Unless you’ve been living under a rock the last few weeks, you have likely noticed that sexual malfeasance will be the defining moment for 2017. Funny thing is, that American’s have a love-hate relationship with sex. When I lived outside of the United States, it was assumed that American girls were promiscuous, and that Americans were culturally sexual. But the reality is that Americans haven’t reconciled themselves to their sexuality. Sex to Americans seems like a taboo subject to be kept hidden in some closet lest anyone think badly about them.
Adding to the confusion is that in advertising the adage is that sex sells. Advertising in America is generally sexually driven. Pretty faces adorn the pages of magazines selling anything from pool cleaning services to even adult diapers. Notice how the television advertisements for adult diapers have good looking women selling adult diapers? You don’t see good-looking men selling geriatric supplies for men, but for diapers for women, it’s the slim good-looking women peddling them.
In time I came to realize that the seemingly sex-crazed women during Spring Breaks on the Mexican beaches, who were taking off their clothes, were, in reality, an anomaly brought on by over drinking and a cultural mentality that sees sexuality as taboo. It has been my observation that American women are generally timid and unadventurous when it comes to sex. It seems to me that there exists a duality about sex, seemingly open about sex but in reality, shy about sexuality.
As I began to understand the duality of sexuality in America, it soon made sense to me the dichotomy of shedding inhibitions through excessive drinking that tends to dominate the college scene. Its as if shedding inhibitions meant drinking oneself into oblivion was the only way to a temporary escape into sexuality.
I’ve had numerous heated discussions with American women about my drawings of women’s bodies. Sexist is generally the term thrown at me. Yet, the great artistic masters of yesteryear embraced the human body as the subject of their art. From sculptures to paintings, the human form is adored by many.
I and my Mexican men brethren are labelled “machos” as if admiring the female form is a sin. Admiration is not a sin nor is it necessarily disrespectful. Like everything else, it can be taken too far. And, yes, there is a fine line between respect and being disrespectful, but admiring the human form is not fundamentally wrong.
Silence is how sex is addressed in America.
The reasons for the taboo about sex in America can likely be traced back to the Puritan mores of the original Thirteen Colonies. Although, the Puritan mores expanded beyond their restrictions as Americans came unto their own, it seems that sexuality did not expand along, but, instead, it was relegated into a dark closet not to be discussed.
Digging deeper into the duality of sexual taboos in the American consciousness, it soon makes sense why certain sexual predators have the power to intimidate and silence their victims. No one in America wants to talk about sex, and, as a result, sexual predators can further victimize their victims.
Sex sells is the adage and apparently it works as evidenced by this insurance agency’s billboard in Orlando. But, if we are in the year that sexual harassment has consequences, shouldn’t this billboard company and insurance agency also suffer the consequences of sexual harassment? Or, am I the only one that finds this dichotomy confusing?
More importantly, if sex sells, then why can’t Americans have an open and honest discussion about sex and sexuality? Why the fear of sex in the American consciousness?