Mahen: Ditching dirty word taboos

Jill Mahen

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I’ll never forget my middle school health class. On the first day, my teacher asked us to say certain words out loud and laugh as much as we wanted to to “get it out of our system.”She said the first word. “Penis.” The class erupted in laughter. Second word, “vagina.” More laughter. Finally, “sex.” There was a ripple of giggles.

It’s amazing to me that now, we’re in our twenties and sex is still taboo. Deny it if you’d like, but if it wasn’t taboo, I wouldn’t have this column, girls wouldn’t spend two hours getting ready to go to a bar and guys wouldn’t have to use lines like, “Wanna come over and see my puppy?”

It’s the elephant in the room at every bar, party, date and other social setting. We can’t help it. It’s human nature. According to the Kinsey Reports, 54 percent of men think about sex every day or several times a day. (Note: the Kinsey Reports were conducted through self-reports). A more recent study conducted by neuropsychiatrist Dr. Louann Brizendine found that men think about sex every 52 seconds and women typically think of it once a day. Bottom line: We think about sex. A lot.

So, if we’re constantly thinking about it then why is sex still so controversial? We’ve certainly come a long way from the days of Freud, and there is enough literature and stimuli in everyday life that brings the subject of sex out in the open. But, for some reason whenever it comes up in a social situation, we avoid it like South Carolina Governor Mark Sanford avoids the subject of his fidelity.

Wouldn’t it be nice to live in a society like Margaret Meade painted in her book, “Coming of Age in Samoa?” A society that was free from sexual tension and sexual restraints all because everyone was DTF. Well, it would certainly make Keg and Deuce nights less interesting. To quote the great Will Ferrell, “It’d be like fishing with dynamite.”

So, Meade’s sexual utopia probably isn’t the answer. It would suck all the fun out of those rambunctious nights on the town. “The chase” would cease to exist and we’d probably live in a disease ridden, overpopulated society. But instead of losing all our morals and values, what if we simply accept the taboo instead of hiding it under the rug? I think Salt-N-Pepa had it right when they sang, “Let’s talk about sex, baby…”

We have to stop throwing our arms in the air and posting a scarlet ‘A’ on anyone who broaches the subject. Van Wilder said it best, “Don’t take life to seriously. You’ll never get out alive.” The more we talk about sex, the more immune we’ll be and then maybe, just maybe, we can have a little fun with the subject and embrace it for what it is – a good time, a bad decision or simply the path to reproduction.