When you think of sex, what is the first thing that comes to mind?
Most likely, you think of carnal passion, feeling awesome, and for some of us, bad decisions made after happy hour at Applebee’s.
But do you ever think of magic?!
During an interview on “The Conversation” with Amanda de Cadenet, that’s the word Miley Cyrus used to describe s-e-x.
But despite my natural cynicism and near knee jerk reaction to anything Miss Cyrus, or for that matter, any of her peers have to say about sex, I was pleasantly surprised with what she had to say.
Cyrus stated, “[Kids] have a TV, so they know what sex is…So educate them and let them know that they wouldn't be here without it, and that it’s a beautiful thing, and it is magic, and it’s when you connect with somebody. And it isn’t how much you’re worth. Your worth isn’t based on that, your worth is based on how you feel about yourself.”
I find this interesting for several reasons. First of all, this young lady is a Disney Channel alumnus. She’s only been free from the cold, restrictive grip of Mickey Mouse for a few years now…and girlfriend’s had her share of teenage shenanigans since then.
Whether it was taking hits from a bong, getting tattoos, or giving lap dances in darkened night clubs, Miss Cyrus has gone through many of the joys of blossoming adulthood, with the added benefits of doing so in the public eye.
Also the fact that Cyrus once publicly proclaimed that she would remain a virgin until marriage casts this story in a fascinating and telling light.
In my experience, nine times out of ten, purity rings have an definitive expiration date. Although the date is different for everyone, I think we can all agree that one look from Liam Hemsworth would make it disintegrate off of your finger. For the record, if there’s anyone who I’d break my sacred vow of chastity for--it would be a hot Australian whose older brother is Thor.
Regardless, for many wearers of a purity ring, it’s only a matter of time before hormones/romance/mature thinking kick in, and the ring soon finds its way in the bottom of your jewelry box/ocean.
Also finding a person you want to, as Miley Cyrus would say “make a magic beauty connection” with, doesn’t hurt either. Especially if they aren’t wearers of the ring, and you are sort of having a hard time remembering why you wear one in the first place. And they’re really hot. And they think you’re hot too.
And like, you two just have really deep conversations while watching the movie Donnie Darko, about life and time travel and stuff. And oh my god, he volunteers at an animal shelter--get this ring the hell off me!!!
Miley Cyrus’ bumpy ascent into young adulthood really reflects her generation’s similar plight. These days, it seems as if are on the cusp of two major philosophies on how people think that we should live our lives.
There seems to be a push back to the archaic and conservative. This is the movement that advocates for purity rings and abstinence, in addition to less than tolerant views on sexuality and its various forms and expressions. I remember this really taking off when I was in the seventh and eighth grade--I actually remembered being a part of one of these groups. Needless to say, it didn’t last very long.
To be honest with you, I feel like this movement is a reaction and an attempt to reverse some of the progress that’s been made. Sex is not as much of a taboo topic as it used to be. It’s everywhere--and a lot more people are comfortable with homosexuality and other alternative lifestyles than their used to be.
However, on the other end of the spectrum, there’s our popular culture and its messages. Promiscuity is glamorized and glorified. Now, if you want a hit record, you sing about sex and all of the things that rhyme with it; namely, checks, specs, pecks…and then sex again.
And from my limited understanding, the mentality of “live fast, die young” is almost viewed as a stage in life that everyone does/should go through. If you’ve been keeping up with Rihanna in the news, you know that girlfriend has been having a rough past couple of weeks--before, a cure for a hanger was hydration and aspirin; now, only a trip to the hospital and IV fluids is sufficient proof that you had a “good time.”
The effect that it has on young people growing up basically forces them to ask the question, who the hell am I supposed to be?
I find this question is especially prevalent for teenage girls.
At least in popular culture, you’re either the pure, straight-edged virgin, or you’re a hard partying harlot.
To be both is impossible, yet many people demand just that; especially in our female singers/actresses.
You must be sexual to the point where people are titillated, but not the point where it begins to intimidate or break away from the norm.
But then, what happens to people in the middle? The reluctant virgins? The serial monogamists? The cautious sex enjoyers? The I-am-too-goddam-tired-to-touch-anything-let-alone-your-junk-ers? The I-don’t-really-give-a-shit-about-my-sex-life-I-have-two-jobs-and-three-papers-due-this-week-and-I-just-want-everyone-to-simmer-down-because-I-have-more-important-things-to-spend-my-time-on-other-than-getting-laid-ers?
It’s as if no one wants to admit there are more than two categories!
I think Miley Cyrus is a significant example of the effect these mentalities have on young people. First she was Hannah Montana, and she was marketed as a wholesome role model for young girls. And she couldn’t do anything wrong. If she did, her fan base would be ripped out from under her by the press on nails of soccer moms/metro sexual soccer dads everywhere. Which they attempted to do a few times.
But once she separated from Disney, she had to get away from her good girl image if she wanted records to sell--and what sells better, after all, than sex? Except for genuine creativity, and good songwriting, of course.
So she came out with her music video for “Can’t be Tamed,” with enough jailbait dancing and cleavage to get us all a minimum of five years in prison…But as far as the public knew, her virginal agreement with Jesus was still set in stone.
And now, she’s an advocate for magical, beautiful, sex--and sex education.
All things considered, she actually gives me a little bit of hope, that even someone who went through all the madness and confusion of what the hell we’re supposed to be and how we’re supposed to represent ourselves on a super public and professional level--can make it out fairly sane and a little wiser.
I think Miley’s response paves the way for a nice, safe middle ground. Education and embracing yourself are all good things. And I hope that maybe, some people who have grown up with her might feel the same way.
Sexuality should neither be demonized nor exploited; it’s something that’s there and that everyone has.
My skin color is neither a force for good nor evil, it’s just something I was born with. It’s impossible to expect it not to affect me in some ways, but the more we talk about it and bring attention to it, the more important it’s going to become in my life. Same goes for sexuality.
If we learn to just respect each other’s decisions, and make respectful decisions regarding our own health and well-being, we’ll all be fine.
And maybe, just maybe, we’ll be able to totally do it on the back of a unicorn.
Now that, would be magical.
twoday magazine wants to know: Are we creating a more liberating culture for ourselves, or are we just making it all more confusing? Facebook us your thoughts.
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