Don’t blush, let’s talk about sex

Article by Lachlan Hastings /
MX /
November 07, 2013 /
Click here to view original /

BEING more open about persistently taboo topics such as masturbation would make the world a better place, a Melbourne social researcher argues.
Lauren Rosewarne’s new book, American Taboo, exploring why topics ranging from flatulence to male nudity are considered off limits, will be released next week.

Why are we so awkward talking about masturbation in a culture where we want to try and stop teen pregnancy (and) we want to stop STDs?” she told mX.

“It actually can be seen to prevent a whole lot of bad stuff but culturally we still see it as taboo. There’s a lot of positive outcomes for frank conversation.”

Rosewarne, from the University of Melbourne’s School of Social and Political Sciences, said she was interested in exploring “all those things you’re told not to talk about on a first date or at the dinner table”.

These topics generally centre on things to do with the body and I think we get a bit squeamish about topics around sexuality, topics around substance abuse, abortion, et cetera,” she said.

“Most or a lot of these topics have a long history of baggage around them.”

Rosewarne said she discussed in the book why euphemisms and humour were used when such topics were raised.

It’s just a way to put some distance between us and a topic we consider a little bit controversial.”