Did Jane Austen Write
Sex & Sensuality?
Or Was It Sense & Sensibility?
Sexuality isn’t just sexual feelings or sexual
intercourse. It is an important part of who a
person is and what she/he will become.
It includes all the feelings, thoughts, and
behavior associated with being female or male,
being attractive and being turned on, as well
as being in relationships that include sexual
intimacy, sensual and sexual activity.
Sensuality is awareness and feeling about your
body and other people’s bodies, especially the
body of a sexual partner.
Sensuality enables us to feel good about how
our bodies look and feel and what they can do.
Sensuality also allows us to enjoy the pleasure
our bodies can give us and others.
This part of our sexuality affects
our behavior in several ways.
They may be especially dissatisfied when
the mainstream media does not portray or
doesn’t positively portray physical
characteristics the teens see in the mirror,
such as color of skin, type or hair,
shape of eyes, height, or body shape.
Sensuality allows a person to experience pleasure
when certain parts of the body are touched.
People also experience sensual pleasure from taste,
touch, sight, hearing, and smell as part of being alive.
Satisfying skin hunger
The need to be touched and held by others in loving,
caring ways is often referred to as skin hunger.
Adolescents typically receive considerably less
touch from their parents than do younger children.
Many teens satisfy their skin hunger through
close physical contact with peers.
Sexual intercourse may sometimes result
from a teen’s need to be held, rather
than from sexual desire.
Feeling physical attraction for another person
Feeling attractive and proud of one’s body
and the way it functions influences many
aspects of life. Adolescents often choose
media personalities as the standard for
how they should look, so they are often
disappointed by what they see in the mirror.
The center of sensuality and attraction to others
isn’t in the genitals (despite all the jokes).
It’s in the brain, humans’ most important “sex organ.”
The unexplained mechanism responsible for sexual
attraction rests in the brain, not in the genitalia.
The brain also gives people the capacity to have
fantasies about sexual behaviour and experiences.
Adolescents often need help understanding that
sexual fantasy is normal and that one does
not have to act upon sexual fantasies.
What is sexualisation?
There are several components to sexualization, and these set it apart from healthy sexuality. Sexualization occurs when
1) a person’s value comes only from his or her sexual appeal or behavior, to the exclusion of other characteristics;
2) a person is held to a standard that equates physical attractiveness (narrowly defined) with being sexy;
3) a person is sexually objectified — that is, made into a thing for others’ sexual use, rather than seen as a person with the capacity for independent action and decision making; and/or
4) sexuality is inappropriately imposed upon a person.
All four conditions need not be present; any one is an indication of sexualization. The fourth condition (the inappropriate imposition of sexuality) is especially relevant to children. Anyone (girls, boys, men, women) can be sexualized. But when children are imbued with adult sexuality, it is often imposed upon them rather than chosen by them. Self-motivated sexual exploration, on the other hand, is not sexualization by our definition, nor is age-appropriate exposure to information about sexuality.