What Is Taboo Sex? (History, Types, Fantasies, Effects)

What is taboo sex?

Taboo refers to something that is culturally or socially prohibited or considered unacceptable. Taboos can cover many subjects, including sex, religion, food, social interactions, and more.

The concept of taboo sex is subjective and can change over time as societal norms and values evolve. Some practices considered taboo in the past are now more accepted, while others may still be regarded as controversial or unacceptable.

Examples of activities that have been considered taboo in various societies include certain forms of non-heterosexual relationships, BDSM (bondage, discipline, dominance, submission, sadism, and masochism) practices, polyamory, incest, and other non-traditional forms of sexual relationships.

What is taboo sex?

Taboo sex refers to sexual activities, fantasies, or behaviors considered socially or culturally unacceptable or forbidden. These taboos vary greatly between societies, cultures, and belief systems. What is considered taboo in one culture might be accepted or celebrated in another. In many societies, talking about sex has been considered taboo in the past and, to some extent, remains a sensitive topic in specific cultural and social contexts.

Historical events and cultural practices have shaped religion and societal attitudes toward sex. Past events, social movements, and colonial influences have contributed to developing and perpetuating sex taboos.

Taboo Sex
Taboo Sex

Here are some sexual taboos:

Sexual taboos are behaviors, practices, or desires related to sex that are considered socially, culturally, or morally unacceptable in a particular society. These taboos vary widely across cultures, religions, and historical periods. Some common examples of sexual taboos include:

Incest: Sexual relationships or activities between close family members, such as siblings, parents, and children, are considered taboo in many societies.

Bestiality: Engaging in sexual acts with animals is taboo in most cultures.

Non-Heterosexual Relationships: In some societies, same-sex relationships or expressions of non-heterosexual orientations have historically been taboo or criminalized. However, societal attitudes are gradually evolving in many places.

BDSM and Kink: While consensual BDSM (bondage, discipline, dominance, submission, sadism, and masochism) practices are gaining more acceptance and understanding, they have been considered taboo in some cultures due to the perception of violence or non-consensual behavior.

Polyamory: In societies that prioritize monogamous relationships, the idea of engaging in multiple romantic or sexual partnerships simultaneously (polyamory) can be viewed as taboo.

Sex Work: Prostitution and other forms of sex work have been taboo in many cultures, leading to legal and social stigmatization.

Public Nudity: In most societies, exposing one’s body in public or engaging in public nudity is considered taboo.

Exhibitionism and Voyeurism: Engaging in sexual acts in public places or watching others engage in sexual acts without their consent is considered taboo and can be illegal.

Fetishism: Fetishes involving non-human objects or body parts may be considered taboo due to their deviation from conventional sexual practices.

Age of Consent: Engaging in sexual activities with individuals below the age of consent is universally considered taboo for ethical and legal reasons.

The legality of taboo sexual activities can vary significantly depending on the country, state, or jurisdiction. I encourage you to verify the laws in your location or consult a legal expert for accurate and current information. Here are some examples of taboo sexual activities that are commonly illegal in various places: Incest, Bestiality, Non-Consensual Acts (rape or sexual assault), Child Sexual Abuse, Public Indecency, and Obscenity (Harmful sexually explicit materials). Consent, communication, and mutual respect are fundamental aspects of any sexual activity, regardless of societal taboos.

How did sex become a taboo subject in society?

The emergence of sex as a taboo subject in societies can be attributed to a combination of historical, cultural, religious, and social factors. The attitudes toward sex and its taboos vary significantly across cultures and periods. Here are some key factors that have contributed to the development of sex as a taboo subject in various societies:

How did sex become a taboo subject in society
How did sex become a taboo subject in society?

Religious and Moral Beliefs: Many religions have historically significantly shaped societal norms and attitudes toward sex. Some religious teachings emphasize modesty, chastity, and sexual restraint, leading to stigmatizing certain sexual behaviors or desires that deviate from these teachings.

Cultural Norms and Values: Cultures establish norms and values around sexuality that reflect their beliefs about family, marriage, and gender roles. Sex taboos can arise from cultural expectations surrounding purity, virginity, and sexual fidelity.

Power and Control: Throughout history, governing authorities and ruling classes have sought to regulate and control sexual behavior to maintain social order and stability. Taboos on sex could be used to control people and their private lives.

Fear of the Unknown and Unfamiliar: Sexuality, especially aspects that deviate from traditional norms, can be perceived as mysterious and potentially threatening to the established social order. This fear of the unknown may lead to the creation of taboos to prevent or limit the exploration of unconventional sexual practices.

Public Health Concerns: In some cases, taboos on sex may have emerged as a response to public health concerns, such as the spread of sexually transmitted infections. These taboos aim to promote sexual abstinence or restrict certain sexual practices to minimize health risks.

Social Hierarchies: Taboos on sex can also be connected to social hierarchies and power dynamics. Certain sexual behaviors might be deemed acceptable for some groups while considered taboo or forbidden for others.

Historical Context: Societies have changed significantly over time, and attitudes towards sex have evolved accordingly. Some past societies have had more open and permissive attitudes towards sex, while others have become more restrictive due to various factors.

