Dog Brothers Public Forum
Return To Homepage
Welcome, Guest. Please login or register.
April 19, 2014, 05:55:59 PM

Login with username, password and session length
Search:     Advanced search
Welcome to the Dog Brothers Public Forum.
79146 Posts in 2226 Topics by 1037 Members
Latest Member: DCoutinho
* Home Help Search Login Register
+  Dog Brothers Public Forum
|-+  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities
| |-+  Science, Culture, & Humanities
| | |-+  The Tao of Sex
« previous next »
Pages: [1] Print
Author Topic: The Tao of Sex  (Read 2130 times)
Crafty_Dog
Administrator
Power User
*****
Posts: 29595


« on: August 05, 2011, 05:18:33 AM »

I kick this thread off with an essay that expresses values that I most certainly did not live as a single man and as a single man I would have laughed at it, but the older I get , , ,
====================

Body language
The body has a language of its own, and the sexual revolution is founded upon a lie.


Recently in Public Discourse, I challenged readers to defend the sexual revolution on the grounds that it has conduced to the common good. No one took up that challenge. It would be, I suppose, rather like asking someone to defend the forced collectivization of farms in the Ukraine, while speaking to ten thousand people in Kiev. It is not going to happen.

Still, I might have given the impression that the sexual revolution is to be rejected on utilitarian grounds. Since I believe that utilitarianism is a serpent that consumes itself—that it is a disutility to believe in it—I’d like now to base my opposition on something far more fundamental than, say, the harm of wrecked families and bursting prisons. The sexual revolution is a house built upon sand. It is founded upon a lie.

Let us consider the one form of sexual behavior that almost nobody defended before the sexual revolution, and that almost nobody opposes now: fornication. A few pastors may take the sin seriously, but mostly we all shrug and say, “Everyone’s going to do it, so there’s no sense making a fuss over it.” And yet what we are talking about is deeply destructive, because it is fundamentally mendacious. When we lie, we harm not only those we deceive. We harm ourselves. If we continue in this deception, we become hardened liars, in the end perhaps deceiving no one but ourselves. The thief knows he is stealing. The liar ceases to know that he is lying, and is trapped in the emptiness of unmeaning. The thief crucified at the side of Jesus knew he was a thief, and repented. The liars walking freely below no longer recognized their lies, and did not repent.

How is fornication a lie? The body has a language of its own. Although in one culture to nod means “no” while in another it means “yes,” the meanings we express with our bodies are not entirely arbitrary—indeed, are in some ways not arbitrary at all. The smile, the laugh, the embrace, the bow, the kiss, are universal. When Judas approached Jesus, that he kissed Him made his treachery all the more despicable; it was a betrayal, sealed with a sign of intimate friendship. When the boys in Huckleberry Finn prick their fingers to mingle blood with blood, we know they are engaging in a boyish but also solemn ritual of kinship. If a certain boy—say, Tom Sawyer’s sissified brother Sid—were to engage in it while withholding his allegiance, thinking, “This is an interesting thing to do for now, and we’ll see where it leads,” he would be making a mockery of the rite. He would be lying.

I know someone who at age nineteen was deeply lonely. He had always been awkward around girls, and unsure of his body. During his first year away at college, he fell in love with a beautiful young woman. She had been raised without any religious faith, and without any sexual scruples. He lost his virginity then. He knew, in the back of his mind, that he and she could not possibly raise any child that might be conceived; and he was too intelligent to believe that contraception could be entirely reliable. He also knew, again in the back of his mind, that he wanted to marry her, but that she probably would not want to marry him. He knew that his parents would not approve of what he was doing. Yet it felt good, and for a time he was not lonely, or at least he did not feel his loneliness so keenly.

What the naked body “says” when man and woman expose themselves to one another, not as patients to a doctor but as lovers, can be paraphrased thus: “This is all of me. I am entirely yours. I am giving you what is most intimately mine. You are seeing me, and touching me, as no one else now can. I love you.” Then the act of intercourse itself, the marital act—what does it say? What must it say, whether we will or no?

