You would never invite someone to join you and your bride for sex, but in some ways most of us do that regularly. What we desire sexually is a result of many things, with what we have seen and heard about sex influencing us significantly. Some (much, most?) of what we defend as “our desires” is not about us; rather it is a result of all the things society has put into our minds. What our parents said, what our childhood friends said, TV shows, movies, magazines, and books all helped make us who we are sexually.
This is unavoidable – we have all been exposed. Is this exposure bad? It depends on what we are exposed to, and how easily our sexual programming is modified. It also depends on how different our wife’s programming is. If, for instance, you went into marriage convinced rear entry is by far the most enjoyable way to have sex, and she went in convinced anything other than missionary is sinful, you have a big problem. She will think you are a pervert, and you will feel cheated for not being able to have the “best sex”.
It is interesting to look at what society in general accepts sexually, what most say they want, and how those have changed over time. It is even more
interesting scary when you include what porn portrays. When oral sex became big in porn, men started wanting it more, and pushing for it more. The popularity of removing some or all of the pubic hair tracks with less and less pubic hair in porn. Surgery to change how the vulva looks also tracks with what porn shows. Growing numbers of people engaging in heterosexual anal sex follows increased anal sex in porn. Clearly, porn changes the sex of our culture, and even those who don’t look at porn are affected.
What of this is good and what might be bad or wrong is not where I am going today. What I want you to understand is your sexuality has been deeply compromised by society. What you desire, what you think is normal, what you feel deprived about not getting, are all influenced by what culture has told you sex is supposed to be. In the same way, some of what you (or your bride) finds wrong, gross, or otherwise unacceptable is a result of cultural messages.
If both of you can accept the fact your sexuality has been manipulated, then (and only then) do you have a chance to move beyond manipulated sexuality. Realise you have probably placed too much emphasis on some things, and not enough on others. Realise some of what you think you desire strongly you may desire for cultural reasons, not something originating from your mind or body. Likewise, some of what you have written off, you have written off because of society’s influence.
If you and your bride can both hold your sexuality loosely, and explore together, you may find what you have been doing is not what either of you wants, and not what you both enjoy.
In this series about how normative influence shapes our lives:
Why we follow the crowd
Letting others influence your actions
The smallest cultural group
Your marriage as a tool to being a better person
Is your social group inbred?
Is artificial society influencing you?
The voices in the marriage chamber
Wrap up on social influence