backing off on sexuality

It seems in modern society people in general, whether pro or con any relationship type, are so overzealous about sexuality that we as a species are starting to feel insanely obsessed. Seriously, I imagine I could walk into the park today and catch a kid about to fall out of a tree, essentially saving his life, and have ten surrounding people call me a "pedophile". I could hug one of my buddies from the army and have a whole bunch of folks, judging or not, think I was "homosexual". A big sister can kiss her little brother on the cheek, both of them being too young to even understand this stuff and people will start wondering about all kinds of weird things. I've even walked into my sister's work, had her smile at me and hug me when she got off, and immediately someone asked if I was her boyfriend. Um no... just no.

Maybe it's just western culture, after all the Jews can kiss each other on the cheek as a greeting and no one freaks out. Japanese men can wear pink and walk around holding hands and hugging each other and folks don't generally make assumptions unless they're from the west.

But then, the Jews are very uptight about sexuality and the Japanese generally aren't, so why don't they seem to have the same problems we in the west do distinguishing between normal contact and attempts at sexual conduct?

Thoughts? Why are we so obsessed with sexuality in the west, and do we need to back off? Are we perhaps missing out on more genuine friendships because we can't make physical contact without feeling we're engaging in some form of sexual expression?

Of course we need to back off, but it isn't going to happen. To be fair, there are likely plenty of things about our culture that other cultures look at as strange as well, so it's not really unfair.

In a perfect world, everyone would just live and let live... but your perception of right and wrong (on ANY level) is a byproduct of the environment you're raised in. Only a sterile, blank slate environment would ever produce a person who is truly without prejudice.

But I guess the real question is, what is it about our culture that makes us this way and what's a possible solution? Truth be told no point of view has ever truly been beaten, hell even Nazi's still exist, but that doesn't mean we can't try to find ways to make undesirables less mainstream.

Think about though, there are other cultures far more uptight than the religious right about sexuality, and yet they have no problem with simple touching. There are also cultures far looser than the left, yet they also don't have as many problems with such issues. Is it our tendency to demand one or the other? Or maybe it's simply because we're so polarized on the issue. Maybe it's like the near pacifist and the soldier, they both sound like extremist idiologs to one another, but in the end, they're both probably just normal people.

We've always been obsessed with sexuality. Right now, however, we are more obsessed with paranoia about 'what others will think'. This is especially true when it comes to children and physical touch.

Torkuda:
But then, the Jews are very uptight about sexuality and the Japanese generally aren't, so why don't they seem to have the same problems we in the west do distinguishing between normal contact and attempts at sexual conduct?

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..........

I'm sorry, I know I should reply to the whole topic but Jesus, you have no idea.

The reason men in Japan can walk around holding hands is the same reason men in Saudi Arabia can walk around holding hands. Noone in Japan honestly believes that gay people would actually dare to do that in public. The idea of gay people displaying affection is literally unthinkable. Japanese people are not "better" at distinguishing sexual and non sexual contact at all. They are simply in denial about the fact that certain types of sexuality either exist or can be expressed.

A friend of mine did a survey of Waseda students while living in Japan. The vast majority believed that there were no gay people in Waseda university at all (Waseda university has over 50,000 students). Most were also skeptical that there were more than 50 gay people in Tokyo (population 13 million). These are young, comparatively "liberal" students, people 20 or so years old, and they barely believe that gay people exist.

Heck, a significant portion of the Japanese population is self-consciously celibate. Sex in Japan is treated so neurotically that for many people it's simply not worth the trouble. Meanwhile, cross gender friendships are non-existent, because why the hell would you want to hang around with someone of the opposite sex for any reason other than being in a relationship?

You can talk about "missing out on genuine friendships", but another way to look at it is that the acknowledgement of sexual tension in friendships represents a kind of intellectual honesty which is enabling of friendships. I mean, do you think men in the 1950s could hug each other freely just because they wouldn't necessarily be construed as gay for doing so?

I think the real issue in our culture, if there is one, is that we still equate sex and intimacy, which leads any expression of strong positive feeling towards someone to inevitably be construed (and often experienced) as sexual.

O_o

Where the hell do you live? I can't agree with a single example you used. And even the one that actually happened, I think you're just over thinking it rather than it being a thing with sexuality in society. They probably see way more spouses and significant others coming into work than siblings.

I did spend five years in the army, not a place noted for sexual maturity in any society, so perhaps my views are a bit skewed, I'll admit it.

I agree with LetalisK, has any of those examples actually happened to you OP (apart from the one with your sister) or are they just hypothetical? At-least in the UK, hugging a buddy is just something normal everyone does, I've never heard of anyone thinking it has homosexual connotations. Similarly with the child falling out of a tree example, I think a lot of people exaggerate about paedophile hysteria. I've worked and volunteered with kids on and off for the last couple of years and had them climbing on me, sitting on my lap, hugging and cuddling me etc all the time and no-one has ever accused me of anything, despite the urban myth that an angry mob will spontaneously appear whenever an adult male makes innocent physical contact with a minor.

I do think the West is a bit obsessed about sexuality, we're probably still recovering from centuries of attempts to suppress many aspects of it, but I don't think it's as bad as you're making out.

JoJo:
I agree with LetalisK, has any of those examples actually happened to you OP (apart from the one with your sister) or are they just hypothetical? At-least in the UK, hugging a buddy is just something normal everyone does, I've never heard of anyone thinking it has homosexual connotations. Similarly with the child falling out of a tree example, I think a lot of people exaggerate about paedophile hysteria. I've worked and volunteered with kids on and off for the last couple of years and had them climbing on me, sitting on my lap, hugging and cuddling me etc all the time and no-one has ever accused me of anything, despite the urban myth that an angry mob will spontaneously appear whenever an adult male makes innocent physical contact with a minor.

