‘‘The whole problem with this idea of obscenity and indecency, and all of these things—bad language and whatever—it’s all caused by one basic thing, and that is: religious superstition,’’ George Carlin in a 2004 interview.
‘‘There’s an idea that the human body is somehow evil and bad and there are parts of it that are especially evil and bad, and we should be ashamed. Fear, guilt and shame are built into the attitude toward sex and the body…. It’s reflected in these prohibitions and these taboos that we have.’’ ~ George Carlin
The first statement is very interesting to me – I’ve never heard anyone draw that conclusion before. The second statement is what initially caught my attention. I couldn’t agree more with him, as you will know from reading my previous post. The first time I took Biology class, it was embarrassing, seeing those body parts for the first time and reading about the functions for which they are used. The principal of the Christian school I was attending taught that chapter to us, because of the silliness that teachers knew would ensue from discussing the topic of sex. I imagine silliness and embarrassment are part of any classroom discussion about sex, be it Christian or non. I think that shows that our society has made the wrong choice in how it approaches the topic of sex.
If you are reading this, then you had a mother and a father who joined themselves together and created you. Many of you had parents who were married, some were not married, some may not even know both of their parents… but you have sex to thank for your existence. Sex is a regular bodily function, and the parts of the body that are involved are just that – parts of the body. True, it is those body parts that allow humanity to continue its existence through the creation of babies – a power not to be taken lightly. The making of babies has been going on for a very, very long time (obviously), but the ways in which the act of lovemaking have been viewed during that time frame are quite varied. I recently was reading some on the culture of the Celts, including their views on sexuality, and found the openness of it all to be rather refreshing. It was assumed that young people would be sexually active long before they were hand-fasted (Celtic equivalent of marriage). Even their view of marriage was strikingly different. A couple could be fasted for a year, in which they would live together as husband and wife, and then after that year they could choose to part ways or make the relationship permanent. The Celts also allowed sexual freedoms to the married people, if they chose not to remain monogamous. I wouldn’t choose to embrace that idea myself, but I do think people should be allowed to live that way if they choose to, so long as their partner is in agreement with it. Basically, the Celtic approach to sex can be summed up in the word “freedom.” The Christian view of lovemaking is quite different. Sex is to occur only between one man and woman, and only after they have been married – any other occurrences are immorality/adultery and therefore sin. In 1 Corinthians 7, Paul addresses marriage and the sexual desires of Christians. He says several times that single people are better off, and that a man is much better off if he never has sex with a woman. Paul seems to be telling people that, if you are strong enough to repress your need for sex, you are making the best decision, but if you can’t, it’s okay, go ahead and get married and have sex… but you’ll really be better off if you don’t. After so many years of religiously-driven celibacy, it should be apparent why humans need to find outlets for their sexuality instead of repressing it. I wonder what happened in Paul’s life that left him thinking this way. He had to have been married at one time, since he was a high-up in the Jewish system… I wonder if he had a bad wife or something that left him blessing singleness.
Repressing anything results in problems surfacing later. If you hold in emotions, they will explode out later in chaotic and even harmful ways. If you hold in fears, guilt, and painful past events, you can greatly effect your mental health and consequently effect your physical health. If you don’t have a bowel movement, and instead hold it all in, you will back up your system and cause your body to poison itself. If you habitually force yourself to hold your bladder instead of relieving it, you will cause problems there. Why, then, is it somehow better for you to suppress the sexual appetite that you are born with? I get that the usual problem associated with pre-marital sex is a lot of kids that often lack things like a dedicated father, financial support, a mature mother, etc. Of course, marriage does not ensure those things exist… but it does increase the likelihood. People should be allowed to choose when they make love, and they should be in charge of deciding when they bring little dependent babies into the world. Teaching people that sex is normal and good – instead of something to pretend/wish away or not speak of – and teaching them how, why, and when to partake in it, seems to be the logical way to go. The same applies to the usage of alcohol, etc. Vagina and penis shouldn’t be dirty words that kids aren’t allowed to hear – they’re the names of body parts that are very important (for many reasons in addition to sexual function). Women’s menstrual cycles, private body parts, etc. should be normal things by now, not embarrassing, gross things. Education and freedom has helped a lot of other problems (racism, bigotry, sexism, etc), so why not apply it to sex? Their is great power in knowledge, great power for good. If everyone was properly acclimated to sex, accepting its natural place in our lives and knowing when it is appropriate, rape and molestation would decrease, and unwanted pregnancies would probably decrease as well. Victorian prudishness creates ignorance, and that ignorance is certainly not bliss when some girl starts to experiment, maybe out of curiosity about this feeling she suddenly has, and ends up pregnant and scared and shamed by people around her. Fear, guilt, and shame should not be linked to such a beautiful act as making love.
It’s late, so I will wrap this post up now, but I will probably touch on it again in the future.