Last update: 24 March, 2022
We tend to reject what we do not know, to label it and condemn it. For this reason (to others), for many people BDSM practices, fetishism or couple swapping fall outside the definition of "normal sex".
The DSM, the most widely accepted diagnostic manual, may have had a great influence on this. For instance, until 1973 the manual considered homosexuality a "deviant" practice. Furthermore, as sex values have changed, other sexual behaviors such as those mentioned in the previous paragraph have ceased to be considered deviant.
The DSM-5 considers sexual sadism, sexual masochism, fetishism and transvestism, along with other practices, to be responsible for the deterioration of human life.
However, the debate about what is or is not normal sex continues to be in vogue in society, and despite many steps forward, the adjectives "deviant" or "perverse" continue to be very present. But is there a standard regarding sexual practices?
Distinguish anything that is labeled "normal sex"
Each sexual experience is different. It depends on the people who try it, their tastes and their fantasies. There is nothing bad or dirty, much less perverse, if the people involved agree, if you do not endanger the physical integrity of any of the people participating in the experience and if they all do it voluntarily. .
However, the pressure that society exerts is so strong that it represses everything that is not socially accepted for fear of retaliation, of not being adequate and of suffering the disapproval of others. This was the case in the past with homosexuality and practices such as sadomasochism or various types of fetishism are still considered aberrant and produced only by sick minds.
Our sexuality is unique. In it we can give vent to all our fantasies and our desires. There aren't too many limits. Yet, the definitions given to it by society taint its true nature, with the aim of making it more acceptable, that is, a purer act.
All this it can lead people to reject their desires, to the point of feeling bad. For example, a person who likes to practice BDSM may feel guilty, because in his head this practice is not part of "normal sex". This can prevent her from fully enjoying her sexuality without repressing or feeling ashamed.
Normality is nothing more than a justification of what one refuses and does not want to accept.
We can compare "normal sex" to the canons of beauty. Both of them change over time, both of which cause a lot of problems for people who don't respect them. We don't realize that if everything changes, then everything is worth it. What is not accepted today may be tomorrow.
Do we lie to look normal?
Terri Fisher, a psychology professor at Ohio State University, conducted research (published in the journal Sex Roles) on both men and women to see if they were concerned about respecting the rules relating to sex dictated by society and culture.
Professor Fisher discovered that the participants lied about their sexual behavior. She could verify this by subjecting them to a lie detector and then putting them under pressure to provide truthful answers. It turned out that men claimed to have had more sexual partners, women fewer. The answers, however, were totally different when they weren't connected to the machine.
This difference in responses was also obtained when the participants were asked some questions about their sexual behaviors (fidelity, monogamy, etc.). Everything that was known, as in the previous case, was totally overturned.
Participants in Professor Fisher's study lied for one reason: to fit their gender role.
We are ashamed to recognize what we are, what we do, how we live our sexuality. We lie to appear "normal", in order to be in line with the gender role that has been instilled in us since we were little. Therefore, men lied about sexual partners when they weren't connected to the lie detector to fit the model society seeks to impose.
While women lied to give an image that did not lead to associate them with the phrase that is very common today: "a man who is with many women is cool, but if a woman goes with many men it is a bad thing".
We are still a long way from stopping pointing and labeling people based on a set of beliefs, we still have an attitude that is very far from being respectful. In this sense, do not accept that he enjoys sexuality in all its variations, qualifying some practices as aberrant or "perverted", leads many people to wear a mask or hide in order to feel they can integrate.