• Then and Now

    Over one hundred years ago, during the Victorian era, death and grief were popular subjects for poems, songs and stories. Grieving was considered a natural and acceptable part of the culture. People in mourning wore black clothing and/or black arm bands, women wore black veils, and it was common to see a black wreath on the door of the home of a bereaved family, announcing publicly that this was a home of sorrow. Bereavement was conspicuous and there were very specific societal customs designed to support people during the mourning process.

     

    However, during that same era, no person of breeding or gentility would ever openly mention sex! Even any reference to gender was carefully couched in delicate terminology. Arms and legs were referred to as "limbs" and they were covered almost completely. Any form of touching or even intimacy of language was carefully proscribed by the customs of the time. Sex was a taboo subject, and it was largely considered to be dirty, shameful, disgusting, and for most women, barely tolerable!

     

    How different it is now--over one hundred years later! We have done a cultural 180 degree turn. Now, sex has become a subject (and a commodity) that is fair game for every movie and TV screen. It is generally exploited in newspapers and magazines and is commonly and widely used as a sales promotion gimmick.

     

    On the other hand, grief and mourning have suddenly become the closeted issue. In many circles it is not considered polite or in good taste to forthrightly mention the sadness caused by death. Well-mannered bereaved people are expected to keep their pain private and silent. Sometimes, even employment is endangered by any visible sign of emotion.

     

    But both of these conditions--sex and death--are normal, natural parts of the human experience, and, ironically, they are both connected to love. In a truly healthy society, neither sex nor death should be subjects that we ought to fear or loathe or avoid.


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