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Nowhere Girl

The "sex is healthy" rhetoric

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Nowhere Girl

You've probably seen it: with all the hypersexuality - or maybe: hyperpresence of sexual topics - in media, one may encounter over and over the claims about health benefits of sex. What do you think about it? Does it make you angry? For me it is quite annoying. I can understand the reasons: people need motivation to work out, so it's assumed that lazy people would be more willing to have sex instead. But it is based on an unquestioned assumption that everyone likes sex (and that all, or nearly all adult people are sexually active). I don't like this rhetoric because:

- The assumptions above - they are false and contribute to invisibility of asexual and sexually inactive people.

- Generally, I don't like encouraging people to have sex. Those who want to will NOT stop doing it just because they don't see every day claims that sex is the allgreatest pleasure in the world! People who don't want to have sex are a much more vulnerable group, already subject to a lot of sociocultural pressure. Hardly anywhere do they receive the message that it's OK not to have sex and not to want sex. So I would like the media to be more indifferent on this topic, to accept the idea that not having sex is a valid choice too.

- The health rhetoric in general is dangerous because it leads to substituting morality with health. Precisely this way: in modern Western culture, "health" has become a subtitute for moral judgement.

 

I greatly regret that I haven't been able to read the book "Against Health", which seems to talk about this very problem. Unfortunately, shipping costs are high, so I'll only order books from abroad if I can order several from one seller, and "Against Health", as neither a classic, nor a bestseller and not even anything mainstream in general, is not available in bookstores with foreign-language literature in Poland...

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Kumoku

Ok, first of all, the term "hypersexual" is a MENTAL DISORDER for people who are addicted to sex, which causes a LOT of negative health side effects and greatly damages relationships. Second of all, yes, sex does have health benefits. It has a bio-chemical positive reaction in your brain because it naturally reduces the "feel good" hormones and gets your heart rate up. It's a good exercise.

 

The reality is though, just about any kind of "benefit" that those articles go on and on about with sex, you can get them from other forms of excercise. There's VERY FEW "genuine" benefits that are restricted solely to sex or sex-like activities. 

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EggplantWitch

It can indeed get grating. But I think it's much better than 'sex is sinful and if you enjoy it you'll go to hell' etc, which is what I think this present obsession with sex could be backlash against. I think that the world should be sex-positive, meaning that everyone should just go and have as much safe, consensual, legal sex as their little hearts can handle and face no discrimintion for it whether that amount is 'lots' or 'absolutely none'. It's the 'absolutely none' part that most sex-positive movements fail to understand...

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Yatagarasu

Sex itself can help coping with depression as it indeed makes the body release hormones responible for pleasurable sensations. It's also healthy for males to "relieve themseves" every now and then as it helps maintaining good fertility. Sex being presented this way does not make me angry. However, as I do understand that we live in a sexual world, I don't particularly get the need for sexualization, the "sex sells" mentality and sex being delivered to people as a cash grab of sorts.

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RoseGoesToYale

It's kind of like with wine or chocolate. I googled "health benefits of chocolate", and here was the first result: Protection from Disease-Causing Free Radicals, Potential Cancer Prevention, Improved Heart Health, Good for Overall Cholesterol Profile, Better Cognitive Function, Blood Pressure and Blood Sugar Aid, Antioxidant-Rich Superfood. Then I googled health risks for chocolate and got: weight gain and heart disease, diabetes and cavities, GERD, and side effects of caffeine in chocolate. First off, how can a substance that promotes heart health also lead to heart disease? Second, how can the same substance aid blood sugar but also lead to diabetes? Could be a case of follow the study-money.

 

Sex is no different. For benefits: improves immune system, boosts libido, improves female bladder control, lowers blood pressure, exercise, lowers heart attack risk, pain relief... the list does go on. But then for risks: all the STDs, all the accidental pregnancy, bodily injury, UTIs, headaches, heart attack, and stroke. Uh oh... here we have an activity that improves immune system yet increases infection risks, prevents yet promotes heart attacks, and relieves pain and causes headaches.

 

I think it comes back to moderation and personal balance. No one should overindulge in something just because it could impart health benefits. Just the same, you could be teetotal, never eat chocolate, and be celibate all your life and be fine. I agree, I think sex is sensationalized too often and it gets annoying. I don't get why media can't just accept that some like sex and some don't. But moderation is bad for business...

