Modern Sexual Taboos and Their Morality
"...Certain as I am that when opinions are free, either in matters of govemment or religion, truth will finally and powerfully prevail." -- Thomas Paine, The Age of Reason, part 2, chapter 3, last line
What makes a radical thinker who they are? Or, what makes a revolutionary idea so revolutionary? And, as my article will question, how far can a radical thinker go? To take a case examination, observe Thomas Paine. In the 1700's, he opposed Monarchy, Racism, Sexism, slavery, and revealed religion -- some things which we are only truly conquering today. In the time of Paine, those of another skin color were afforded no rights at all and slavery was a normal, respected institution. After centuries of his work, only some of his ideals had been met. Today, there are many philosophers and social scientists who advocate new radical ideas. Some of them claim that animals deserve more rights than they are currently given, while others work for environment protection programs. The concept of giving rights to animals or working to protect the environment are largely new concepts. To quote Henry Stephens Salt, "When Lord Erskine, speaking in the House of Lords in 1811, advocated the cause of justice to the lower animals, he was greeted with loud cries of insult and derision." [Animals' Rights, by Henry Stephens Salt, chapter 1, 1894.] Although many humane individuals today advocate the humane treatment of animals, still those many individuals will consume those who they believe deserve "humane treatment."
What was it that made Thomas Paine a genius? It was the fact that he accepted viewpoints on evidence and reason -- viewpoints which have only been confirmed recently. Furthermore, it was also the fact that in the time of Paine, many of his viewpoints were disregarded as infidelity. To which he responded quite admirably, "Infidelity does not consist in believing, or in disbelieving; it consists in professing to believe what he does not believe." [The Age of Reason, by Thomas Paine, part 1, chapter 1.] Many of the orthodoxes that Paine challenged were held sacred. He detested revealed religion as much as he detested cruelty, and he worked fervently to relinquish the world of both calamities. Thomas Paine did not see things as sacred and non-sacred, though. Or, to simplify that statement, he did not see things that were unquestionable or undeserving of investigation. As well as offering reasoning and evidence to his claims, he had this creed of scientific observation and questioning, and that is why we consider him a genius today.
There are those, however, who would argue against Paine for as long as they could, who would say as much against him as would be permitted. Those individuals who detested Abolitionism, Women's Suffrage, and equality of mankind held prejudice and bigotry closer to their heart than reason and compassion. It is rather for the sake of their cultural upbringing that they came to detest Paine and his views than from any method of investigation. Some individuals offered frail arguments for religion and slavery, of which Paine has a history of outrightly and powerfully refuting them. If Thomas Paine had been more intelligent than he was, would he have come to many of the conclusions of modern, radical thinkers? Although he did admit that animals were to be treated with affection, he did not advocate their right to life or liberty. If he had time and energy, as well as more critical investigation, would he have come to the position of being a Vegetarian and an Enviornmentalist? The question now is: what prevented him from reaching this even more radical position? Perhaps it was that his culture, being extremely limited as it was, did not allow that much investigation. Given the fact that Paine was utmostly intelligent and critical in all claims, it would only seem natural that given the right amount of time, he would reach even more radical opinions. Of course, perhaps the amount of unorthodox opinions (based on reason and evidence) one can reach may be measured in proportion to one's own intelligence and to the Freethought principles of one's society. And when I said radical opinions, do not confuse that with simply the idea of them being radical, but being combinely radical and logical. For example, if an individual lived in a society where to read or write was forbidden, and to be happy was a crime, and if this individual were to come to the same conclusions as Thomas Paine, then they would have been more radical compared to their society, yet they had managed to come to reasonable and logical ideas.
The topic of this essay is modern sexual taboos and their morality. In the following pages, I will discuss the ethics and the reason concerning many things today which are detested by some: masturbation, homosexuality, prostitution, and other sexual taboos which are detested by many: Pedophilia, Zoophilia, Incest, and Free Love. The purpose of telling the story of Thomas Paine is to reaffirm the fact that we must consider proposals and arguments on the merit of their evidence and reasoning. We cannot accept a doctrine simply because it was taught to us by parents and society, no matter how delicate or sensitive an issue it may be. I understand there are some who may attempt to suppress freedom of thought. In May of 1812, Thomas Paine's book The Age of Reason was being sold by Daniel Isaac Eaton and he was imprisoned for 18 months. The crime was questioning the established religion. Percival Bysshe Shelley defended Eaton, "To torture and imprison the asserter of a dogma, however ridiculous and false, is highly barbarous and impolitic:-How, then, does not the cruelty of persecution become aggravated when it is directed against the opposer of an opinion yet under dispute, and which men of unrivalled acquirements, penetrating genius, and stainless virtue, have spent, and at last sacrificed, their lives in combating." [A Letter to Lord Ellenborough, by Percival Bysshe Shelley.] It was made a crime by the bishops, the cardinals, and the popes of the world to investigate their faith, for what has such investigation revealed but the absurdity of their dogma? In another similar case, many individuals who oppose Euthanasia in Europe have written numerous books, but not against Euthanasia, but against the discussion of Euthanasia! Wesley J. Smith, an opponent to Euthanasia, has said of the discussion of Euthanasia, "This is a strange definition of academic freedom." ["Animal Rights Extremism At Princeton: Peter Singer Gets A Chair," by Wesley J. Smith.] Those who oppose the investigation or discussion of their beliefs should be regarded highly suspiciously of; if their creed is the right one, then why must its evidences and proofs be hidden from public investigation, unless, of course, such evidences and proofs are highly inadequate?