Colonialism and Globalization: The imposition of Western values and morality during colonial periods and globalization has influenced attitudes towards sex in many cultures, sometimes reinforcing taboos.

Sex may be taboo in some societies, but attitudes towards sex and sexuality are not static. Over time, societal norms can change, and discussions around sex can become more open and accepting. Modern efforts in sexual education, advocacy for sexual rights, and increased awareness of diversity in sexual orientations and identities aim to challenge and dismantle harmful sex taboos.

Why do sexual taboos make up sexual fantasies?

The relationship between sexual taboos and sexual fantasies is a complex and multifaceted topic that various psychological, sociocultural, and biological factors can influence. While not all sexual fantasies are directly related to taboos, there are several reasons why sexual taboos can play a role in shaping some people’s sexual fantasies:

Why do sexual taboos make up sexual fantasies
Why do sexual taboos make up sexual fantasies?

Forbidden and Excitement: Sexual taboos involve activities or desires that are considered socially unacceptable or forbidden. For some, the idea of engaging in something forbidden can add an element of excitement and arousal to their sexual fantasies.

Psychological Exploration: Sexual fantasies serve as a means of psychological exploration and expression of desires repressed or suppressed in real-life situations. Taboos can represent aspects of our psyche that we feel conflicted about, and exploring them in a fantasy context can be a way of understanding ourselves better.

Taboo as a Form of Sexual Expression: For some people, sexual fantasies involving taboo elements can be a way to express aspects of their sexuality that they feel they cannot openly share or act upon in their daily lives.

Breaking Social Norms: Sexual fantasies can provide a safe and private space to explore desires that may not align with societal norms or expectations. A person can explore scenarios in a fantasy setting without real-life consequences or judgment.

Sensation of Taboo Transgression: Engaging in a sexual fantasy involving taboos can evoke strong emotions and sensations, which some find arousing or stimulating.

Eroticizing Fear or Danger: Some sexual fantasies involve elements of fear or danger associated with taboos, and this arousal can be linked to the body’s physiological response to heightened emotions.

Societal Conditioning: The influence of cultural and societal conditioning can impact the content of sexual fantasies. Taboos learned from society may become integrated into an individual’s fantasies.

Sexual fantasies are a normal and healthy aspect of human sexuality. Fantasies can be deeply personal and vary widely from person to person. They do not reflect real-life desires or intentions, and engaging in a fantasy does not mean a person would want to act on those fantasies in reality. If someone finds their sexual fantasies distressing or if these fantasies interfere with their daily life or relationships, seeking guidance from a mental health professional or a sex therapist may be helpful in understanding and processing these feelings.

What does a taboo on sex lead to?

A sex taboo can affect people and society, depending on the cultural context and the specific reasons behind the taboo. Here are some potential consequences of a sex taboo:

What does a taboo on sex lead to
What does a sex taboo lead to?

Repression and Shame: When sex is considered taboo, some may feel ashamed or guilty about their natural sexual desires and experiences. This can lead to emotional and psychological issues, hindering healthy sexual development and self-acceptance.

Lack of Sexual Education: Taboos on sex can lead to limited or inadequate sexual education. When discussions about sex are avoided or restricted, people may lack essential information about sexual health, contraception, and safe practices, leading to potential risks and health problems.

Stigmatization: Taboos on specific sexual behaviors or identities can lead to stigmatization and discrimination against individuals who engage in or identify with them. This can result in social isolation, mental distress, and a reluctance to seek support or services.

Unsafe Practices: In societies where discussing sex is taboo, people may avoid seeking advice or guidance on safe sexual practices. This could increase the risk of sexually transmitted infections (STIs) and unintended pregnancies.

Misinformation and Myths: In the absence of open discussions about sex, misinformation, and myths about sexual health and relationships can spread, leading to misconceptions and harmful beliefs.

Suppression of Sexual Expression: A sex taboo may suppress healthy and consensual sexual expression, preventing people from exploring and understanding their sexuality.

Negative Impact on Relationships: When sex is considered taboo can impact intimate relationships by creating communication barriers and inhibiting discussions about sexual needs and desires.

Impact on Gender Equality: In some cultures, sex taboos can contribute to gender inequality by reinforcing harmful stereotypes and limiting sexual agency and autonomy for specific genders.

Discuss sex with sensitivity and openness, acknowledging the topic’s diverse perspectives and cultural norms. Education, communication, and promoting healthy attitudes towards sex can help to overcome the negative effects of sex taboos and foster a more informed and inclusive approach to sexuality.

Learn more:

Why Do People Like BDSM?

What Is A Rigger BDSM?

Why Do Men Like Femdom Role?

Why Do People Like Cuckold?

20 Clear Signs of Cuckold


Encyclop√¶dia Britannica Online. “Taboo”. Encyclop√¶dia Britannica Inc., 2012.
Schweitzer, Albert. African Notebook 1958. Indiana University Press.
S. Berlin, Frederick. “Interview with Frederick S. Berlin, M.D., Ph.D.” Office of Media Relations.

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