By now we all know the stereotypical tropes of university: booze, assignment stress and SEX.
Yep, the idea of the ‘rite of passage,’ is still going strong, and it’s hard to walk around university without seeing Fetish Party adverts playing on every screen. Society is at a weird tipping point; sex is advertised everywhere, whether it be a music video or a jeans advert.
If the thought of intimacy creates a tight feeling in your chest, let me tell you that the uneasy feeling you have could possibly be genophobia.
Genophobia is the fear of intimate relations, or the thoughts surrounding sexual actions. While placing a name to it doesn’t make it better, just know that it’s rather common. While often criticized as being ‘prudish,’ anyone on the gender spectrum can suffer feelings of intimacy anxiety.
Stereotypes have always plagued the idea of sexual activities. For some of us, it’s the perception of our bodies, it’s the confidence in our skill, the concern of how our partner will judge us, but for others it’s the lasting damage we would rather forget than face. Sometimes our actions and thoughts don’t align, and we are made to feel bad because we ‘lead on’ someone and didn’t commit. We are all unique and should never be degraded for our preferences.
With studies showing a link between our self-perception and depression, the continuous bombardment of overly-sexualised multimedia, screamed at us from the moment we wake, can take a toll on our psyche. We’re seeing the origins of plus-sized, multi-ethnicity and transgender people rising to proclivity. It’s a change that’s happening ever so incrementally in our society. But at the same time it’s one that we can definitely feel and see coming into fruition.
You’ll be familiar with the popular saying that you have nothing to fear but fear itself. Unfortunately with a fear as complex as genophobia, it’s not so simple. But maybe one day we’ll be able to see someone that looks like ourselves and be able to acknowledge their beauty and as a result, the beauty in ourselves.
The best first step that anyone can take to move forward no matter where you are in life is to find the time to love yourself and feel safe in your own skin. All the while, stay true to yourself, finding peace when you look in the mirror is a skill that requires work.
Now go focus on your procrastination techniques, stress less about sex and a little more about study.
Words by Chelsea Furr
Art by Julia Thouas