Monday, November 26, 2012

When vs. How

Regarding the question of whether abstinence-only sex education delays loss of virginity, I have the following to say. The education I received was abstinence-"plus", but it (particularly a very Christian guest speaker), in conjunction with the social environment I was brought up in - which taught that sex is naughty and only the bad kids engage in it outside of marriage or very committed relationships, or before reaching the age of 18 - was enough to prevent me from going "all the way" with my girlfriend when I first had the chance. I didn't get another chance until about ten years later, after which point I thought, why the hell did I wait so long to get started?

The point I wish to make is this: even if abstinence-whatever education does delay loss of virginity, the question I ask you is - why does it matter when people start having sex? Isn't it far more important that when people do have sex - no matter what age that is - it's an informed decision they've made willfully and consensually, and that they are knowledgeable enough not only to be able to practice safe sex, but also to understand why practicing safe sex is a damn good idea? That people are having safe, consensual sexual encounters in a pleasurable and psychologically positive context is far more important to me than whether or not they 'wait for marriage', or whether they start experimenting at 25 or 15 years of age!

Friday, November 16, 2012

Fearing Desire

I think the reason a lot of people are uncomfortable about sexual arousal may be that we are capable of being turned on by some fairly alarming things sometimes (consider: the appeal of transgression, also the reason people are drawn to or threatened by rebellious music). And these people don't have the confidence or the assurance that if some atrocious idea appeals to their sexual desire, that they will have the power or the will to prevent themselves from pursuing it or engaging in it.

And so sexual desire becomes this frightening, monstrous thing, that resides within our selves and constantly threatens to turn us into monsters. So we shun it, and, likewise, we shun other people who are less restrictive than us about their own sexual desires.

We fear those who freely fantasize, because we see them giving in to their twisted desires, and we think they are becoming monsters, and it scares us. It scares us that they exist, and it scares us that as a society we would consciously allow people to do that. If exploring one's sexual interests beyond the purely mundane is seen to be a path toward chaos, then it cannot be condoned.

But this is all fear of what may be. The BDSM community, in particular - which, you'll notice, has had a history of being acutely feared by the mainstream for some time - is in an excellent position to demonstrate that people can have disturbing sexual desires - like the desire to whip someone, or the desire to be whipped - and they can engage in them humanistically, by communicating with partners, and only engaging in consensual play, so as to create the illusion of whatever degeneracy turns them on, without becoming soulless monsters, hellbent on hurting others and corrupting innocent people for selfish sexual satisfaction.

This needs to be discovered by the mainstream, if we are to continue to pursue the path toward healthy sexual enlightenment. People need to learn that they can explore what turns them on, without it taking control over them. And they need to learn this so that they CAN indulge in the fantasies that turn them on without believing that it justifies their becoming actual monsters. So that, for example, a man can discover that dominating women turns him on, and still be able to understand that it is not okay for him to dominate women outside of a sexual context, or to dominate women who do not consent to be dominated by him.

I tell you, this is imperative to our smooth running as a society, that we confront and address and learn to mend our sexual hang-ups, because the way we are now - frightful of anything remotely sexual because "what if!" is not a healthy way to be. When we turn our heads from the shadows and condemn them to the corners of society, we are indirectly condoning the darkness, even as we preach against it. A new approach is needed, whereby we confront the darkness, accept that it is a part of human existence, and learn how to acknowledge it without letting it control us.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Exhibitionist Resort

You might have guessed by now that I'm a proponent for the legalization of public sex acts. Whatever the reason public sex acts aren't currently legal, I'll bet it's a combination of reasonable ones and irrational ones. I've never seen 'public sex' in action, so I don't know, practically, what the issues are. In other words, I don't know if people's fears of what may happen are well-founded or superstitious. I imagine it's probably a combination of the two - certainly, I don't have much sympathy for the fear that public sex acts will denote the 'moral decay of society'. I'd rather there be public fornication than wars. I'd rather children be introduced to the circle of life than have to witness gang violence. But that's a whole different can of worms.

