In America we generally have basic sex education in most states for high school kids. In the public schools they focus on the mechanics; on the risks; and on the biology of sex. The mechanics are as boring as it could be laid out; the risks are a good way to scare you but are generally ignored by “invincible” teenagers; the biology is all unromantic science. None of it covers why we would want to have sex. None of it covers the emotions around sex. None of it covers the variety that can be found in sex.
I don’t want to say that sex education is white washed because that’s not really it. The focus is more on the basics of what you want teenagers to know so they either don’t have sex or use protection. Teenagers are full of raging hormones though, and are not always aware of the emotions involved or how to handle them. They also need coaching to learn about the intricacies of sex. Beyond the mechanics and science they are currently learning everything else from porn. Not an ideal source.
I’ve read in many places that if sex is being used as the excuse for a relationship falling apart then generally it is due to something else in the relationship. It might be related to communication or a lack of intimacy from your partner. Maybe those are true for many, but there are definitely places where sex alone could be the largest problem.
No one has normative sex. Or most don’t. Studies prove this, but we are led to believe everyone does. Humans are a creative species with wild imaginations. We take those imaginations with us into the bedroom. Who we become when engaged in sex is remarkably different than who we are with friends, and we will do or say things that we would NEVER do or say otherwise. Things we might find repulsive outside of sex. Yet this non-PC kinkiness is rarely discussed, and when it is discussed it is either hush-hush or assumed that any two people will eventually figure out the non-normative sex they like together.
What if that isn’t true? What happens when two people play by the rules? They follow the sex education and limit promiscuity only to find out years later that they are on opposite sides of the spectrum for sexual appetites. According to all the experts this shouldn’t be a problem. The problem is something else. Sex is just sex.
I am very frustrated with this message. So much of our modern world is built around sex, yet we have no conversations or classes for young people about how to discover who they are sexually. I understand this is dangerous territory because we are not even supposed to talk about sex until we are married. But sex does happen before marriage and for some they find out after marriage that they should have had sex prior in order to learn about their partner. To learn if in fact they are compatible sexual partners.
Assuming a single faithful marriage, the only person you will be having sex with most of your life will be your spouse. That is one hell of a gamble. There are other aspects to a marriage: finances; friendship; hobbies; child rearing; etc. many of those will and do involve other people which can take the burden off of finding the perfect spouse. I can go fishing with my buddy Jim and my buddy Rick loves steak and cigars. My wife doesn’t like any of those, but I have friends to help. I have a financial advisor to help with finances. I have no friends and will never have friends to help out with sex.
Can you imagine? “Hey Wife, I’m gonna run down and bang Cynthia this afternoon. She and I share similar fantasies that you don’t like.” And she replies “Sounds good. I’m going to watch a sappy movie you would hate with my girlfriend. Be back for dinner.”
Highly unlikely scenario. But if I changed it to “Hey Wife, I’m gonna run down and hang with Russ this afternoon. He and I share similar hobbies that you don’t like.” You can see that there wouldn’t be any problems. Assuming the hobbies were woodworking or making homebrew. You can see that sex is the ONE important activity that absolutely cannot be shared outside of a marriage.
Now I find myself in a relationship with my wife of 13 years, and coming to the realization that we are not compatible sexually. We are great friends; financially sound; same tastes in decor; same child rearing philosophy; but we are wildly different in sexual preferences. There is no bridging this divide. No communication or date night that can solve this problem.
I had no idea how important this would be when I was younger because it is not discussed. I am patient to a fault and assumed eventually she would come around. All I needed was a strong marriage and everything would be perfect. Over the years I continued to work on being a better husband. It didn’t work because that theory is not true. We have a very strong marriage, yet I find that I can barely have sex with my wife. How is that possible? Because the experts are wrong.
There are so many types of activities and fetishes within sex, and they do not need to match up perfectly, but they shouldn’t be too far apart. In today’s world it is easier to find fetishes that match. You can look online, and join shared interest groups. You can find people with similar sexual preferences much easier. That ability and desire to find those preferences shows how important this aspect to a relationship is.
For example, if someone had a strong foot fetish while they found a partner that absolutely did not then that should be noted as a potential problem. They could match very well in other categories, but if this becomes a wedge issue for them then the rest of it may not matter. A strong person will be honest and leave. A weak person will find a way to cheat.
I worry that we do not spend time teaching people before marriage about the importance of all aspects and varieties of sex. Many of us are forced to figure out who we are on our own through trial and error – often with devastating results.