It is always interesting to watch how society attempts to make people conform. Social conditioning is one of the most powerful motivators we encounter. The fact that most of it occurs without our knowledge is what makes it so effective. People will fight to defend their beliefs without even being aware of where those ideas came from. Unfortunately, the majority of us are nothing more than “products of our environment”. We rarely become something that we consciously chose. Rather, those who we spent the most time with influenced us into believing what we do.

When it comes to relationships and sex, society is clear on what it’s belief is. Heterosexual marriage is the accepted model. This is the best way to maintain order while ensuring the reproduction of the “village”. People who enter this state end up raising a family which carries the population forward. Also, married couples provide an overall stability to the community. They tend to settle down in an area while establishing some roots. The focus often shifts away from individual fulfillment to that of the family. It is a wonderful concept and appropriate in most situations.

However, there are a large number of people who are not designed for this lifestyle. Yet society fails to deliver the message that it is alright for one to find a lifestyle that is suitable to him or her. Many believe that if someone is not of this mold, then there must be something wrong. Yet, there are many different lifestyles for people to choose from. Of course, there is the choice of staying single. For a lot of people, this is the ideal way to live life. Some people are homosexual or bisexual. Their preference strays a bit from the norm. Then there are those who prefer the “swinging” lifestyle. Monogamy is not something that works for them. These are just a few of the choices people can make when deciding what they want in life.

Part of living a rich life is making the choices that make you happy. Too many people allow others to make the decisions for them and wonder why they are not fulfilled. You are the only one who has to live your life. It is imperative that you select those things that coincide with your true nature.

Attempting to live a lifestyle that is not true to us will result in failure. We have heard of the man who leaves his wife for another man. He comes “out of the closet”. Afterwards, people wonder why he would do such a thing. The answer is that he simply was trying to live a lifestyle that did not fit him. Certainly he may not have known his sexual preference when he got married. Nevertheless, the pressures of our culture deter the investigation into what fits this individual. He was trained from a young age that he should get married and raise a family. That is the conditioning of society.

Naturally, this is not to imply that there is anything wrong with marriage or family. The point is that basically they are not for everyone. However, the judgments of others is another powerful weapon. People who fail to obey the cultural norm are belittled. For example, what is the opinion of people who engage in group sex. The majority of society looks down upon those people. They call them all kinds of names. Individuals who claim to be “open-minded” judge the daylights out of these people. Since they do not fit into the proper model, weapons are brought out in an attempt to make them conform. Naturally, violence is outlawed in the era so other tactics are utilized. The biggest is to let people know they “do not fit in”. This carries considerable pressure. We all want to be a part of something. Our humanness dictates this. Man (in the species sense) is a social animal. We are designed to interact with other people.

When seeking personal happiness, it is important that we choose a sexual/romantic situation that accommodates us. We need to give ourselves the freedom to make the proper choice. If being married and living in a monogamous relationship works for you, follow that path. However, if something else is more to your nature, it is best to follow that. A word of caution: it is often difficult to be true to your decision. There will be a number of people who will attempt to influence you. This will be done with the claim that they want you to be happy. Of course, they operate under the presumption that they know what is best for you. You are the only one who can make this decision.

Here’s is a common example. I once worked with a guy who knew that he was cut out for the swinger lifestyle. Throughout his dating career, he was in numerous long-term, monogamous relationships. He told me that he was not happy in those situations even though the women were wonderful. They were ideal candidates for married life. Unfortunately for them, he was not. After some research, he realized that another lifestyle fit him better. He consciously chose to pursue it. Until he met that “special” someone. She was ideal in all manners except that she was not interested in swinging. As you can guess, issues arose. We talked on a number of different occasions about this. In the end, he had to let her go. Neither of them would enjoy happiness engaging in the other’s lifestyle. Ultimately he did find someone who was pursuing the same interests as him. Today, they are very happy together.

In summary, be mindful of the choices you make with your life. Understand there was a lot of conditioning that influenced you. Society has a way of training us to behave in certain ways. Resist the temptation to go against your core. If another path sits better with you, follow it. Your happiness rests upon the decisions that you make. Even though those closest to you will have their opinions and judgments, they do not live your life. It is your responsibility to make live a rich and full life.