In theory, it may be said that open permission for anyone and everyone to perform public sex acts more or less anywhere they like (or at least only on public land) may lead to chaos, and open the door to more serious acts that are rightfully criminalized (for ethical and not moral reasons) - like rape and other nonconsensual sex acts. I'm not entirely convinced that the only way to prevent this is to keep all sex acts (even the nice, polite, fun ones) out of the public space - that sounds rather like moralization and fear-mongering - but let's for a second assume this fear is at least plausible. Could there not at least be specifically designated places, with carefully enforced rules, where those who can prove themselves to be responsible can become members, where those that cannot would be kept out?

It is pretty much inevitable that, at this point, I begin to think about nudist resorts, which - while not being sexual environments - are in pretty much the same position. Replace 'public sex' with 'public nudity', and there you have it. They may be in the minority, but it's proven true that enough people are interested in being nude in a more or less "public" atmosphere (at least, more public than staying hidden in your bedroom, or indoors), that nudist resorts - if not thriving - do maintain some interest. Could there not be a similar demand for, say, 'exhibitionist resorts', where, within a privately owned space (or a specially designated public space), open fornication can be permitted?

Indeed, I've heard of one or two such places in the world, although they are always at odds with the nudist community because of the fear of people mistaking (ignorantly or deliberately) the one for the other, and the last thing a genuine nudist resort wants is a reputation as a swinger's resort. But then again, if this is a recurring problem, doesn't that suggest to you that there's a demand? Maybe even a greater demand than there is for genuine nudist recreation. After all, there are a hell of a lot of perverts in the world, and nudists seem to remain a curious minority. So why not have more spaces for open sex play? A place for swingers, perhaps, but a place also for voyeurs and exhibitionists to let it all hang out without fear of retribution. And without pressure to engage in an expected form of play that may be beyond what they're comfortable with.

Well, I'm not going to pretend this is an original idea. But I was giving it some thought, and I came up with some ideas about what rules would probably be a good idea to have in such a place. Here they are:

The Rules of Engagement

Rule #1: All Contact MUST Be Consensual. Do not touch another human being without explicit permission. Always ask first. This will reduce drama, prevent you from getting kicked out (or even tossed in jail), and keep this venue from being lost.

Rule #2: No Harassment! Be polite. If somebody doesn't want to play with you, leave them alone. If your behavior is clearly bothering somebody, then take it somewhere else. There is enough room here for everyone. A little preemptive kindness goes a long way.

Rule #3: Don't Leave A Mess. Nobody should have to clean up after you. Keep it sanitary. Always have a towel on hand. We don't allow you to pass waste just anyplace you want, so don't think we want your mess left behind on our facilities, either. Keep it contained and controlled.

Rule #4: Be Cool. You wouldn't be here if you weren't open-minded. Know the line between stepping outside your comfort zone and feeling threatened. If somebody or something is bothering you, walk away. If the problem follows you, report it. But if a person's not bothering you, don't bother them. People come here to have fun. Let them.

If you are caught in violation of any of these rules, you will be subject to immediate expulsion from the site. Repeated violations may cost you future privilege of entry. We have rules for a reason. Without them, we wouldn't be here. So don't ruin it for everyone else.

Saturday, November 10, 2012

The Bogeyman

This is for those idiots who think every sex offender is the bogeyman, and deserving of identical punishment - that is to say, the full force of the law.

Hypothetical. Let's assume that a man gets drunk, stumbles out of a bar, and begins to urinate on the sidewalk. I would certainly not condone this behavior; I would even support a fine or some other small punishment to discourage such behavior in the future. And if the man makes a regular habit of getting drunk and engaging in such behavior, then further measures would be justified.

Now let's assume that this one time that this man urinates on the sidewalk, he happens to do it in front of a woman and her kid. He didn't do it in front of them intentionally - he didn't even realize they were there. He wasn't really paying attention to his surroundings, you see, as he was very drunk.

Let's say, just for the sake of argument, that the kid this man urinated in front of was a boy, so that he wouldn't be particularly shocked, at least, by the fact of a man relieving himself in that way. Yet, still, the woman - the boy's mother - goes and complains to the police about this man who "exposed himself" in front of her child.

