Friday, June 14, 2013

Phallic Friday - double standards

I found myself aghast this past week at my own double standards. Here was I thinking I'd come a long way - and really I haven't at all.

Two media articles drew this to my attention.

One was the international story about Michael Douglas's throat cancer possibly being caused by Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) and cunnilingus. I read the first line of the article and went "Ewwww". I stopped reading and clicked off the story (online). A few minutes later I was horrified at my reaction. I clicked back and read the story. You can read it here if you missed it.

My initial reaction was because I felt it was too much information. I didn't want to think of him eating out hundreds of women - which was what popped into my mind in vivid graphic detail (I know, my mind is a worry!).

When I took the time to think about the article I felt ashamed at my reaction and very pleased that another high profile celebrity took the time to acknowledge a disease/illness. I have edited work for the Health Department on HPV and I have no recollection of reading that it could be spread through oral sex and cause throat cancer. It's brave of him to stand up and tell us something that's hidden and not talked about because of our embarrassment (or filthy minds!). Good on Michael Douglas for raising awareness of HPV.

The second story was along a similar vein but had the complete opposite reaction in me - maybe because I'd done my thinking over Michael Douglas.

Condom dress
The Shoalhaven has a chlamydia outbreak and to raise awareness of this and the occurrence of STDs, they've displayed a condom wedding dress prominently - much to the disgust of some councillors and locals. See newspaper report here. The condom wedding dress is incredible - although I could never wear it with my legs! (Photo from the above newspaper article pasted here). The arguments against it's display were that children wouldn't understand. Seriously? Do you think you have to explain the whole sex issue to a child before they're ready just because there's a wedding dress on display? For years I was told condoms were water balloons and when I was told they were French letters that completely had me baffled as there was no writing on them. But I digress... If a child isn't ready to know, will they understand? And why are we hiding the word condom when later on we need people to be up front about them to enable the safe practice of sex?

My horror at myself was because sex was okay in the abstract (condom dress) but not in the personal (MD eating out women). I should be bigger than that. Sex should be okay regardless. It's a natural act. And I should be glad that Michael Douglas (a) respects women enough to give them pleasure and (b) is comfortable in his own sexuality to discuss this with the world.

I hope next time I have a news article with a celebrity telling me intimate details of their sex life, I'll be accepting of the story and not take two steps back. I hope I can look at a condom wedding dress and see the beauty of the design, not wish it all hidden away.

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