Sex is a funny little concept, isn’t it?

Traditionally, a male puffs up or hardens his sex organ and physically mounts another human, animal, or sex toy, shoves it into an orifice, and then moves it vigorously in and out as the penis hopefully remains stiff (for many, thanks to Viagra) until it contracts and spews out a whitish substance that inexplicably can produce life if deposited in a fertile female orifice or petri dish. Hopefully, the other subject (if living and breathing) voluntarily submitted, and ideally, there were efforts to produce feelings of pleasure in all subjects involved. 

The variations on this theme today are infinite. At times, there are no other subjects, the sex act is upon oneself. It can occur between many combinations of subjects, genders, species, inanimate and animate objects, and more. Because of religion, sex is often accompanied by force, coercion, shame, guilt, and judgment. Rarely, is it accompanied by feelings of pleasure, excitement, and fulfillment. And even more seldom, accompanied by feelings of love, passion, and enjoyment. 

A funny little concept? Governments, countries, religions, cultures, and millions of lives have been affected by a single sex act that lasted a few seconds (at least), and a few minutes (at most). Many of us are plagued by trauma and psychological distress because of our cultural and religious formation. 

Why? What happened to a natural biological instinct to render it so…dirty, forbidden, controlled, and regulated? Perhaps the answer comes down to a single word. Pleasure. A complex emotion that causes one to pursue it further at all costs. An emotion that renders one less subject to authority. An emotion that has the potential to trigger the ultimate affect—enjoyment. When humans find they can experience pleasure without the aid of government or religion, they become independent, and independence leads to questions—which are not permitted. An independent person will question propaganda, authority, patriotism, penance, indulgences, taxes, and tithes. 

I often ask myself why is sex so much more pleasurable at age sixty than twenty. Of course, there are the obvious answers. I have more time, more rest, more security, more confidence, more money, and less stress. But I do not have the physical stamina, hormones, and sheer lust of a normal twenty-year-old. However, I was NOT a normal twenty-year-old. I was told that lust, masturbation, adultery, and sex for pleasure rather than reproduction would condemn me to an eternal burning hell. Consequently, at age twenty-one, I had not had sex. 

I married at age twenty-one and both of us (she was seventeen) went to the marriage bed virgins. We had no idea how to do this thing we somehow knew we were supposed to do that first night. This funny little thing called sex. No one had bothered or cared to tell us anything about pleasure—only about how sinful sex was. 

Because of religious guilt, shame, abuse, and ignorance, it took us three days to figure out how to stressfully complete an extremely unfulfilling, unpleasurable, and clumsy sex act. As we went to dinner later, we felt the shame of religious history consume us and walked with our heads bowed and shoulders slumped in shame, afraid to make eye contact with anyone, particularly each other. 

A funny little concept, indeed. 

But finally, at the ripe ‘ole age of sixty-five, sex is fun, intensely pleasurable, fulfilling, exciting, and enjoyable. Happily, I am in good health and take no medications, so sex can be spontaneous and self-managed. I love sex. And for some reason, I am physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually equipped to enjoy it a lot—much more than when I was a twenty-year-old youngster. 

I missed out on any sex life for the first two-plus decades of life, so I am lucky to be making up for lost time. And I am grateful to have a companion who understands my sensuality and champions my longings and desires, and who loves sex almost as much as I do. I’ve had more sex in the past twelve years than I did in the previous fifty-four. 

For most of my life, I was made to feel like a weirdo and pervert by my spouse, religious leaders, and family because of my intense love and desire for sex. I let the shame and judgment rob me of sexual fulfillment for five decades. But one fateful day, I’d had enough repression, suppression, censorship, and control. My physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual freedom was no longer an option. 

In my latest book The Quest, (Amazon has the paperback version on sale for $3.99) I discuss the affect and attachment theories. I now believe that our sexual beings are shaped by our attachment styles and our emotional triggers are scripted by our childhood—in other words, sex is more about our biography than our biology, more mental than physical.

Could it be that some of us are sex-secure, some sex-insecure, some sex-anxious, and some sex-avoidant? And the emotional affects, triggers, and scripts that dictate our sex life are activated and written by our childhood when attachment style is formed? 

For example, a sex-secure person’s triggers and scripts to sex might be interest, excitement, enjoyment, and bliss. A person who is sex-insecure, and sex-anxious, might have completely different triggers and scripts: shame, fear, humiliation, distress, and anguish. Furthermore, a person who is sex-avoidant could experience emotional affects, triggers, and scripts such as anger, rage, flight, terror, dissmell, and disgust. Sex educator and author Dr. Emily Nagoski aroused my idea of a correlation between attachment and affect theories and spawned this post.

I am grateful and proud to be a virile, sexual being whose sexual and gender concepts, taboos, and norms are evolving daily. I am sex-secure at sixty-five even though I was sex-anxious for most of the first half of life. And my concept of pleasure continues to expand. My increasing desire for sex emerges in response to my understanding and acceptance of pleasure. When I experience responsive desire, my body goes, “Oh, right. Yes, this! Hooray!”

Sex is a funny little concept, isn’t it?