In the third installment of our America Unzipped series we wrote about ladies-only sex-toy parties and asked readers if they thought society should be more open about sexuality so that women — and men — would be less inhibited in their love lives.
Most readers wrote in to say that when it comes to sex, it's time for society to loosen up.
"It is not something shameful to know your body and what brings you pleasure," wrote one reader.
"Once America comes to terms with sexuality, and the importance of being honest with their children, teen pregnancies will go down, as will sexually transmitted diseases," said another.
But one reader called discussions of sex "the devil's work."
Read on for more responses:
It's about time that the United States cast off its Puritanical attitude toward sex and relationships. Once the taboo aspect is eliminated, we'll see fewer sexual assaults and more equality among the sexes.
Lee, Kissimmee, Fla.
Too often women, whether they come from a big city or a small town, are taught ... to be subdued, submissive and conservative. It's time to break out of that vicious cycle and educate, experiment and enjoy!
Mellissa, St. Louis, Mo.
Yes, we absolutely need to loosen up when it comes to sexuality. And not so much to facilitate inhibition in just women and men, but to get things out on the table in the family sense. My parents never sat me down and talked to me about sex or sexuality in general — it was a very uncomfortable subject, so it wasn't discussed. I'd rather have openness with my kids so I can know that what they learn (and they'll learn it one way or another) is the right thing. It's time we were more comfortable with our sexuality.
Rob, Cleveland, Ohio
Absolutely! We no longer live in a society that is ruled by men and their likes and dislikes. We, as women, are equals in the boardroom so why not in the bedroom! It is our job to teach our partners what we like too. After all, if we don't know what feels good, how can we expect them to know?
Becky, Rosharon, Texas
I think Americans maintain a very juvenile attitude about sex; it's either "locker room bawdy" or "private." All nudity must have a sexual overtone in advertising, which is our primary source of sexual stimuli ... We fear differences (defined as "perversions") and deny their existence as if only a small segment of society engages in sexual behavior other than Victorian.
Once America comes to terms with sexuality, and the importance of being honest with their children, teen pregnancies will go down, as will sexually transmitted diseases. If women feel comfortable discussing sex, they will feel comfortable demanding a condom and birth control.
The United States, is, sadly, still a man's world. While it is perfectly acceptable for men to buy porno mags and blow-up dolls, it's still considered so very taboo (and shocking!) for a woman to explore what "gets her off." Desire, stimulation, the need to feel good — these are all natural, normal things. Whether you act on these with a significant other or spouse doesn't matter; we should never feel ashamed to try out something new and exciting ... Go GIRL!
Tracy, Nashville, Tenn.
Society should be more open about sexuality ... men and women should experiment with each other's bodies and women should experiment with there own bodies as well. I was married for 13 years and thought that toys were awful. After my divorce though I decided to buy a toy and now that I am married for the second time it has brought more pleasure to myself and my husband. It is not something shameful to know your body and what brings you pleasure.
I think if it were a more open subject many parents wouldn't have such a hard time talking to their kids about sex and perhaps we would see a decrease in pregnancy and STDs. I also think that sex is a barrier in many relationships and let's face it, many have fallen apart due to lack of proper info and lack of communication on the subject ... Women have come a long way but many still don't know they have a say in how things are done in their sex lives or just don't know how to approach it with their partner.
Amber, Brooklyn, Mich.
Between the mortgage, the utilities, the groceries, Iraq, North Korea et al, I just don't have time to wonder what others are up to! Although, I would like to see LESS of everyone! COVER IT UP PEOPLE, SOME OF US ARE JUST NOT THAT PRETTY!! (And yes, I'm including myself.)
Patti, Springfield, Ill.
Sex and sexual freedom and self-exploration are as natural as the sun coming up everyday. However, we are a most repressed society in sexual matters. It doesn't make sense. The more knowledge and openness we have about sexual matters, the less pressure and guilt will be felt about such natural activities.
Gary, Portage, Mich.
Why not learn more about each other's bodies and keep your relationship happy in your own bedroom? If people are happy sexually, they will not stray. I believe if sex wasn't so taboo, and people weren't so uncomfortable talking about sex, we wouldn't have so many misinformed ideas about sex. It's sad to hear many women have never had orgasms or don't know where their clitoris is. How would you like to be the husband of one of those women? Everyone wants to know that their partner is satisfied sexually. Being open about sexuality doesn't mean being promiscuous, or even having sex at a younger age. It's about knowledge. Knowledge of yourself, knowledge of how to please your partner and knowledge of keeping your marriage strong and satisfying. As they say, knowledge is power! Now go home and take your power back in the bedroom!
Azure, San Diego
I certainly do think society should be more open about sex. I attended a Passion Party several months ago and loved it. I bought a toy that my husband and I could enjoy together, but guess what — he hates it! I have always been more open and aggressive about sex than he has, and he just feels that this toy, or any toy, for that matter isn't right ... It seems that the older he gets, the more conservative he becomes. However, the older I get (nearing 40), the more adventurous I am becoming.
This is the devil's work.