A friend wrote a blog recently about wanting a man to take her and ravish her (in the most deliciously explicit manner.) I noticed that she copped a lot of flack for voicing her desires. Which has made me wonder to myself, have we taken political correctness to the extreme? I mean, is a woman allowed to say, “I want to be taken and ravaged like it is the last time I ever fuck” without some kind of criticism? Have we taken the passion out of our desire so much that no one is allowed to be wanted, pursued and seduced?

So what I wonder is this: the two-dimensional, photo shopped model on the underwear advert billboard is allowed to be sexy, and we may think sexy thoughts about the person walking out of the ocean wearing little more than a wisp of fabric in the beer advert; but when we actually voice what we want, then we cause offense. Since when did we have to monitor what we want so rigidly? What one person finds sexy or sexually appealing may not be so for another, but surely there is space for (healthy and boundarised) sexuality?

I know our society holds many dangers. I realise people have some awful experiences in their lives, particularly around sex. So often people experience violation around boundaries being crossed. The statistics are staggering: in Australia 1 in 3 women and 1 in 6 men will be sexually abused before the age of sixteen. Yet, what I see is that many people, even those who have had such experiences, still desire and require a full and rich sex life. They still want to feel wanted and desired. They still want to connect to their sexuality. Granted, not all do, and I am all for freedom of choice. Those who feel disconnected from their sexuality or those who require intensely firm boundaries absolutely must honour themselves. But it seems like our society is honouring the potential for the negative around sex more than the vast and opulent positive.

The World Association for Sexual Health’s Millenium Declaration Goal 8 states that sexual pleasure is a vital aspect of sexual health. Yet if you examine policy around sexual health in Australia, you would be hard pressed to find anything, anywhere, that talks about sexual pleasure as an important part of sexual health. It seems that so much is geared towards prevention of the worst that we have lost our focus on encouraging the best. We all know that sex ed in schools is mainly perfunctory, with a slant towards sexually transmitted diseases and contraception, with probably very little about the vast and varied ways that one can experience pleasure. It is as though the expectation is that once young people know the dangers around sex, then they will somehow, naturally, find their way around the good bits. But it doesn’t seem to work that way so much, particularly with porn mostly being the role model for good sex.

What would I like to see happening? I would like for people to stop feeling so tentative about sex, particularly with what they want. I would like to see people talking about what they enjoy, crave and desire sexually. I would like to see porn moving the focus from performance to pleasure, with an emphasis on connection and inclusion. I would like to see more sexually satisfied people in the world, who enjoy their sex lives so much they no longer want to focus on the negative. Perhaps we can call it the sexual pleasure manifesto? Spread the word and remember you heard it here first!