Change Your Language to Change Your Thoughts Around Sex and Love
A good male friend recently confessed to me something that, I believe, many men secretly think. He said,“If I meet a girl and after a few hours she’s already willing to have sex, I am disappointed. I can’t help thinking that she’s doing it with many other men – she’s just fucking around.” But I’ve come to believe that nothing is more dangerous for our sex and love lives than the negative way we think and speak.
It was the Nth time I had heard this comment about someone, but the derogatory charge behind those words hit me. I had to bring my friend’s attention to his words. This led to a deep and honest discussion about sexuality and relationships.
Often stopping for a moment to think about what we just said about intimacy can give us a valuable sneak peek into our subconscious ideas and values. The language we use around sex and love is especially charged. It expresses and conditions our attitude towards sex and love.
Here’s a few examples of negatively charged expressions we use abundantly, often without realizing the implications.
“He/She is just fucking around.”
Even in our, “sexually liberated” times, we still negatively judge anyone who lives his or her sexuality with multiple people. We consider any relationship that’s not strictly monogamous to be impure and lowly.
The term, “fucking around” reflects our fear and judgment of sexual promiscuity. It summons images of objectification, low respect, and zero emotional connection.
But this is a lot to assume, especially when speaking about anyone else but ourselves. Even is someone wants to explore sexuality with as many people as possible, isn’t that a positive way to spread sexual and emotional energy among many different people?
Like a sexual butterfly.
Experience shows that many intelligent, deep, loving, and caring people have done exactly this at some point of their lives.
Sexually negative judgments are particularly severe towards women.
The definition of easy is, “free from worries or problems”. Sounds great, right? And indeed, easy is good in virtually all contexts of life. Having an easy life, being an easy person, taking it easy, easing up – we all like that.
How come then, that being an, “easy woman” is immoral and shameful? Why should a woman refrain from having an uncomplicated and easy sexual life, if she wants to?
With this expression, we may be unconsciously suggesting that we prefer women to be full of worries and problems around sexuality. This becomes so ingrained, that women will often even judge themselves harshly for desiring uncomplicated, “easy” intimate encounters.
“He/She has been cheating on him/her.”
This expression conjures dark stories of evil, cunning and deceit, such as the ones we see in movies and books. In the media, there is always a clear-cut judgment of everyone involved in a “cheating” episode: the victim, the perpetrator, and the accomplices are all designed to be either good or evil.
But reality has a way of escaping these simplistic projections. The “unfaithful wife” may turn out to be a loving and caring woman that tries to do her best to keep her emotional life healthy.
We may discover that the “cheating husband” adores his wife and family, while still needing emotional and sexual diversity. True, cheating implies that an agreement has been broken. But often, we realize that the problem lies more in the rigidness of the agreement itself, its inability to cope with the changes in our lives, rather than in the immorality of the people involved.
Changing Our Language Around Sex and Love
Although we don’t necessarily need to radically change our way of speaking about intimacy and relationships, bringing awareness to it never hurts. The temptation to negatively judge someone else’s love life can be very strong, but it is unlikely to produce any beneficial results, other than reinforcing our anger and righteousness.
So here is a practical suggestion: let’s be attentive to the negatively charged expressions we may use around sexuality and love. Most often, these expressions reveal an unnecessary negative bias of someone else’s life. At the very least, bringing awareness to them can give us an insight into our hidden fears and sore spots.
One day, we might even decide to get such expressions out of our vocabulary and open our minds and hearts to the incredible diversity that human beings have to experience connection, intimacy and sexuality.
[For more on sex and relationships, listen to the ManTalks Podcast]
Raffaello Manacorda (but you can call him Raffa, he likes that) is a Tantra teacher, author, and coach. After graduating with a degree in Philosophy, he spent more than a decade living in alternative communities and working as a radical activist. He discovered Tantra early in his twenties, and then went on to explore the deep secrets of sex and spirit. He is the creator of The Network of Love, an international workshop on conscious relationships, and a regular columnist for The Elephant Journal. His current obsession is human evolution in all of its aspects, and he loves to rant about Tantra, sexuality, and conscious relationships.
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