Thursday, March 12, 2009

Lust and Wrath.

One thousand years ago, a charismatic fellow named Odo remarked that "to embrace a woman is to embrace a bag of manure."

A few hundred years later, two young men published a book, a real best-seller, that argued that sexuality (especially that of women) would be the downfall of all that is right and good unless it was violently persecuted.

This tradition for antisexual, so-called moralist God-fearing behaviour would perpetuate itself again and again and again in the years to follow. Sexual repression has a long and colourful history, often couched in so-called "higher" ideals.

Now, this doesn't mean that material of a sexual (or "prurient" if you prefer) nature was unavailable to the people, mind you. Certainly not. In fact, English literature alone boasts multiple examples of stimulating material, both clandestine and the wildly popular.

Sometimes, sex-positive reading could be found within both the spirit and heart of the same sort of people who otherwise would seek its purgation. That sort of suggests something, does it not? And sometimes, sex-positive expressions could be found in times and places far more ancient and diverse than that.

But still the proponents of sexual repression, of single-minded judgment, of homogenous culture, of whitebread patriarchal gender roles continued to beat their drums and their chests before the lost and wayward sons and daughters of Sodom. Finger-pointing was good business when the sawdust got into your shoes as they bellowed quotes under the Big Top, or later on the radio, and later still on the small grey screen after Mitch Miller stood behind the bouncing ball.

But between chomps on his cigar, an Austrian guy had already started a dialogue about sex that had nothing to do with the book those pulpit pounders kept quoting from. A few years later, between chomps on his pencil, an American guy wrote a book of his own that a lot of other people started quoting from. Not long after that, something incredible happened in the world of print media when, heavens-to-Betsy, women started talking and learning and sharing and realizing and connecting in a way that would have given good ol' Odo a righteous heart attack.

Then came Gloria. And Betty. And Nancy and Xaviera and Reay. Then Camille and Susie and Nina and Violet and so many more contemporary voices proudly sharing, teaching, discussing, and even climaxing in joyful abandon for and about empowered, articulate sexuality.

Welcome now to the postmodern cybersexual world. The erotic classic literature remains with us, and many modern writers continue the tradition. But now we can also add to that genre a wider world of media and expression. Phonesex chat lines yield to webcam sites, VHS (itself the successor of Super-8 film loops) yields to DVD and YouPorn, and earmarked paperback sexbooks yield to the growing world of internet sexblogs.

But still, even with all we've learned and celebrated since Kinsey and Playboy and My Secret Garden, since vibrators moved from the Sears & Roebuck catalogue for "curing women's hysteria" to the glass counters of upscale boutiques, since the development of both oral contraception and erection enhancement in convenient little tablets, there are still those heirs to Odo who insist on trying to spoil the party. They are Saturn to our Dionysus, saltpeter to our ambrosia, Wrath to our Lust.

They are the small-minded folk who harass sexbloggers.

It's because of these spoiledsports that so many people, throughout history, have been terrified to express themselves as they truly wish to live, do, be. This is part of the reason why elements of the fetish community can be as insular as it is accepting, because once we realize that we all (well, ok, most of us) have our "kinks," it becomes much easier to appreciate the diversity available in the world, providing no actual physical/emotional/mental harm is being committed. "Safe, Sane, Consensual."

Nevertheless, some sexbloggers have strong apprehensions about their sexblogging because of the possibility of a blog's discovery by another in the writer's life. Many of us write with a level of anonymity for that reason.

I, for example, use my pseudonym because it's simply more convenient. It allows me to share my truths without too much worry that I would hurt a lover's feelings should I write something critical (although that rarely happens). It's also because I'm part of a spiritual community that, in my region at least, is really quite judgmental and sexist and hypocritical despite its reputation for more openmindedness than that, and I enjoy not having unnecessary headaches. To date, two lovers have deliberately been told about this blog (and continue reading it) (hi guys!) and another found it by accident (hi!), all to no ill affects or breach of trusts thus far. But I may be lucky.

One sexblogging colleague of mine tells me of people who not only send her hate mail, but have doctored blog-shared photographs in particularly nasty ways and resent them to her. In one case, an individual was observed staking out hotels where the writer's consensual escapades took place. These people then would use other internet resources to lambast the subject's sexual play in troll-riddled forums where they freely espouse their judgement.

Another sexblogging colleague recently posted about how her blog had been "discovered" by a co-worker. This co-worker found it titilattingly necessary to share the fact among others in their office, and this resulted in a complete change of decorum toward the blogger. She became the brunt of colourful "humour" and, in one case, had actually been physically approached and touched inappropriately. She writes about sex, so she had become "easy" in the eyes of these social Neanderthals. She had become a victim of sexual harassment at work, but her first instinct was to panic about her blog rather than redress the infantile and liable behaviour she was being subjected to at her place of employment. This eventually changed.

And there is the man who stopped sexblogging because his ex-wife thought it would strengthen her case during a custody dispute to argue that his bisexuality made him a bad father.

Or the courageous, selfless woman who stepped down from her position as a successful parochial schoolteacher because of her sex-positive community building (and blog) as part of an agreement to keep her A-student child out of controversy. Not that there would be any controversy without the immature judgement of these allegedly educated people, or that child would have been part of it to begin with without their machinations. But even this (tragic) compromise didn't prevent the God-fearing powers-that-be from twisting the knife later, sending this happy and sane family into unnecessary duress anyway. So much for loving thy neighbour. Or being human.

