Society in the UK like much of the western world is full of contradictions when it comes to sex. The rest of the world may be the same but I don’t presume to comment on a society in which I don’t live or at least have some level of understanding of when it comes to something as subtle and complex as attitudes towards sexuality.
Fundamentally we are all sexual beings. That doesn’t change if your orientation isn’t a vanilla heterosexual individual, all that changes is the way in which your sexuality is expressed. There are boundaries outside which sexual behaviour is regarded as unacceptable, specifically rape, sex with minors and sex with animals; All of which immediately repulse the vast majority of people for social, cultural and religious reasons, reasons based on the fundamental lack of informed consent which these activities involve.
In theory therefore safe, sane and consensual sex should be universally accepted and embraced if those involved are fully aware of the consequences. Sadly as we all know that is not the case. Prejudice against non-heterosexual orientations and against certain fetishes and lifestyles means that too often sexuality is distorted by the pressure of groups and individuals for whom personal freedom applies to them alone and not the rest of society.
It is difficult to comprehend some sexual behaviour, even if you are open minded and the result of that is doubly tragic. First of all anyone who’s sexuality is for want of a better word “unusual” can feel isolated, even persecuted as they grow up, especially if their experience of other people’s reactions to their sexuality are negative, aggressive or discriminatory. The repression and negative feelings resulting from this are thoroughly unhealthy. But secondly there is a kind of rebound effect on society.
Minority groups of any kind always suffer discrimination from other groups. This is a sad but true consequence of the way in which humans work. It’s not the way we have to work but it is very easy to blame one group or another for a problem, attribute them with vices, flaws or even crimes simply based on one aspect of their appearance, behaviour or personality.
The rebound manifests itself when those discriminated against become insular, defensive and then finally aggressive towards the rest of society. This isolates those discriminated against even further and can make them hostile to anyone who they feel does not share their interests, predilections or views. Even asking a question about a minority can be viewed with suspicion soliciting the reaction “Why do they want to know? What are they up to?”, when the motivation for the question was asked honestly and to seek understanding.
Of course this doesn’t happen to everyone with a fetish or non-mainstream sexuality but it happens enough to make society at large suspicious or even derisive towards them which completes a behavioural feedback loop that locks the minority in and society outside in a perpetual cycle of mutual distrust and misunderstanding.