I do think the West is a bit obsessed about sexuality, we're probably still recovering from centuries of attempts to suppress many aspects of it, but I don't think it's as bad as you're making out.

I think it might be an American thing, as I am an American and have experienced some of those (notably hugging male friend=gay, identified as boyfriend of sister), and have seen it happen to others.

OT: Yeah, I can see where you are coming from OP (good idea for thread, btw). In 'murica at least, friendly touching often seems to be too closely associated with sex. I think it might be a uniquely American thing though, as other countries more uptight than us about sex are more accepting of non-sexual touch.

As for why it has developed? I am not entirely certain. It might be because we are transitioning from a conservative culture to a more liberal one, and this might be one of the challenges that comes with that transition.

Yes, I have hugged another guy and been called gay. Hell I got weird looks when I hugged my cousin. Also, if you think the sister kissing her brother on the cheek thing is an exaggeration... just don't click on any pictures of that on an unfiltered forum and you should stay secure in that happy illusion. I even write children's stories and, since I am a guy, I constantly have to preface anything I say about those stories with words to keep folks from thinking I want to molest kids.

Sorry, but trying to determine the personal experiences of another human you know nothing about based on your own is kinda dumb.

A Hero of Justice must arise to cull this evil...

...never mind.

OT: I don't really see why it'd be a problem if people assumed one was gay for hugging another man? Statistically absurd as the assumption might be, it does not seem particularly enlightened to take offense at it.

Having an excuse for not having to get flattened by falling children seems pretty great too. Adults shouldn't be playing around with children without the knowledge and accept of their parent(s) anyway. I'd think that those who'd chat up and get physical with children they have no prior relation to actually should be viewed with some suspicion regarding their intent.

Torkuda:
It seems in modern society people in general, whether pro or con any relationship type, are so overzealous about sexuality that we as a species are starting to feel insanely obsessed. Seriously, I imagine I could walk into the park today and catch a kid about to fall out of a tree, essentially saving his life, and have ten surrounding people call me a "pedophile".

You could imagine it - but that doesn't mean it actually happens. And I'm going to need a fair bit more evidence than that you imagine it in order to believe it's a problem.

I could hug one of my buddies from the army and have a whole bunch of folks, judging or not, think I was "homosexual".

Isn't this a problem with how we define masculinity? After all, women can hug and only the most creepy and pathetic people in our society automatically assume lesbianism.

A big sister can kiss her little brother on the cheek, both of them being too young to even understand this stuff and people will start wondering about all kinds of weird things.

Will they? I watched my nephew kiss my niece (both toddlers) as an apology for accidentally hitting her, and every single adult present went "awww..." and no one gave a sign they thought anything untoward was happening.

Maybe it's just western culture, after all the Jews can kiss each other on the cheek as a greeting and no one freaks out. Japanese men can wear pink and walk around holding hands and hugging each other and folks don't generally make assumptions unless they're from the west.

There is a bit of truth to this being a Western thing, but you should know I rarely see Japanese males older than JHS hold hands. I think if adult Japanese men held hands, they would be seen as homosexual.

But then, the Jews are very uptight about sexuality and the Japanese generally aren't,

LOL, uh, you haven't been to Japan, have you. Japanese people can be extremely uptight about sexuality. This is the society where women in summer will often wear 3 separate layers of clothing on top just to ensure that no matter what happens, no one in public catches a glimpse of bra.

Thoughts? Why are we so obsessed with sexuality in the west, and do we need to back off? Are we perhaps missing out on more genuine friendships because we can't make physical contact without feeling we're engaging in some form of sexual expression?

I think your thesis needs a bit more clarification, but I suggest that you look to western gender roles, rather than society as a whole.

evilthecat:

Torkuda:
But then, the Jews are very uptight about sexuality and the Japanese generally aren't, so why don't they seem to have the same problems we in the west do distinguishing between normal contact and attempts at sexual conduct?

....

..........

I'm sorry, I know I should reply to the whole topic but Jesus, you have no idea.

The reason men in Japan can walk around holding hands is the same reason men in Saudi Arabia can walk around holding hands. Noone in Japan honestly believes that gay people would actually dare to do that in public. The idea of gay people displaying affection is literally unthinkable. Japanese people are not "better" at distinguishing sexual and non sexual contact at all. They are simply in denial about the fact that certain types of sexuality either exist or can be expressed.

A friend of mine did a survey of Waseda students while living in Japan. The vast majority believed that there were no gay people in Waseda university at all (Waseda university has over 50,000 students). Most were also skeptical that there were more than 50 gay people in Tokyo (population 13 million). These are young, comparatively "liberal" students, people 20 or so years old, and they barely believe that gay people exist.

Heck, a significant portion of the Japanese population is self-consciously celibate. Sex in Japan is treated so neurotically that for many people it's simply not worth the trouble. Meanwhile, cross gender friendships are non-existent, because why the hell would you want to hang around with someone of the opposite sex for any reason other than being in a relationship?

You can talk about "missing out on genuine friendships", but another way to look at it is that the acknowledgement of sexual tension in friendships represents a kind of intellectual honesty which is enabling of friendships. I mean, do you think men in the 1950s could hug each other freely just because they wouldn't necessarily be construed as gay for doing so?

I think the real issue in our culture, if there is one, is that we still equate sex and intimacy, which leads any expression of strong positive feeling towards someone to inevitably be construed (and often experienced) as sexual.

unfortunately japan embraced and is still living with the results of victorian morals in regards to sex thanks mainly to a certain american gunboat parked off their coast and western encroachment. they were actually very sexually liberated before that

 

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