Day 150 - Standard Deviation & Ice Cream
No I am not going to talk about math...I can barely do math. Not my favorite subject at school. However, I do want to talk about the concept of standard deviation.
What the hell is it anyway?
Standard deviation is a quantity calculated to indicate the extent of deviation for a group as a whole.
Why am I perseverating on this?
Bear with me.
I was talking to a friend of mine the other day. He is a psychologist and he was relating to me the general details about one of his patients. A young person with some sexual issues that resulted in him using substances to cope which then landed the young man in a psych ward due to a suicide attempt. Pretty serious shit.
Apparently this young person has some sexual preferences that fall outside of what most of us consider to be within the range of normal. And he has some pretty severe shame attached to that, so much so, that large quantities of chemicals and alcohol are required to numb him. But there is more to the story...there always is when dealing with sexual issues...
So apparently this guy likes some pretty random stuff. Including child porn and cosplay. Now before you all go off about this and write this human being off as a pervert, sicko or criminal. Please take a moment to hear me out.
No one can tell us exactly when or how we develop our sexual preferences. By preferences I do not mean if we like men or women or both. I mean what sexual acts bring us pleasure. What is it that really does it for us? They have studied it and studied it but they can’t nail it down. They know that it starts fairly early in childhood. But they don’t know when or how since most people do not have childhood sexual experiences (hopefully). But they know it starts to form before people are supposedly sexually active. Before adolescence when experimentation begins. So what we like sexually starts when we are just kids, making what happens to us as children super important because as we are forming as whole beings, Everything can and does influence what we are going to enjoy or need later. Especially in the sex department. This is why sexual abuse in childhood results in lifelong issues for the child. It totally fucks up their development and because of the shame attached to it, largely goes unaddressed until something happens that requires is be addressed.
It is a long known fact that most children that are sexually abused act out sexually. Boys usually becoming abusive in some way either to themselves or more likely to other children. Here is where we get our sexual predators. Almost all of them were also abused as children. Girls also act out but their abuse is usually of self - becoming sex workers of one kind or another. If they are lucky enough to escape that horror, they often have severely fucked up relationships with the men they date and love. Thus perpetuating the abuse cycle further.
Ok, where am I going with all of this. Some pretty heavy shit for a Tuesday...I know.
Let’s take our young man from earlier, I would bet my last dollar that he has abuse in his past. Someone did something to him when he was young. This caused his sexual predilections to become warped and fall outside the norm. This young man didn’t choose this - it just happened. We do not choose what gets us off sexually, it is just what we like. Kind of like liking ice cream. Some people like vanilla, some chocolate. No one really picks it, it is just a hard preference that the person just has. Now I suppose a person who likes chocolate could really, really try to like vanilla and try to stop eating chocolate but they are never really going to stop liking chocolate. They can eat only vanilla for the rest of their lives, but their love of chocolate doesn’t go away.
This brings me to standard deviation...what we as a society decide is a normal variation from the norm. How much deviation from the group behavior is going to be accepted as normal?
Here is what I have noticed...that in the area of sexuality, our normal has become wider. Society has opened up and allowed for people to be openly homosexual, bi-sexual, transgendered. The spectrum of sexual preference is now the largest it has ever been and it is the most widely accepted too. I am not saying that everyone gets to be who they are and never run into issues, there is still a lot of fear, judgment and prejudice and bias out there. But in a historical sense, this is the best time to not be in the mainstream.
So our standard deviation from “normal” (whatever the fuck that is, I think the best definition of normal is that it is a setting on a dryer) has become greater. We as a society have allowed for the definition of normal to include behaviors that were taboo or criminalized in the past. Sodomy used to be a crime and probably is still in some of the more conservative states. Sodomy has now become mainstream and not just in homosexual communities. I see oral and anal sex talked about on Netflix all the time. Something that was a crime when I was a child, is now commonplace and discussed on social media and popular tv culture all the time.