These individuals who have worked for Censorship for some cause -- Christianity, Euthanasia, etc. -- are ignoramuses and cowards. Because they cannot meet the arguments of their adversaries, and since they are in the majority, they work to disallow their adversaries from speaking! It is important to keep in mind the arguments that people have used to justify their actions. That, in the early 1600's and 1700's, many people justified slavery on many accounts: some claimed religion while others claimed that they bettered the lives of Africans by bringing them to America. (That is to say, the whip and flog was an "improvement" from their previous situation.) As thinkers and truthseekers, men and women who are compassionate and reasonable in their pursuits, we must understand that arguments are essential if a theory is to be proved right. We must understand that, no matter how seemingly atrocious sounding a conclusion may be, that its arguments are a thousand times more important than the conclusion. I brought up the case of Thomas Paine because he was a bold genius, daring to go where no one else had yet gone, and in some cases risking his own life in such endeavors. It was common opinion then that slavery was justifiable, just as it is common opinion today that Pedophilia is unjustifiable and one of the worst child abuses. We must base all of our opinions, both moral and scientific, on evidence and reasoning. In this essay I will question those arguments that are opposed to Masturbation, Homosexuality, Prostitution, Free Love, Incest, Zoophilia, and Pedophilia. The only thing that I can ask the reader is that he renders his opinions with the edge of reason and logic, compassion and reverence.
A Few False Arguments Considered
Appeal to the Natural...
One of the first arguments presented for the sake of opposing sex, or for upholding any dubious doctrine, is to make an appeal to naturality. They may say that because an action is either natural or unnatural that it is therefore damnable. However, what is natural or unnatural must first be defined. If "natural" is defined as the course of things in which they happen, then everything is natural, as everything has happened in its own course. Allow us to let the definition of what is "natural" to remain as a variable, for the sake of making some points. If a person was about to be murdered and the only way to save them would fit into what was defined as "unnatural," does that mean we should stop from saving that person? Or, if murdering someone would fit into what was defined as "natural," does that mean it would be permissible to murder that person? Of course, this is all dependent upon what "natural" is defined as yet it has thousands of definitions and remains vague and blurry. The question is, if something is natural or unnatural, does that actually have any impact on moral implications? Such as a murderer's actions being natural, would that mean that they were any less immoral, or a savior's actions being unnatural, would that mean that they were any less moral?
If we were to save someone's life, would whether or not it was natural or unnatural change the fact that we prevented suffering and ameliorated worry? Would it mean that we were vagrants, without thought or heart? Would it mean that we should have aided the person in their death, offering our betrayal to humaneness with a dagger? Would it mean that the tears on the face of this person were not to appeal to our sympathy, that their pains and agonies amplified through screams and cries were to be ignored, that affection was to be neglected -- all due on account of what is natural or unnatural? If someone were to torture another individual, would whether or not such is natural or unnatural change the pain inflicted on the helpless soul? If it was natural, would it mean that the torturer was just acting out his will and that his musings in death were to be ignored, just as the screams of the victim were to be silenced in our thoughts? All on account of the philosophical notion that what is natural or unnatural, does that mean that we ought to leave the victim to the unrelenting, slow, abusive torture of a man whose last interest is ending cruelty?
Whether or not it is natural to make someone suffer unnecessarily, it is still immoral. Similarly, whether or not a sexual act is natural, it has no relevance on whether or not the sexual act was moral or immoral. Can anyone truly confess that they think that unnatural suffering is worse than natural suffering, or vice versa? Certainly not. If someone were to respond to this argument by claiming that what is natural is equal to what is good, then the word "natural" is simply extra wordage. It is simply a synonym, and to ask if something is natural or unnatural is exactly the same as to ask someone whether something is ethical or unethical. If someone were to say, "That's ethical because it's natural," or "That's unethical because it's unnatural," it would be synonymous with saying, "That's ethical because it's ethical," or "That's unethical because it's unnatural." Therefore, to make an Appeal to the Natural does nothing, as what is natural or unnatural has absolutely no impact on whether or not an action is immoral, and what exactly natural is rarely comes to be defined.
Appeal to Beauty...
Another objection to a sexual act is the fact that its thought may be disturbing. Some people may find it disgusting that two people can consent to things which they find abominable. Although it is true that there may be no suffering exchanging in such a sexual act, they detest it on the grounds that it is grosteque -- at least, it is grosteque to them. The fallacy of this objection can quite clearly be seen: an action being ugly does not mean that it is immoral, just as an action being beautiful does not mean it is moral. If someone were to make the appeal that they detested a particular action because it was disgusting, it would best for them to imagine if someone wanted to limit them in their favorite action because it was thought to be disgusting. Suffering is suffering and misery is misery. Whether it is surrounded by the veil of beauty or the sheet of wretchedness, it is still contaminated with the same fact that such an action is painful, full of the things that make up the negative parts of life. Similarly, happiness is happiness and pleasure is pleasure. Whether with the label of "beautiful" or "ugly," such actions still exist to lift our hearts and to put new meaning into our lives. On no appeal to beauty can any action be condemned, otherwise we would find that we are censoring the pages in the book of humanity, depriving ourselves and others of the pleasure and happiness that can ease worries and pains.
Appeal to Obscurity...
Similar to the Appeal to Beauty, the Appeal to Obscurity is based not on contaminating an action with the title of "ugly" or "harmful to the eye," but rather, it makes the claim that such an action is obscure, odd, misplaced, and therefore should not be committed, in public or in private. This Appeal, though, just like the Appeal to Beauty, is flawed on the same grounds: whether or not an individual's actions are obscure and incomprehensible, or easily understood and simple, it has no grounds on determining whether or not such an action is ethical or unethical.
Appeal to Design...
Some may make the appeal that an act is immoral or unethical if it is using parts or tools that are not meant to be used in the fashion they are being used in. For example, a sexual relationship between two men would be immoral, because they were using parts of their body in a manner that they were not "designed for." However, this fatuous appeal suffers from its failure to remain consistent within any imaginable form of reason or logic. Who is to determine what something is designed for, anyway? If sexual organs are designed to be used for procreation, does that mean that their idleness is immoral as well, thus justifying rape? Since there is no evidence of a god, and thus no designer, does that mean we are not allowed to eat food, because it was not designed for that purpose? In fact, if you were to take my criticism of the Appeal to Naturality and replace the word "natural" with the word "designed," you would find yourself coming across the same errors. If, for example, we were to erroneously decide through whichever method that medical tools are not desigend to be medical tools, does that mean we should abstain from using them when it comes to saving another's life? Or, if a knife is designed to kill, does that mean that it is acceptable to kill someone, simply because it has that design to it? Certainly not. Any sexual act that may or may not use particular appendiges that are or are not designed for such activity, it is irrelevant. As a humane, rational philosophy, it would be best to allow all that increases happiness, without causing suffering. By allowing sexual activity, this is accomplished. To make the claim that something cannot be done because it was not designed that way is to make an irrelevant, entirely foolish claim.