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Janus DarkFox

It's a health benefit toward those who feel they need or want it, to a healthy extent, can be quite physically and mentally destructive to those who don't want it but have it for extenuating circumstances.  There isn't really any studies to measure the health benefits in people who don't want or feel the need to have sex, or in anybody that have sex who desire not to.

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Apathetic Echidna

The only people in real life I have ever heard say this have actually been doctors, my simmering anger at their 'sex is healthy' comments when I say I am not sexually active is basically the driving force that got me checking out my orientation. So I see most of my medical student friends in the first half of the year, and armed with labels for my orientation and information about general asexuality I hopefully can warn them off being a-spectrum erasers (and even lesbian erasers, because they certainly aren't going to get accidentally pregnant either yet the doctors still have a pervasive hetero-assumption of their female patients)

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Grinchmer
On 6.12.2017 at 10:44 PM, Nowhere Girl said:

What do you think about it?

Meh.

 

On 6.12.2017 at 10:44 PM, Nowhere Girl said:

I can understand the reasons: people need motivation to work out, so it's assumed that lazy people would be more willing to have sex instead.

I, er, doubt that there is a significant amount of people replacing an actual workout with sex. If anything, it's more of a nice additional effect.

 

On 6.12.2017 at 10:44 PM, Nowhere Girl said:

But it is based on an unquestioned assumption that everyone likes sex (and that all, or nearly all adult people are sexually active).

No, it's not. All these studies say is that having sex comes with health benefits. I have yet to find a single one that says that "everyone likes sex" or something similar.

There are studies out there which claim that coffee has health benefits. That's it. Nobody claims that everyone likes coffee or that nearly every adult drinks (or should drink) coffee. Same goes for studies which claim that sex has health benefits.

 

This "unquestioned assumption" is a product of your imagination.

 

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Law of Circles

I can understand why it might seem annoying to an asexual, but I think it's important to remember that historically, sex has been viewed as a dirty, unhealthy activity. This can have adverse effects on sexuals who have internalized guilt about their sexual desires. Promoting the idea that sex isn't inherently unhealthy (and may even have some health benefits) may help to overturn this negative stigma.

 

Also, claiming that sex has some health benefits isn't the same as saying that people are unhealthy if they're not having sex. Obviously, people can be physically healthy without sex - the additional benefits of sex are just a nice bonus for sexual people, I would say.

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FictoVore.

Sex can certainly be healthy in specific ways for people who enjoy and desire it. Yes there is an issue that they're often assuming everyone enjoys and desires sex, but that's why accurate visibility and education of asexuality is important (I say 'accurate' because there are people here promoting the idea that asexuals love and desire sex like anyone else, which is asexual erasure as far as I am concerned). The fact that sex can be healthy for people who desire and enjoy it isn't inaccurate though, it's just that if you don't want it then you're obviously healthier not having it than forcing yourself to have it.

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Scottmas1989
On 06/12/2017 at 10:29 PM, EggplantWitch said:

It can indeed get grating. But I think it's much better than 'sex is sinful and if you enjoy it you'll go to hell' etc, which is what I think this present obsession with sex could be backlash against. I think that the world should be sex-positive, meaning that everyone should just go and have as much safe, consensual, legal sex as their little hearts can handle and face no discrimintion for it whether that amount is 'lots' or 'absolutely none'. It's the 'absolutely none' part that most sex-positive movements fail to understand...

I agree mostly with this. I don't mind the "sex is healthy" aspect and agree with sex-positively. I agree with safe and consensual but legal is maybe not a great thing to hold account. Yes on the one hand, underage sex is a no regardless, but some places still ban same sex intercourse, while others don't and even age is a varying issue even among developed countries (16 in UK, US has various laws, and South Korea has it as low as 13!). I believe the BDSM community uses a principal which I think is more suitable and could be used in general which is Safe, Sane and Consensual, and have something added in for appropriate age.

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Philip027

The thing is that it isn't just that sex is "healthy", it's also a "healthy" thing that most people do not need coercing to do.