This is the act that spans the generations. The man gives of himself, something of his inmost being, the very blood that courses in his veins, from his father and mother and their parents before them. The woman receives that gift, taking it into herself, to be united with her own blood, from her father and mother and their parents in turn. It is nonsense to pretend otherwise. Indeed, the man and the woman who are fornicating while taking contraceptive steps know quite well that they are doing what brought themselves into being, because otherwise they would not strap on the barrier or swallow the pill. They are attempting to reduce an act that is transtemporal to something pleasurable for the moment.

And yet, somehow, they cannot even persuade themselves. I recall, at one of those useless meetings that my alma mater held for freshmen, we were supposed to discuss the morality of sex. There wasn’t much discussion, and there wasn’t much morality. The students concluded that as long as the sex wasn’t “mechanical,” that is, as long as it involved some real feeling, it was all right. Then one granny-glassed bearded freshman spoke up. “I don’t see anything wrong with mechanical sex,” he said. “It can be fun for both parties.” People looked at him with disapproval, but no one had anything to say, and the meeting ended.

Well, machines do not have sexual intercourse. Even the cool, abstracted actions the young man recommended could not be engaged in coolly and abstractedly. One must feign passion, even if one does not feel it. One must pretend to be making love, not like. One must appear at least to be giving all. One must be nude, even if not naked—unclothed, even while burying one’s intentions and feelings under a mountain of blankets, along with the meaning of the act, which is not simply dependent upon intentions and feelings in any case.

It will not do to say, “As long as people are honest with one another, fornication is all right.” The point is that they cannot be honest with one another in that situation. The supposed honesty of detachment, or deferral, or temporizing, or mutual hedonism, only embroils them in a deeper lie. The body in the act of generation says, whether we like it or not, “I am reaching out to the future, to a time when there will be no turning back.” The body, naked to behold in love, says, “There is nothing of mine that I do not offer as yours. We complete one another, man and woman.” Such affirmations transcend the division between the private and the public. They are therefore only made in honesty by people who are married—who have acknowledged publicly that they belong forever to one another and to the children they may conceive by the marital act.

No one but a sadist could say, “I feel no love for you, but am using your body as a convenient receptacle, for the sake of the pleasure. Afterwards I dearly hope you will not trouble me with your continued presence.” Is that too strong? What about this? “I like you very much, and yet I have no intention of spending the rest of my life with you, or even the rest of this year.” Or this? “Let’s pretend we are married, but let’s not actually get married, because I might change my mind about you.” Or this? “I am bored, and you are here.” Or this? “You are very good looking, and we will get married, maybe, someday, not too soon, and if we do conceive a child, we’ll deal with it then, I don’t know how.” Or this? “I don’t love you, but maybe if we do this a few times I can fool myself into thinking so.” Or this? “I want to love you, but I know you are too selfish to love me in return, or I’m not worthy of your attention, so I’ll do what you like, and hope.” Or this? “I am drunk, so nothing of what I do or say means anything.”

We do not say these things aloud, because to be candid in this way is to admit deception. It is to admit not that we think highly of sexual intercourse, but that we think little of it. It becomes trivial to us, though we dare not say so. What happens, then, to people who make a practice of lying to the people they are lying intimately with? We do not feel pity for those we deceive. We feel contempt. Our hearts are hardened. We look upon the frequent results of the fornicative lie—a passionate attachment to ourselves on the part of the deceived, or children—as affronts to our freedom. We resent them. After years of deceiving and being deceived, we conclude that people are not to be trusted; we become not prudent but circumspect, not wise but cynical, not strong but callous.

“If you’re not with the one you love,” they sang at Woodstock, cheering the evil of fornication, “love the one you’re with.” A lie on both ends, that, and cold to the core.

Anthony Esolen is Professor of English at Providence College in Providence, Rhode Island, and the author of Ten Ways to Destroy the Imagination of Your Child and Ironies of Faith. He has translated Tasso’s Gerusalemme liberata and Dante’s The Divine Comedy. This article was first published in Public Discourse and is reproduced with permission.

