Last night I had my first class in “Sociology of Sexuality” (for those who don’t know, I’m a Biology major and a Sociology Minor), and all I can say is… WOW. I didn’t really know what to expect from this class going into it, and I’m glad I didn’t because I could never have imagined what the content of the course would be. The main reason I signed up for this class is because I’m gay and I thought that maybe I would learn a little bit about why gays are suppressed in society, etc. Unfortunately the teacher made a point early on to say that she wanted to teach it more in that way, but there just isn’t enough published research in order to base a large section of the class on that subject. We will, however, touch on it, but not as much as may be needed.
Anyway, the class started off as any other class starts off the first time you attend it; introduction to the course and going over the syllabus. Once that was done though we started to get into sex in different cultures, and man nothing was left to the imagination. The whole purpose of this sextion was to understand that how we have sex, and how sex is viewed in today’s society, is not anything that is wired within us since birth, but something that is learned from parents and society as a whole. In order to do this we went over research done on other cultures, mainly about how they have sex and how foreplay is performed. And let me tell you… there are some fucked up societies out there. Of course I only say this because I have my taught notion of what sex should be like, but with that said, damn there are some fucked up societies out there. The biggest surprise to me was that the most widely used form of foreplay in the world was grooming and delousing. Meaning; picking lice out of one’s hair, and making the other person pretty. This is also something that is very prevalent with primates (That’s another one for you Darwin-doubters). In some societies foreplay had to go on for 6-8 hours if the actual penetrating action would even take place. By god, that is some serious petting right there. In others the foreplay got so intense that blood was actually shed.
A funny thing about masturbation was also brought to my attention. In most societies it is actually normal for children to masturbate (this is what the data says, don’t blame the messenger), and not for the adults to do so, yet in our (western) society it is the exact opposite. Tied into this is that the orgasm itself can actually have healing powers, and so can a simple touch by another human. So think about that before you teach your kids that they’ll go blind if they jerk off, when it’s more likely that they’ll go blind from not jerking off.
The most important thing for me personally that I learned in this first session was the little bit we did, in fact, learn about homosexuality. It was a history lesson that everyone should have an understanding about before judging someone for their sexual preference. In ancient Greece homosexuality was not seen as anything abnormal, and was practiced pretty freely, and in some instances even required in order to “please thy master”. At this time Christians and Jews were at war with Greece and of course that brought about a bunch of animosity towards everything they stood for, including the free-spirited homosexual attitude they had. That is explained as one of the major reasons why there is such a stigma around homosexuality in today’s society, and probably why there is such emphasis put on the one section in the bible that makes life less enjoyable for a large group of people (when there are numerous other things in the bible that are ignored – more on this topic to come here btw). It was just interesting to me to find out a little bit about the history about the stigmatization of gays in today’s society.
Overall this seems like a class that I will take away a lot from, both good and bad. I’m starting to feel more and more that sociology as a whole is a subject that should be required for everyone to take. Last semester I took a class called “Social Inequality” and it gave me so much. Sure, I came out depressed after every session, but I have such a broad understanding about inequalities present in today’s society now. And I feel that this class will teach me a great deal about society as a whole as well, even if it will get a little naughty at times. But hey, who said I don’t enjoy being naughty at times?