does not necessarily mean that there are any sexual components of that relationship, so if not for outright asking, two individuals could have completely different beliefs and values regarding sexual acts and not necessarily ever know it. Humans are different from one another; to assume that two associates would have a form of conflict between each other because of different values each holds about sexuality is a bit extreme. While there are prejudices in the world today, and while sexual orientation is a cause for concern for some, this does not cause a problem for me or for those I associate with, so I could not say the true prevalence of such an occurrence. Sexuality is a part of human nature, and each person’s definition varies in one manner or another; to assume anything else would be pretentious or presumptuous.