With all the recent doom and gloom in the world, it’s hard to feel optimistic. I’ve already had two dreams in which I ate all of my birth control pills in desperation. That’s where sex comes into play. Sex improves blood pressure, boosts the immune system and helps stave off stress, depression and anxiety (unless you have anxiety about sex, in which case, sex increases anxiety). One source of sexual anxiety is often religion.

Recently, I perused Pope John Paul II’s “Catechism of the Catholic Church,” which outlines the tenets of the Catholic faith and interpretation of the Bible, out of sheer curiosity, and also because I love a good spook every now and then.

While I typically don’t seek sex advice from people who have never had it, let’s be honest: the church is hot. The whole “submission” and “torturing heretics” and “having to say 10 Hail Marys” thing is stimulating. What I found through Catholic blogs and texts was tantalizing. Having nonmarital or nonheterosexual sex is an evil infestation of the soul, which perverts the heart and rots the mind. If that doesn’t turn you on, the church has other Foucauldian methods to discipline and punish your butt off!

Like all great dystopian novels, religion has a significant hold on the who, what, why, when and where of sex. The dogmatic myths that discourage against sexual behavior must be buried along with all the other religious hoopla. By now we all know masturbation doesn’t cause warts or blindness, only nearsightedness and the occasional astigmatism. Just as the church abolished “limbo” (where unbaptized babies perform the dance for an eternity), religious institutions should recognize the benefits behind sex and masturbation.

To be fair, oral sex for women is permissible in the Catholic Church (ladies, it took a long time, but they’re finally throwing us a bone). A man is allowed to help his wife orgasm orally after doing it God’s way first. Unfortunately, men are not allowed to receive oral sex because ejaculating anywhere besides your wife’s vagina is a waste of perfectly good man-nectar and should either be used for procreative purposes or jarred and mixed with shea butter to reduce pores and improve complexion.

In conjunction with our religious convictions, this nation’s prudishness is reflected in our vanilla sex habits. According to one study, almost half of all Americans have sex at least once a week, however, only 48 percent of Americans find themselves to be sexually satisfied. People should not be having obligatory or unsatisfying sex.

The United States totes itself as being the leader of the free world, but we can’t even free the nipple. Our nation exists in a sexual paradox in which teenage pop stars perform scantily clad booty drops, but kids the same age are not required to receive sex education or receive a subpar one which exists through a basis of fear, not proactivity. Basic anatomical questions, such as how many orifices a woman has, are debated until an embarrassingly late age.

While you don’t need sex to make you happy, having sex is a hell of a lot easier than finding real happiness. Sex is natural, and if more Americans don’t start screwing, we may to find ourselves in a sex culture not unlike Japan’s, which boasts of “vibrator bars” and a television show, “Orgasm Wars,” in which a gay contestant has to make a straight porn star ejaculate.

So embrace your fetishes and find someone who can make your dreams come alive. Whether you get off to that sex scene in “Titanic” or that other scene where the steerage passengers are trying to get into lifeboats, there’s someone out there for everyone. On my calendar, 2017 is the Year of the Freak.

Kristen DiPietra is a junior double-majoring in English and human development.