By Kinza Zafar
Sex is more than just the act that brought us to this earth or what’s in our pants. Through sex, one can experience both pleasure and pain, liberation and oppression. It is with this in mind that I approach these stories, conversations and this issue at large.
This time last year I was a photo editor at The Eyeopener, meeting with the previous features editor about visuals for the upcoming annual Love & Sex issue. I was so excited about it that I agreed to take on my first solo cover. Each year, the features editor picks the issue’s theme. Our former features editor, Stephanie Davoli, had chose to explore whether romance was dying in a generation of situationships and soft-launches. I worked hard on the cover to bring her ideas to life. It was then that I dreamt up what theme I’d choose if I ever got the chance: Love, Sex & Taboo!. Nearly one year later, here we are!
Taboos are social customs that stigmatize, and often forbid, the discourse of certain practices, people, places and things. Along with an assumed societal restriction on speech, practice or association, taboo acts are also sometimes criminalized through legal prohibition.
For example, though same sex marriage is legal in Canada, homosexuality still remains a ‘taboo’ subject in certain households and communities across the country. This can be applied to other previously criminalized taboos like masturbation, sex for pleasure, interracial relationships and more. Taboos are often reinforced through religious and/or political ideologies that create vicious cycles of internalized beliefs across generations. It’s essential to recognize how systems of oppression like patriarchy and racism, along with colonization, influence and inform these taboos.
My whole life is ‘taboo.’ I’m a brown Queer ex-Muslim tattooed artist with purple hair who smokes weed, enjoys gin and tonics and has casual, safe, sex. I live in a single-parent household made up of three girls that disowned our large former family due to ‘ideological differences’—the difference being our refusal to let men dictate our lives. I grew up associating sex with violence and control. I hated the one that had been assigned to me and I dreaded the day I thought I’d be forced to have it in order to satisfy my family’s aspirations of reproduction. And for the past 12 years I’ve been attempting to unravel the deep seated generational cycles of cultural patriarchal beliefs that I narrowly escaped from.
Believe it or not, 2023 was my first year as a single adult. I spent most of my teenage years in back-to-back long-term relationships, the most recent one lasting nearly a quarter of my 22-year-old life. But it turned out the commitment I had been lacking this whole time was to myself. Now, as I sit here working on this issue and writing this letter from the editor—on what would’ve been my 6-year anniversary with the man who convinced me I was asexual—I am confident in knowing that I am all I will ever need.
Love, Sex & Taboo!, will unravel, or rather undress, the things we’ve been told we shouldn’t talk about. From fucking yourself, fucking other people, fucking in front of people, not fucking and a lot of other shit—beware, this issue is fucking HOT.
HOT TAKES: LOVE, SEX & TABOO! IN PHOTOS
LOVE & SEX 2024 SURVEY