Morality and Your Genitals

The Puritan streak that remains deeply embedded in American culture would have you believe that morality and your genitals are intimately connected. The resulting attitudes are perhaps among the most unhealthy ones possible. They lead us to see the physical as bad, as somehow distinct from the spiritual and the holy. This view has caused more damage to the American psyche than any other allegedly religious truth, and it is a lie. After all, if it weren’t for genitals, none of us would be here.

Reproduction aside, the problem with a morality that has as its primary focus human sexuality is that it creates a disconnect between human and their bodies. They have a name for people without bodies: dead. We suffer a kind of death when we become disconnected from our bodies. When we start feeling bad about the truth that we need our bodies, we ignore signs and symptoms of illness and disease or – worse – come to see illness as a punishment for being embodied. Many of us were taught there are certain parts of our bodies we should never touch. That kind of teaching leads to some serious hygiene deficits, to say the least.

The truth is that our bodies are a blessing and not a curse. So is our sexuality. Unhealthy attitudes toward our bodies and our sexuality destroy relationships at a frantic pace. Quite simply, there is nothing you can do with your body that is morally wrong as long as any other people who might be involved are able to consent and do so. Those who would rail against “premarital” sex need to realize that marriage as we understand it in America today (as a legal institution in which the State is involved) began in 1913 CE. That means that everyone who has sex prior to 1913 had, by definition, premarital sex. Do you see the problem here?

If your idea of morality is completely defined by your genitals, you have a mighty tiny morality. The things that really damage society and its members aren’t done in the consensual bedroom. War, violence, poverty, hunger, lack of the basic necessities of life, neglect, abuse, pollution, selfishness, greed, hatred, exclusion – these are among the great harms that humans inflict on one another. All of these things become much easier to do when we are disconnected from our bodies and spend most of our time in our often rather distorted thoughts. When we live at a distance from our feelings it can be very difficult to act in a compassionate way. Selfishness follows close behind, and before we know it “genital morality” becomes a very efficient way to distract others from the awful things we do to one another with our clothes on.

The next time you hear someone (even yourself) being critical of our embodied nature, ask yourself what they are trying to hide. Ask why they are so uncomfortable with the bodies we all live life through. Peek into their closets – literal and metaphorical – but step back as you open the door. The odds are that some skeletons will come tumbling out, and you don’t want to get hurt.

Our Intimacy Problem

The other day, someone jokingly said to me that they were sure my wife had already “paid” me many times for something. While this person didn’t mean anything by their Image result for love dollcomment, they displayed western culture’s problem with intimacy in one short sentence. The implication was that she has had sex with me (an interesting assumption unless they have propped a ladder up against the outside of our home and peered through the window) and that sexual intimacy constitutes some sort of token economy by which couples transact business. Let’s examine that briefly.

Implying that sexual intimacy constitutes some sort of financial transaction rather than something both parties enjoy and that deepens their relationship with and ┬ácommitment to each other implies that women prostitute themselves to their sex partners so that their partners will do what they want at some point in the future. That isn’t about intimacy at all. If you feel like you have to lay there while some sweaty person lays on top of you for three or four minutes, do that person a favor. Get out, or get to relationship counseling. You might also prepare yourself for the reality that since everyone needs intimacy, you rather lose the right to complain if your partner seeks it elsewhere.

 

Genitals

Nobody who is remembered for something they did with their genitals is remembered well. We seem to imagine that an orgasm will make us happy, but if that was true it would matter whether the orgasm was achieved when we were alone or in the middle of a Rolling Stones concert. The vast majority of our sexual bafoonery takes place when we try to self-medicate with sex. It doesn’t work.