Tuesday, 8 September 2015 // Sydney
ONLINE VOTING OPEN
Dr Nikki Goldstein
Chair: Dr Simon Longstaff
Sex is everywhere – from advertisements for cat food and soft drinks to the way men and women speak, dress and act everyday. We are encouraged to lead happy, healthy sex lives that enhance our well-being and relationships.
It seems we are empowered by embracing the hard won sexual freedoms earned these past few decades. The sexual revolution of the 1960s helped see the widespread recognition of female desire while the advent of the pill changed sexual relations, arguably putting men and women on more equal playing grounds. Recent years have seen overwhelmingly support for same-sex marriage suggesting Australian society has come to understand sexuality better than ever before. Glance at any screen or magazine and you’re likely to see signs of free sexual expression.
But some argue we are not living in a sexually liberating era. Even fun, consensual sex can be associated with suffering. We can be made to feel embarrassed by past choices in partners and humiliated when our private sex lives are made public – whether it’s a high-school dalliance or politician’s extramarital affair. Worse yet, people still use the threat of sexualised insult and violence to hurt and manipulate others.
Some say sex has become too pervasive. There is concern we move, talk and act sexually for the sake of conformity and approval rather than our own bodies and desires. Sexiness is so expected nothing is sexy anymore.
Is it time we exercised restraint? Could chastity – rather than abstinence – make sex special again? Could we save ourselves the suffering associated with sex by taking things slow? Are old sexual moralities worth revisiting? Are sexually modest cultures even safer or happier than those considered free? Will chastity save us from ourselves?