The joy of healthy sex

China, June 3, 2004 – China Daily

Since ancient times, sex has been a social taboo in China. At times, talking about sex in public could even be condemned as one of the deadly sins. However, things have changed dramatically.

Evidenced by Muzimei’s online sex diaries, crude jokes via short messages and easy access to pornographic films, sex has become a popular subject of public discussion throughout the country. In contrast to traditional repression, pursuit of sexual happiness seems to be a symbol of individual freedom.

At any rate, I am not against the freedom to seek sexual pleasure. Sex is part of our God-given nature. There is no reason to consider it shameful. It is definitely wrong to repress people’s sexual desires and make them feel guilty about the desire for sex. Repression or denial of sexuality is an ineffective ethic that does not even accomplish its intended purpose. It only leads to ignorance or underground sexual activity, accompanied by misunderstanding.

As a matter of fact, sex is affirmed by sociologists as a source of pleasure and shared intimacy between husband and wife. And the shared joy of physical union is a vital part of the marital bond. Non-abusive sex within marriage is viewed as something honourable and beautiful.

But I am just wondering whether the burgeoning (or revolution) of sex culture is the right attitude towards sex. For many, sex is regarded as a mere physical activity, which is separated from love. Nothing is honoured and nothing is barred. Pornographic films or books are easily accessible. Floating commercial advertisement for sexual commodities can be seen everywhere on the net. Pre-marital sex has become the norm rather than the exception.

Is that what sex is all about? Is sex just about physical satisfaction? By no means.

As human beings, we have a spiritual aspect, which makes us different from animals. There is more to sex than mere skin to skin. As monogamy has been recognized as a fundamental principle of marriage law in most countries, it is absolutely not right to abuse sex outside marriage. When a man is united to a woman, the two become one, not only physically, but also spiritually.

The sex demonstrated by pornographic films is abnormal because it exaggerates the physical side of sex but ignores the human side. It is commercialized and distorted sex. Even if it can teach you how to get full physical satisfaction, it never can tell you how to unite with your partner spiritually. The sad thing is that sex without love only leaves people lonelier than ever.

The problem in this country is where and how people can get the right picture of sex. It is an undeniable fact that our whole educational system has not paid enough attention to sex education. And the sex education classes that have first been offered in some schools, along with the establishment of sex health hotlines, are far from enough.

Over the decades, there has been an increase in the number of teenage abortions and sexually transmitted diseases across the nation. But the root of these problems is not the ignorance about contraception. In fact, the crux of the problem is the wrong attitudes towards sex and relationships.

It is said that sexual desire is like an inner fire. To have a log fire in the house may be beautiful if it is burning safely in the grate, but if it is burning merrily on the lounge floor the house could be burned down. Indeed, if enjoyed in the right way, sex is a blessing for the family. If abused, sex can become one of the most destructive forces in human nature.

As a result, what we need is a comprehensive sex education, which places sex within the total context of human nature and relationships, so as to help people develop a healthy attitude towards sex. After all, we are human beings with soul, and spirit.