Is sex a need?

Maslow's_hierarchy_of_needs

Why is sex trafficking so prevalent? Most people would admit it’s the demand. However, the controversy lies in how a person rationalizes their own demand for paid (possibly underage) sex. The men in my family used to talk about their “need” for sex. They spoke about it as if it was as critical as food and water. I would beg them not to do it. I would tell them that it hurt me, or that I just wanted to go to sleep. They would always answer the same way. They “had” to do it. They would state it as if they were forced to meet their own sexual needs at the expense of others. They would say it as if they were as justified as someone who stole bread to feed their starving children.

Is sex a “need”? Is it essential to our survival? I interpret this question a little differently than the men in my family. I think that love and connection are human needs. I think that joy and pleasure are human needs. I think that without them, we would surely die much earlier. But no, I don’t believe the physical act of sex is a need. If someone requires sex to function, if they require sex with another human being, but it doesn’t matter who, if they are willing to pay for it, they do not need sex. They are addicted to control. Sex is just their mechanism … or better said, their defense mechanism … against the pain they don’t wish to face.

We all have defense mechanisms. Some use food. Some use alcohol or drugs. Some, like me, just keep themselves so busy, they don’t have time to feel anything. Some use sex. Defense mechanisms are completely normal. They are not necessarily a bad thing. They may slow our growth as human beings, but they may also keep us from becoming overwhelmed with more pain than we can handle. Defense mechanisms become a problem when we employ them so frequently that we never feel anything. They become a problem when the fear of our pain overtakes our concern for others. They become a problem when we are willing to tear apart the hearts and souls of innocent people to avoid our own pain. This is the problem with sex trafficking.

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6 thoughts on “Is sex a need?

  1. I think sexual desire is in many ways a need, but there’s always masturbation. Though please do remember not all sex workers are coerced. I’m a professional dominatrix, my clients are generally kind hearted and pleasant. I like my work, I’m also a survivor of rape and domestic violence. I turn away the clients I don’t like. I think the other important thing to note s that there’s ALWAYS the option of seeing someone who consents, who is happy to have (and often wants) the sex act the person requires.

    To choose a hurting child who cannot and certainly does not consent means that that is what the person wants they could have seen a hooker happy in her work, they could have picked someone up, but they chose to rape someone instead, because you hit the nail on the head there, because those people don’t need sex, they need control. They’re not after sex, someone after an enjoyable roll in the hay would have found a consenting adult.

    Even if one needs sex, the way one needs food, a non-consenting person doesn’t fulfill the criteria of having sex with someone. To rape is to do something to someone, to desire sex or sexuality is to do something WITH someone, and therein lies the difference;

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    • Thank you so much for these words. It makes so much sense to me. I do struggle with sex work being a conscious choice for adults, but I appreciate your perspective on that.

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  2. I can relate to keeping yourself so busy that you don’t have time to feel or have to deal with things. That’s how I’ve been getting through life since I’ve had my son and can’t fall back on old crutches anymore. Thanks for writing this.

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  3. Elisabeth,

    I’ve sat here trying to figure out how to respond, or even if there is any reason to respond. You have written this from the perspective of an abuse victim of twisted/broken men who don’t understand their own needs and so they justify satisfying those needs using a helpless child.

    But their sick and twisted satisfaction of their need does not denigrate the reality of the human need to connect physically and emotionally with others. Sex is just the far end on the spectrum of the human need to physically/emotionally connect with others. I’m deeply sorry for your childhood experiences. I’ve paid a lifetime for my wife’s childhood abuse and subsequent d.i.d. and so I understand the question from a different perspective: that of a healthy spouse trying to figure out how to satisfy that need with a broken spouse. I never turned to children or others in the midst of our (26 year) dysfunctional marriage, but the lack of healthy sex in my life certainly left me crippled and struggling in many ways, and it frustrates me to no end that a good sexual encounter with my wife can wipe away so many of my struggles. I WISH sex wasn’t a need because if that were true, this marriage would have been so much easier to bear all the years that sex was either completely absent or joyless at best.

    Sam

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    • Thank you for your comment and perspective Sam. I do understand what you are saying. As an abuse victim, I was taught by the men in my life that they “had” to abuse me, as if they might die if they didn’t. They were acting as victims when really, they were perpetrators. I do agree that the lack of physical and emotional closeness with others can lead to significant difficulties in life, including early death and/or illness. I wish you the best in your marriage and I appreciate your determination to make it work through your struggles.

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