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I am always fascinated by the integrity disconnect that people have with their sexuality. To a large degree there are two camps of people: those who fully embrace, at least certain aspects of their sexuality, and those who build a brick wall around their sexuality, or at least a well fortified bedroom door.
Those who embrace their sexuality tend to be high libido people, and they seem to have no choice in the matter. They tend to bring little attention to any aspect of sexuality other than the purely physical. It seems, for example, that swingers are almost always a couple with two high libido partners.
Most of the rest of society seems to view their own sexuality as taboo. Sexuality contains too much vulnerability for most of us to be comfortable bringing it out in the light of day or with more than the one person that we must trust. For many the vulnerability is too great even for self-examination. People are embarrassed by their sexuality.
I believe that overcoming fear of vulnerability is the key to the next great paradigm shift in actualizing human potential. Sexuality is the most direct conduit other have to our inner identities; as such it is the focal point of vulnerability. Luckily it is also something that we are biologically drawn to.
If we look at the history of human sexuality, it has been a progression from strictly biological function to something that connects us in more sophisticated ways. Certainly the development of romantic love has been transforming. The next step in which romantic love becomes a less guarded link but becomes a more abundent link between wider networks of people will, I believe, provide a new paradigm. One in which relationships become more sophisticated and sustaining of the individual and the community. This paradigm will provide a model of security in which human creativity is free to more fully blossom. Unfortunatley most people remain as open minded about monogomy as they are about politics and religion.
What has been deemed “the sexual revolution” was, I believe, the precursor to the real sexual revolution, which we are on the cusp of. I consider myself a sexual revolutionary. Well okay maybe revolutionary is too bold a word. My goal is to convince people that sexuality is an amazing and beautiful aspect of humanity to be embraced and practiced. Not surprisingly, any efforts along these lines have always been very academic. It is necessary in the academic, scientific, objective to isolate ones own perspective and keep it out of the equation. The academic approach is a safe copout.
We are in need of a social transformation. Most people would agree with the statement that sexuality is a beautiful and even powerful aspect of humanity. However, if you describe most any nuance of some one elses sexual preference, they will make a face and say, “ewwwue.” In comparison take that same person on a nature walk and show them the vast variety of flowers, something that they also recognize as beautiful, and they will immediately find the beauty with fascination.
One of the truly amazing aspects of sexuality is its power of healing. It seems that fetishes are often an aspect of dealing with past injuries. Take BDSM for example, a large percentage of people who are active participants in this lifestyle have experienced traumatic sexual experiences as a child. This is fascinating, beautiful and potentially very significant.
But in order to develop the kind of environment in which people can easily access and explore their sexual identities, we must stop turning our noses up at the unique aspects of individual's sexual make up.
This is important so that we can each embrace with joy our own sexual profile. It is also an important aspect of community building. Take for example the issue of pedophilia. This seems to be a very prevalent aspect of human sexuality. Anyone who spends any time at all on the naughtier side of the internet soon realizes that teens and other aspects of a hunger for youth is probably the most common theme. And this is not simply an aspect of our sick modern society, as evangelicals would have us believe. Certainly the Greeks and other societies embraced it more fully and acceptingly than do we.
I am not prepared to provide apologetics for pedophiles. To the contrary, I believe that one of the ways that culture advances is in the protection of the week and vulnerable. Children should be protected, not from sex, but from those who would prioritize their own sexual preferences. This includes any aspect of coercion. As a liberal I am ashamed of Bill Clinton, not because he had sex in the oval office, lied about it, or jeopardized the integrity of the presidency, but because he had sex with a subordinate. I am disappointed in the liberal community for not calling him on it. Should sexual harassment in the work place be tolerated at any level?
The problem is that we so often fail to distinguish between desires and actions in our hyper judgmental society. It seems that pedophilia is hugely common; it is probably an aspect of dealing with our own experiences as children, yet there is no tolerance for people to deal with it in anyway. If, as a society, we could accept that people have these desires and realize that these fantasies are a mechanism of healing then maybe we could provide outlets that did not involve victimizing children. Pedophiles need to deal with their urges. If we do not provide a means of doing that, they will do it in the worst way possible.
Fortunately, pedophilia is not one of my fantasies, so I have very little to offer in terms of suggestions of how we might create a society that allows for people’s sexual feelings to be accepted in away that does not victimize children. I do know that the fantasies I have are not a matter of choice. They are as much a part of me as my arms and legs. It makes no sense to make people ashamed of who they are. It does make sense to prevent them from victimizing others. Repression seems to be the best predictor that there will be victims. Yet repression is what we insist on.