You’re looking at Reddit on your phone while on break at work. As you scroll through the front page, you see a picture of some boobs or a dick. You pause to look for a second. Just then the person beside you looks over, dazed, and then says “Oh I saw that on Tumblr yesterday. I like that angle.” You upvote it and then click the panda video that’s right after it. The panda falls off of a stump and hits the ground with a thud. You both laugh and head back to your desks.
After work you hop in the car with your significant other to grab some dinner. While you’re driving a hottie jogs by, sweat glistening, obviously looking fit and attractive. Your significant other makes a comment about the jogger’s shoes, and then says “well that’s nice” while looking at the joggers ass. You take a look as you drive past and agree with a nod and a smile. You chat about how you need to hit the gym tomorrow, because “shit, my ass could look that good!”
While at the restaurant a woman at a table across from you takes her breast out of her shirt to feed her newborn. She’s struggling a little bit with her fussy, wiggly baby, and you see her exposed nipple for at least 15 seconds while she gets adjusted. At some point, she makes eye contact with you and smiles. Then she lets her baby eat, because babies need to do that. Finally, she takes a bite of her green beans and accidentally drops one on baby’s head.
You decide to head to the theater to catch the latest blockbuster. A sex scene comes on and it has real, visible penetration. The scene lasts about 10 minutes. When the person next to you accidentally drops their Twizzlers, you pick it up and hand it back. They say thanks and you both look back at the screen, not wanting to miss anything. All eyes are on the two having sex. The scene cuts away to a beautiful panorama of a windy beach, waves crashing against the sand. The rest of the movie is fantastic—action, adventure, and romance all in one. After the movie you feel your phone start to buzz. It’s your mom. You tell her it was a great movie, and highly recommend it.
The next day you go to a friends house for a little get together. A few people are talking about anal sex: whether they’ve tried it, whether they enjoy it, their favorite positions, etc. You join in the conversation with your experiences, and mention the impossibility of how it’s done in porn. Everybody laughs and agrees, and conversation moves to the latest show on Netflix.
Then someone pulls up this blog post on their tablet for you to read. When you’re finished, you look up, a little confused. You kind of get that it was forward thinking for the time, but can’t help but think how weird it would have been to live in a time where sexuality was so taboo.
You try understand what it might feel like to have to hide your phone because you were embarrased that a naked picture was on your screen; or that some people would have to pretend that an attractive, physically fit person jogging by didn’t exist; or how a mother feeding her child in public was somehow a sexual act; or that a desire to watch other people have sex is wrong; or that experimenting with sex was somehow unnatural.
You can’t imagine what it would be like to feel guilty or ashamed about your desires; or what it would be like to be labeled a “slut” or a “whore” because you were sexually active; or how it would feel to be yelled at and physically harmed because you found people of the same sex attractive.
You can’t imagine any of this, because to you, it’s all just human.