Tag Archives: Sex

How long

If all you want is love, and all is fair in love and war…. you will find yourself at the bottom of the pit, clawing your way over others to seize your own chance at romantic happiness.

It ends in heartache, shame, and betrayal.

How long before people admit that the progressive dismantling of traditional sexual morality has produced… well, we know what it has produced. This isn’t even a matter of picking the rose that withers. It’s worse than that. For the silver cord is severed, and the golden bowl is broken; the pitcher is shattered at the fountain, and the wheel broken at the well….

Please don’t go down that path. Please get off that path. For the frenzied gods of love lead only to ruination and despair.

Return to the fountain at the edge of the world.

“Come, all you who are thirsty,
    come to the waters;
and you who have no money,
    come, buy and eat!
Come, buy wine and milk
    without money and without cost.

For I will pour water on the thirsty land,
    and streams on the dry ground...

I have swept away your offenses like a cloud,
    your sins like the morning mist.
Return to me,
    for I have redeemed you.” 

 

Goads

Why do you kick against the goads?

You have suffered, long and bitterly.

You drank from the spring and shattered the bowl.

And you paid a very high price for it.

You have suffered.

They lie about you, when they say you only care about yourself, a careless hedonist. It isn’t true. You’ve wanted the tenderness of the morning stars and the wind on the river racing down. And you’ve paid for it in dry tears when you were alone, and in blood in the middle of the night. You are in so much pain.

And your sons and daughters are given to Molek, and your fresh blood runs over the crusted blood, mangling together. And inside you is a cry that you fasten deep down, never to come out.

 

 

Grieving in randomness

It is probably the coffee, or the academic tomes I’m sloughing through right now on the cheery subject of various medieval religious polemics attacking religion (Islamic vs. Christian vs. Jewish). And then in a coffeeshop, you overhear other people’s conversations. I don’t like the brand of masculinity that is cultivated in snickering frat boys. It makes me sick and want to cry.

Masculinity can be incredibly precious, but the particular strains of “masculinity” that are cultivated in our postmodern era are anything but. The pig-headed jock who goes after women as if they were things and thinks loving violence makes him a man; the whiny and self-congratulatory sensitive male who is so proud that he doesn’t like football; and the general ‘nice guy’ whose stellar claim to moral superiority is that he doesn’t rape people and doesn’t hate other races, though he is sure that everyone else would. To all, the zeitgeist pressure: they have to apologize for their existence, which some try their best at (however clumsily) and others rebel against in a show of the-best-defense-is-offense, or worse still, embracing the slur in a fit of take-that-hah. And in all the cacophony, who will remember what it is to be a man? Amidst the swirling whirlpools, the Scylla and Charybdis and so many other countless ones, how many can even make it, to steer their ship true, to the place the stars chart out?

Oh God. It’s like that scene in Captain America 2, where some people try to get into the little fighter planes (parked on the deck of the aircraft carrier) to go to the aid of Captain America. Every single one of them is shot dead before even being able to get in the air. They go up in flames on the deck. That’s about the state of manhood in America today. Boys never even get a chance to be good men. They never even have a chance to try.

Thoughts on Sex: On traditional patriarchy and Christianity

I’m calling it “traditional patriarchy” for lack of a better term. What I mean by it is a certain sexual code that conservative traditional societies generally hold by. From ancient Greece to modern Afghanistan to tribal Africa to nineteenth-century Korea, it is basically the same:

(1) Women carry the burden of sexual honor. Sexual abstinence before marriage, and sexual fidelity in marriage are honorable, but they are required of the woman only. You insult a woman by questioning her sexual honor — you insult a man by questioning his mom & sister & wife & daughter’s sexual honor. Women carry the sexual honor for the family.

(2) Men, on the other hand, are expected to sow their wild oats in their youth, and to have an occasional affair during marriage. As long as he doesn’t do it too much, his wife has no right to complain.

(3) Adultery only “counts” if the woman is married. In other words, a woman can cheat on her husband, but a husband’s extra-marital affairs don’t count as cheating against his wife. Because fidelity is one-way, men can often be polygamous. The women must be faithful to one man, the man does not need to be faithful to anyone.

(4) Because women carry the burden of sexual honor, female rape victims are often required/expected by society to commit suicide. Not that they are necessarily blamed for what happened, but their “honor” is “broken” and the way to restore your “honor” to your family is by your death. It’s not required all the time, but it is certainly admired (e.g. Lucretia’s suicide lauded/celebrated in Roman tradition).

The fact that this traditional patriarchy is across all cultures makes me suspect that it is inherent to human beings. It’s a bad thing and I hate it, but I think any society, given a few hundred years, has a high likelihood of evolving into traditional patriarchy. I don’t know why, but I suspect it will be around until the end of the world. The “progressive approach” (for lack of a better term) tries to bring back some gender-fairness by extending to women as well traditional patriarchy’s permissive sexual code for men. Women, along with men, should not have to bear the burden of sexual honor– nobody should. We can scoff at Traditional Patriarchy as “unprogressive”, but that won’t stop it (as darwinian-style, unprogressive societies outproduce progressive ones throughout history. Progressive cultures have a tendency to fade away, a dead end reproductively-speaking, hence they die out after a few centuries).

