COLUMN: Bilateral masturbation: The dehumanization and degradation of sex and intimacy

By John Bambenek

Sexual liberation was supposed to free women to enjoy the physical, emotional and spiritual benefits of sex. It’s those darn fundamentalists that think sex is such a dirty thing. Abstinence education won’t work because people “will just have sex anyway.”

At least these are the lies we tell ourselves in this society.

I’ve taken a stroll through a few bookstores lately to test a theory. Every bookstore has a section on sex complete with Kama Sutras, guides to masturbation and assorted books of poses, all in addition to the myriad of medications that help with the physical attributes of sex, such as Dapoxetine which helps premature ejaculation.

If sex is this wonderful physical, emotional and spiritual act, why is it that only the physical aspects ever gets addressed? In an interesting twist of fate, the only book I found that addressed the spiritual and emotional components of was not found in the sex section of Barnes & Noble. It was found in Christian Inspiration.

Sex is supposedly this wonderful, special and unique act that brings couples to a heightened level of intimacy. If it is indeed so special, why is it traded as if it were worthless? The things that are important and valuable to people are shared with only close friends and family. Trust must be earned.

If intimacy is the goal, I would be interested in hearing how that is achieved by hooking up after a couple of watered down cheap beers at the local syphilis buffet. A society that practices the hook-up inherently disregards intimacy.

The constant preoccupation with “performance” demonstrates the deception that emotional and spiritual components have anything to do with sex in this society. “Sexual compatibility” is often cited as a condition of marriage. Apparently it just matters if they’re good in bed, their identity is secondary.

What is left is sex that is effectively little more than bilateral masturbation. It’s an act of sexual self-satiation. After it’s over, the two people are left in an awkward silence in bed next to a stranger. Far from producing intimacy, it generates alienation.

As usual, the hook-up culture comes down hardest on women who generally bear the consequences of rampant sexuality. Single parenting, sexually-transmitted diseases and date rape disproportionately affect women. The more safe sex is preached from the rooftops, the more women seem to be left in the wake of human tragedy.

McKinley offers two condom packs per month which means about 48 condoms per couple. Few people have that much sex. Those who brag that they do are probably getting none. With such a wide availability of birth control on campus, you’d think we’d have no unplanned pregnancies or STD infections. The fact remains that Champaign has been declared as having an epidemic of syphilis. Plan B access remains the issue of the day, but if safe sex is so safe, why is there a need for a Plan B?

Lally Gartel, in her column “The HPVictory,” accused me of not taking into account that people will “just have sex.” No, I expect people to be human beings using the big melon on top of their necks to make rational choices. People don’t just “do” things; they “choose” to do things. If people cannot be expected to be rational they should not be allowed freedom. Relegating sex to the realm of the “involuntary” just dehumanizes the person you have sex with.

It is far past time to realize that this dehumanized and degraded view of sex has done nothing but create generations of single mothers and children raised without both parents, and has left men and women unable to relate to one another. Every single statistic from abortions, to out-of-wedlock births, to STD infection rates, to divorces, show that sexual liberation has done far more harm than good. Perhaps it’s time to use that melon on our necks instead of following every urge in our pants.