Monday, June 18, 2012

Sexual Tension

I watched a documentary the other night called Let's Talk About Sex. It basically spelled out many of my personal experiences with flawed sexual education and conflicting beliefs that were taught to me as an adolescent.

It's clear that Americans are sex obsessed and sexually repressed. I wonder how much stress comes out of that situation- the guilt, the shame, the frustration, the misunderstanding. Is that the stress that's actually killing us in the "75% of all doctor's visits are stress related" statistic from Sunset Relaxation Therapy?

The documentary maker, James Houston, consulted with several religious leaders in several parts of the US, regarding abstinence only education. This part was especially fascinating to me, having been raised in several churches at a time, from birth, and knowing that I've never been given ANY practical advice about sexuality. Don't have sex until you're married. That's it.

We had 8 parental figures (a divorced mom and dad each with their 4 respective new partners) and 4 grandparents at our wedding. Her Maternal Grandparents were the only married set- long time married but he is not the biological father of the 3 adult children. The Wife and I are the youngest of all cousins and siblings in our respective families. Needless to say, we had a wealth of experienced folks, matrimonially and sexually, at all stages of life and relationship. Did anybody have anything useful to say about how to work this sex type thing into our life, now that it wasn't going to send us straight to Hell? Nope.
Insert bitterness here _______.

 According to the American Psychological Association, "Marriage and divorce are both common experiences. In Western cultures, more than 90 percent of people marry by age 50. Healthy marriages are good for couples’ mental and physical health. They are also good for children; growing up in a happy home protects children from mental, physical, educational and social problems. However, about 40 to 50 percent of married couples in the United States divorce. The divorce rate for subsequent marriages is even higher."

Softpedia says, regarding divorce and stress rates, "'Stress affects your immune system and leads to increased inflammation. We’re now thinking that inflammation is at the route of cardiovascular disease and certain kinds of cancer. In addition, during that time you’re not taking care of yourself. You’re eating poorly, you’re not exercising. You’re sleeping terribly. Then your social world, of course, especially in the case of divorce, suffers. You lose half your friends and your in-laws.' Professor Linda Waite, co-author of the study, says of what happens post-breakup/divorce." Furthermore, "What’s even worse, the findings of the study indicate, is that these health impacts do not go away when moving on to another relationship."

Aside from my personal angst about my personal life, I have a real concern for stress induced sickness from this huge source of daily, deeply rooted stress in so many American's lives. I believe that sex and marriage are unable to be examined separately and healing, in most cases, comes from education. As a nation our healthcare crisis, our marriage crisis, and our teen pregnancy crisis are thriving on ignorance and fear. If we can't figure out how to effectively and practically manage love and health, and how to effectively prepare our children for life's most complex and rewarding experiences, we're in trouble. 







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