The Walk of Shame, Herpes Paranoia, Fear of the Nipple and Other Horror Stories from Youth Sex Culture

Use this link if you’re using an Apple mobile device. Here is the song &" target="_blank">Ohio, written by Neil Young.

This article introduces my ideas about sex education.

In tonight’s edition of Planet Waves FM, Daniel Sternstein and I speak candidly about the “walk of shame” phenomenon, and other truly strange idioms from twenty-something youth sex culture.

Onyx. Photo by Eric Francis / Book of Blue.
Onyx. Photo by Eric Francis / Book of Blue.

These include paranoia about herpes but hardly anyone doing anything about it, the rampant sexualizing of sex but phobia of the female nipple and an environment where the concepts of yes and no are drowned in six drinks before many people can get the courage to take off their clothes.

As promised, the graphic below is from The Joy of Sex by Alex Comfort, first edition, published in 1972. I am including this as a graphic representation of sex from a book designed to be both educational and fun, but which clearly would not qualify as porn. This was one of the books on my teenage household bookshelf.

In last week’s Planet Waves I included a discussion of the pagan holiday Beltane and its association with consensual experience. I also mentioned the idea of starting all processes of sexual healing with self-sex. Here is that article.

For those seeking other sexuality resources, I suggest taking a look at an Planet Waves project called It’s Not About Sex. It’s About Self.

I am planning to continue this discussion; if you would like to be part of it, please contact me at [email protected]. I should reply quickly — if I don’t, please write again.

From The Joy of Sex by Alex Comfort, first edition, © 1972.
From The Joy of Sex by Alex Comfort, first edition, © 1972.

One comment

  1. Wow! What a great show. I listened in lieu of being read to, being on the road this week. (I fell asleep-once-but replayed to catch the part I missed.) I can hardly begin to articulate my thoughts as I listened to this amazing and revealing conversation. Two things right off the top: The morning after walk home was always one of my favorite things, especially in Spring, in Boston. I felt radiant, though disheveled, and figured everyone knew exactly what I’d been up to. I remember conspiratorial grins from men and women, not derision. In any case, I tried to write a song about it. It started with this one line and never went any further: “Nature’s given me some fine Saturday mornings for walking home from your place in my Friday night clothes.”

    The other thought addresses what happened in the decades between the Sexual Revolution and today’s 20-somethings’ sex culture. I suspect most of us never dealt with the shame. We had our various drugs to help us get over our inhibitions, do our experimenting and discovering, and taste sexual liberation, but when we sobered up, we quickly (those who did sober up, that is) got ourselves together and moved into having kids or careers, or whatever, and when we had kids we decided not to tell them about all the drugs and sex we’d done. I didn’t have kids, but I have friends who will not own up to their young adult exploits, and one who recently shocked herself by discovering, in an old journal, just how promiscuous she’d been. Personally, it’s taken me years to achieve in sobriety the sexual freedom and ease that I thought I’d found back in my 20’s.

    In Spiritual Psychology, or Transpersonal Psychology, there’s a phenomenon known as “flight to the light,” which refers to the tendency to want to skip over all that shadow stuff and go right to being spiritually evolved. I suspect that the times we are in now are an opportunity to dig deeper, and I hope we can achieve the authenticity that is borne of owning the shadow, not running from it. Put another way, the sex culture of dick pics and the Walk of Shame might just be the shadow we didn’t deal with the first time.

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