Copyright 2011 the Witherspoon Institute. All rights reserved.
Logged
Crafty_Dog
Administrator
Power User
*****
Posts: 29595


« Reply #1 on: August 05, 2011, 11:55:32 AM »

Although I think the preceding piece makes a fair and profound point, it also misses another point, equally fair and profound:

The human animal hits puberty at an increasingly early age.  I lack the knowledge to say precisely what the average age is, but for the purpose of this conversation lets start by saying 14.   So, if someone waits to marry until after college and establishing a career, they can easily be looking at 10 years or considerably more before marrying and having children.   Is it realistic, is it healthy to go for over ten years without sex?
Logged
Cranewings
Guest
« Reply #2 on: August 05, 2011, 12:13:32 PM »

Back when I was studying Islam, I listened to a few pod casts by their priests. On this topic, he thought it was important to marry kids quickly, by 18 or 19. He thought it was a failing of western culture that people think you have to build your fortune before you are married - that you should build it together.

I personally don't know what the solution is. I think most of us spend a good portion of our adult lives trying to heal from failed sexual relationships. I really don't think its very realistic to expect people to not have sex for 10-15 years.
Logged
Crafty_Dog
Administrator
Power User
*****
Posts: 29595


« Reply #3 on: August 05, 2011, 12:45:31 PM »

"he thought it was important to marry kids quickly, by 18 or 19. He thought it was a failing of western culture that people think you have to build your fortune before you are married - that you should build it together."

That is not a stupid thought-- though it presents questions about choosing unwisely and either having to live with it or divorce (which I gather can be rather easy for the man to do in Islam) or in the case of Islam, marry an additional wife or three.


Logged
G M
Power User
***
Posts: 11489


« Reply #4 on: August 05, 2011, 02:58:29 PM »

And you get to use force to correct any disobediance from those wives under islam. And they can never refuse you sex. And, if you like them really young as Mohammed did, you get that too. It's a wonderful culture, if you are male.

What's the islamic position on gay rights again?
Logged
Crafty_Dog
Administrator
Power User
*****
Posts: 29595


« Reply #5 on: August 05, 2011, 05:49:50 PM »

Some worthy targets for our sarcasm there, but lets return to the question presented in terms of our own culture, yes?
Logged
G M
Power User
***
Posts: 11489


« Reply #6 on: August 05, 2011, 08:34:36 PM »

Males are not monogamous by nature. Marriage and monogamy are social constructs. They serve a purpose for establishing a building block for civilization. It's no accident that the majority of males in prison grew up without a father in the home.
Logged
Crafty_Dog
Administrator
Power User
*****
Posts: 29595


« Reply #7 on: August 05, 2011, 09:13:29 PM »

Agreed 100%.  So, how to apply that to the question presented? i.e. What to do in the interregnum between puberty and marriage?  Celibacy?  Or?
Logged
G M
Power User
***
Posts: 11489


« Reply #8 on: August 05, 2011, 10:54:54 PM »

Lots of handshakes with Rosie Palm?

Sex isn't bad, but it has serious consequences, like children or disease.

The religious prohibitions, from my perspective exist because they are good policy. Eating pork isn't inherently bad, but in the middle east of ancient times it was pretty dangerous and thus best avoided.

If it's behavior among people with the ability to consent, I don't see it as "sinful", but it is a powerful thing that should be respected as such.

Just my take on the topic.
Logged
DougMacG
Power User
***
Posts: 5525


« Reply #9 on: August 06, 2011, 10:16:48 AM »

Slow, gradual escalation, with full respect for the power of what you are considering, culminating in marriage is better than an entitlement, instant gratification mentality.

Does anyone know what Judaism, Christianity (and the other great religions) say specifically about it.

Crafty, I appreciate the dilemma you are presenting with young people delaying marriage longer and longer and many couples not marrying at all, but what are you saying is the answer?  What will you say to your son and daughter?