Anyways, Christianity has made various compromises/treaties with patriarchy, creating its own modified form of it. The first modification is to (1) transmute sexual honor/dishonor into sexual sin, because unlike dishonor, sins can be washed away by Christ’s blood. The second modification is (2) to hold men to the same standard. What Christianity attempts to do is also approach gender-fairness as the progressives have, but through the exact opposite of the progressive approach. Rather than extend traditional patriarchy’s permissive code for men to women as well, they try to extend patriarchy’s strict code for women to men as well.

Here is a sermon from a bishop in sixth-century France, when it was still a hodge-podge of the remains of the Roman Empire and Germanic tribes. His name is Caesarius of Arles.

Since [these men] want their wives to be chaste, with what kind of a conscience do they commit wicked adultery, thereby asserting that what is not lawful for their wives is perfectly licit for themselves? As though God gave two commandments, one for men and another for women! If anyone does this, let him tell us with what sanction he acts, for all adultery is punished by both divine and human law. This vice is not forbidden because many people commit it. In fact, the less it is restricted by men, the more severely it is punished by the divine Judge.

How is it that some men are so insolent that they say cruel vice is lawful for men but not for women? They do not reflect that men and women have been redeemed equally by Christ’s Blood, have been cleansed by the very same baptism, approach the Lord’s altar to receive His Body and Blood together, and that with God there is no distinction of male or female. ‘God is not a respecter of persons.’

Therefore, what is unlawful for women similarly never was and never can be lawful for men. However, the unfortunate practice has been introduced whereby a wife who is found with her man-servant is punished, but if a man wallows in the sewer of lust with many maids, not only is he not punished, but he is even praised by his associates. Moreover, telling each other who has done most of this sort of thing, they admit it with laughter and most foolish jeering. On judgment day their laughter will be turned into wailing, and their jests will be changed into wounds. But men who do this do not fear or believe at all in the future judgment.

— from Sermon 42, titled “A Reproof of Married Men Who Do Not Blush or Fear to Commit Adultery.” by Bishop Caesarius of Arles, 500s A.D.

Thoughts on Sex, Part 1

This is going to be a series…. a rather lengthy series probably, because there is alot of stuff I’m hashing through and I’d rather keep my posts short in the hope that that will keep the ideas distinct and therefore more clear.

I’m trying to write my dissertation on medieval Christian ideas on marriage, so that means I’m reading what alot of people, ancient and modern, have to say about it. Apologies as I’m just journalling my thoughts and feelings, so it will be rather rambling.

Idea #1. Even if I were an agnostic, I think sex tells us that our existence is not a meaningless material thing.

There is something intensely personal about the act of sex. The combination of hormones and the inherent physical vulnerability make it so. And this moment is what makes new human beings. We aren’t the product of just an individual, or some mechanical process, or grow on a tree or fall out of the sea.

It is absurd and breathtaking when you think about it. We come into being through–of all things–an ephemeral, intense union between two human beings. The fact that THIS—a vulnerable and hence tender moment between two humans is what produces new baby humans, proves to us that whatever the powers-that-be are, they think that human relationship matters. It matters so much that it is the only way that new human beings can even come into existence.

It is apparently important for us to know that each of us came from a moment of love. However induced by hormones, and however fleeting, it is never casual. Babies can’t be made from a casual handshake. It can never be minimized. The only way to have it outside of this is through rape–through violent force rather than personal vulnerability–and by its very jarring horribleness, it is the exception that proves the rule. Our very existence is the product of a human relationship. Every one of us is an incarnation of two other people’s union.

And if human beings matter, than anything that produces new human beings is A Very Big Deal. So “love” (the hormones and the yearning, the vulnerability and the pining) isn’t something trivial or petty. It might be absurd, but then it is also absurdly important. It matters absurdly much.

So the girl sobbing into her cellphone on the subway is not taking things out of proportion. She’s not silly. She’s right. This is what makes life itself, so of course it matters. The people who dismiss it as “just drama” and ridicule her are wrong.

Lessons from my father

I think I was six or seven years old. My father did a one-man skit, of a compassionate girl giving her bubblegum to a boy who told her how sad he was, and how she should give him her bubblegum to make him happy, so she did.

Then my dad informed us that the boy was bad, bad, bad. That boys who try to make girls feel sorry for them so that the girl will give them something are bad, bad, bad.

Variations of the skit were played over the years. I also dimly remember one where the boy tried to get the girl to load the dishwasher for him. I think this time he wept dramatically with his face in his hands. The message was the same.

That if a boy ever tries to make you feel sorry for him, run, run away. Never let yourself feel bad for a boy who is trying to make you feel bad for him, because he is just trying to make you do things for him! He is bad. Only evil boys try to make girls feel bad for them. Never trust those kinds of boys.

