Repression: Not What You Think It Is
Misconceptions surround sexual repression. And both women and men can be confused.
Some women feel insulted if anyone suggests they might be repressed.
And conversations with guys have made me realize that plenty of them think that repression means, “I really want to have sex with you but I’m going to consciously repress the idea.”
Repression isn’t quite like that.
Consciously blocking desire becomes an inability to feel
Yes, in the early stages repression can be at least partly conscious. A woman may have sexual feelings and actively work to block them from fear of punishment by God, her parents or “gaining a reputation” — and not a good one — in high school.
But after a while she’s not consciously blocking anything. She simply loses sexual feelings and energy.
And it’s not just punishment that represses.
Society tells girls that sex is shameful
Society bombards girls and women with the idea that their sexuality is sinful:
- Women are still routinely put down as “sluts” and “ho’s.” Which means: women’s sexual desire is bad and dangerous
- Dad may brag about his son’s sexual prowess but feel relieved that his daughter hasn’t dated yet
- Viagra is openly advertised but products aiding women’s sexuality are not
- How many movies tell stories about girls trying to lose their virginity?
- When I ask students what they call a penis and a vagina, two responses stand out: “cock” and “down there.” A “cock” is proud. “Down there” disappears
- The fear of sexual violence — or actually experiencing it — makes sexuality seem fearful
- And be careful girls, or you may get f’d or screwed
The result: sexual dysfunction
It all gets internalized — society gets in our heads.
And so you get statistics like these:
Nearly half of American women have experienced dysfunction: no or low interest, pain, difficulty climaxing or an inability to orgasm, for instance. About one-third of women under age 35 frequently feel sad, anxious, restless or irritable after sex. One study found that only 29% of women always climax with their partners. And many orgasmic women need a vibrator.
Even after a woman marries and “it’s okay,” she may not be that interested — if she is deeply injured.
Otherwise, she may be sexually turned on at first. But after she’s been with him for a while she may lose interest. That’s common. It’s also a sign of repression.
I have probably experienced more problems with this than most, between being raised in one of the most sex-negative religions out there, and in a sex-negative family, with sex-negative friends from my church. Now add some adolescent slut-shaming — even though I had never had sex. And was afraid of it.
I was much more interested in sexuality at age 10 than at age 20.
That’s culture, not biology.
Women raised in sex-positive societies are easily and multiply orgasmic. And they don’t need mechanical equipment.
Most women living in modern societies aren’t as healthy as they could be. Maybe none are.
But it’s not their fault. It’s society’s fault.
So how to deal with it? That’s a big topic, which I will save for later.
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Posted on October 27, 2014, in feminism, psychology, relationships, sex and sexuality, women and tagged feminism, psychology, relationships, sex and sexuality, sexual repression, women. Bookmark the permalink. 29 Comments.