Gray Area

Sex. There it is, that forbidden word. Even reading it on a page makes you nervous, makes you think of naked skin, tangled bed sheets–those things you’ve been warned not to think about. But why? Sex. That word turns your stomach, in both a good way and a bad. You get those little excited butterflies, but that hint of guilt in the back of your mind, like a twig in your shoe. Sex. What makes you on the edge of your seat as you read that three-letter-word? Is it the celebrities, their slivers of skin peeking out between low-rise jeans and thin tops? The magazines with cleavage creases, lush bodies, full curves? When you were a child, you were taught that sex was taboo. Your parents hushed it, friends only spoke about it in whispers. You read verses and commandments that used words like ‘temple’ and ‘sacred’. You learned that bodies were beautiful, that this three-letter-word would taint you. But now you watch movies with bedroom scenes, two people intertwined in passion, and you question this again. Sometimes you see these images and you fear them. You are afraid of this intimacy, this bodily closeness. Sometimes there’s a longing, for a connection both mental and physical. Sometimes you are angry, for the commercialized and overstimulated images that cloud your mind. Sometimes you are unsure whether to want or to push the idea away.

I have realized that it is okay to talk about sex. That these ideas that pass through the folds in our minds–the unclothed skin, fingertips on hips, hands through hair, the pull of two bodies together–are real and true. We can think of them, can let them rest in our conscious mind. We can speak of them, can let images become concrete pictures in the open air. Sex. Yes, that word. It is no longer forbidden. The truths we learned as children, the truths that have turned us away from this word, we read again. We understand that they praise intimacy, glorify this closeness at the right time. When two are tied as one, when we are truly ready. We watch movies of scenes that intimidate us, but we begin to believe in the power of love, in the type of love that connects our hearts and bodies. Sex. It is okay to want, to imagine hands tracing each contour of our bodies. It is okay to long for those moments of raw passion. Too often the world is black and white–sex is bad and you shouldn’t, or sex is good so we should desensitize ourselves to it. I believe in the gray area. I believe in the acceptance, whether that be accepting the wanderings of our minds or satisfying the cravings of our bodies. I believe in the sacred, the promise of intimacy in the future. I believe in its present beauty. Sex. I’ve learned that it is okay to talk about sex. The word itself isn’t bad, and neither is its occurrence. Sex isn’t taboo. Sex represents our hidden desire to be intimate. We cannot fear it. We cannot exploit it, nor rid of its meaning. We cannot we cannot hide from it. We must embrace it, see that it is not an issue of good vs. bad, black vs. white, but rather a gray area.

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