May I state unequivocally that, moral issues aside, one or the other partner saying they are using birth control is not foolproof, and that moral issues aside, single uncommitted people having babies is not the same thing as having a mother and a father under one roof in a committed attempt at a lifelong relationship.

Also an observation, if the responsible people are having fewer children and the irresponsible are having more, that is not a healthy dynamic for our civilization.
Logged
Crafty_Dog
Administrator
Power User
*****
Posts: 29595


« Reply #10 on: September 18, 2012, 09:18:33 AM »

http://www.mercatornet.com/articles/view/poisoned_ivies
Logged
Crafty_Dog
Administrator
Power User
*****
Posts: 29595


« Reply #11 on: September 25, 2012, 10:12:17 AM »

http://www.mercatornet.com/Newsletterv0810/view_txt/aids_and_medical_ethics_a_great_betrayal

AIDS and medical ethics: a great betrayal
Matthew Hanley | 25 September 2012

 

The September 5th edition of the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) reports on the prospect of “pre-exposure prophylaxis” as a means of preventing HIV transmission. This term refers to people who are uninfected with HIV taking a prolonged course of sophisticated medications because they anticipate sexual contact with an HIV-infected person. In July, the FDA approved an expensive antiretroviral drug which can reduce but not eliminate the risk of becoming infected. (The level of effectiveness varies by mode of transmission; women also seem to derive less benefit).
 
One article describes the findings of the studies that led to FDA approval, and discusses its potential as well as its main challenges. This pre-exposure prophylaxis is “only partially effective”; trials estimated it could be anywhere from 44 percent - 90 percent effective, depending on a number of factors, including levels of adherence. “In real life”, they concede, maintaining an optimal combination of technical requirements is “a lot easier said than done.” Reproducing even promising results from controlled trials in everyday life among the entire population is known to be far from guaranteed.
 
They generally downplay the possibility that the introduction of such prophylactic drugs would actually increase risk-taking and therefore have less epidemiological impact than forecast. Yet we know that risky behavior has increased following the introduction of antiretroviral therapy and post-exposure prophylaxis. The fact that behavior has tended to adapt to medical innovation helps explain why HIV incidence has remained pretty much the same in the U.S. for the past decade; even AIDS establishment leaders concede the failure. Despite medical advances, the treatment regimens and other technical measures long touted as critical prevention measures have flat-lined.
 
HIV prevalence has even been rising in Uganda in recent years despite -- or rather, because of -- the massive foreign investment in treatment and other risk-reduction measures with an extensive track record of failure. This is particularly instructive since Uganda is well-known for having by far the most success of any country with HIV prevention by developing its own simple program which clearly stressed sensible behavior changes over technical risk-reduction strategies.
 
That many prior technical developments have not led to reductions in HIV incidence rates does not mean that the next one never will. But decades of failure plainly indicate that behavior still drives AIDS epidemics.
 
Poor ethics follows poor thinking
 
We normally associate the field of ethics with the rightness or wrongness of forms of behavior – but as a category, the behavior driving the epidemic itself does not feature in JAMA’s other article which is devoted explicitly to the ethical implications of this pre-exposure prophylaxis.
 
If you were wondering – as sadly, you must nowadays – just what passes for ethical commentary with JAMA, keep in mind that in April, they published a glowing endorsement of a disturbing book (Death, Dying and Organ Transplantation: Reconstructing Medical Ethics at the End of Life) written by professionals at the National Institutes of Health and Harvard, with unabashedly radical proposals. They argue that the “dead donor rule” should no longer hold sway; in other words, vital organs may be removed for transplantation before the “donors” die. They also discard the distinction between withdrawing some forms of treatment and active euthanasia, coming right out and stating that “medicine should no longer be governed by the norm that doctors must not intentionally cause the death of their patients.”
 
