Friday, May 9, 2014

In support of an amoral view of sexuality

I think one of the things that delights me most about reading Kinsey's findings, is his scientific approach to human sexuality - which, in particular, is remarkably devoid of any kind of moral judgment. It is so incredibly hard these days (and perhaps also in antiquity) to encounter a view of human sexuality that does not incorporate centuries old moral judgments. I would really like someone to explain to me why treating the issue of human sexuality from a moral standpoint is a good idea. What purpose does it serve? Because I'm of the opinion that approaching the issue with logic would be a whole lot more productive.

I think the moral view hinges on the treatment of sex as a "sin" - something dirty and vile. It's pleasurable, yes, but for some reason that makes it bad. Puritan much? If sex causes any kind of personal or social problems, can we not confront those problems directly, without making up fairy tales about staining the purity of your immortal soul? I just don't understand why anybody should want to think that the natural, biological urge of any sexual organism to seek sexual stimulation and satisfaction should be treated as some kind of tragic flaw.

I can see where the whole idea of procreation can cause some turmoil. Because, in actuality, though it can be argued that the purpose of sex is procreation, any rational observation of sexual behavior (in humans and other animals) will lead to the conclusion that a) a sexual organism derives more from sexual stimulation and satisfaction than solely the joy (or goal) of procreating, and b) the majority of sexual contacts in the life of any higher animal do not, in fact, lead to procreation.

Now, what I don't understand is why this whole moral thing about non-procreative sex being bad even comes into the picture. Non-procreative sex is natural - it's not abnormal, nor an aberration of the natural course of things. And though, among the animal kingdom, humans are civilized to the point of considering "planned parenthood", and not simply fucking around indiscriminately until somebody gets pregnant (although there is an alarming amount of that still in evidence), we are also technologically advanced to the point of having several methods of contraception.

But these are logistics. Pregnancy is a big deal, whether you view it as a God-given miracle, or simply the creation of a life that you're going to have to expend unimaginable amounts of time and money caring for. So why can't we simply view it as a practical matter, devoid of moral judgment? If a person seeks sexual satisfaction through means that avoid (or significantly reduce) the risk of unplanned pregnancy, for example, why should that still bother anyone? Why all this emphasis on "saving yourself"? The whole idea of soulmates - while romantic - is wildly unrealistic. It's fine as a personal ideal, but it's also unnatural, and noone should be punished for not living up to it.

Sex is everywhere. That's natural. Why do people still push so hard against that fact? Accept it already! Why is sex even bad anyway? Why are people who fail to live up to society's unrealistic standards of prudishness viewed with such disdain? Why does anyone who chooses to wear revealing clothing in public receive so much criticism? Why is someone who accepts the fact that sexual intimacy is (for many) a requirement for a healthy life viewed in such a negative light? And why should such intimacy be limited to very specific legal arrangements (i.e., marriage) anyway?

The reason Kinsey was so insightful is because he didn't let moral judgments blind him to the truth of his scientific findings. I mean, that's a requirement of any successful scientific study. The problem is, nobody (hardly) treats sex with scientific objectivity. There's too much moral baggage. And I guess a lot of people are okay with that - they're invested in the illusion. But I'm not. It's bad. It's bad for individuals, and it's bad for society on the whole. And it's got to change.

I don't know how to change anyone's mind on this matter (or any other). But are there not more people out there in this world who think "morality" is a terrible thing to apply to something that affects so many people? Different people are going to have different moral beliefs. That's one of the fundamental issues. Kinsey also suspected that a lot of the social problems we have regarding society's view of sex are the result of different people with very different sexual capacities and experience imposing their own personal beliefs on the population as a whole, without regard to the varying needs of different people.

I don't give a damn if you think non-procreative sex is bad. I don't give a damn if you think pre-marital intercourse, or extra-marital intercourse, or intercourse with prostitutes is bad. I don't give a damn if you think masturbation is immoral. I don't give a damn if you think abstinence, or celibacy, is a virtue. I don't give a damn if you think there's some special value in virginity. I don't give a damn what your own personal morals surrounding sex are. But other people are going to have different morals - as they are entitled to - and regardless of anyone's morals, these behaviors are going to occur. The morals are irrelevant. What choices people make for themselves is nobody else's business. The only thing that matters is the effect those choices have on other people, and that is the realm of ethics, of logistical concerns, keeping individual liberty - supposedly a tenet the United States was built upon - in mind.

But, above all, sex is an act. It is not a battlefield for your immortal soul, and especially not one where everybody else's choices in the world determine the level of your own perceived "purity".

{I apologize if I get a little too preachy sometimes. It's because I'm really pissed off. And sometimes I feel completely alone in my beliefs - even if I'm not literally alone, you don't exactly hear my views distributed via mainstream channels. And in the rare case that you do, they're always beaten down relentlessly by conservative blowhards (and sometimes even liberal fucktards). The worst part isn't that these people disagree, but that they somehow manage to do so while maintaining an air of moral superiority. When, in truth, they're the ones who are morally bankrupt. It's disgusting. And it's depressing.}

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