Friday, January 11, 2013

Phallic Friday - why is sex taboo?

Let me tell you right up - I don’t have an answer.

It’s something that’s always bugged me though, so I thought I’d blog about it. I was brought up in a fairly strict Catholic family. When I had the birds and bees chat (which was less chat and more book reading) and learned what a virgin was, I lost a bit of faith in the religion. It whittled away over time as my knowledge (and scepticism) grew. I wonder if religion is a major culprit in making sex taboo. Sex was not taboo in the pagan tradition. I wonder if religion developed in the opposite manner deliberately - like a rebellious teen.

Humans seem focussed on striving forwards - being bigger, better, faster - and sex doesn’t do that. Sex is a tangential distraction. Is that why it’s become taboo? It keeps us from achieving? Women put off having children so they can further their careers, and it’s encouraged. The subliminal message is that procreation doesn’t come before a career - sex is not important.

I went Googling to see what I could find. There’s a very interesting post I found from The Honest Courtesan. I think I might have to check that site out. Amazing what you find on Google.

In a Psychology Today article, Nathan Heflick claims that sex is taboo because it reminds humans of their basic, core animal nature. And maybe he has a point. There’s nothing more animalistic than rutting - all that sweat, grunting and primal instincts. He links the animalistic nature to humans fear of death - and weren’t orgasms referred to as “a little death” in years gone by? So if we think we’re above animals, and we’re scared of death, then sex is definitely not something we want to experience too often, is it?

I hate to think what this means for erotic writers and sex maniacs - are we linked more closely to animals and/or death? :)


  1. Hi Cate
    Have been mulling on this one for a while this morning. I'm not sure sex is taboo (well it's not in my mind anyway), but certain elements of it are. Not necessarily the sex acts, but who does those acts. As an example, my parents in law recently celebrated 50 years of marriage. We saw them the week before and as they left I said something a bit cheeky to them (I wish I remember the exact words), I guess on the line of "don't get up to too much mischief this week". Anyway, they just laughed, but hubby picked me up on it later. Obviously the thought that his parents (in their 70s) may still have hanky panky or could get up to mischief, didn't sit well with him! So those are the sort of taboos for me, that old ladies might still give head jobs... I think there's some age out there where everything is supposed to drop off and dry up and not be mentioned. That's what I think is taboo about sex. Younger people, I don't think anything is taboo these days... social media has helped that.

    1. Hi Lily,
      I've been thinking about this. I think you're right in that society is changing it's views on sex and young people are more attune to speaking about it... But I'm not sure the vast majority of people are comfortable with sex discussions (although that could just be my age showing!).

      I'm glad you make comments like that. I always do and whoever is with me,often my poor long-suffering hubby, always groans or whacks me as if I've made some awful gaff...and I was thinking I was being amusing.

      Thanks for making me think more on the topic.

      Cate xo