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This video is about one of the first and most interesting things I learned about sexuality.

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Lindsey: This book is from when I went to college and took Human Sexuality, I'll flip through the pages here. Pages, pages, pages, highlights! This is the most interesting thing I've learned in human sexuality.

(Sexplanations intro plays)

It's that my experience is not everyone's experience! And furthermore, this doesn't make me good and them bad or vice versa. Now this may seem obvious like "yeah, doctor Doe, duh. We're all different. Diversity, we get it." I'm gonna bet you don't though, unless you've come across a similar page in a similar book, your comprehension of diversity is like meh. Like me before the book and the class and more experience, I didn't realize that sexuality extended this way and this way.

Over here is Inis Beag, what anthropologists consider the most sexually repressed culture in the world. I call it Inis Beag because this is the name researchers gave it to protect the culture's anonymity. To give you some geographical context, Inis Beag is a small island of the Western Conameri coast of Ireland, in this general area. The closest speculations are Inishnee, near Roundstone here, or Inisheer, near one of the Aran Islands here. I understand I am probably not pronouncing these words correctly. Moving on.

Cultural anthropologist John C. Messenger studied this small island community for many years and observed most notably how taboo sexuality is there. Taboo: prohibited or restricted by social custom. Before I describe in detail what this entails, I want to explain why I use the past tense. They believed this, or they did this. Messenger's research, while very extensive, was completed in the 50's and 60's, a lot of things can change in this amount of time: technology, fashion, politics.

Inis Beag circa 1966 was a rural community of 350 people, primarily of fishing/farming lifestyle. Their beliefs around sex? That it's dangerous and unhealthy. Many people wish to not participate in sex at all, but marriage, arranged by parents, deemed it a duty. So dutiful sex happened between married adults and in some relationships strictly for procreation. This was in the man on top position, during which partners wore smocks to cover as much of their bodies as possible while trying to finish as soon as possible.

Foreplay was limited to light kissing and groping of the buttocks, no heavy petting, no oral sex. They probably did have anal sex, but unintentionally as a result of anatomical ignorance. Masturbation was taboo, exploration of bodies, their own or others' taboo: sex talk: taboo, if people were sexually expressive in public, they were severely punished, dogs licking their genitals were beaten. People in Inis Beag grew up without language, permission, or education to understand their natural experiences of sexuality, and as a result, experiences like menstruation, childbirth, menopause, were terrifying.

Imagine you're bleeding. You don't know why your bleeding, but blood- or something- is definitely coming from a place that you don't know about because you don't touch it and you don't discuss it. Imagine pregnancy, and childbirth. Imagine parenting an infant that need physical affection which you are unaccustomed to give because being physically intimate is discouraged. What we know of as typical menopause symptoms: hot flashes, cramps, night sweats, hair loss, irregular sleep, weight, and menstruation, they equated with disease. For this reason, some Inis Beag women climbed into bed at 40 and stayed there til death.

I don't assume that these are the customs or way of life for people living there now. I'd love to visit and report back on the present sexuality of this rural community. What I do know is that this is not a representation of my culture, this is not my experience of sexuality. learning about other cultures, even learning about another person, helps me remember that my sexuality is not the sexuality. There are people and places along this spectrum who experience sexuality differently than me. To keep perspective, I just need to stay curious.

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