Is Sex No Big Deal Today?
Today, many of us live wherever our job takes us, far away from home. We have a group of friends and we want to fit in with them. And when most of them are having sex with live-in partners, we also find partners to have sex with – so that we fit in, so that we are one of the gang.”
Have sex to be one of the gang? How bizarre was that? And is sex a hunger like the hunger that we can satisfy in any restaurant that we walk into? Can we satisfy it with any man who happens to be “in the mood” when we are? Isn’t there an emotional component to sex? And in the same vein, can a relationship be based on just sex?
According to psychiatrists, a good, solid, long-term relationship cannot be based only on sex. There has also to be respect, at least affection if not love as well as trust in a relationship if it is to survive the ups and downs of life. If these are not present, one of the partners will bail out of the relationship when the going gets tough and the relationship will end. So, if sex is all that holds a couple together, the bond is unlikely to survive the rough and tumble of life.
In the initial stage of the relationship one may not be able to get enough of the other sexually, but this stage is likely to come to an end sooner or later. Familiarity will breed sexual boredom if not contempt. One or both the partners will want to “do it” with someone else just for the sake of variety and the couple will break up.
On the other hand, when the relationship between a man and woman is a strong one, something solid – companionship, genuine respect and liking for the other, shared interests, the ability to laugh together and the like – will be left behind even after the first sexual hunger and passion declines, and the relationship will continue to be strong and healthy.
A broken relationship often leaves one of the partners feeling used and discarded. The self-image and self-confidence of this partner is badly dented. When a person is in a string of relationships, each ending in a break-up, the person may become bitter and unhappy.
Women in a country like India get the worst of the bargain when it comes to live-in relationships. A young man can sow his wild oats and then go back to his family and marry the young woman his parents choose for him or can marry for love after confessing and being forgiven his peccadilloes. In fact his wife may admire him more for having been a Don Juan before settling down. And then these liberal-minded men who were earlier involved in live-in relationships, often become suspicious and possessive husbands!
Mix of Permissiveness
But a woman who has indulged in even one sexual adventure before marriage is still often condemned and discarded by both her family and by society. Such is the strange mix of permissiveness and conservatism that make up Indian attitudes today!
So are young women who opt for sexual and live-in relationships just foolish? Actually, we have to admit that these outspoken and unafraid young women have a reality on their side. By the time todayʼs successful high-fliers finish an arduous course of studies, establish themselves in jobs and get their first promotions, they are as old as their mothers were when they their families were complete! And, like it or not, the truth of the matter is that it is difficult for a woman in her middle to late 20s to live without the company of a man or without sex. So, they get into a live-in relationship.
But when the nesting urge hits her, why doesn’t a young woman marry her live-in partner or a suitable man from her group? The problem is that now the young men in their group, the men they began their careers with, socialized with, had fun with and often had sex with, do not want to marry them. They want younger women or women chosen by their families.
Then why don’t these young women too opt for traditional arranged marriages? After all, the whole process of arrangement has been modernized these days and doesn’t involve a young man and his family coming to “see” a girl. Rather, it consists of a young woman being introduced in a civilized way to a young man that friends and relatives think will suit her.
The trouble is that by the time the women are ready for marriage career-wise, the characters of these successful young women have been formed. They are now mature and know very clearly what they want not only from a spouse but also from life.
By now, they have seen the world and as a result, they want to marry men a little older than them, men who are successful, very well-to-do, who have very modern ideas, who will not saddle them with home duties and the care of old parents-in-law and who will accept that they are not virgins. But these dream men don’t come along for the asking and the result is that these women become frustrated and then end up either alone or in long-term live-in relationships.
Coming to the matter of sex, we should not condemn young people who end up in live-in relationships today out of hand because the fact of the matter is that all young men and women are interested in sex and need it! We all do, even when we won’t admit it.
Vital Sexual Creatures
Human beings are vitally sexual creatures, though for some reason many – usually women – are, or pretend to be, embarrassed and disgusted by it. In fact, middle-aged women often claim that they and their husbands do not have sex any longer.
This middle-aged woman could not have been more wrong. Sex is not something disgusting and bestial that we indulge in because we cannot control our selves. It is a false prudery that makes sex seems repugnant when actually it is a healthy celebration of life.
Our sex life is directly related to our health and fulfilling, and satisfying sex results in tremendous benefits for us both physically and psychologically. Have you ever thought when you were “in the mood”, that sex will energize your immune system, help you age in a healthy manner and control your weight? The chances are that you haven’t, but the fact is that sex does all this. As far as our immunity goes, frequent sex (once or twice a week) raises the level of antibodies called immunoglobins and this increases our immunity to disease. And as far as weight control is concerned, 30 minutes of sex burns 85 calories. And it’s certainly a more fun way of doing this than mindless jogging on a treadmill!
In today’s world where almost every second person suffers from high blood pressure, husbands should know that a hug – just an affectionate hug! – is enough to bring their wives BP tumbling down. This is because both physical demonstrations of affection and sex relieve stress and this lowers one’s BP. Frequent sex lowers diastolic blood pressure, the more important component of the blood pressure figures.
Again, an active sex life when young reduces the risk of prostate cancer in these men by 33 per cent when they are older. As for women, when they participate actively in sex, they clench the pelvic girdle (as this increases enjoyment of sex) and this strengthens the girdle in the long run. A strong pelvic girdle in turn reduces the risk of incontinence in later life.
Books and movies often satirize old men who are just not ready to give up the pleasures of the flesh by portraying them as having heart attacks and dying when they try to push their ageing bodies to perform to the satisfaction of much younger women.
Be that as it may, regular sex actually reduces the possibility of fatal heart attacks by 50 per cent. Sex can also reduce pain. Oxytocin goes through the body when it is involved in the sex act, and this increases the production of endorphins and any pain then being experienced by the body is reduced. And coming to the matter of age, there isn’t an age when we stop needing or desiring sex. Yes, older persons may not achieve orgasms as easily or as often, but then they probably don’t mind that! Stroking, touching, cuddling all feel good even at an older age and make one feel desired and loved. Intimacy makes one feel good and when one feels one good one is happier, one’s BP falls and one is calmer and able to face life better.
This feeling of being desired and loved is important for all of us. All human beings are fragile creatures and anything that boosts our self-esteem is good for us. Sex does this and so sex is good for us!
Of course orgasms enrich the sexual experience. They increase levels of oxytocin which is called the “love hormone”. The love referred to here is not just sexual love but all kinds of love and all the results of love – love for life, love for our fellow beings, bonding with people, trusting others, being generous and helpful, etc.
And yes, it is a fact that you sleep better after good sex – and good sleep benefits us in many ways.
So sex is an important part of our lives. But to be good it has to be part of a solid long-term relationship based on mutual love, understanding and respect. We shouldn’t start off a relationship with sex, but the relationship should culminate in sex.
After all, when the sex urge levels off and then decreases, something substantial should be left behind to carry the relationship on. And finally, sex can make or mar a relationship. Sexual compatibility can help each partner overlook many faults in the other but, at the same time, a terrible or absent sex life can make even great love seem incomplete and meaningless. To sum up, we certainly can’t say that sex is no big deal!