The truth about sex

Why has sex become synonymous with reproduction when there's so much more to it?

Meg Howe
7th December 2021
Image: Pixabay
In most definitions of the word ‘sex’, one will encounter at least one of the following things: intercourse and/or reproduction. The social taboos surrounding sexual activity have conditioned us to associate sex with the act of procreation, meaning that we also seem to only acknowledge penetration as the only form of ‘correct’ sexual activity. Early theories surrounding sex and gender claim that in sexual encounters women are ‘indifferent’, which makes it all the more important for me to discuss sex from a feminist perspective; in turn, helping to bridge the orgasm gap, too. 

Much like everything else in our lives, sex is a unique and personal experience. It’s something that has a different meaning to all of us, and I believe this makes it unpredictable (in a good way)! I most certainly don’t use sex for procreation, nor are my sexual encounters always penetrative, so does this mean that it doesn’t have some kind of meaning for me? 

I don’t mean to sound like a rom-com - well, maybe I do - but sex can be such an intimate experience; a chance for self-growth. Just like trying new foods, sex has worked as a way for me to figure out my likes and my dislikes and has allowed for experimentation. Making myself vulnerable, as I believe sexual encounters tend to do, has allowed me to not only explore myself, but has allowed me to share myself with another person. Writing this, I’ve realised that, at the time, the sexual encounters didn’t have this meaning, but this seems to have been a bi-product; something that I’ve only realised long after the encounter itself. I think this is why I have no regrets when it comes to these encounters: I believe all of these experiences have had some degree of value on my life, in one way or another. 

Solo sex  has all the benefits of non-solo sex, except there is no pressure. I believe one of the purposes of solo sex is to explore yourself. And whilst society may lead us to believe this, it’s certainly not something to be ashamed of! 

Scientifically speaking, sex makes you feel good. The “rush” that we might feel with consensual sexual encounters actually is a surge of dopamine. Dopamine plays a huge role in the way we feel pleasure. Therefore, I think we can scientifically state that sex makes us happy! Whilst this surge of dopamine does occur through orgasm, it’s not limited to reaching climax alone. Dopamine is released as a product of sexual stimulation, which can be achieved without reaching climax. Sex is something that makes us feel good; not only physically, but mentally too. 

As mentioned above, sex is considered to be an act of penetration. Society conditions us, therefore, to believe that sex is an encounter between two people. However, since having discussed the importance of sex to release dopamine, it is necessary to highlight masturbation. 'Solo sex', as some may call it, has neither the aspect of another person nor the aim to procreate. Since solo sex is, of course, solo, there can be no pressure. Solo sex  has all the benefits of non-solo sex, except there is no pressure. I believe one of the purposes of solo sex is to explore yourself. And whilst society may lead us to believe this, it’s certainly not something to be ashamed of! 

The trust about sex is that there is no universal truth. Sex is something that is unique and personal. To me, sex is fun; sex is the opportunity for self-growth, and sex is a time to make myself vulnerable and connect to people in a way that would not be possible otherwise.

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AUTHOR: Meg Howe
Passionate History student and Educator

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