Monopoly on Love or Meaning...
Another popular argument brought up for the sake of limiting an activity is to make a monopoly on love or meaning. This argument is usually brought up in the following form: "The only way love or meaning could exist in a relationship is between a man and a woman. Therefore, any relationship that exists between a man and a man or a woman and a woman that is sexual has no true love or meaning, and therefore is unethical and immoral." The question now is, "If something lacks love or meaning, does that mean it is unethical and immoral?" If someone saves another from death, and does so without love or meaning, does that mean that they themselves are immoral for their action -- only on account of the fact that it may have lacked some particular sentiment? Or, if someone were to maim, murder, or rape another, and did so fully with the conviction of love and meaning, would that mean that such an individual could be moral, and even deserving of being praised, all based on the fact that they implemented love and meaning in their actions? I wrote it earlier, but it's true that misery is misery and suffering is suffering. Whether with or without the burden of meaning and love, it is quite irrelevant. As there are positive, moral actions that can be done without either meaning or love, and there are negative, immoral actions that can be done with meaning and love. However, whether or not there is love or meaning in them does not necessarily alter even slightly the fact that they are harmful or helpful.
Appeal to Religion...
Those who have followed my essays ought to be well aware of the fact that I have highly criticized religion for its failure to enact any proper morality or to obtain any morality. To quote one of my essays...
There are some theologians and religious writers who would have us believe that if Materialism were to destroy Supernaturality that we would have a world fill of anarchy, chaos, and disobedience -- a world where anything is permitted because there is no moral code. However, with the development of primitive superstitutions to world religions, we have seen quite the opposite. If a man says that he has god standing behind him, then he is not restrained by any moral code, as he may create the moral code in any arbitrary method that he wishes. He may allow, disallow, or even command rape. Whatever he wishes, it is his arbitrary decision, and from this we derive disobedience to religion from every individual who thinks it is wrong to harm an innocent creature. The development of religion did not cut back on the cruel and often disheartening behavior of primitive man. In fact, it condoned it in many degrees! The early Christians 'as well as other religious followers 'were commonly known for rape, theft, and murder, based on account that "they have already had their sins redeemed." To quote A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami...
He compared atonement to an elephant's bathing. The elephant may take a very nice bath in the river, but as soon as it comes onto the bank, it throws dirty all over its body. What, then, is the value of its bathing? Similarly, many spiritual practitioners chant the Hare Krsna mah - -mantra and at the same time commit many forbidden things, thinking that their chanting will counteract their offenses. Of the ten types of offenses one can commit while chanting the holy name of the Lord, this offense is called n - mno bal - d yasya hi p - pa-buddhih, committing sinful activities on the strength of chanting the Hare Krsna mah - -mantra. Similarly, certain Christians go to church to confess their sins, thinking that confessing their sins before a priest and performing some penance will relieve them from the results of their weekly sins. As soon as Saturday is over and Sunday comes, they again begin their sinful activities, expecting to be forgiven the next Saturday. ["The Nectar of Instruction," His Divine Grace, by A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, page 3.] [Section quoted from "Civilization."]
This short section of the essay "Civilization" puts into question the very validity of defending an act, or prosecuting an act, on the foundation of religion. The ideas were better captured, however, in the essay, "Should Atheism be Defended?"
"Therefore, I am convinced that I am acting as the agent of our Creator. By fighting off the Jews, I am doing the Lord's work." [Mein Kampf, Adolf Hitler.] The words of Adolf Hitler are etched on to history. He did what he did because he believed that faith was stronger than reason -- that blind acceptance of intuition and dogma held more value than open investigation with reason and logic. I do not believe that it was religion alone that convinced Hitler that the existence of Jews harmed Christ. It has also been his natural bigotry of being born in a Europe that was highly anti-semitic for over hundreds of years -- which of course is the result of Christian thought. Perhaps, though, Hitler found appeal in the institutions of prejudice of his time. When he was young, he was like the others of his class: patriotic and pious. He was like everyone else, as he shared on the same prejudices and the same bigoted fears. Like his comrades, he was also deeply religious. Christianity cannot be entirely blamed for the way Hitler developed. The point I am trying to make, is that by using religion as an argument for your side -- or by declaring that god is on your side and not on the side of your enemies -- an individual then becomes distant to reason and irreconcilable with logic. In can be said, in this respect, that religion is the origin of unsolvable conflicts. Compare science to religion. Science is not based on any unworldly power. It is based on natural observation and analysis. One can argue with evidence. There is no arrogant or haughty claim about how the ruler of the Universe feels about these subjects. It is pure reason-based claims. Religion, on the other hand, is unable of finding any objective truth. There have been thousands of religions all through the ages, and as men educated themselves they found themselves less in appeal to such old superstitions. The fact, though, remains: by using religion to defend your philosophical position -- particularly one which includes the murdering of millions of beings -- you inevitably make an inscrutinizable and unquestionable position, because rarely would anyone believing in a higher power desire to question those who call themselves prophets. [Excerpt from "Should Atheism Be Defended?"]