 

For most people, sex is basically exercise that doesn't feel like work.  Try and convince 100 people to go to the gym and then try and convince 100 people to go have more sex, it won't be difficult to see the difference in response.

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EggplantWitch
20 hours ago, Scott1989 said:

Yes on the one hand, underage sex is a no regardless, but some places still ban same sex intercourse, while others don't and even age is a varying issue even among developed countries (16 in UK, US has various laws, and South Korea has it as low as 13!). I believe the BDSM community uses a principal which I think is more suitable and could be used in general which is Safe, Sane and Consensual, and have something added in for appropriate age.

Yikes, I didn't even think of that e.e a bit closed minded of me - Safe Sane and Consensual is a much better way of phrasing the sentiment I was trying to express.

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Lucas Monteiro
On 06/12/2017 at 8:29 PM, EggplantWitch said:

It can indeed get grating. But I think it's much better than 'sex is sinful and if you enjoy it you'll go to hell' etc, which is what I think this present obsession with sex could be backlash against. I think that the world should be sex-positive, meaning that everyone should just go and have as much safe, consensual, legal sex as their little hearts can handle and face no discrimintion for it whether that amount is 'lots' or 'absolutely none'. It's the 'absolutely none' part that most sex-positive movements fail to understand...

I believe this will never truly happen, because society is full of ignorant people and their views on topics like sex for example, are kind of just simple, like almost all the rest of the people around them. Besides that, people tend to be extremist on important views, meaning that you either are in their "sides" or you are not. Society will never encourage sex-positive, because majority of people want sex and see that it's something that everybody should do. The LGBT moviment from the 80s only did work out because people could see the main theme, sex, being at the center from the other sexualities, so people could try to understand more. But when you put asexuals and people who don't want or need sex, people just can't wrap their heads around this concept. I am not talking about all sexuals (as we even can see from here at the forum, we have sexual people who defend us), I am at least talking about the majority of them. 

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FinneganCatch

For a while I thought maybe my lack of desire for sex was a medical issue and I've seen a number of doctors over the years for various things and this past spring I was seeing a mental health professional to help with my partners suicide attempts and depression issues and repeatedly she brought up sex and why weren't we having sex and ect. even after I had put it out there that were weren't having sex because I didn't want to unrelated to the problems I was there to discuss she kept bringing it up to the point where I wasn't comfortable seeing her any more. I don't know if she just thought sex would help with his mental state or our relationship or what but it wasn't helpful just kind of made me feel guilty.

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Scottmas1989
2 hours ago, EggplantWitch said:

Yikes, I didn't even think of that e.e a bit closed minded of me - Safe Sane and Consensual is a much better way of phrasing the sentiment I was trying to express.

Saying it was close minded of you is maybe a bit harsh on yourself. Think you miss expressed it, which is something I've done in the past (and will probably accidently do again). Some people may think legal should be part of it too (to avoid any possibility to accidently endorse underage sex).

 

It's maybe a tricky one to express correctly but I think I know exactly what you mean and I agree with it too.

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Snowfox

Whenever I read 'sex is healthy', my mind just automatically changes it to 'orgasms are healthy'. It helps me slightly tame the internal anger that always shows up when people say we must want sex and babies and crap like that. Not to say that orgasms are necessary, of course, but personally I enjoy them (self love), so the argument works for me. It may or may not work for you, though.

 

But yes, I agree that people should just stop worshipping sex and insisting that everyone should do the same. We are not ants. We are individuals, and there exists a population of individuals that don't want sex. It's only healthy if both individuals want it and are doing it in a safe way. Forcing or insisting that someone have sex because it is 'good' or 'healthy' or 'normal' just makes it psychologically unhealthy for that individual.

 

People can survive and live healthily without anything related to sex. There are more important things, like oxygen. Breathing is healthy. 

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Philip027
Quote

Whenever I read 'sex is healthy', my mind just automatically changes it to 'orgasms are healthy'.

Thing is, while you aren't necessarily incorrect, most of these sources are actually referring to *sex* and not just orgasm.

 

Orgasm is not something inherent in sex, and the act of sex tends to involve much more physical exertion than say, merely masturbation.