But it is precisely through the “government of our thought”, the 17th century mathematician and philosopher Blaise Pascal felt, that we must seek our dignity – a concept central to most strains of bioethics. Pascal notes, in his Pensées, that man is feeble and therefore vulnerable – but he is nonetheless “a thinking reed”. It is by thought, more than anything else, that we elevate ourselves: “Let us endeavor, then, to think well,” he famously exhorted. “This is the principal of morality”.
 
Poor ethics, then, follows poor thinking, of which there is an unfortunate surplus. Much of JAMA’s ethical analysis of pre-exposure prophylaxis revolves around considerations of equality and justice – how evenly the new high-tech meds will be accessed. At $10,000 – $14,000 per year, it will be out of reach for many, particularly the “underserved” here and the rank and file abroad.
 
Legitimate as such questions may be – leaving aside important qualifications, particularly regarding the need to recognize the market mechanisms by which medications come into existence – a broader discussion of equality would lead to some uncomfortable questions. Spending on AIDS research and treatment, for example, is often much, much higher relative to other serious and prevalent conditions. This type of inequality, apparently, is not just tolerable but imperative – even though it means that other people afflicted with other maladies do not benefit from an equal share of research and treatment dollars.
 
“All forms of sexual behaviour are equal”
 
The wide disparities in medical resource allocation amply demonstrate that equality as such is not really an overarching, operative ethical consideration. In the realm of AIDS policy and activism, equality has its own distinct if unstated connotation. Equality is, in essence, a device – a narrow and mistaken caricature – employed in protest against the realities of nature. Let me briefly explain.
 
The modern secular mind is governed by the thought that all forms of sexual expression are equal and therefore inherently licit, as long as they are not coercive. This of course clashes with the objectively unequal epidemiological profile of HIV, which dictates that some forms of behavior are much riskier than others (i.e. same sex and multiple partners).
 
This conflict between the purported – the demanded rather than demonstrable – ethical equality of all acts and biological realities is one that science is called upon to resolve. But an underlying ethical commitment has already been made: equality of sexual behavior is an absolute. It is not subject to the scrutiny and constraints normally associated with ethical reasoning.
 
I do x, y or z, and it is right not from on objective point of view but because it is I who do it. If x, y or z happens to be dangerous by nature, then nature must be corrected by science. My own ethical judgments need not undergo any re-evaluation to conform to reality. The foreseeable, heightened prospect of infecting others or myself with a nasty virus is a technical problem to be solved by medical science, not an ethical red flag.
 
Thus reframed, we are now dealing not so much with ethics as a discipline concerned with right or wrong, as we are with the capacities of science to overcome nature regardless of the underlying if contentious moral considerations. Confirm thy soul in self control might as well be an artifact of a bygone era. Its replacement: No need for self control; that’s science’s role.
 
This type of omission is the most glaring defect of JAMA’s analysis. They contend that, assuming 44 percent effectiveness, the prophylactic regimen would be cost-effective for males who average five other male partners per year. The authors do not comment on the ethics of such behavior. To do so would not just prompt snickering and professional ostracism but, to judge from the rhetoric favored by activists, verge on the hate-crime – even though recommending avoiding the risk altogether, the healthiest option available from a purely pragmatic perspective, is the product not of hate but of holding people in high regard.
 
The deepest problem with medicalized prevention strategies is that they manage to hold people in both too high and too low regard: too high in that they condone and facilitate all manner of behavior, seeing no need for restraint because man can do no wrong; too low in the belief that man has no capacity to change, and is irrevocably locked into some destructive lifestyles.
 
Here is Pascal’s pertinent diagnosis:
 
“It is dangerous to make man see too clearly his equality with the brutes without showing him his greatness. It is also dangerous to make him see his greatness too clearly, apart from his vileness. It is still more dangerous to leave him in ignorance of both.”
 
To veer too far in either direction is to cultivate disaster. Part of man’s greatness lies precisely in his capacity to recognize his wretchedness; far better it is to view man, like Pascal, as a “deposed king”.
 
