The Erotic Self-Discovery and Breaking Free From Taboos

In the pursuit of self-discovery, individuals are breaking free from the suffocating grasp of taboos, daring to embrace the sacred within their erotic experiences—a journey towards liberation and fulfillment.

The Erotic Self-Discovery and Breaking Free From Taboos
A couple revels in their shared journey of self-discovery, embracing the sacred within their intimate moments.

In the age of modern consciousness, we often view physiological acts like eating or engaging in sexuality as mere organic processes, guided by rules of etiquette and societal norms. Yet, as the renowned scholar Mircea Eliade reminds us in his book “The Sacred and the Profane,” these acts can hold a deeper, even sacred, significance for different cultures and communities.

The sacred and the profane, Eliade suggests, vary greatly from one society to another, shaped by their perceptions of the cosmos and their fears of chaos. In this article, we will delve into the complex relationship between taboos, human existence, and eroticism, exploring how these dynamics have evolved.

Taboos, often seen as prohibitions, serve as guardians of a society's organizational structure. They dictate behaviors and knowledge boundaries that are believed to threaten the established order. These taboos attribute supernatural, dangerous, and unmentionable aspects to specific acts, instilling fear of transgression within the community. The severity of punishment for breaking these taboos correlates with the perceived gravity of the transgression.

Chaos, on the other hand, represents disorder and unpredictability within a system. In Greek mythology, chaos was depicted as a dark abyss that preceded the creation of the world, reflecting the concept of unpredictability and the unknown. While chaos may remain hidden beneath a veneer of normalcy, it eventually surfaces, revealing hidden emotions, desires, and secrets. This emergence offers an opportunity for self-discovery and expression of aspects previously denied or concealed.

Different cultures approach chaos in distinct ways. Some cultures fiercely defend their established order, attempting to suppress chaos at any cost to maintain their beliefs and organizational structures. However, these efforts often prove temporary, as chaos eventually resurfaces. Other cultures recognize the need for profound change and willingly engage with chaos, using it as a catalyst for reordering their cosmos. They understand that wisdom can emerge from the process.

Sexuality and Taboos

Regulating human sexuality has long been a cornerstone of societal control. Communities and states establish rules not only to control eroticism, but also to shape the behaviors of individuals in various situations. These rules dictate whom, how, and at what age one should marry, as well as appropriate forms of sexual expression. Deviating from these norms can result in various forms of punishment, depending on the community's judgment.

Taboos have played a crucial role in regulating sexuality, sometimes repressively so. Some cultures have classified certain expressions of sexuality as undesirable, sick, or sinful, leading to strong repression. In contrast, other cultures have established taboos to maintain sexual experiences within an intimate and sacred context.

In Western civilization, inherited taboos rooted in Judeo-Christian beliefs have restricted access to legitimate emotional and sexual desires. These taboos have created significant challenges in understanding our own erotic experiences and self-knowledge. The guilt associated with possessing “evil” feelings and desires, reinforced by societal beliefs, has led to individuals exerting repressive self-control over their emotions, identities, and desires.

Religions and state ideologies often promote “good manners” as a means of controlling people's behavior, primarily for economic, political, and personal interests. This emphasis on control has led to shame surrounding one's body and innermost desires, resulting in guilt, loss of value, and internal conflict.

Individuals frequently create self-images to shield themselves from being seen in their vulnerability and anguish. This self-presentation typically results in severe moral conscience, further perpetuating taboos and self-censorship.

A person basks in the beauty of self-acceptance, shattering taboos and finding liberation.
A person basks in the beauty of self-acceptance, shattering taboos and finding liberation in their erotic exploration.

Double Standards in Sexual Morality

Sexual morality in many societies has long been double-polarized, imposing different expectations on men and women. Men are regularly encouraged to pursue sexual experiences freely, while women are expected to remain chaste and modest. These historical standards continue to influence sexual practices today, creating complex dynamics and expectations for both sexes.

The consequences of sexual repression and ignorance are profound, leading to control, abuse, misunderstanding, and shame. These issues manifest in various forms, from family and social subjugation to restrictive moral codes and, tragically, child sexual abuse and adult sexual violence.

Thankfully, in recent decades, efforts to disseminate sexual and sexual health information have contributed to breaking down taboos and encouraging individuals to explore their desires and identities. The goal is to empower individuals and foster freedom by removing barriers to eroticism.

Yet, the evolution of taboos is not one-dimensional. As scientific research has expanded our understanding of human sexuality, new pressures have emerged. For example, the expectation that women should achieve multiple orgasms has become a societal norm, placing added pressure on individuals to conform to these expectations. The desire to be physically perfect has also grown, adding further stress to sexual performance. These evolving taboos challenge individuals to meet specific standards and expectations, emphasizing the need to perform exceptionally.

Where Are the Taboos Today?

In contemporary society, taboos exist both in public social rules and in the realm of personal intimacy. Rules set above the table and those practiced below it shape our interactions and perceptions of eroticism.

Despite these challenges, some individuals resist the pressures of societal norms and instead seek self-knowledge, self-acceptance, and the freedom to explore their desires. For them, the sacred experience of eroticism can be found in any act, dependent only on their inner experiences and their connection to the universe's inherent sacredness.

In conclusion, the interplay between taboos, human existence, and eroticism is complex and ever-evolving. As societies continue to redefine their boundaries and norms, individuals must strive for self-acceptance and embrace the sacred within their erotic experiences. Breaking free from the shackles of repression and embracing the full spectrum of human desire can lead to a more liberated and fulfilling life—one where the sacredness of eroticism is recognized and celebrated. After all, taboo and transgression have always been intertwined, pushing humanity to explore and understand itself in ever-deeper ways.

In-text Citation: Villar, Sylvia Covián. ‘Erotismo y Tabú | Sylvia Covián Villar’. Revista de La Universidad de México, Accessed 6 Sept. 2023.