Vulnerability and Sex: Do They Go Hand in Hand?

I have this friend, let’s call her Piper, who has an interesting perspective on sex. One that, for me, I do not find to be true as do most of the other people in our friend group. Piper doesn’t see sex as an act of love or emotion, rather just something that one does to have fun and let loose. When she told me this, I had to really stop and think about her viewpoint. Yes, we see impulsive one night stands and sex being done purely for fun on TV and in movies, but up until this point, I had never actually met someone, let alone a girl, who held this belief to be true.

After digging a little deeper into this and practically psychoanalyzing her (disclaimer: she psychoanalyzes me too), I realized something. It’s not that she doesn’t understand that for some people sex is supposed to be meaningful, it was just that for her, she was too scared to allow herself to be vulnerable enough to someone else to become meaningful. Because of things that happened in her childhood, she built up walls around her heart and shied away from letting herself be vulnerable to other people in all aspects of her life. But vulnerability is a funny thing, and something that almost everyone struggles with at some point in their life. Our natural instinct is not to be vulnerable because that’s scary. We worry that if we let ourselves be vulnerable, something bad might happen: we won’t be accepted, we won’t be loved, or we won’t be understood for who we truly are. But as Brené Brown, a self described researcher storyteller and presenter of the TED Talk: The Power of Vulnerability says, “vulnerability is the core of shame and fear and our struggles for worthiness, but it is also the birthplace of joy, of creativity, of belonging and of love”.

I told Piper that by being scared to be vulnerable and by refusing to let herself be truly seen by someone, she was going to miss out on something, sexually and emotionally. By suppressing her fears and struggles (the scary part of vulnerability) and acting like they didn’t exist, she was also not giving herself a chance to experience the other part of being vulnerable which is having someone see you for who you truly are, with all of your imperfections, and still love you. Vulnerability is two fold and difficult to portray because there are so many uncertainties, and unfortunately, sometimes when you let yourself be vulnerable, you have to come to terms that there is the possibility of being hurt as a result.

What I told her was that she wasn’t wrong in thinking that sex is just an act with no meaning, but what I tried to get across to her was that there is more to sex than the act itself. There is a time to have it just for fun, but hopefully at some point in your life, there should be emotion and passion behind it. At the end of my explanation of how I had disentangled her life to be able to get to the root of why she thought of sex as a meaningless act she turned to me and said, “you just psychoanalyzed me on what I thought sex was, not lovemaking”. Touché Piper, touché.

How do you feel about this? Do you think there is pressure to have meaningful sex or do you think sex should sometimes just be for pure physical pleasure?

Please, please, please watch this video… I cannot emphasize enough how important this concept is to incorporate into every aspect of our lives. I hope you enjoy it as much as I do!

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