Pro tips for determining sexual normalcy.
“Normal” put in quotes sums it all up. Normal should be tongue-in-cheek these days. There is no normal other than each individual’s sexual norm.
I use the term “normal” now to mean personal to the individual. Your sexuality is as distinct as your fingerprint and as inherent as your eye color.
I consider it normal for you and your partner to embrace your sexuality as your birthright. You have every right to claim, experience, and celebrate it.
No government, law, religion, psychology, family nor anyone has any business interfering with your “normal” sexual behavior (a.k.a. your authentic sexual expression).
But in this era of emerging sexual liberation, normal must also include consideration of conscious sexual codes and practices such as consent, negotiation, safe words, education, after-care, and more that can allow our edgiest desires to be reasonably expressed with an eager partner seeking a similar edge.
How can you tell if your partner’s sexual desire is normal?
It sounds simple enough, but here’s the problem: We are in an era of expanding sexual expression unprecedented in the history of civilization. The vast range of human sexual potential has barely been explored up to this era.
“Normal” sexuality is actually quite complex and nuanced. Exploring the depths of our sexuality requires mature, responsible, adult behavior.
Human’s sexual maturity lags way behind the level of integrity required for this advanced form of sexual liberation. This emerging explosion of sexual expression is still in a very adolescent stage.
Hordes of eager explorers are rushing into this new sexual frontier seeking the intense sexual experiences and compelling ecstasy that can be found there. Too often, they are operating at a maturity level not much above a 13-year-old’s.
This leads to adolescent behaviors and transactions that can be reckless, irresponsible, deceptive and, at times, unfortunately, outright violations of consent…or worse.
The rampant immaturity we find common in this wild sexual frontier is understandable since sex has been forced to be the bastard of human personality for several millennia.
It has been banned, shunned, and looked down on as something only animals and the pathological or those possessed by sin and the devil would seek out, with the slight exception for procreation.
Of course, this limitation was never true for the aristocracy and the jet-set of every age who got to frolic madly, but it has always been true for the masses…until now!
Many of the issues created by our lack of sexual experience, honesty, and knowledge could more readily be resolved going forward if we had a rigorous ongoing comprehensive sex education program starting in middle school.
But we not only lack sex education for our young people, we lack sex education for adults, not to mention sex educators and sex therapists.
Sex education should be normal!
Pro-tip for determining sexual normalcy is to not let anyone else define what your normal sexuality is. And do not judge other’s sexuality just because it follows a different norm than yours.
Learn to express your sexual norm in a negotiated, consensual, and educated way.
Your sexuality is your birthright. If you need support untangling embedded shame, fear, confusion, internalized moral judgments, or sexual trauma, seek out a sex-positive therapist who will help you embrace your authentic sexuality.
(An abridged version of this article originally appeared in an interview with sex therapist Dr. Michael Aaron in Psychology Today.)