I just found an online article in Glamour magazine titled: "25 Sexual Fantasies That Are Totally Normal." Who decided this? Normal to Whom? The list included the following: infidelity, dominating, being dominated, sex in public, sex in an unusual location, oral sex, anal sex, pegging, bondage, sensory deprivation, exhibitionism, voyeurism, sex with a celebrity, sex with an ex, sex with a stranger, sex with a professor, role play, cosplay, multiple partners, romantic sex, lesbian sex, taboo topics, sex with someone younger (not a child), sex with someone older, and sensual massage.
To be clear, I think the wider definition of sexual liberalism is a great thing. It pains me to think of this young man who likely has a whole bunch of trauma driving his current behavior, wanting to kill himself because he likes things sexually that our society has decided is fucked up and shameful. Even if it is child porn which I am completely 1000% against, I have to know that no one picks this to like. They just do. I have never met one person in this life that has said the following, "Ya know, it is Tuesday and I have decided that I am going to like having people denigrate me while standing naked in my living room." We do not select this. No one picks what they like, they just like it. I am simply saying that perhaps we could have a little compassion for those people who just happen to like stuff that we might consider to be weird, aberrant or strange.
I think until we start dealing with that and allowing people to be honest about the things that get them off, we are never going to do anything to stem the tide of sexual abuse, especially of our children. I believe, that one of the things that makes child sexual predators, predators is the secrecy they have to develop to cover up their much greater standard deviation from the norm. Where can they go to talk about it? Who can they turn to? If it stems from their own abusive childhoods, how can they deal with that so that they do not perpetuate the abuse? While many more people seek help these days than before, child sexual predators can’t really even seek treatment...think about it. If they go to a therapist and admit that they like that and have acted out in that way, the therapist is a mandatory reporter and likely has to report them. There is a child being abused or this person poses a great risk in hurting a child if they haven't done so already! The therapist has to act in order to prevent further abuse. Chances are though that the person with the desire for young kids, isn’t ever going to go to a therapist for that very reason and so they will struggle until they can’t resist anymore and so another sexual predator is born. And given how this all works, they will abuse more children and create more abusers. And on and on.
I think that society at large being more wiling to accept a larger standard deviation is a good thing (of course not to include anything that hurts children - I am ardent in my position that children should be protected fiercely). Actually, I am pretty fierce in my belief that no one should be abused sexually in any way. However, allowing for sexual preferences and desires to have a wider spectrum allows for more people to be included under the umbrella of acceptable. Can you imagine the uproar of Fifty Shades of Gray thirty years ago? Now, not only is BDSM more accepted, it kind of revolutionized the sexual fantasies of millions of women and their partners.
Me, I am all for not weaponizing what people like sexually. We do not get to choose it. It isn’t a choice what gets us off. And it is way more important than what kind of ice cream flavor I prefer. But like that ice cream flavor, I can try to love vanilla for my entire life, and in fact, never eat anything else, but that doesn’t mean that when I am alone, I don’t go for the chocolate in my mind. It might be the fantasy that I think about all the time, I might research it online, it might be the subject of my thoughts, wishes and desires. How horrible that I can’t find an acceptable way to bring that secret desire out into the open.
I am glad that our window for deviation has become larger and more inclusive. Me, I don’t really think that anything is too far (except kids and rape). I may not get why the person likes what they do, but I get why they like it...they just do. They didn’t pick it. They didn’t select it. Somehow, someway it was just what they developed into. Until it became a part of them.
In my own personal efforts to be authentic, I have to be willing to address the whole person and sex is one of part of that. I think creating a supportive environment in our intimate relationships where we can talk about who we really are, especially sexually is super important to assisting others who have likely suffered abuse as kids or are just confused about their own development regarding sexual desires. become whole, healthy, non-predatory people. Let’s make what is considered “normal” wider so that more people are willing to talk about it. Let’s make the standard deviation, less standard and more exceptional so that more people do not try to off themselves, drown in drugs and booze and do not hurt our kids or abuse each other as adults. Perhaps, everyone would fare better if we created an environment that is more open and less judgmental. Perhaps understanding and acceptance for that which we all have no control over, would go along way to helping those who desperately need the help.