Social Question

wundayatta's avatar

nsfw Where do our ideas about what sex is come from?

Asked by wundayatta (58357 points ) October 11th, 2011

In a question about how people think about what ‘sleeping with’ means, people had a broad range of ideas of what should be included. Some were pretty straight forward and limited (vaginal penetration and orgasm) and others included an awful lot more behaviors.

What I was wondering is where we get these ideas. I’m not just talking about religion, but more about culture and parenting and schooling. Why do some people make it so specific and others include far more?

What influenced your ideas about what sex is? Have those ideas changed over your life? If so, why?

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11 Answers

GabrielsLamb's avatar

It’s a long boring story no one wants to hear. Let’s just cut to the chase and say that I was introduced to a lot of things too young, that I didn’t understand at the time, and when someone that you look up to, love, trust or admire in any way tells you “This is right, or this is good.” and you have no self esteem or other point of reference, you tend to adopt their reasoning and incorporate it into your own until something comes along to tell you different, or some event happens that changes your mind by demonstration.

That’s why preferences are all bullshit… they are relative, time stamped and when you’re judged for a moment because of them, as a whole person, that is ignorance not allowing you your personal right to evolve.

CWOTUS's avatar

This is a good question. I’ve had to couch some of my responses to questions in the past on such clarifications. Like the one that comes up from time to time about “whether it is okay for an older guy to date a young woman”. I always have to provide some disambiguation in my response that “dating” means different things to different people. These days “dating” seems to mean “hooking up with” aka “having sex”. In my day dating meant simply “going out with” and “visiting” and “spending some time in another’s company” – and usually absent sex.

So when I say that “it’s okay for an older guy to date a young woman” I have to clarify that “I mean the old-fashioned kind of dating that (even now, sometimes) happens before you start sleeping together”.

Scooby's avatar

I read a lot of women’s magazines when I was younger, I thought there must be more to all the grunting & groaning that emanated from my shared bedroom when my brother would sneak his girlfriend home when we were teens, he never really lasted that long either :-/ call it sibling rivalry but I knew I could do better.. Lol..
My Ideas have changed with the variety of the people I’ve been intimate with over the years, being very open minded, I’m open to new ideas all the time……….
;-)

Ayesha's avatar

Movies, books, experience. I’m tend be very open and generous when it comes to new ideas. Why not.

wundayatta's avatar

Ah @Ayesha. You are open and yet many are not. The question is not “why not,” but what experiences lead people to where they are at. There is no particular reason to be open or not. It’s just an issue of experience, I think. But what experience, I don’t know.

Ayesha's avatar

@wundayatta I am not that experienced, so I’ll try my best getting ‘my answer’ across. People that are open, tend to be like that because of good sexual experiences. Partners they’ve had over the years have been good to them sexually.
Some, which are not, might have experienced an abusive relationship, be it only one. Sexual abuse, leaving them emotionally scarred. This makes them either uninterested in sex with someone new or makes them dull in the act.
That’s what I know in answering ‘why’.

Scarikah's avatar

I think if it has the word “sex” in the title of whatever you’re doing..then it’s sex. Such as “Oral sex.” Still sex, although my sister disagrees with me. But I look at this way.. If you go out and have just plain, regular sex with a bunch of guys (you know, just missionary or whatever) and people find out..they’ll call you a slut. If you go out and hand out blow-jobs left and right and people find out then you’re still a slut..

Aethelflaed's avatar

Being bi seems to be the biggest factor. If it’s PIV penetration, then there are many relationships in which I’ve never had sex with my partner. But that’s bullshit, of course. But many people seem to think that oral and fingering only count as sex in a lesbian relationship, but you need vaginal penetration for a heterosexual relationship (and then maybe anal penetration for a male homosexual relationship…). Why would we have all these different definitions for what sex is based upon the biological sex of the people involved, unless being gay is bad or ‘less than’ or not normal? And I don’t want to use the PIV definition to minimize the number of people I’ve slept with, because I don’t care (and if you’re the type of person who would think my number is too high, I’m probably not sharing that number with you). So I go with the ‘anything that could have transfered an STD from one partner to another’, because a) it’s non-discriminatory and b) it’s what the doctor is asking when they ask for the last time you had sex. They don’t care about when your last orgasm was, or when the last time you had PIV sex was, they just want to know if there’s any reason to run an STD test.

Neizvestnaya's avatar

I first remember being taught really technical things- sex meant intercourse between a male and female. It was the meaning of life and everything else surrounding it was for fun.

lloydbird's avatar

It’s hardwired.

MRSHINYSHOES's avatar

Each person creates his own sexual fantasies based on what he’s seen and learned growing up.

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