The risk reduction philosophy recognizes neither his greatness nor his wretchedness. It only aims to sanitize and thereby perpetuate hazardous pursuits. It regards with xenophobic disdain what Augustine discovered to his everlasting delight (after his own personal trial and error): that the law written in men’s hearts is such that not even ingrained wickedness can erase it. (See Confessions, Book Two, Chapter 4)
 
An ethic of normalisation
 
We are also informed in the JAMA article that “many people who know their status have neither disclosed their HIV status to their partners nor learned their partner’s status.” This is all footnoted, and stated non-judgmentally. The ethical implications are passed over in utter silence. Such behavior must not be deemed inconsiderate, much less discouraged as unwise, inadvisable, or unjust. (By contrast, authorities have mobilized to ban the sale of large sugary drinks in New York as a means of tackling diabetes).
 
“When all tend to debauchery”, Pascal observed, “none appears to do so. He who stops draws attention to the excess of others, like a fixed point.” To draw attention to the need to stop HIV-transmissible behaviors which have long since been “normalized” is to invite hostility. But ethics emptied of fixed, objective norms becomes little more than the imposition of scientific knowledge and capacities which have a tendency to be developed and imposed selectively – very unequally! – by those and for those with power.
 
People find themselves in undesirable and chaotic circumstances for a whole host of reasons. But that does not mean those circumstances must persist interminably – that appeals to another way of life are futile and that the only way forward is to pull the right combination of technical levers.
 
But JAMA and other Public Health authorities remain mostly unwilling to disturb the “ethic of normalization” that really is not so ethical after all. It is also an ethic of despair and capitulation. There is a certain sadness in the prospect of an uninfected person indefinitely taking the same type of drug that HIV infected persons must chronically take to prolong their lives – even before considering the great expense, the real prospect of serious side effects such as kidney impairment and bone density loss, the implications for drug-resistance down the line, and the impartial nature of the protection it provides against HIV. 
 
Pascal recognized this very dreariness – and its antidote:
 
“Physical science will not console me for the ignorance of morality in the time of affliction. But the science of ethics will always console me for the ignorance of the physical sciences.”

The science of ethics, which implies universally binding principles, loses its capacity to console when it becomes merely an ethic of science – a vehicle to administer whatever the physical sciences can deliver. This only brings us back to square one; it gets us no closer to the Socratic counsel to “know thyself.”
 
Consolation begins by recognizing, with Augustine, the bitterness which by nature flavors the sweetness of some pursuits. There is a seed of hope in acknowledging that bitterness, for it can point us to other possibilities. Desolation has yet to be defeated by scientific advance, but with a properly scientific set of ethics – and loving human company – it is never insuperable.
 
Matthew Hanley is the author, with Jokin D. Irala, of Affirming Love, Avoiding AIDS: What Africa Can Teach the West
Logged
Crafty_Dog
Administrator
Power User
*****
Posts: 29595


« Reply #12 on: July 25, 2013, 03:54:29 PM »

http://patdollard.com/2013/07/it-begins-pedophiles-call-for-same-rights-as-homosexuals/
Logged
Crafty_Dog
Administrator
Power User
*****
Posts: 29595


« Reply #13 on: August 26, 2013, 04:55:32 PM »

http://ricochet.com/main-feed/Sex-Hurts
Logged
Crafty_Dog
Administrator
Power User
*****
Posts: 29595


« Reply #14 on: September 27, 2013, 05:17:30 PM »


IMHO this article raises some interesting questions though its analysis is less than deep.

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/femail/article-2432591/Experiment-convinced-online-porn-pernicious-threat-facing-children-today-By-ex-lads-mag-editor-MARTIN-DAUBNEY.html

IMO the underlying question is this:

What is to be done with the sexual energy in the interregnum between puberty and marriage and children?
« Last Edit: September 27, 2013, 05:19:09 PM by Crafty_Dog » Logged
Pages: [1] Print 
« previous next »
Jump to:  

Powered by MySQL Powered by PHP Powered by SMF 1.1.19 | SMF © 2013, Simple Machines Valid XHTML 1.0! Valid CSS!