Those who assert that an action is wrong because it is opposed to some mystical, religious scripture are using flawed reasoning. As demonstrated above, an individual who claims that he speaks for god may create whatever moral code he desires. So we have it today that there are numerous religious codes from different religions and different sects. It certainly proves nothing, other than the credulous and unreasonable method of obtaining knowledge of religionists. An extremely simplified version of this idea can be seen here: One individual may say that god hates Homosexuals and therefore all Homosexuals are to be killed, but another individual may say that god hates Hetereosexuals and therefore all Heterosexuals are to be killed. Since both individuals are basing their knowledge on what the unseen had told them, both individuals are equally justified in making there claims.
Principle of Sexuality
Now that I have provided answers to common objections to taboo sexuality, it is important that I set a sort of attitude about sex. This attitude is not necessarily an argument or a rebuttal as far as defending or prosecuting certain sexual moralities. Rather, it sets a sexual morality and defends it. The attitude towards sex -- or the Principle of Sexuality -- is this: that sex, like any other physical act, is not inherently good or bad, that it may be used to cause suffering and used to cause joy. Therefore, there ought to be no restrictions upon sex, except only those restrictions which prevent suffering. That would mean that rape, and any other form of coerced sex, is immoral and unethical. That would also mean, however, that the traditional custom of Monogamy is hopelessly outdated and a vestige as far as creeds go. As stated, sex is like any other physical act. It requires the use of contraction and relaxation in muscles, to form movement, and it requires our mind to govern our body to certain actions. When we walk, it is because our mind commands our body to contract some muscles and relax others. It is the same situation when we have sex. Monogamy requires of us, though, to only engage in this activity with only one individual, and with this one individual only. To say that we ought to restrict sex to only one person, then, is equally justified and equally moral or righteous, as to say that we ought to restrict walking with only one person, or talking with only one person, or eating with one other person. And that adultery of sex is equatable with adultery of any other physical activities.
Of course, it is to be taken into consideration that if one were to forge a monogamous relationship, that they ought not to cheat on their lover. For this would cause unfair suffering. There are circumstances to be taken into consideration, though, so this cannot be said with absolute certaintly. What if, for example, one lover threatened to kill their own lover if they ever left? Such is common within monogamy, where the bodies of other people are treated to be the property of another -- where, essentially, the right to govern our own bodies in accordance with our own desires, is deprived from us -- in this treacherous, rather indignant system of Monogamy, it will boast of the high righteousness of "one man one woman," but it achieves nothing but jealousy, anger, and unsophisticated behavior. In such an age as ours, where we have advanced wonderfully in all fields of knowledge, it seems almost as though our sexual behavior has become more primitive and more barbaric. The Puritans, for example, were extremely restrictive as far as what they allowed themselves to get pleasure from. It seemed as though they planted the seeds of displeasure for themselves, that every flower was plucked to deprive anyone from seeing its beauty, that love and affection were treated as what a Humanitarian treats hate and disregard. The Puritans were not in any sense advanced, sociologically or culturally. We find, instead, that they had developed a strictly barbaric and cruel doctrine, where pleasure was the greatest vice.
Free Love, Polyamory, the Principle of Sexuality, or, generally speaking, "Non-Monogamy," all have their foundation in the one concept that to improve happiness and to allow liberty are the greatest of all deeds, that an individual's mind only truly is prosperous when it has been given the right to pleasure, that we have a right to come to everything which calls our heart, to go to the stream of consciousness, to walk the journey of discovery. The foundation of Free Love is essentially this: that we ought not to restrict ourselves, when such a restriction is an obstruction to happiness, freedom, liberty, and all that allows affection to flow freely between the two bodies of lovers. The warm, tender touch of friend who has known us for years, in the times of trial and the times of joy, -- this touch may be all that is needed to make life worth living, even in the hardest moments. Yet, under the guise of "righteousness" or "morality," crusaders for Monogamy may claim that it is to cheat to touch another other than your solitary partner, and some even have made the ridiculous assertion that to think of another is even adultery! Though I cannot honestly say that these persons should be deprived of their right to speak, I can only say this: that their tactics only serve to indoctrinate men and women into the credulous belief that acting with liberty towards a desired pleasure is immoral -- that to do what we wish without causing suffering, that to bring our lips to the petals of the sweet rose of meaning and tenderness, to embrace all that has warmed our hearts, to inform those we love using our own gentle bodies, to thoughtfully fondle and caress the sweet skin of our lover, to offer our emotions in the most sincere of tones, to offer our bodies as a sign of undying love, to touch the pond of intimacy sending out ripples that touch all of our emotions, to do all that has captured the ideas of romance, to do this, is immoral.
To understand emotions, and allow them to be expressed without censor, would be to make a genuine strive towards a real ideal of civilization. In our Monogamist culture, there are many lovers who will allow their partners to hug another, but there is a smaller amount who will allow their partners to kiss another, and there are almost none who would allow them to do any more than that, save for those lovers who are Free Lovers. What is being restricted, though? Any form of sexual stimulation is reviled as a form of immorality, as an action based on disregard, disrespect, and abuse. Through these cultural memes, we find that sex is less and less a form of physical affection, but rather as a method of controlling people. This is how our society has advanced quite little from our fellow animal brethren. Animals in the wild will play games when it comes to deciding mates, and so it is an inherent part of our culture that men and women will play games with each other when it comes to deciding mates. There is not one ounce of liberty, or truth, or sincerity, in what goes on in these sex games. Instead, men are brought up believing that they are to be proud for engaging is sex with as many as possible, whereas women are to be ashamed for the exact same activity. This is not something purely cultural, as it has its roots in Evolution. Females who were more selective when choosing a father had offspring that survived longer, and therefore multiplied more -- thus the idea of Natural Selection. Although this may have served humans while we were incapable of producing fire or using the wheel, it certainly is only a front to any form of real civilization. Today, it works to create a gulf between a humane, rational mindset and a savage, barbaric ideology.