Bam! Just like that, the drunkard becomes a sex offender. Now, as I said, I don't condone his behavior. But firstly, what he committed was not, linguistically speaking, a sex offense, so it's simply inaccurate (and dishonest) to classify him as such. But of course, the law doesn't work that way.

Now, even though this man's behavior was problematic, does he deserve the full brunt of the punitive sex offender registry? Because he "chose" (obviously, he's responsible for his acts, but it's not like he made a conscious decision) - because he chose to "commit a sex offense", he gives up all of his civil rights?

What is it, anyway, with this idea that when a man commits a crime, he "gives up his rights", and that if he feels like complaining, then he "shouldn't have committed a crime in the first place"? Criminals are punished for a reason, in very specific ways that relate to the nature of their crime.

The point is not to turn anyone who engages in even a minor breach of the law (or just sex offender laws - because sex offenses are treated different, worse than murder even) into an inhuman slave of the state, beyond any retribution or sympathy. To be punished for the rest of his life, even beyond prison. With no consideration to the fact that sometimes people make mistakes in life, that in hindsight, they regret. I could understand extreme vitriol for criminals who commit heinous crimes like violent rape and murder, but does someone who peed on the sidewalk deserve the same level of hatred?

Sure, he deserves criticism, but to have his civil rights suspended? To lose his internet privacy, as California's atrocious new Prop 35 commands? Why is every sex offender akin to the worst among them - the child rapist? It's like, if you get labeled with the term "sex offender" you're not you anymore, you're this faceless predator, and if your crime happened to be poor judgment of where to urinate, then somehow you're at high risk for seeking out children to kidnap via the internet? That's insane.

I wish I could let the facts speak for themselves and just leave it at that, but this world doesn't work that way. Our brains don't work that way. People are frighteningly susceptible to persuasion by seductive lies - although, I don't know why anyone would want to believe that every year, tens of thousands of children are abducted into highly lucrative (yet suspiciously evasive) sex slavery rings in this country alone...

Friday, November 9, 2012

The Good Mother (1988)

Starring Diane Keaton, Liam Neeson
Directed by Leonard Nimoy

I feared The Good Mother was going to be a predictable story about how all fine and dandy sexual liberation is - until children become involved, which unveils its limitations and how it's ultimately an unrealistic pipe dream.

You could still argue that, but the reason it doesn't work isn't because sexual liberation is broken - that it traumatizes kids or whatever - but because society is so dysfunctional that they won't let it work, and they'll happily destroy you if you try.

And that's what this movie turned out to be - a story about how wonderful sexual liberation is, but how society will step in and crush you if you dare try to find sexual satisfaction, shake off the shame and stigma that's forcibly applied to sexuality, and, god forbid, make an attempt to avoid teaching your children those same guilty feelings you grew up with.

That's where they get you, you see. Adults are allowed to be as perverted as they like (well, within limits). Polite folk will turn their nose at you if you're a perv, but ultimately it's your freedom to be a pariah. But if you dare try to teach a child to be unashamed of her body or sexuality, then they'll nail you to the fucking wall.

You see, it's very very important that children learn to be ashamed of their bodies and their sexuality. It's how this sexual dysfunction - this social poison - maintains itself. And that's exactly what happens in this movie. A mother finds sexual satisfaction after an unfulfilling marriage, and begins to teach her daughter not to make the same mistake she unconsciously had by sealing up her sexual feelings.

And then social forces close in, first in the form of the jealous, vindictive, conservative ex-husband (who has himself had no problem relating sexually to women, but in a way that never seemed to count the woman's sexual satisfaction as a relevant factor), and then in the form of a puppet court that makes a cruel mockery of both truth and justice.

And lives are ruined as a result. And the process of sexual healing is halted and stilted, and two women - one of them still a child - are pulled back into the realm of sexual shame and misery. What a sad state of affairs.

I find it ironic that the man - the catalyst who inadvertently invites the turmoil - is European, almost as if to emphasize by contrast the nature of American morality, to show how corroded and diseased it is on the subject of sexuality. Except that things do not seem to be faring significantly better outside of America, either, in the so-called "developed world".

It's the sad truth about passion and sexuality, that the current status quo is so invested in its dementia, that it will mercilessly destroy you if you dare to rebel. I wish it weren't the case.