Tuesday, October 25, 2005

No Bad Sex...

... except that which causes harm to myself or others. This is the code I have chosen to live by, Bush. Take adultery, for example. In my own experience--from many years ago, of course--I know that infidelity can cause great harm: the hurt that resulted from my youthful indiscretions continues to resonate in my own life and, I know, in the lives of those I love the most. I believe in the doctrine that teaches that all our actions have consequences, intended or not, and that we cannot escape the repercussions of those consequences in our lives.

These thoughts are provoked this morning, Bush, by the program I watched last night on television about the life and work of Dr. Alfred Kinsey; and by the sense that, as a society, we are still disastrously ambivalent about human sexuality. On the one hand--in part as the legacy of Kinsey's work--we have lived, in the past half century, through a "sexual revolution" that has proved liberating in many respects: in our ability to talk frankly about sex and explore its many and various manifestations in human experience; in the still-growing understanding that men and women, equally, have the right--and the need--to explore this aspect of their humanity, and to learn which of our inhibitions serve us well (precisely by protecting ourselves and others from harm) and which serve only to curtail the full expression of our humanity; and in recognizing that human sexuality takes a multitude of (harm-less) forms, including same-sex relations.

Fears, though, still abound. As do projections of those fears in the form of judgments about sexuality. I readily concede that not all of our fears have negative consequences. My fear of large, furry, ferocious beasts, for example, assures that I will not be eaten by lions, and my reluctance to stick my hand in the flames prevents it from being nastily burned. I suspect, however, that the intolerance of homosexuality emanates in good part from fears about ourselves: I happen to believe that most men have some experience of unrealized sexual interest in other men, and that it is their fear and shame around those hidden desires that cause their condemnation of those who act upon them.

(Getting back to Kinsey, a side note: the program mentioned with some surprise, I thought, his ability to get people talking to him about their intimate experiences. It doesn't surprise me a bit. I've had the opportunity, Bush, to listen to many men, particularly, pour out the secrets of their sexual lives with relish. The almost universal attitude is: I never thought I'd hear myself talking about this, but, boy, does it feel good! My sense is that we can't wait to talk about ourselves, and that it's a huge relief to find out that we are not freaks--that others share our same experiences and desires.)

I mention all this because I am disturbed by your feeding the flames of our society's political enactment of what I judge to be our fears around sexuality. At this point in our collective history as a species, we need not damaging and intolerant rhetoric about such things as sex education, gay marriage, the morning-after pill, and the distribution of condoms, but rather rational discussion of these topics. Because this is no longer private morality, Bush, but public policy, and it should not be the province of a handful of powerful, loud-mouthed, fear-driven bigots. With personal sexual liberation spreading throughout the world, there is a growing social responsibility to address its consequences--if only to prevent the environmental disaster of human overpopulation and the rape of the planet in the interest of human survival, resulting in the hunger, debilitating disease, and starvation of millions of human beings. It's time, all these years after Kinsey, to finally take a rational look at sex and the reality of its consequences in the world.


PK said...

BRAVO!!! BRAVO!!! The voice of reason, comfortable within. A good human being. Thank you for my thoughts, I, unable to put them down as graciously as you have.

PeterAtLarge said...

Thanks, PK. Good to hear from you. Cheers, PaL