The least sort of sexual stimulation from an individual who is not your partner is regarded as adultery or cheating. Some lovers do not permit their partners from even looking at another, and will be offended if someone looks at their partner. So it is with the hypocritical and unsympathetic system that it takes the most normal, pleasurable acts, and turns them into the vices of cruelty and bigotry, depriving us both of freedom, and our right to pursue what makes us happy. They will dress up the two partners, force them to live together for decades, give it the smug title of "matrimony," and they will call this civilized -- yet it is only the revealed essense of savagery and primitive ignorance! I have seen monogamous partners do the most awful of things to each other, all for the sake of this credulous system. They will immediately reject the most true and genuine affections of their young, innocent partner, upon the slightest suspicion that they shown any sort of kindness towards another individual. Cruelty has been, and will forever be, an inherent part of any system that is founded on hypocritical contradictions and unreasonable assertions. It should be no wonder, then, that we find the most cruel, heartless, greed-driven activity within this monstrous doctrine of Monogamy.
The attitude towards sex -- the Principle of Sexuality -- is this: that we will not restrict sex, unless it may lead to undesired suffering, nor will we restrict the activities of others whom we are intimate with, nor will we try to control them through a savaged, antiquated system fit for uncivilized brutes.... nor will we embrace any sort of behavior which will be reflected in the tears on our lover's face, nor will we enhance any sort of attitude which harbors misery for those in it. The Principle of Sexuality -- Free Love, Polyamory -- is of freedom, liberty, to do as we wish, and to harm none, nor to restrict any in their endeavors. Most particularly, to uphold and use sex as a positive thing, as we would use anything in our lives, and to hold no restrictions to it, nor to those we engage in it with. That is the Principle of Sexuality: liberty, and the freedom that comes with genuine, natural affection.
Now that I have set an attitude towards sexuality based on logical and humane premises, as well as the arsenal of refuted arguments, I will now go on to question modern sexual taboos and their morality.
Although hardly taboo any more, there are still Puritan crusaders who work to convince the population that Masturbation -- or Auto-Eroticism -- is immoral. To stimulate one's self sexually, it is preached, is unethical. This can hardly be so, however, as masturbation certainly does not cause any suffering or misery. If it does, in the form of a sort of guilt, this can usually be traced directly back to the Puritan creeds that dictate against any form of masturbation. To the arguments that it may be unnatural, ugly, obscure, unintended (or our bodies not designed for it), or to make a religious claim that it is immoral -- all of these arguments have already been answered previously. There is one particular argument specifically against masturbation, though, and that is to claim that masturbating destroys the "special" aspect of sexuality. This argument often comes in this form: "The more you do it, the less special it will be." The claim then goes on to state that we should not do it, because of this. Essentially, it claims that we ought to avoid pleasure, because we would value pleasure more if we received it less. According to this reason, we ought to restrict ourselves from sex, as well, because the more we do it, the less "special" it will be. This can be said of any pleasurable thing as well. Even beyond that, we ought to harm ourselves, for the sake of the enjoyment of an aspirin's pain-relieving ability. Furthermore, even if it is true that engaging in pleasure removes the specialness of that pleasure, that is certainly not a moral argument against it, and if it were, it would suitably fit any movement that was wishing to oppose any act that granted pleasure. If an individual wishes to remove the specialness of an act, to do so is not innately moral or immoral. It is, rather, a preference, or a personal choice.
When reading the common objections brought up against any sexual act -- the section I covered earlier when addressing certain appeals -- the echoes of arguments against Homosexuality can be heard in full force. Preachers and priests are very fond of making the claim that Homosexuality is immoral only on the sake that it is unnatural. However, if to save someone's life was unnatural, would they oppose it, and if to murder or rape someone was natural, would they condone it? Quite clearly seen, whether or not something is natural or unnatural, it has no effect on whether it is immoral or moral, but I have already covered this. There are also appeals to obscurity, appeals to beauty, appeals to a monopoly on love or meaning, and certainly numerous and countless appeals on account of religion. Simply put, there is no logical or humane reason why men should not be allowed to have sexual relations with each other. Someone may bring up a single case of a Homosexual man raping male children, but that proves nothing, as there are certainly Heterosexual men who have raped female children -- it certainly does not mean that Homosexuals have a tendency towards force, coercion, or violence, just as it does not mean that either for Heterosexuals. Some may claim that Homosexuality is immoral because it is based on recreation and not procreation, going against th purpose of sex organs altogether, but I already answered the argument of design, and not everything we do must be geared towards creating more humans on this already over-populated planet. Homosexuality is not immoral, and this claim is made on the fact that it is not responsible for causing any suffering, nor has it committed any crime.
Unlike the two previously considered activities -- Masturbation (Auto-Eroticism) and Homosexuality -- it is widely believed that prostition, and others who work with the sex industry, are immoral. I can hardly see, though, how prostition can be immoral, if other forms of labor are immoral. After all, a construction worker, for example, offers his body's functions to his employer, so that he can get a paycheck. Similarly, prostitute does the same. To say that there is a difference, that sexual organs cannot be rented out, even with consent, is to make an unfounded assertion. There are few arguments that can truly be brought against Prostitution. The only few that are brought against it are based on the assertion that sex is a special, unique activity, that ought to be restricted between two individuals -- and this fansical claim is disguised with the title "morality." There has been little throughout history that has been more fraudulent and deceitful than these claims of monogamy being equatable with morality. There are some who claim that Prostitution tempts men (and women), and therefore ought to be banned, but this claim is rather absurd. Should we ban any industry if its products tempt individuals into buying them? In fact, if an industry produced a good product that sold well in stores, or sold at all, then that product had tempted people, and therefore equally ought to be banned as Prostitution.
