By Arsh Dhillon
A self-proclaimed, revered-by-many Sexpert celebrates National Sex Day with advice on how to find true liberation.
I love talking about sex. I love talking to all my friends about the awkward moments, the laughable mistakes, and the best kinds of “things to do.” All my friends enjoy sex differently. We celebrate our differences. We listen to our different experiences, processing them, understanding that we can’t debate or question another’s sexual experience since we don’t know what it was like. There’s no place for shame, judgment, or guilt when we discuss sex. At least that’s the environment my friends and I have cultivated. In order to do this, we all had to unlearn many beliefs, or “facts” surrounding sex. We had to be against the status-quo, which made us nervous and uncomfortable in the beginning, but WOW, once we accepted that the status-quo is not the right way, we created a new, superior status-quo. Funny how that works.
As a self-proclaimed, revered-by-many sexpert, I challenge my friends to question their pre-disposed beliefs on sex. I remind them and they remind me of new beliefs and individual truths. A younger friend of mine jokingly once called me, “Consent Master 3000” — a beautiful complement — because I tell them that sex is not sex if it’s neither consensual nor enjoyable for both actors. I tell them that their language and tone around sex affects those around them. I do that every time we talk about it; sometimes, I bring up sex for that purpose. For what we learn at home from our “elders” doesn’t allow our young minds to flourish and change. It doesn’t allow us to think for ourselves.
More than enjoyable — sex is supposed to be liberating. Truthfully, however, we convince ourselves that because it is “supposed to be,” that means when we do it, it must be. We convince ourselves that our feelings behind the veil of what we hold to be true are somehow wrong. In reality, sex can often feel violative, manipulative–an act “they must do.” Like I stated before, sex without choice is not sex. My friends and I, most of us women, are highly aware of this. Our mothers and sisters and teachers taught us. So, we are fervent in the way we approach teaching sex. We understand that if you just teach the one party that has bad sexual experiences, it’s not effective. They’re already aware that they’re not having sex. What’s the right move then? We teach the ones who don’t understand sex must be enjoyable for both actors, the ones who don’t notice sex is unenjoyable for their partner. We understand that just teaching and educating those “ones” won’t suddenly make sex liberating. No, in order for sex to be liberating, the culture surrounding sex must change. Yet, is it possible for eleven women to change an entire culture? If we did, would that fix the problem?
See, I want sex to actually be sex for every person in this world. I want sex to feel liberating for everyone. I have experienced the ways in which sex does not feel liberating. I have lived believing that if I gave sex liberation and freedom, then I would also feel liberated and free. In my experience, this is true for only a few moments.
Then, in the next couple days, I always think, “What’s missing here? Was it him? Was it me?”, “Was it because he’s white or a person of color?”, “Are my own biases coming into play?”, “Did that truly make me feel in touch with my womanhood and identity as a woman of color?”, “Am I having sex to privately overcome my public oppression? To try to heal the trauma all my ancestors, sisters, mothers, and myself have faced?”, “Is having sex a ‘control thing’?”, “Am I using sex to heal my ‘daddy issues’?”, or the other fun question, “Do I feel like a greater feminist when I have sex?” This is an experience many of you share, maybe with different questions but similar sentiments. So, what do we do then? We try to “better” our approach. We approach sex angrily as an act of self-determination. We approach sex as an opportunity to prove our truths are in fact self-evident. We approach sex as an “empowering” way to privately consent to explicit, oppressive, violent acts. We approach sex like it could momentarily cure our oppression while still allowing for it. We approach sex as if sex can liberate us.
These approaches are self-centered. They don’t go against the status-quo even if they seem to do so in micro-environments. These approaches only focus on personal incidents and interactions. They affirm history and deny reality. They are excuses used to hide the truth, the real issue:
We don’t want to f*ck people. We want to f*ck the system.
As your sexpert on National Sex Day, I believe it’s time we do what we want. I believe by doing what we want, we are on our way to liberation, gaining empathy, and loving each other. We cannot live in a country where we refuse to heal from our “daddy issues.” We all know them: the issues our Founding Fathers deliberately and violently handed to our ancestors, mothers, fathers, brothers, sisters, and us. It would make us greater feminists and Americans to f*ck the system rather than each other. Because f**king people isn’t having sex.
Our actions and choices can’t make us feel liberated or free; they only affirm the extent to which we are liberated and free. Yet, many of us cannot act or choose freely. Many of us do not have choices or opportunities solely based on the colors of our skin, our gender, our sexuality, our religious affiliations. We must recognize the intersectionality of our identities, the extent of our liberation and freedom, and ask: Who is suffering the most? How have we allowed their suffering to continue? How have we contributed to their suffering every day? How can we help them f*ck this living system?
Our Founding Fathers built the structure for the system on the backs of Black Americans, establishing white supremacy. The system has not changed. It has grown and “progressed,” layering injustices and veils over our differences in all institutions, communities, and interactions. All social movements work in tandem with one another. Therefore, Americans will only find true liberation if we f*ck racism and seek justice, if we celebrate our differences, if we see our current reality and choose to change it.
I encourage you to f*ck this system. I encourage you to do it in all positions: donate, protest, tear down policies and institutions and monuments that enforce racism, educate yourselves and others, support Black Americans with love and empathy, know that Americans of Color, especially Women of Color, are beautiful and resilient and brave, and climb the ranks of legal and social institutions to act in tandem with social leaders. As your sexpert, I encourage you to fight for liberation and justice not only on National Sex Day but every day.
Arsh Dhillon ‘23 (firstname.lastname@example.org) loves talking about sex.