Sex has been on our minds and in our loins forever — all throughout human existence. Though most of us relate to sex from our own relatively limited perspective, many varying attitudes have been present throughout history. Even today there is a wide range of acceptability when it comes to human sexuality.
Early humans didn’t know that it took a man’s sperm to fertilize the woman’s egg to create a baby. Whether they thought the gods, spirits, or the woman herself created the baby, they didn’t connect the act of sex with procreation. Family units as we know them today didn’t exist, and few human societies had the monogamous relationships we now know as marriage. By the time the world’s cultures had developed writing, women’s status had diminished tremendously. Men prevailed in most aspects of the culture, with a few rare exceptions.
Ancient India and the Kama Sutra
India and most of the Far East were essentially patriarchal societies, but women were held in higher regard than in other cultures of the times. The woman was the initiatress and the energy behind the sexual life force. In Eastern culture, sexuality achieved the status of an art form.
As a result, ancient treatises on love like the Kama Sutra, the Ananga-Ranga, and the Ishimpo, traditionally passed down as oral histories, were recorded in written form for future generations. But even in India and other countries of the Far East, sexuality eventually lost its sacredness and society became more sexually conservative
Sex and Intimacy Today
In many ways, the world seems to have turned a corner in recent years. People today are more comfortable openly discussing sex and sexual issues. The print media has played a big part in contributing to the comfort of talking about sex. Major magazines, both men’s and women’s, compete at the newsstand with headlines that boast the latest techniques and secrets.
Talk shows dealing with relationships and sex are among the hottest on TV. Thanks to modern technology, you can access sexual information and erotic material via your computer in the privacy of your own home. On the other hand, technology has also allowed us (for better or worse) to let down our guard and open up more quickly to people we barely know. Computers are blamed for a host of relationship problems, from fueling online porn habits or obsessions to facilitating casual hookups and extramarital affairs.
Then there’s the fast pace of our modern lives. Many of us are so busy that we often shortchange our personal lives, neglecting our partners as well as our own needs and desires.