On January 29, 2002, BBC News reported that the Lady of Justice Statue -- a female representing justice with one nude breast -- was going to be hidden behind curtains that cost the US Justice Department $8,000. This would disallow any cameras from taking pictures or shots of the statue. ABC News reported that the decision to hide the statue was made by the Conservative Mr. Ashecroft. The question in the mind of anyone who is interested in sociological creeds is: "By what writ can anyone claim that such a statue should be hidden?" It would be easy to find that the reason why such a statue is hidden from cameras is because it was semi-nude, and Nudism is considered taboo, and sometimes even immoral, unethical, or savaged. The reason why nudity is considered immoral is that we are brought up that naked bodies are ugly. This can be rooted to the Bible. Genesis 2:25 states, "The man and his wife were both naked, and they felt no shame." After they had eaten the forbidden fruit, Genesis 3:7 states, "Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they realized they were naked; so they sewed fig leaves together and made coverings for themselves." When god came searching for Adam, he asked why Adam ran away, and he says, "I heard you in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked; so I hid." (Genesis 3:10) Even beyond what the Bible says, though, the Church has a long history of censoring anything that shows anything nude. The Fig Leaf Campaign of the Counter Reformation worked ardently to censor any artwork that displayed human genitals. It often followed the work of Michelangelo.
However, wherever the roots of the hatred of nudity comes from, the question still remains: "Is it a just, reasonable creed to hold that the naked body is ugly, and therefore immoral to display?" It is the sight of the naked body which disturbs some viewers, thus making them offer this displeasure at such a sight. From this, censorship came and nudity was outlawed. There are Racists in the world, however, who find displeasure at seeing individuals of another skin color. Does that mean that individuals who are in the racial minority should be disallowed from entering public, unless completely covered so their ethnicity cannot be seen? Certainly not. Such a law would be inhumane. In some Middle Eastern nations, it is illegal for women to show their skin, because they find it equal to any form of nudity. Should the United States enforce similar legislation, disallowing anyone of the female sex to display their skin in public? Again, this would be inhumane and unfair. If it is true that females should be allowed to enter public, as should racial minorities, then why should Nudism is public also be outlawed? It is similar another form of systematic oppression, disallowing people from walking without clothing. Yet the Puritanical Conservatives will rely on the fatuous assertions and claims that nudity is immoral, that we are hell-bound, that freedom and liberty are vestiges of any fair government. If one were to justify outlawing Nudism, then they also justify disallowing racial minorities, or any minorities, from entering public where it can be identified that they are minorities. Just as some Racists are displeasured at seeing a racial minority, today's population is displeasured at seeing a nude body, but both creeds can almost always be traced back to cultural and sociological ideology, given to us when we are too young to investigate the issues fully. The reason, though, why Nudism ought to be allowed -- just as women ought to be allowed to enter public, as well as racial minorities -- is that the suffering inflicted on the viewers is caused by their own dogma, their own superstition, and that such bigotry relies on unreasonable assertions, and even more unreasonable conclusions.
Free Love (Polyamory)
In the section entitled, "Principle of Sexuality," I discussed and defended the idea of Free Love -- lack of restrictions on sexual relations. There are still, however, some objections to be raised towards such a theory of sexual morality. The objections to Free Love on account of the arguments I refuted -- appeal to naturality, appeal to obscurity, appeal to beauty, monopoly on love or meaning, or appeal to religion -- all of these arguments fail if it is set up against Free Love. Still, though, there remain some arguments, though mostly of practicality, exclusively against Free Love. For example, it is popular and commonly believed that parents in a Free Love system would fail to be able to properly raise children. They may quote statistics that show that children with only one parent would have a worse life. This argument, however, hardly deserves any merit. It is based the exact dilemma caused from monogamy, not from Free Love. Children whose parents are divorced had parents that were nonetheless monogamous, and still failed to provide two guardians for their children. If two adults are monogamous and decide to have children, there is still the possibility that they will divorce and leave the child with only one parent. There can be no absolute tie between monogamy and a guarantee of two parents. However, others may argue that Free Lover parents will never provide two parents for their children, but will provide only one mother instead, as opposed to traditional monogamous orthodoxes instead. The error with this argument, though, is that it presumes that Free Love and promiscuous lifestyles automatically indicate careless parents, when this in to true. Good parents, be they monogamous or Free Lovers, will try to bring up their children with reverence and affection. And since Free Lovers have no boundaries for their compasssion and physical intimacy, it is also true that their children will grow up with an assortment of uncles, aunts, and even cousins -- mates of their parents.
Others may prefer monogamy because in that situation, monogamy is the most simplistic, and thus leads to living a happier lifestyle. Whether or not this is true, it still would have no implications on whether or not Free Love was immoral. For example, if a man was aware that he enjoyed the taste of fruit over the taste of oranges, and he chose to eat an orange instead, that would hardly make him immoral. Of course, though that may settle the question of whether or not Free Love is moral or immoral, that hardly solves the question of how we ought to live our own lives. Though monogamy may be simpler, it is -- by far -- much too simple. Many people seek a monogamous relationship with someone who is perfect, and never find that perfect person, so they are blinded by their own interpretations, seeking perfection and, in many cases, seeing it even if it's not there. Monogamy may be simple, but simplicity hardly grants happiness. If one person is perfect for you as far as stimulating conversation, another perfect for you as far as a hobby goes, another perfect for you as far as a sport goes, and you're intimate with these individuals, and find them attractive, there certainly is no reason to think that sexuality with them would be harmful. Of course, to make a list of individuals who are close to you and see how they are perfect for you, the way I did, is by far way too simplistic. In reality, an ideal Free Love situation would be having lovers who all compliment who you are with their personalities and their traits. Not just someone who likes building birdhouses like you, but someone who may be somewhat wild though still lovable, someone who may be very serious and still intimate, and someone who may be very comical and still kind, -- when considered, few people would choose any one of these people as their only mate in a monogamous relationship. They would need someone who fulfilled each one of those positions. But in a Polyamorous relationship, there would be no need for rejecting close, intimate, sexual relationships with that group of different personalities and traits that you were attracted to (unless, of course, they weren't Free Lovers themselves).
