Hola mi Gente,
It’s Friday! Hope you have a great weekend.
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The only sexual perversion is celibacy.
I will submit that celibacy has become the last sexual perversion in America. Sure, medically speaking, celibacy is relatively safe, non-harmful, and carries no risk of a sexually transmitted disease. But as a former colleague who is a sex educator stated recently during a discussion of abstinence: “It’s safe, but is it sex?”
It’s an important question, more important than it may seem at first.
Essentially, celibacy is self-denial, an inhibition of sex. And as I have said repeatedly, repression is a poor substitute for morality. Furthermore, when we push sex into the darkness, it claims more power over our pre-conscious intentions. This is why abstinence-only sex education is an abominable failure — it goes counter to one the most powerful of evolutionary forces. Essentially, to deny sex, is to deny your humanity.
For the purpose of this post, I will define celibacy as sexual abstinence or the state of not being married. These two dynamics are closely related. Celibacy is encouraged by various institutions namely governments and religions for different reasons.
At one time celibacy was the only recourse for women who chose not to submit to a marriage that would place them in a position of servitude. Others, out of necessity, used celibacy to protect their reputations. Conversely, those in arranged marriages took advantage of the religious suppression of sex as an excuse not to have sex with their spouse (known as agenbioisis — a couple living together without sex). Most people chose to remain celibate during the absence of their lovers. Others chose it out of fear of intimacy or trauma resulting from being sexually abused. Many more were forced into celibacy due to a lack of available partners. This was true at one time, for example, for male Chinese immigrants in California.
Throughout history, governments have imposed celibacy on people as a way to control population, disease, and for economic reasons. the US military during WW I, for example, urged by fanatical moral reformers and concerned over the potential loss of manpower to venereal disease, encouraged the celibacy of their troops by using propaganda which portrayed sexually responsive women as spies, prostitutes, and disease carriers. Military police were stationed in areas where local women and sex workers frequented. Sexually well-adjusted and/ or responsive women came to be viewed as whores with many being arrested en masse. Ironically, those who were less responsive were viewed by the men as the spoils of war. It should go without saying that none of these attitudes resulted in a culture in which respect for women and their sexuality were valued.
Religious homosexuals who have wanted to remain in a favorable standing with their church have chosen celibacy.
Abstinence is often viewed as character building. However, it can also be seen as a form of sexual repression with definite negative consequences. The occupants of convents and monasteries were often notorious for their sadistic inclinations and, as with the accusers during the European and Salem witch-hunts, delighted in the sexual exposés of others sexual exploits. More recently, the Meese Commission, charged with defining obscenity, resulted in the accumulation of the world’s largest repository of pornographic material. They probably had a good time.
Aside from serving as a divine justification to burn men and women like me, religious celibacy also serves of focusing the adherent’s attention on a god, looking only to Him or Her for love and approval. This may bond an individual to the church but at the same time destroys any chance they have of learning to look upon others for nurturance, support, and unconditional love/ acceptance.
Christianity has waged an enduring and influential war against sex. In some sects, the extreme has been the norm. The eighteenth century Shakers, for example, imposed many social restrictions on themselves to avoid erotic stimulation. They weren’t allowed to have pets for fear they might mate before them, nor were they allowed to touch, speak, or walk with someone of the opposite sex.
The only form of sexual release they were allowed was that of ritual dancing (in private) which led some into an altered state of consciousness (which was why they were called “Shakers” — they shook uncontrollably).
Others practiced celibacy as a way to achieve altered states. St. Augustine and St. Thomas Aquinas, early Christians who formed the philosophical foundations of the Catholic Church, were influenced by this manner rather than the more usual practice of self-flagellation as a means to do away with sexual feelings. St. Augustine was also the major figure involved in transforming sex from something sacred to something sinful.
The Victorians took celibacy to completely new different heights. They believed that the only justified orgasm was one that was achieved in order to propagate the species. This meant that any type of sex other than penis/ vagina was viewed as unhealthy as well as sinful. During this time, it was also believed that fellatio and cunnilingus could cause cancer and anal sex? Well, let’s just say that anal sex was the worst kind of offense. Suffice it to say that I would have been considered a heretic had I lived during Victorian times.
Certain mystics use celibacy for psychological and spiritual reasons (I totally disagree with spiritual reasons for celibacy, but that’s another post). Mystics often use celibacy to reach “higher” altered states of consciousness. Religious leaders use celibacy as a way of developing a high level of concentration.
There is no documentation on the long-term physical effects of total abstinence, but there should be a concern about the atrophying of the love muscle (the pubococcygeus), which serves to control the spasms during orgasm. There is also some evidence showing that it may not be possible for a woman to orgasm after ten or twenty years of not using this muscle properly.
In other words, use it or lose it!
My name is Eddie and I’m in recovery from civilization…