Were sex and nudity taboo subjects in your home growing up? Were you taught “conventional” beliefs like boys play with trucks and become doctors and girls play with dolls and become nurses? Was masturbation an unmentionable topic? Did you enter puberty and adolescence completely unprepared for the raging hormones and emotions you had to experience? You were probably a mess of hang-ups and dysfunctional sexual beliefs before you ever had your first sexual experience.
We’ve been digging deeper into your core foundational beliefs that impact your prosperity. Last post we looked at marriage and relationships. Now let’s explore the limiting beliefs and programming around sex and sexuality – and how you can replace them with empowering ones.
Sex and sexuality are taboo or emotionally charged subjects in many religions, and as a result, religion has created a lot of negative and erroneous beliefs on these issues. Most of these beliefs are based upon centuries-old myths, stereotypes, and superstitions. So it’s no surprise that the memes, programming, and beliefs about sex and sexuality are charged with fierce emotion. Making them worse is the widespread level of scientific illiteracy on the subject. The memes and beliefs to be wary of in this category are:
- Sex is dirty
- Pleasure is the road to damnation
- Women are inferior
- Gender is binary
- Non-heterosexuality is unnatural or immoral
Sexual energy is a primal instinct and one of the most powerful drivers of behavior in all animals. If you have ever seen horse breeding or certain animals mating in the wild, you know how ferocious this energy can be. The human animal likes to think we are more sophisticated and civilized, and not driven by these base urges, but while we subdue them, we don’t eliminate them. Once you understand that sexual urges and energy are a scientific fact, you recognize how foolish any attempt to deny them are.
This doesn’t mean we must rut in the field like wild animals. As an enlightened species, we can and should maintain certain standards of behavior. And must demand that respect and mutual consent are always present. We should also protect the vulnerable from predators who would harm them.
I believe Napoleon Hill was on to something when he discussed sexual energy in Think & Grow Rich! One of his observations was that most men (in a time of rampant misogyny) didn’t reach success until their ‘50s, when they were better able to channel their sexual energy. But respecting and channeling sexual energy does not mean denying it, attempting to repress it, or assigning negative values and emotions to it.
Sex is natural and good, not immoral or evil. You can thank organized religion for the tsunami of programming decreeing that sex is dirty or sinful. Like so many of the memes that organized religion is responsible for disseminating, their brainwashing on sex and sexuality is based on fear, ignorance, and superstitions, with no space left for facts.
The Puritans believed that sex led to damnation, but we can certain operate at a higher level of critical thinking that that today. After all, if it wasn’t for sex, we wouldn’t be here. (The entire Puritanical philosophy is based on the premise that pretty much any pleasure leads to damnation. This is part of the whole crazy “you are meant to suffer here and get your reward in the afterlife” meme so much of organized religion loves to infect you with.)
Next, we need to have a discussion about the way women are viewed and treated in the world today. And once again, we can thank organized religion for much of the bias. There are still religious groups and governments that treat women as chattel, believe they should be denied basic rights such as voting or owning property, and even be killed for wanting to receive an education. You can’t have a healthy attitude about sex or sexuality until beliefs like these are recognized as malevolent, immoral, and anti-humanity.
As I mentioned above, a contributing factor for many negative beliefs about sex and sexuality is widespread scientific illiteracy. Although you may have a hard time believing it, your doctor, the teachers you had, and the people who pass laws in your country probably fall into this group of people ignorant about some basic scientific facts. Let’s look at two important ones:
The first erroneous belief is that there are only two genders. This is not even close to being true. You probably have the same basic understanding of gender and sexuality as most other people. For at least a couple thousand years, organized religion has been teaching that when the sperm reaches the egg. the result is either XX chromosome (which produces a girl), or a XY chromosome (which produces a boy). That is a very simplistic explanation and does happen fairly frequently.
But there are a number of other scenarios that also play out quite commonly…
In fact, there are actually almost 20 known types of sex variations in addition to what we call male and female. Just to give you an idea, here are a few of them. Ullrich-Turner Syndrome manifests as several conditions in females, where all or part of the sex chromosomes are absent. Characteristics can range from small stature or a low hairline, to non-working ovaries and sterility.
With Klinefelter Syndrome a male has one or more extra X chromosomes, so they could be XXY, XXXY, etc. Most of the time the symptoms are undetectable, or could be minor like hypogonadism, or more severe such as sterility. They may have a penis and testes, but also show wide hips like a female and have small breasts. And in Ovotestes the person has both ovarian and testicular tissues.
Other times the person may have no outward signs of an intersex condition at birth, and it doesn’t develop until puberty or adulthood. (Or isn’t major enough to become noticeable at all.) That’s because genitalia are not the only factor in intersex conditions. They are also created by chromosomes, hormones and internal reproductive organs. For many of these people, their gender does not match the one they were assigned at birth. The reality is that one in every 150 people is intersex, so the world is filled with many intersex people. You could be intersex yourself and not even know it.
Complicating the matter is that in many cases, non-consensual genital surgery is performed on infants. Many intersex people are born with ambiguous genitalia – a clitoris that is deemed too large, or a penis considered too small. So doctors may surgically assign an infant as female, because they assume it is easier to go through life with a vagina than a small or partially developed penis. In the United States, 45 babies with intersex conditions receive surgery every day and this often results in incorrect gender assignment.