Incest, though generally looked down upon for quite some time, can harldy be immoral. It may be true that animals avoid incest in nature, and some may infer that this means Incest is unnatural, but that can hardly mean that it is immoral. Such an argument was already tackled earlier. The appeals to beauty, obscurity, design, love/meaning, and religion also fail on grounds mentioned earlier. The most common objection raised against incest, though, is that it will produce offspring with defects, depriving them of a good chance to advance and excel in life decently and fairly. However, Incest can be defined as sexual relations between two family members. Having a child is another different area. With technology today, it is both possible to be have sex with a family member and not produce offspring, just as it is also possible to not have sex with a family member and still produce offspring. Sex and reproduction, though directly linked in some areas like biology, are not directly linked as far as actions go in the objective world. To avoid fertilization, and eventually debilitated offspring, one could always use provocatics or contraceptives, in their various and numerous forms. Another argument specifically pointed at incest is one that claims that the introduction of civilization is what ended incest. This can hardly be true, though, because even primates will avoid incest. But whether or not it is true is irrelevant. Because as religious icons started demoting incest, just about the same time that civilization started building up, this does not mean that civilized behavior is directly linked, or linked at all, to non-incestuous behavior.
Zoophilia, or Beastility, is the practice of sexuality that crosses species. To those already knowledgeable in the areas of Zoophilia and Beastiality, they may recognize a difference. From my exploration of different literature concerning the topics, it seems that Zoophilia is the fair sexual relation between man and animal, whereas Beastiality is forced sexual relation between man and animal. However, those unfamiliar with the difference may recognize "Beastiality" to mean sex with an animal, forced or unforced. When I use the terms Zoophilia or Beastiality in the following section, I am using them to express a sexual act between a human and a non-human in a non-forced, non-coerced way. If I wish to express that there is force or rape involved, I will denote that at that time.
The Supreme Court decision of Loving v. Virginia in 1967 was a very phenomenal Civil Rights case. It decided the constitutionality of laws that prohibiting different races from marrying each other. The court decided...
Mr. Chief Justice Warren delivered the opinion of the Court.
This case presents a constitutional question never addressed by this Court: whether a statutory scheme adopted by the State of Virginia to prevent marriages between persons solely on the basis of racial classifications violates the Equal Protection and Due Process Clauses of the Fourteenth Amendment. For reasons which seem to us to reflect the central meaning of those constitutional commands, we conclude that these statutes cannot stand consistently with the Fourteenth Amendment.
In June 1958, two residents of Virginia, Mildred Jeter, a Negro woman, and Richard Loving, a white man, were married in the District of Columbia pursuant to its laws. Shortly after their marriage, the Lovings returned to Virginia and established their marital abode in Caroline County. At the October Term, 1958, the Circuit Court of Caroline County, a grand jury issued an indictment charging the Lovings with violating Virginia's ban on interracial marriages. On January 6, 1959, the Lovings pleaded guilty to the charge and were sentenced to one year in jail; however, the trial judge suspended the sentence for a period of 25 years on the condition that the Lovings leave the State and not return to Virginia together for 25 years. He stated in an opinion that:
"Almighty God created the races white, black, yellow, malay and red, and he placed them on separate continents. And but for the interference with his arrangement there would be no cause for such marriages. The fact that he separated the races shows that he did not intend for the races to mix."
These statutes also deprive the Lovings of liberty without due process of law in violation of the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment. The freedom to marry has long been recognized as one of the vital personal rights essential to the orderly pursuit of happiness by free men.
Marriage is one of the "basic civil rights of man," fundamental to our very existence and survival. To deny this fundamental freedom on so unsupportable a basis as the racial classifications embodied in these statutes, classifications so directly subversive of the principle of equality at the heart of the Fourteenth Amendment, is surely to deprive all the State's citizens of liberty without due process of law. The Fourteenth Amendment requires that the freedom of choice to marry not be restricted by invidious racial discriminations. Under our Constitution, the freedom to marry, or not marry, a person of another race resides with the individual and cannot be infringed by the State.
These convictions must be reversed.
It is so ordered.
An interesting note that can be observed in this case is how the Virginia judge used god and religion as a justification for disallowing different-race marriages. I already noted earlier how using religion to justify someone is a poor argument, in that anyone can claim that god told them anything, and then use that as their justification, be it murder or rape. In this case, though, it was disallowing citizens from entering into marriage with those they love, based on race and ethnicity.
I included an excerpt from the Supreme Court about disallowing interracial marriages, and the purpose of doing this should be quite clear to anyone with vision. If it is wrong to say that two individuals cannot be sexual with each other based on race, then on what grounds can one say the same thing based on species? There is, indeed, truly no difference between disallowing interracial and interspecies sexual activity. Two hearts, both holding physical affection and desiring intimacy with each, they know no boundary, and will stop at no arbitrary physical attribute. Only a shallow human being would say they could never love another human being if they had a particular eyecolor. And this is so, but what can be said of those who say that they could never love another, and express this love with their body, because someone else has fur, walks on four legs, or has wings? Some may say that their love is not restricted by species, but that their sexuality ought to be. The reason for, though, may also be the same reason for saying that sexuality should be restricted with different races, or those of another eye color, or another hair color. It is simply aribtrary, physical attributes. Kindness and reverence know no race, just as they know no species. They can be inherently found in all creatures. To quote Charles Darwin...
Nevertheless the difference in mind between man and the higher animals, great as it is, certainly is one of degree and not of kind. We have seen that the senses and intuitions, the various emotions and faculties, such as love, memory, attention, curiosity, imitation, reason, &c., of which man boasts, may be found in an incipient, or even sometimes in a well-developed condition, in the lower animals. [The Descent of Man, by Charles Darwin, part 1, chapter 4.]
