October 26, 2022

SEX ON THURSDAY | Lions and Tigers and Sex Toys, Oh My!

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I would like to begin this article with a full disclosure: I am completely aware that the title of this piece sets the stage wonderfully for a discussion on why our society’s innate fear of sex toys in bed should be diminished. While I do believe that is a noteworthy topic — one that I will likely opt to unpack at a later date — it is not the one I wish to unravel today. 

Instead, I’m here to tell you about the extensive lengths my friends and I have gone to to hide our Spencer’s shopping bags each time we exit the store in Ithaca Mall. Whether they hold a funny t-shirt and new shot glass, or hard candy thongs and the raunchiest new sex toy you can think of, there is an aura of embarrassment that envelops us each time we leave the store (which is known best for its sex products). Don’t get me wrong, I have other friends who purchase the craziest anal beads I’ve ever seen and walk out of there neglecting to even ask for a bag, and I applaud them, but I recognize that I am not alone in my predisposition to be embarrassed by even the potential of a sexy purchase.

The fact of the matter is that somewhere along the way we have been societally conditioned to view sex as something stigmatized and embarrassing when in reality, we should be lifiting each other up. If waltzing into an adult outlet and buying the skimpiest pair of lingerie and a 12-inch strap-on makes someone happy, so be it. If waiting until marriage makes you feel more confident and secure in yourself, do it! Orgies? Not for me, but wonderful for anyone who desires them. As long as nobody is being hurt and all parties are consenting, why worry about it? Find something more dire to stress over than where people are sticking their dicks. And stop taking offense from other people’s enjoyment, it really isn’t about you. 

At the end of the day, it’s all fun and games to be bashful about losing your virginity or buying a spicy card game. It is hypocritical of me to say that everyone should be loud and proud about their behind-the-scenes lives — I’m not. However, the more significant problem arises when that bashfullness carries over into areas that effect your sexual wellbeing and/or the wellbeing of others.

Sexual stigma doesn’t just make people more introverted about their weekend adventures, it silence us in matters of sexual health. People are embarrassed to speak with their doctors and guardians regarding STDs, birth control and other extremely valid sexual concerns, potentially putting their health and the health of others in jeopardy. I don’t have the perfect solution to this widespread problem. However, I do believe that if we work to minimize the disgrace surrounding casual avenues of sex, that newfound sense of security will seep into more serious sexual matters where confidence and voice really matter.

I recognize that this is easier said than done, but make a conscious effort to destigmatize your mindset. Have open conversations with the people you care about. Share a raunchy Sex On Thursday article and laugh about it instead of blushing in embarrassment. Walk out of that Spencer’s holding your new fuzzy handcuffs and gummy bralette proudly.

The sad reality is that a society built on sexual stigma cannot be defeated by individuals alone. In some sense, the issue traces deep into the roots of our history and government. However, overcoming this on an individual level is a good way to begin, and recognizing the problem is the first step in minimizing it. So, Happy Halloweekend, be safe and lets make sex less spooky.

Annie Position is a student at Cornell University. Comments can be sent to [email protected] The Sin Series runs during alternate Sex on Thursdays this semester.