Where's the love in a time of sex

Nowadays, in our commodified world, everything that once was free is up for sale, even sex. That's right I'm going to use the same tired old cliché; sex sells.

There's no shortage of examples when it comes to the selling of sex. London alone has more than a few strip clubs, dozens of sex shops and hundreds of sex workers. But sex also sells itself in the form of pharmaceutical enhancements, cosmetic surgeries, and is also being pimped out by marketers who sexualize every other commodity from soap to cell phones.

It's as if sex is the only thing that sells (other than fear of course). Whether it's cars or beer, the product is secondary to the sexualized people selling it. We are bombarded with images of almost naked people in suggestive positions on our TV's at home and on billboards in the street on a daily basis.

The magazines on display at the grocery stores are entirely based on sex, only offering tips on how to be sexual objects, and images of models they've turned into sexual objects.

Sex is everywhere. We can't escape it. It's permeated into every aspect of our culture,and the more prevalent it gets the more oppressive and dehumanizing it becomes. The human element has been taken out. Love is no longer part of the equation either. It's all about sex, and we've become the sex objects, dehumanized and disillusioned.

But for a society that's obsessed with sex to such an unhealthy degree, we sure are a bunch of prude conservatives.

Long gone are the revolutionary days of ‘free love', when people had open minds about sexuality and sexual experimentation and polyamory reigned. Instead of basing our sexual relations on mutual liberation from oppressive social norms, we now sell ourselves in the market economy of lovers.

We are told, and most of us believe, that there is a short supply of love, and that if we do not stake our claim now by chaining ourselves to a monogamous partner we will be left alone with nothing. Therefore we no longer want to share our love freely, we want to use our sexual relations as a means to achieve other ends. So instead of acting on our desires, we suppress them.

Even when we are sexually attracted to somebody we resist our urges because of societal norms. We don't want to ruin our reputations, or ruin friendships (not the result of sex, but the social stigma that surrounds it). We don't want to feel physically attached to others anymore. And when we do share our bodies with others we feel the need to own them afterwards. We want the exclusive rights to sexual interaction with that individual once we've staked our claim and sealed the deal.

We then measure our partners' commitment and affection in terms of how much they are willing to sacrifice for us, unable to imagine that love and pleasure could be things that multiply when shared. In a healthy relationship, conversely, friends and lovers enable each other to be able to do and live and feel more.

But let's be clear. Monogamous relationships aren't intrinsically bad or unhealthy. Monogamous relationships can be liberating and energizing for both parties if they are built on honesty, equality, mutual respect and love. I myself am in a monogamous relationship and it works (most of the time).

The problem is that some exclusive relationships are not liberating at all. Instead, one person dominates and controls the other, forcing their partner to sacrifice their own ambitions and desires. These dominating relationships are also constant scenes of jealousy issues that complicate, and even ruin, pre-existing friendships, further isolating ‘couples'.

Good relationships (sexual or otherwise) come naturally. They don't need to be forced, and shouldn't take work, or require any type of self-sacrifice. We already sacrifice so much of ourselves to survive in this society, we shouldn't have to sacrifice our love and sex lives in return for affection and reassurance.

Don't sacrifice yourself! Don't let your sex life be dominated by anyone else. Don't let them turn you into a sex object, but feel no guilt in your desires. Share yourself freely and let love and pleasure multiply.

Editorial opinions or comments expressed in this online edition of Interrobang newspaper reflect the views of the writer and are not those of the Interrobang or the Fanshawe Student Union. The Interrobang is published weekly by the Fanshawe Student Union at 1001 Fanshawe College Blvd., P.O. Box 7005, London, Ontario, N5Y 5R6 and distributed through the Fanshawe College community. Letters to the editor are welcome. All letters are subject to editing and should be emailed. All letters must be accompanied by contact information. Letters can also be submitted online by clicking here.