These are some of the reasons we have people who are born in one physical gender, but psychologically are another. While the Adam and Eve tale and other binary gender stories are useful to organized religion, they don’t have any basis in fact or reality. It doesn’t matter how many centuries religious figures have been saying this, or how many times they repeat it, it still isn’t true.
A complete falsehood like binary gender can be accepted as truth because of the tyranny of the majority dynamic that occurs so frequently in society. Certainly a majority of people are genetically XX or XY chromosome-wise, but that doesn’t erase the huge number of people who are not. And they are human too. (Last time I checked, there were 58 gender options for Facebook users.)
If you’re like most people, you’ve lived your entire life with binary gender as one of your foundational beliefs about sex. Can you see how this might cause you some confusion in your relationships? And think of all the people who don’t fit into the two conventional categories. If everyone around you is trying to assign an incorrect gender to you, you’re going to have a difficult time finding healthy relationships and living a prosperous life.
The second area of widespread scientific ignorance is the issue of sexuality or sexual orientation. The conventional argument you hear frequently today (usually from religious people) maintains that heterosexuality is the only natural and moral sexual orientation. They believe that bisexuality, homosexuality, pansexuality, and other sexualities are a choice or preference. But sexuality is not a predilection but a result of genetics, biology, and the evolutionary process.
Because of the various chromosomes, hormonal, and genital combinations nature has blessed us with, there are a lot of naturally occurring attractions in addition to male and female. And it has always been so, since the inception of humankind. From the warrior-monks of Mount Hiei to ancient China, it was fairly common for kings, emperors, and wealthy merchants to have male “pets” or concubines. It was not uncommon for fierce warriors of many tribes to have a wife and family at home they fought for, as well as a young male concubine. Homosexuality and bisexuality were celebrated in the Roman Empire.
You’re may believe that non-heterosexuality is immoral or unnatural, but that is an opinion you were programmed with, and not a fact supported by any science. There is overwhelming evidence of homosexuality and bisexuality in the animal kingdom, documented in at least 1,500 species. And as far as we can tell, it occurs naturally, not because a kangaroo was exposed to an episode of Modern Family or converted by their gay kangaroo scoutmaster. It is obvious that all sexualities are a naturally occurring dynamic in nature. Otherwise non-heterosexual humans and animals would have been eliminated in the course of biological evolution.
The people we allow to influence us the most – religious leaders, government officials, and cultural icons – have seriously let us down. You may be programmed with beliefs or enslaved with by government regulations which support discriminating, persecuting, or even attacking certain people because of their sex or sexuality. But to do so is against the most basic tenants of prosperity. The resulting fear and ignorance about these subjects are causing people to attack, demonize, and even kill others. Perhaps just as dangerous, is the programming non-heterosexuals and non-binary gender people are receiving themselves.
There is much hate, prejudice, and fear just within the LGBTQ community itself. This leads to more discrimination, persecution and abuse. And also plays a large role in self-destructive behavior, depression and other mental illnesses, and suicide.
As you can see, there are a lot of cray-cray beliefs surrounding sex. And you can be forgiven if you’re frustrated, threatened, and confused – and are riddled with scores of sexual hang-ups, fears, and memes – preventing you from living a prosperous life. In the next post, I share some ways to reframe the discussion and develop healthy, empowering, and prosperous beliefs about sex and sexuality. Until then, would love to see your thoughts below.
Once again, a spot-on post. There are so many crazy beliefs - crazy only once we apply some actual thinking to them. As a gay guy, I know that internalized homophobia is way more powerful than negative messages from the external world (and those are plentiful of course).
From Mad Genius to a blog post you wrote some time ago about the many forms of tender types there are in this world and we are in the dark about this and so much more. Thank you for opening up my eyes to seeing way beyond what I have been told, taught and even searched myself. When you think you have reached a post, you discover there are so many more that will follow.
Love this Randy! As you may know my podcast (Too Wild Orchids) is on a mission to unshame sex. Sex is beautiful and natural and shouldn't be thought of as shameful or evil. I've had so many people email me saying that by shining a light on this topic it gave them the permission they needed to not hate themselves, to feel better about their desires and to open up conversations with their partners. It's a beautiful thing when you allow yourself to be vulnerable and are met with acceptance. It is good to feel good; and pleasure is pleasurable. If we weren't supposed to enjoy it it wouldn't feel so amazing. Thank you for this very timely and well written post. ~Seanlai
Thanks, great to see you here. Wait until you seen the new post tonight!
I've always loved Dan Savage's Savage Love advice column for his straight ahead, common sense advice to sex, his embrace of all things kink if that floats your boat, plus his wicked sense of humor.. don't know if it's still online but he posted a hilarious talk he gave where he said he knew he was gay from a young age but he didn't want to be the fag with a poodle that his macho cop dad used to laugh at on Barney Miller... but he said the boy he and his partner adopted wanted a dog and of course it had to be a poodle and Savage wound up[ being the fag in the park looking for his poodle... funny stuff..
just remember-the Roman empire fell
The ideology of removal of everything in the mind is a new brain washing randy. A new ideology and prejudice. I always read you but I do not agree with all of your beliefs.
I'm glad you don't agree with all of my beliefs, or there would be no reason for you to visit here.