Sex is fundamentally a biological function. The meaning it is given by people is the result of beliefs about sex, interpretations we’ve learned to apply to it. There are many different forms of interpretation possible for a sexual experience. Our institutions and families of origin teach us to think about sex in certain ways. They teach us what is acceptable and what isn’t.
I believe that sex as a natural function should be thought about and practiced in ways that enrich the life of the individual person. I believe that there are healthy and unhealthy ways of having a sexual experience. So my personal and professional beliefs about sex are obviously influenced by my interest in emotional and physical health.
Some people believe that sex is a tool, to be used to procure something else that they want from people (a simple form of prostitution). The simple formula in this belief is, ‘I give this to you and you give that to me.’ The assumption here is that sex is a valued commodity that can be traded for other valued commodities. It’s basically a negotiation, a barter between two people. The most common barter involving sex occurs when it is used to obtain love. I give you sex and you’ll give me love, or more accurately, if you want me sexually you’ll have to learn to love me by committing to love me.
Since sex is a great motivator for many people, this ‘arrangement’ can be hard to resist. For a person in ‘heat,’ sex is difficult to resist when the conditions are right. Sex in this arrangement would involve more than a simple pleasure or a mutual effort to procreate. But you’d have to ask yourself, is the love received real or false? Most of what I know about love tells me that love cannot be forced. That you can’t make someone love you. It is either there to be given or there to be received. If it isn’t, it isn’t. You can’t manufacture it in order to fill an order, make a repayment, or satisfy a contract.
Other related barters with sex involve procuring security or using sex to gain control over someone. When sexual influence takes control, the ability to reason is the first thing to go. A person who has learned to use sex in this way can become powerful in certain interpersonal settings. Sexy people often get what they want before others, if they know how to use sexual influence to get what they want. And it’s not so easy for the sexual manipulator either. Once addicted to this way of life, he or she starts to lose respect for people. He or she begins to believe that most people can be ‘demented’ by sexual influence.
The disadvantage or loss for the sexual manipulator is that he or she losses touch with the part of themselves they want other people to recognize and love. They become absorbed in the power sexual influence has given them over others. Behind all that disrespect for mindless responders to sexual influence is the wish that the sexual manipulator would meet a desirable person who cannot be influenced by sex. When they find one, the great hope is that beyond the controlling influence of sex, there is love to be received that was not and cannot be manipulated. Dr. T. Jordan