However, there are still arguments presented against Zoophilia alone. The claim that it is unnatural, ugly, obscure, not designed, lacks love or meaning, or is irreligious -- these argument have already been dealt with earlier. The biggest problem presenting Zoophilia, though, is that of consent. Two humans, of different races, are capable of expressing that they desire sex. A human and a non-human animal, though, are incapable of expressing that desire, verbally anyway. Though this is true that we cannot verbally communicate with different species, it is true that there are other ways of communication. Male dolphins, for example, express a desire for sex sometimes by bringing their erect penis within close distance to you, or possibly by rubbing it against your body. Female dolphins, on the other hand, express this desire with a pink-belly effect, as their genitals become very pink and swollen. Anyone who has had a male dog as pet, an unneutered male dog, would definitely confess that dogs express a desire for sexuality. If an animal rejects physical attempts at intimacy or affection, that is also a sign that an animal is not interested is sex, and therefore one should not pursue such activity with that creature. So, though animals may not verbally express their desires, they definitely are capable of physically expressing their desires, and the question of consent is no longer a problem.
Perhaps one of the greatest prejudices of sex in our society is against Pedophiles and those who love youth. I have already expressed my views before in previous articles and essays. My position on Pedophilia is this: that sex with someone under 18 is not automatically immoral, simply based on how long someone has been on Earth. One is definitely well endowed to engage in sexual activity much prior to the age of 18, and many of them engage in sexual relations regardless that the law forbids Pedophilia. And, when two 16 year olds engage in sex with each other, or two 15 or 17 year olds, what can we say about them? According to the laws that govern this country today, in the same act of sexuality, both of them were raped by each other -- this is the lunacy and complete idiocy of American law. When two individuals consent to sex with each other, and they happen to be below the arbitrary age of 18, the law will call this rape.
It may be true of society that we are naturally inclined to protect children. So when sex is viewed as a harmful act, rather than something natural that can be good, it can be seen why individuals would like to keep children -- even of 15 to 17 years of age -- away from sex. This is so even for children that are physically endowed for sexual activity: their right to practice sexuality is forbidden by law. However, the primary argument against Pedophilia that it is equivalent to rape, that it is impossible for a minor to accept an invitation to sexuality, that no incident of Pedophilia was ever mutually benifitial to all parties concerned. To this claim, all I can offer is that children are capable of making decisions. That anyone who has had a child can honestly confess that children do want things, that they do choose options and make preferences on their own, and simply being under 18 does not mean that an individual does not have these abilities. Yet, if a child is capable of understanding the concept of a contract, of making an agreement or accepting something, then why is it that one would automatically decide that they are incapable of accepting anything sexual? Fact is, there are no well-reasoned convictions as to why Pedophilia is so widely detested. Rather, it is the fact that so many connections between rape and abuse are drawn to Pedophilia that makes it seem so repulsive to so many. But try as hard as they may, make as many associations as they wish, pave the roads to the city of truth with as many lies as they want, the fact will remain: Pedophilia is not exclusively rape. It is true that some incidents of Pedophilia are rape, but that can be said of any sexual preference: Heterosexual and Homosexual. Does that mean that all Heterosexual and Homosexual activity ought to be disallowed -- just on the association that some of those incidents are rape? But outlawing them would certainly not stop rape. Rape is not about the law. It is about force and breaking the law. So, whether or not Pedophilia is illegal or legal, children will continue to suffer the abuses of rape, and that is not something based on Pedophilia, but rather an rape alone.
There are some who will draw the picture that Pedophilia is rape and nothing more. Since there are some reading who have been told nothing but that, I will quote an incident of Pedophilia...
George was 42, outwardly warm and friendly, and all the children in the neighborhood liked him. They often went to his house to play. George gave them gifts, such as new baseball gloves. Jason was 10, handsome, and friendly. His parents had recently divorced, and he enjoyed escaping his home to George's and playing with his friends. George bought Jason a new computer game he wanted; he was the father Jason didn't have. George began sitting with his arm around Jason and becoming more physically bold. He was getting Jason com-fortable with touching. He gained Jason's trust, and started introducing him to pornography.... He suggested acting out some of the things they saw, and eventually had oral sex with Jason, where his mouth touched Jason's genitals. This is molestation, and George is a child molestor. ["Teenage Sexuality," by Michele Lee, Ph. D., page 37.]
Though those who understand Pedophilia to be a cruel and heartless action, there is little in this example to be detested about the child molester. Was George a rapist? Did he force Jason into activity? Was he ever inconsiderate, forceful, abusive? Certainly not, and the fact that he had sex with an individual, regardless of age, does not mean that he is a bad person. In fact, most child molesters were close to their "victims." [Source: Child Lures Family Guide.] The fact remains that children are capable of making numerous decisions, and there is no reason why they ought to be disallowed from making decisions as far as sex goes. And beyond that fact lies the truth that Pedophilia is not the equivalent of rape -- that children and adults are capable, and definitely desirous in some times, of sexual contact with each other. The plea for the right to sex as a child is the same as any plea for liberty: it is based on the desire to do something that harms nobody.
A Free Society
The opinions held in this essay may appear controversial to our society. However, to defend the position that Homosexuality, Zoophilia, or Pedophilia are not immoral or unethical is to take an unbelievable radical position on these topics. It has been true that Freethinkers for centuries have approved of Free Love and the right to question sexuality morality, or any morality, but I am uncertain if many have condoned Zoophilia or Pedophilia.
The principle of sexuality, as I have gone over, is an inherent part of something even more larger. The creed that all conscious beings are deserving of affection and fairness, the sum of every humane organ in the bodies of intimacy, the belief that justice is not vestigial, that to maximize happiness is the greatest of all deeds -- that is where the principle of sexuality comes from. Free Love and freedom of sexuality are founded in the same reason why we sympathsize with each other's suffering, it is founded in the same belief that we ought to respect each other, it is the same idea that humaneness contains more rationality and beauty than any other ideology. Kindness and reverence as the roots of every gorgeous tree of vitality to spring from the ground, the principle of sexuality and freedom to control our bodies is based on justice, and the belief that enduring love can be expressed best with the most sincere of actions.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Punkerslut (or Andy Carloff) has been writing essays and poetry on social issues which have caught his attention for several years. His website www.punkerslut.com provides a complete list of all of these writings. His life experience includes homelessness, squating in New Orleans and LA, dropping out of high school, getting expelled from college for "subversive activities," and a myriad of other revolutionary actions.
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