The tragedy of modern relationships

“You might not know it, but you’re thinking about sex right now,” begins State Press columnist Alesha Rimmelin. “Don’t look so embarrassed, my collegiate constituency. It’s nothing to be ashamed of.”

We think about sex a lot.

According to an article by fellow State Press Magazine writer Shanna Wester, ASU has been wrecked by pornography scandals, as well as racy Internet videos featuring students and their completely visible ASU Sun Cards.

Relationships and sex are delicate issues to many, but they are important social issues that need to be addressed head-on.

Guys: Where has respect gone?

Girls: Where has modesty gone?

Whatever happened to the days when men treated women with kindness and gentleness? Maybe I’m “ancient” or “old-fashioned,” but men should put women above themselves; treat them with respect, open doors for them, compliment them — be gentlemen.

And ladies, whatever happened to the days when women didn’t sleep with men on the first date? Am I too “ancient” or “old-fashioned” when I say that something as intimate as sex shouldn’t be relinquished so quickly, thereby diminishing its importance?

Since the 1960s, the extreme secularization of culture has created a modern relationship atmosphere as empty as the recently explored Red Planet. Sex is no longer sacred.It is no longer reserved for two individuals in a committed, loving relationship — which back then, usually meant marriage.

Things are different in 2012.

Now, for instance, our culture has “friends with benefits” and “sex buddies.” The de-intimitization of sex and cultural glorification of sexual pleasure have driven us — creatures of civility and morality — into a desperate state where we aren’t “mature” or “adults,” if we haven’t slept around.

Individuals, then, begin to justify casual sex either by devaluing its intimacy or appealing to the erotic pleasure of sexual gratification.

Personally, I’ve been tempted to fall into this classification. I, along with the rest of my culture, am constantly bombarded with interpretations, norms and justifications about sex and having sex. It’s important to define sex for yourself, so that you can avoid falling into the cultural trap that demagogues have created. Sex is intimate – not casual.

Let’s fix this. Let’s take things seriously.

Treat your relationships with purpose and passion. Treat whomever you love with respect. Forgetting such simple things can flip an entire relationship or friendship upside down, hurting so many people.

The next time you go out on a date, have a little respect; it could change so many things about the course of your relationship.

Reach the columnist at spmccaul@asu.edu or on Twitter at @sean_mccauley