It is OK people, I understand now. Sex is good! Sex can be really good for most people!
As I grew up I believed that sex (my childlike understand of) was bad, that sexual desire and that need for physical closeness was something that only bad people experienced and that I should be ashamed of ‘this’ without knowing what ‘this’ was. In addition a ‘good girl’ was expected to put significant physical space between herself and boys. In essence .. to reject natural attraction, or at the very least to be embarrassed and ashamed of that attraction.
I am not really sure of when or where I learnt that sex was bad or why I continued to believe it into my teenage years. Maybe it was a generational thing and most common with people of my parents age and culture. Maybe it was a family thing, brought about by fear of others doing harm to ‘children’. Maybe, my older siblings had got a bit too close and sexual with their peers and the parental rules and concerns were strengthen accordingly for the younger siblings. Or maybe one of my parents had a difficult moment with a stranger when they were quite young and this increased their fears around risk and safety.
However, now that I am older – much older, I know that where that belief came from is not important. What I do need to know and what is most important to understand is whether the childhood belief I had is still something I hold true – subconsciously. I need to explore what my belief about sex (read .. relationships and intimacy) is now that I am no longer the 12 year old that I used to be.
I am probably sharing more than you care to know about me – however I think the time has arrived to come clean with my wisdom – being a woman of experience and knowledge that I now am.
One of the things I have learnt is that we place a lot of responsibility on young girls for the right / wrong and good / bad experiences of intimate and sexual relationships – which is quite unfair and not helpful in guiding young men and women on how to treat people they are sexually and emotionally attracted to as well as those people (regardless of gender) they are in an intimate and close relationship with. We could instead teach our children and young people to be equally honorable to others, listen well, speak up for themselves and be respectful of other people’s personal space and intimate boundaries.
When we take time to stop and reflect on our beliefs and values, we have the opportunity to truly clarify what is important in our lives. Most people in their adolescent years, start to move away from family and begin to identify and form relationships with people outside of their immediate family and this is a normal and natural part of development and adult life. This development of ‘other’ relationships is also important for a healthy community and social life.
So what are your beliefs about intimate relationships, friendships and community relationships? What did you learn in your youth (from the adults and community around you) about relationships? What do you understand and could learn .. from those bravely honest and open conversations that you could have with your loved ones, your children and close friends about how you relate to others and their observations of you?
Have you ever taken a step back and watched yourself and your behaviour and really considered the attitudes and beliefs you hold dear?
Life is interesting and when we slow ourselves down and take an honest and clear look at our world it can open our eyes to improving our relationships. It can have an enormously profound impact, in a positive way on our emotional well-being and courage to be true to ourselves.
Recently I have been watching how people communicate with others, how they drive their cars and negotiate traffic and how they walk and move about during their regular day. Let’s look at car driving as a place to reflect on behaviours and beliefs – I don’t always travel well and at times suffer from travel sickness so have become increasing aware of occasions when I feel ill and have compared with other times when travelling that I do not suffer from nausea or dizziness. I wonder and reflect on the difference – my beliefs and expectations about the day, the driving, the driver – and my emotional state of health on the occasion. I have been travelling more with others in recent years and wonder if it is the driving or my emotional state that causes the problem? Some people drive as if they are in a hurry, racing up to the traffic lights, stopping abruptly and then driving hurriedly through the traffic passing, it seems, as many cars as they possible can. While others drive hesitantly with one foot on the brake at all times so the car moves along in jerky movements. Or they look intently and respectfully at the passengers to engage in intense conversations with scant regard for their ‘real’ responsibilities – that is, the safe driving required by them, the driver.
Another thing I have observed is the people who tent to have a personal space that is bigger than others – that is they prefer not to sit, stand or walk too close to others – tent to also use their cars in the same way. They park their cars away from other cars when they can, or in the larger bays and at the traffic light they often wait further back from the white line than most other car drivers.
Is this because they are reserved characters and don’t feel safe being in close proximity to others? Maybe it is more because they have an expensive and valuable car and have learnt by bitter experience that not all people appreciate boundaries and care of other people possessions and their care has been damaged or scratched by others in the past?
Meaning & definition
the physical space immediately surrounding someone, into which encroachment can feel threatening or uncomfortable.
“he was invading her personal space”
However, the people that appear to like closeness and share more of their personal space as well as personal stories with others, also appear to drive in a way that seems to fit their personality type. Are they the people who drive up close (or over) the white line at the traffic lights and park their car right in the middle of all the activity in the parking lot? Are they the people who tend (from my observations) to lean towards their passengers when driving with a focus on the people they are travelling with them more than the road and direction they are travelling in. BTW, this does not mean they are necessarily unsafe in their driving. What it means for me is they have a the confidence and assertiveness that puts them at front and centre of every experience, with an expectation that they belong there. Is this relevant in other areas of their lives .. I wonder and I am curious about this.
The other observation I have made is how we may behave in meetings and social settings. There has been some research in how people behaviour in meetings and that we tend to take on a role and part of this relates to our personality style at work – aggressor, trouble maker, devils advocate, joker, peace maker, problem solver etc. Research also shows that we tend to be strongly influenced by group thinking as opposed to our individual beliefs and values in meetings and groups.
You are probably thinking what that all has to do with sex. Well, it does bring me to wonder if there is a link between our personality style and driving … might there also be a link between our personality, sexual behaviour in intimate situations and our listening skills in relationships including sexual encounters. S0 …
How does a person invite someone into their personal space when they are used to pushing people away?
And when a ‘friend’ sits close to another on the couch is this interpreted correctly or incorrectly as the behaviour of a potential lover (or rejection of affection), as opposed to the ‘friend’ sitting across the room … are they not interested in pursuing a more intimate and meaningful relationship?
And when listening to a lover does one listen to the spoken word or the body language and the behaviour more so? How does one know what to listen to and what to watch for in those sometimes awkward moments?
When presenting the question of sexual attraction and desire should we race up to the traffic lights, revving the engine and prepared to step over the boundary as soon as there is an opportunity or should we wait for the lights to eventually change to green and proceed with caution?
Do we truly listen or do we think we already know, therefore don’t really listen?
And more so, how does our healthy /unhealthy intimate relationship influence our thoughts and beliefs about our community and the relationship of others around us? When we make judgements about other people’s behaviour and personality, where is that judgement coming from? Is that from previous experience / wounding or from honest consideration and consultation about this very individual event.
And … what are we telling our children through our behaviour and responses when we were unaware they were watching, listening, and learning from everything we do and everything we say .. as well as what we don’t do or say?
Just wondering … and still learning!!