Gender vs. Sex vs. Sexual Obsession


By Dr. David Laing Dawson

Sigmund Freud may have overstated the case of our sexuality being repressed, or suppressed, or denied, leading to mental illness. But he was not wrong about the importance, the frequency, the ubiquity, the power of the sexual impulse or compulsion.

And he wrote and spoke and taught during an age of much sexual denial, suppression, and censorship.

We are way past those days. There is very little off limits now. We know teen boys and young men think of sex frequently, can easily become obsessed with female body parts. Young women not quite so much, but often.

We know people develop sexual fetishes, sexual obsessions. We also know how much sexual thinking and fantasizing goes on in the minds of men who are socially inept, isolated, who fail to find real life partners.

So a current phenomenon is a puzzle to me. It is found in extreme examples of a male Oakville teacher coming to class with enormous prosthetic breasts and nipples, and another young man claiming to identify as a woman and being allowed (even after being legally contested) to join a sorority.

In both cases the focus has been on gender, with each person claiming to be “trans”.

But both situations have little to do with gender – biological gender, cultural gender roles and dress, even “I-am-ness” gender. They are about sex.

The first is a fetish, a sexual fetish, being enacted with students by a shop teacher.

The second is a teen boy’s fulfilled sexual fantasy – a night or more sitting with, being with, living with, watching, young women at play, in bed, in the shower, half dressed and undressed.

We now know that otherwise healthy teens and men have these fantasies. And as long as they remain fantasies no one is harmed. But what a strange post-Freudian paradox: Denying that obvious sexual actions are sexual in nature, but rather expressions of this newly-accepted (based on the virtue of inclusion) gender self-identity.



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