For so many people, their lives are boxes within boxes, constraints within constraints, limitations within limitations. The number of shoulds and musts and oughts and can’ts and mustnt’s are neverending.
We love our boxes. We have them around our work, our gender, our ethic grouping, our age, our relationship status, our parental status, our place of abode, our religious beliefs, our health, our appearance, our sports, our hobbies.
Then we love to categorise our personalities, whether it’s the multitude of supposedly scientific psychological tests or the alternative astrological type classifications, it’s all about putting ourselves in still more boxes.
How often do we say “I am a [insert classification]”, or limit ourselves by stating: “I’m [insert adjective] because I’m a [insert classification]”, or “I can/can’t/should/shouldn’t/must/mustn’t [insert verb] because I’m a [insert classification]”.
It’s all so limiting.
And it’s all based on fear.
And it comes through more powerfully, and more with more limits, in our sexuality than anywhere else.
I’m [insert gender] so I…… [have a high/low sex drive; like/don’t like sex]
I’m [insert age] so I….. [have high/low interest in sex; am sexy/not sexy]
I’m spiritual/an athiest/[insert religion] so I…. [think sex is about love/reproduction/marital duty/determined by genes]
I’m married/single/divorced/in a relationship so I… [you get my drift]
I’m fat/old/ugly so I…
Now of course we can be classified, of course we have an age, an appearance, a profession, etc, it’s all the crap that’s attached to the classification that’s the problem. “I’m fat and ugly and I don’t give damn, I’m having great sex!” versus: “Well, we’ve been together a long time and we’re not as trim as we used to be so of course we can’t have good sex.”
When it comes to sex though, I see the limitations everywhere, even in the supposedly free-spirited types: the swingers who think monogomy is boring; the kinksters who think vanilla sex is dull; the tantric types who think it’s got to be about love; the free love exponents who think we’ve got to let it all hang out.
And then it’s all so black and white. You’ve got to be one gender or the other, into women or into men, monogamous or deceitful, sexually active or celibate. How about we all embrace the possibility, for those for whom it feels real, to whatever extent feels right, of gender-bending, bisexuality, ethical nonmonogomy, celibacy as sexual expression. How about we see that all types of kinks and fetishes are fun to play with, that enlightened bdsm can be as empowering and connecting as deep spiritual sex. That missionary with the lights out can be as fulfilling an experience as swinging from the chandeliers.
How about we let ourselves be ourselves.
Don’t judge others, don’t judge ourselves. Give ourselves and others the freedom to explore and play and find out who we are in all aspects of our lives.
Get out of the boxes!
Jacqueline Hellyer is one of Australia’s foremost experts on sex and sexuality. In addition to her private clinical practice, she is the ” I’m the Sex Coach” for Men’s Health and Women’s Health magazines; a published author with a growing web presence and she runs the Tantric Fusion workshops.