I had that duly burned into my young brain long before I hit puberty. It wasn’t till much later that I realized what my father was really driving at. It was years later, while I was trying to talk someone out of dating a guy who had convinced her how pathetically sad he was. “But he’s trying to make you feel sorry for him!” I protested, convinced it made my point. It didn’t. She had a tender heart. Of course, the guy took it and broke it.

Pity is a sacred thing. It is so easily twisted into abuse, especially abuse of the innocent and the young. Guard what is sacred, carefully.

Protect the children

It seems like there is an ever-increasing trend recently in America for sexually aberrant acts perpetrated against children. It is possible that it is only that the news media is now covering it more, but I think it probably reflects a greater increase as well.

When (1) innocence in the young isn’t treasured by society, and (2) sex is reduced to not being a big deal, just recreation, and (3) when aberrant edginess in recreation is considered a good thing, than we will only see an ever-growing increase in sexual abuse of the young. As long as edgy recreation is OK, and innocence isn’t valued as a thing valuable in itself (just a temporary thing to be thrown away sooner or later), then there will be deranged individuals who will attempt these things.

Because…they are going for aberrant edginess, that is the whole point. It used to be that plain old fornication was edgy enough. Now that is downright respectable. So then it was adultery. Now that is fairly respectable too, (as long as you were ‘in love’ and not holding public office). So now…if you are going for the edginess, for the ‘forbidden’, for the ‘buzz’ of ‘this is naughty’…. where do you stop? Multiple-partners-at-once? Bestiality? Pedophilia?

There are people who will always want to be sexually edgy. The more sexual taboos we eliminate, the farther they have to push the envelope to get their buzz. They will keep pushing the envelope farther and farther until they get to an area where society finally says is taboo. So of course it will end with aberrant tortures and abusing children.

And another thing. It used to be if you seduced a virgin (male or female), you did them a great wrong. You had corrupted them, you had taken away something very precious from them–their innocence. You had robbed them. Now…as long as they are technically the right age…you are just doing them a favor, increasing their “sexual experience” and giving them an education, helping them be sexually “liberated”. So now…it is merely a matter of technicality….18 years old is ok…then 16….then 14…then 12… dear God, where does it end?

If we are going to protect the children, we need to start valuing innocence again, no matter what the age of the innocent. And (like people in olden days) we have to fight to protect their innocence, regardless of our level of non-innocence. We aren’t being “hypocritical” to try to protect other’s purity even if we have been less-than-pure. We just need to care about them. Destroying sexual taboos so that we can feel less guilt is selfish. This isn’t about us getting over our own sexual guilt, who cares about us. This is about creating a moral society so that the younger generation may be less abused.

So, let’s start building a society that values innocence, that rejects edgy sex. That protects the children.

On “Christian” Love and Staying in Abusive Relationships….

When it comes the the tumultuous and tricky realm of the heart, people often mask as Christian heroic love what is actually fundamentally selfish.

 

You know, the “spiritual” and “devout” guy who emotionally flirts with all the adoring girls in his biblestudy because he is “showing Christian love” (or worse “being Christ”) to them. Or the girl who stays in an abusive relationship (enabling the guy’s violence/abuse of her) and claims she is being “forgiving” and showing her boyfriend “Christian love.”

 

In both cases, it isn’t really love, because love does what is good for the other person. The flirting biblestudy leader isn’t helping the girls’ faith, he is taking advantage of their emotional religious feelings and breaking their hearts. And the battered woman is actually helping to destroy  and damn the man she claims to love, by remaining in the relationship, and hence enabling him to be an (emotional and physical) abuser, rapist, and (quite possibly) eventual murderer. If she really loved him, she wouldn’t want him to be a rapist and a murderer, so she would get out and walk away. For his sake.  They claim to have “Christian” love…. but what kind of love just makes yourself into a hero and destroys your alleged beloved?

 

That is not Christianity. It is actually just an excuse, for one’s own ego, one’s own sense of security, one’s own dysfunctional needs and psychological bonds.

 

Also, no one, absolutely no one, has the “right” to “atone” for their own “sins”. You are not a spotless lamb. Only the suffering of a spotless lamb can atone for sins, and that spotless lamb is Christ. NEVER NEVER NEVER even think that you should make yourself suffer for anything you did.

 

No one “deserves” abuse from a partner, no matter what they have done. Ever. You never “have to” marry someone, no matter what you’ve done. Do not make yourself suffer, do not let yourself be abused.

 

Do not try to “atone” for yourself.

Christ atoned.

We just have to follow Him.

Not all tears are evil

People talk. People judge. People laugh. and laugh. About disturbing things, sad things, very sad things.

 

We can talk about anything now. Broach any topic. Break all the taboos.

 

But we can’t cry. We can’t sorrow. To say, “that is sad. I am so sorry.”

 

Sometimes, in conversations, especially when you hear about the ways people have used sex…. we all have to laugh, look mildly shocked, say, “hey, if that is what they wanted…”   But no. All I really want to do is cry.

 

So, in our culture, we can laugh at them. But we can’t cry for them. This is a strange world. We need….Middle Earth.

“I will not say, do not weep, for not all tears are evil.”