Why I'm Optimistic About the Future of Sex
I’m generally more of a pessimist but I think that the more we learn and discuss very openly and frankly things that have historically been regarded as shameful when it comes to sex is a good thing.
Jesse Bering, Ph.D., is a frequent contributor to Scientific American, Slate, and Das Magazin (Switzerland). His work has also appeared in New York Magazine, The Guardian, and The New Republic, and has been featured on NPR, the BBC, Playboy Radio and more. Bering is the former director of the Institute of Cognition and Culture at Queen’s University, Belfast and began his career as a psychology professor at the University of Arkansas.
I’m generally more of a pessimist but I think that the more we learn and discuss very openly and frankly things that have historically been regarded as shameful when it comes to sex is a good thing. And it’s fine for people to laugh, because these are kind of funny things.
They strike at the heart of being human and so much goes unsaid in the demand of sexuality in particular that we don’t realize how much we have in common with other people. We have the same types of issues that people have today they were experiencing 200 years ago.
I spent last summer at a couple of weeks at the Kinsey Institute at the Indiana University in Bloomington and was going through all the historical archives and the sexual autobiographies of people that would write to Alfred Kinsey about all their weird sexual fetishes and paraphilia’s and childhood experiences with sex. I mean, it’s like basically their experiences mirror exactly what we’re still going through today.
So not a lot has changed, even though we’ve taken a more scientific perspective. I still think we have a ways to go, but you wouldn’t think that your great-grandmother, for example, would have ever thought about female ejaculation but she might have had it herself. It’s just not something that we think about in terms of other people. But I think it has a humanitarian value of just being sympathetic and understanding about people’s sex lives.
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