Sex + Body Positivity

Snakes In My Closet

We are cruel to each other regarding sex and sexuality because we can be. Virgin shaming is just as rampant as slut shaming, and an attempt to accept women’s sexuality is a ridiculous parading of body parts falsely termed empowerment.

The fear of sex manifesting as being chased or attacked by a snake in dreams is a Freudian theory, later explored by Carl Jung. While Freud is a problematic figure in modern-day psychology, his work on psychoanalysis, especially Interpretation of Dreams and Three Essays on the Theory of Sexuality, is still a profound analysis of the depths of the human mind. The snake is said to represent the phallus symbolically, and dreams about snakes often have sexual connotations, which are discussed in modern Internet forums and websites. The fear of sex often manifests in several aspects of our lives, both conscious and unconscious. Since the two cannot be separated, it is worth looking at signs from the unconscious mind and how they manifest themselves in reality.

The fear of sex or “genophobia” or “erotophobia” is something I dealt with as a child and a young adolescent. It came from an obvious source of abuse but lived in the shadows of my subconscious mind for many years. When I finally voiced what I had been through, I thought the fight would be over, and the fear would subside as the truth of my experience came to light. This was far from the reality; I was met with victim shaming and verbal sexual harassment, which further triggered my PTSD. I took to therapy and the internet to find a community of supportive people willing to show me compassion rather than force their opinions on me and demand change.

We are cruel to each other regarding sex and sexuality because we can be. Virgin shaming is just as rampant as slut shaming, and an attempt to accept women’s sexuality is a ridiculous parading of body parts falsely termed empowerment. People who are married or have consistent sexual partners claim the ultimate happiness to belittle single people. Marriage and intimate partnerships are rewarded by society and seen as an achievement. Society perpetuates that it is better to be in an unhappy marriage than be single. Suddenly, sex is validated because it leads to procreation that can be tracked. After all, it guarantees that only one person could have impregnated the womb carrying the child. This is also why polyamory and sexual affairs outside marriage are deemed unacceptable.

The fear of sex does not blockade sexual attraction. Instead, it is a harrowing experience of paralysis where individuals experience anxiety and discomfort from sexual activity or even the thought of it. This can occur because of trauma and sexual abuse but is not limited to these experiences. It can be as simple as performance anxiety or the literal closing down of muscle walls when it comes to a specific form of penetration. In contrast, while these are physical symptoms, a more holistic understanding of mental health and healing points to psychological causes.

There is a tug-of-war between recreational sex and the control of sex as a tool of morality. Most of us fall somewhere on this spectrum between these two extremes. Recreational sex or sex for pleasure has been demonised historically with slang such as slut, whore and slag or, in the Indian context, randi, bhadvi, and several other swear words that exist in every language imaginable. The policing of sex is the policing of bodies and also of procreation. On the other hand, the fear of sex is often an internal policing of one’s own body because these ideals of morality are inculcated at a young age and are hard to deviate from even later on. Many people experience the culture of shaming for masturbation or having too many sexual partners. These can often be internalised to such an extent that what seems to be a mechanism of self-control is exaggerated into fear.

The problem with fear is that it prevents you from certain experiences that you desire. This is further complicated by our unhealthy relationship with sex and sexuality and our inability to talk freely about our sex lives and sexuality. Sex is seen as dirty or impure, which in modern times has been converted into a belief that sex is only appropriate with the right person. The idea is that each soul is divided, and each of us are made for one specific other. It leads to the belief that emotional and physical intimacy somehow completes us, which is a farce that makes sex with anyone other than our ‘soulmate’ a mistake. On the other hand, we have an opposing belief that we need to kiss a few frogs before we find our prince, which dehumanises partners who may not have worked out for various reasons. It also validates the idea that one has to find their soulmate and that relationships are discovered, rather than built. This only heightens the fear of sex because either there is too much pressure placed on finding the right person or there is the threat that you may have to go through many negative sexual experiences before you find one that works for you.

One thought on “Snakes In My Closet

  1. What if a girl is nymphomaniac n keeps having sex day n night with random strangers of tinder?? How will her gf feel.. devastated!!! Yes it’s me feeling CHEATED

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An artist turned writer Azra Bhagat brings a quirky style to her writing craft. From reading the greats in the library at 15 — Joyce, Dostoevsky, Conrad to a Masters in English at Ashoka University, Bhagat has a set of diverse writing skills. Art India Magazine amongst others have published her Art Writing since 2018. Since 2015 both poetry and fiction have been a space to explore. Azra also writes about feminism, power and gender and has been published by Body Talk Magazine.
Azra Bhagat

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