 

But yeah, it's obviously incorrect to say you cannot get most of the benefits of sex any other way.  It's just that for most people, it's easier to convince them to have more sex than it is to convince them to go workout.

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Sleighcaptain

@Philip027, you hit the nail on the head when you said that sex is a healthy form of physical exercise that most participants enjoy doing.

I don't know how accurate this is, but it always used to be said that a "typical sex session" (although how that's defined is anyone's guess) burns the same amount of calories as a five mile run. 

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Warsaw

I think that the big problem is the rebranding of sex that came with the 1960s.  Before safe sex, sex was a very dangerous activity that lead to disease and unwanted children.  It was an extremely bad idea to have sex out of wedlock, and most of the population thought of sex as a means to an end (children.)

 

Asexuality before the term was coined existed in far greater prevalance, up to even the 1950's.  Because of the rather extreme risk, even low libido persons would have a lot less sex to prevent unwanted children even after married.

 

There's a reason the Church (I'm Athiest) took such a hard line stance on this.  Back then you have to actually consider if sex was worth contracting syphilis or having bastard (antiquated term) children.

 

One day however, things will die down, and go back to relatively normal, or likely get even worse as there is less and less responsibility for many people with every passing year.

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Telecaster68
7 minutes ago, Warsaw said:

I think that the big problem is the rebranding of sex that came with the 1960s.  Before safe sex, sex was a very dangerous activity that lead to disease and unwanted children.  It was an extremely bad idea to have sex out of wedlock, and most of the population thought of sex as a means to an end (children.)

That's why there's no literature, art or drama about sex before 1960...  /s

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Warsaw
38 minutes ago, Telecaster68 said:

That's why there's no literature, art or drama about sex before 1960...  /s

Of course there was, but it wasn't as obligitory, or nearly as upfront.   Stuff openly obscene was difficult to find, where I could go to Barnes and Noble now.  I'm saying that "Free Love" didn't exist as we knew it before then.  The concept of "sex for fun with whoever you feel like" wasn't popular in literature before that time.

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Telecaster68

Have you read any Chaucer or Aristophanes? 

 

It was mostly the middle classes who were restrictive about sex. The very poor and the very rich were far more free amd easy. 

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[noize:injekktion]
On 06/12/2017 at 10:44 PM, Nowhere Girl said:

But it is based on an unquestioned assumption that everyone likes sex (and that all, or nearly all adult people are sexually active).

just this assumption itself makes me annoyed.

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Ruru+Saphhy=Garnet
1 hour ago, [noize:injekktion] said:

just this assumption itself makes me annoyed.

Same here <_<

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Nylocke

I find that I haven't had too many people come at me with that which is surprising considering the fact that I'm very health conscious

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nothinbuttrouble

What bothers me about the "sex is healthy" rhetoric is that it often takes the stance that no sex is not healthy. Which many of us

know is nonsense. But it seems many want to believe this because they are looking to justify their own sexual desires in some

irreproachable way, to stave off their own problems with guilt.

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Telecaster68
Quote

they are looking to justify their own sexual desires

Why should we have to justify our sexual desires?

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Shadowstepper
On 12/6/2017 at 5:29 PM, EggplantWitch said:

But I think it's much better than 'sex is sinful and if you enjoy it you'll go to hell' etc, which is what I think this present obsession with sex could be backlash against. 

This is my take on it as well.

Whenever I see the "sex is healthy/good" debate, I take it to mean the opposite of "bad". I never saw it as someone telling me I MUST have sex in order to be health/good.

 

If you look at history, husbands and wives on tv usually slept in separate beds for years because of the general "sex is bad" stigma. That's just silly.

 

Sex isn't something you should be ashamed of, and there are still a lot of people that feel it is, teach that it is, or preach that it is.

 

The "sex is healthy/good" movement, for me at least, is about trying to show people the positives about sex, where others would rather show it as negative.

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nothinbuttrouble
2 hours ago, Telecaster68 said:

Why should we have to justify our sexual desires?

I don't think people need to justify their sexual desires. I've just noticed that some allos feel guilty about their own sexual desires and then project their guilt onto others in judgement/expectations, etc of other peoples sexual practices. This seems to be reflected in the part of the "sex is healthy" rhetoric that goes so far to claim that not having sex is unhealthy.

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