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Sexual status quo

Erika-Lee Shaw

Erika-Lee Shaw

I am so often faced with people having issues around sexuality and normality.

“What is a normal size?”

“What’s a normal shape?”

“What’s a normal sex-drive?”

“Am I abnormal if I like ‘xyz’?”

“How often should I be having sex?”

“Is it normal to be attracted to ‘xyz’?”

Our brains feel safe when we can cognitively disperse information into familiar chunks. We are raised on information about sex and sexuality that, for the most part, exist in a binary format: ‘this or that, good or bad, male or female, married or single, heterosexual or homosexual…’

When we see or feel something that could be seen as ‘outside’ of the binary system we know, it makes us feel uncomfortable. It makes our society feel uncomfortable. 

Binaries work for us a lot of the time and it’s a way our brains may always function fundamentally. However, we also have immense capacity to override this binary tendency. We are sentient beings with the ability to rationalise, empathise and recognise humanity in behaviours outside of what we’ve learnt. 

The truth is; normality is quite a weak concept. I don’t deny that medically and statistically, finding a norm is helpful. But when it comes to behaviours and sexuality, ‘normality’ is a veil that prevents us from realising that we have innate and intricate differences. There is no normal amount to have sex. There is no normal when it comes to what arouses you. There isn’t even a normal when it comes to shape and size of genitalia.

It’s time to shed the weight of normality, of binary notions that keep us confined to an idea that there is a wrong and a right way to be when it comes to our sexuality. 

Disclaimer: there are certainly times when what is considered ‘normal’ is important to be aware of, particularly when it comes to sexual health. If you are ever concerned by something you’ve seen or felt on your body, it’s always advisable to check with your doctor. As an example: labia and penises come in lots of shapes and sizes, but I’d advise heading to your GP if you find any lumps, rashes, sores or experience a foul smell or taste.

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