Netflix’s new show Sex and Love Around The World goes to six different cities to break open the taboo subject of intimacy.

Christiane Amanpour boldly questions different cultures expression of sex and love and how intimacy plays a role in each of the interviewee’s life. In this raw series not only are the differences between cultures illuminated but the show is also ripe with golden nuggets of thought provoking view points. Four countries in particular; Tokyo, Beirut, Berlin and Shanghai sparked my interest.

 

Tokyo

  • the most surprising statistic stating 40% of men in Tokyo are still virgins.
  • Manga’s showing erotica drawings of homosexual love stories is popular among women. The implied reason is that culturally taught avoidance to intimacy makes viewing heterosexual erotica too uncomfortable for female readers. Instead male to male relationships are admired from afar creating a large boundary between the sexes.
  • It seems that from multiple interviews majority of women are not focused on sexual liberation and instead focus on being mother’s. It is a social norm that once a baby is born the woman sleeps with the child and the man sleeps alone.
  • Many citizens of Tokyo believe there is a unhealthy cycle of repression and the dogma of sex and love needs a restored outlook with a focus on freedom of expression. More information is reaching Tokyo in regards to the importance of intimacy. Many interviewee’s whom spoke openly about their marriage confess kissing and hugging is minimum to none. Even physical affection from parent to child is out of cultural “norms” and many marriages are sexless. One wife in particular confesses her marriage was sexless for 10 years, she doesn’t sleep with her husband and has a boyfriend outside of the marriage for her emotional needs.
  • Tokyo provoked the following thoughts:

America may not be seen as conservative as Tokyo but in what way’s does our culture pressure men and women when it comes to sexuality? How does this affect our ability to intimately connect with another?

With a divorce rate of 50% and avoidance of commitment with younger generations, I can’t help but wonder if it’s also a norm for married/committed couples to suffer with intimacy issues. In a casual relationship keeping ones self guarded is much easier than within a commitment. If one carries beliefs of shame when it comes to sex and love its sure to come out and negatively impact a commitment. It may be that a majority of people carry shame or guilt and that is what prevents the desire for intimacy.

 

Beirut

  • Arabian ancient sexual literature is ripe with how to please women and man sexually and the equal importance of pleasure for both genders. There are even graphic images of homosexual love as well as description on foreplay. However, these ancient illuminating texts are not acknowledged among main stream and the idea of releasing this information or challenging religious authority provokes fear amongst it’s citizens.
  • Arranged marriages do not all result in having a negative result as the show takes on the story of a couple who’ve been married for 62 years. It shows compassion and connection between family members as well as respect for elders.
  • The women in Beirut are essentially required to remain a virgin if they wish to be married, have a family and own anything substantial in their lives going as far as having their hymen surgically repaired.
  • “Upper” class Arabic women who are exposed to western views are much more sexually expressive and unapologetically living their life as they wish rather than submit to oppression or shame.
  • Beirut asked me:

The stigma that if a woman is experienced sexually she is “less than” is more prevalent than we’d like to admit in America. . Are these beliefs of unworthiness secretly affecting my enjoyment of intimacy?

If sex is believed to take something FROM a woman than how could it ever be enjoyable?

 

Berlin

  • Ohh Berlin with it’s inventive and expressive sexuality. It’s beautiful to see so many men and women in this episode open to learning about sex, discovering different fetishes and simply being open about pleasure.
  • One of the most empowering stories is Bita Esmaeli’s a former Afghan refugee who went from wearing a hijab to becoming a sex symbol in Germany. Bita decided to take her power back and chose acceptance over shame, an empowering story.
  • Berlin has proven throughout time to be a country pioneering freedom of expression and it was remarkable to learn just how truly open the citizens are with sex and love. Nude beaches, bondage, kinky fetishes and sex teachers…
  • Germany insisted :

Be open with who you are, what you like, accept why you like it because it is all you and all of you deserves your recognition and love.

Don’t leave pieces of yourself hungry for attention, instead give those erotic thoughts and desires a home within you where it belongs. As long as it does not intentionally result in harming yourself or other’s why make room for shame?

 

Shanghai

  • The women of Shanghai are empowered, career focused and driven too change old culture systems. I held beliefs that this country was very conservative and I was happily corrected that both men and women of Shanghai are pushing for change in cultural norms of dating.
  • Nudity is illegal on internet, TV and magazine; however, a photographer refuses to bow down to censorship he feels is oppressive and captures images of intimacy.
  • A dating camp dedicating to giving young people the tools to attain intimacy and love in their lives. It was wonderful to watch as people of all ages spoke about how the culture of Shanghai is becoming more open and accepting of expressions of love.
  • Shanghai spoke to me and said :

The only life you have is this one, how are you using it to better mankind?

What do you stand for?

What are your excuses for not doing more?

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Posted by:thesilentchange

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