We make up horrors to help us cope with the real ones.
You are now seated, reading this book. Your past is a memory. Your future is a matter of mere expectation. Both memories and expectations can arise in consciousness only as thoughts in the present moment. Of course, reading is itself a species of thinking. You can probably hear the sound of your own voice reading these words in your mind. These sentences do not feel like your thoughts, however. Your thoughts are the ones that arrive unannounced and steal you away from the text. They may have some relevance to what you are now reading—you may think, “Didn’t he just contradict himself there?”—or they may have no relevance at all. You may suddenly find yourself thinking about tonight’s dinner, or about an argument you had days ago, even while your eyes still blindly scan lines of text. We all know what it is like to read whole paragraphs, and even pages of a book without assimilating a word. Few of us realize that we spend most of our lives in such a state: perceiving the present— present sights, sounds, tastes, and sensations—only dimly, through a veil of thought. We spend our lives telling ourselves the story of past and future, while the reality of the present goes largely unexplored.
Sex positivity means many things, but it does not mean that all sex is positive or enjoyable.