It is easy for lesser persons to point fingers toward those who are living joyfully. In our post-Puritanical Western culture where the likes of radical conservative and religious zealots still manage to bluster their way into large microphones, it is easy to sometimes forget that those people who choose to behave thusly not only weaken their arguments with such illegal and reprehensible tactics, but they actually empower the braver souls to carry on doing what they choose to do, what makes them happy.

Sexblogging, at least here in Canada, is not a crime. The harassment these people may be responsible for very probably is. The inter-office sexual assaults definitely are.

At the root of voyeurism is the desire to want to secretly witness the escapades of others. Those of us who enjoy sharing ourselves pose for photographs or films, write about our sexuality, or create blogs. Exhibitionists. We give consent, and thereby have an amount of control over what will or will not be shared.

But sometimes even consentual exhibitionism is not enough for some and an invasion of privacy (or worse) is necessary to achieve the desired thrill. These are the people who delight in seeing sudden "surprises" on Jerry Springer programs, or ferret out personal information about others for amusement, or who create and use surrepticious networks to share their vitriol with others of like heart. These are the passive-aggressive people who delight in gossip and drama and hurtfulness. They want their judgment to be shared, to be agreed upon, so that their lives may seem so much less uninteresting and puerile. They form social bonds with others to cluck tongues and roll eyes with. Misery may love company, but judgement requires a forum.

The irony is that people who take the time to send virulent remarks, or harass, or cajole, or stalk often do so out of a sense of righteousness and moral vigilance. But what in fact they only manage to demonstrate is their own pathetic ignorance, provincialism, and compassionlessness. They advertise how empty their lives truly are. There is no sophistication in bigotry. Further, I'll submit that many, if not most, people who target literate libertines do so out of a latent and conflicted jealousy.

Nyeh nyeh. So there.

But such jealousy can be easily surmounted: you're not going to beat 'em, so simply join 'em. History is not on their side. In every age and in every repressive regime, the human imagination and desire for passion has surmounted every attempt to contain and control it. Jeannie is out of the bottle, sons and daughters of Odo, and she's sucking Master's cock. Probably Major Healey's too.

And she likes it.

Love your sexuality however you choose to express it, be it, do it, have it. Sexually "conservative"? Fine. Love the arousing beauty of your partner in whatever happily monogamous, missionary, bimonthly way you choose. Stay dressed. Keep the lights on. Make it quick. Be sure to get to confession right afterward.

And if you can't handle that, really, then please consider continuing your own guilt-ridden masturbation sessions while keeping your Wrath and Envy and Anger away from our Lust.

A closing thought... How can any "sin" that has helped elicit minstrels and artists and poets to heights of inspiration, join people in happiness, be the one of the most important topics for every culture in every era on every continent on the face of the earth, and repopulate the planet after plagues and pogroms and crusades and wars be called "deadly" anyway?

Now go get laid, wouldyapleez?


Anonymous said...

What an incredibly informative, well-written, well-researched piece this was, Rogue. And great timing too, given what is happening over on my blog. I want you to know how much I appreciate your help and support. Chatting with you about this was definitely one of the best things I could have done...your words are like balm to my soul for some reason. Check your email!


Anonymous said...

Wow. I just happened on your blog today. I agree with SW in what a provocative post. I have only been out here blogging for a couple of months now....but have read for about a year before I started. I had many fears about blogging (how much honesty can I share) and I am baffled at people's idiocy. Sadly, history seems to repeat itself over and over again. Thank you for the reminder.


Bob said...

You've written a well reasoned, even-handed, thought-provoking post that had me all the way to these two paragraphs:

"Love your sexuality however you choose to express it, be it, do it, have it. Sexually "conservative"? Fine. Love the arousing beauty of your partner in whatever happily monogamous, missionary, bimonthly way you choose. Stay dressed. Keep the lights on. Make it quick. Be sure to get to confession right afterward.

And if you can't handle that, really, then please consider continuing your own guilt-ridden masturbation sessions while keeping your Wrath and Envy and Anger away from our Lust."

A touch judgmental, don't you think? You are asking that those who criticize other's sexual choices to NOT do so, or at the least keep their opinions to themselves. Yet - you do to them exactly what you castigate them for. And - intended or not - you imply that anyone who is sexually conservative, who chooses monogamy, for instance, is equal in your contempt.

I feel your point would have been better made if you had stopped at the first sentence of the 1st (of the two) paragraphs and moved on to your closing thought.

Don't get me wrong - I totally agree with your position, people should not judge the choices of others. I was just a bit taken aback when your argument turned into an ad hominem attack.

Again, otherwise, I enjoyed and quite agree with your excellently written post.

vsk witness said...

I came to this post thru swingerwife's recent post about how she was being hounded by the small minded. Your ad hominem didn't bother me, it seemed slight and perhaps some judgements cannot help but be made given those of us on the outside of "normal" have to live with the ignorance of the same. I know many normals, have quite a few as friends. Many are very unhappy about their sex lives. If they dare pick on the sexually adventurous, I tear them a new one. We remain friends, they know they are wrong. Normal sexual paramaters are wrong, and that is gong to be a hard one for some to take, but things are changing. As women, brave women like swingerwife, refuse to be cowed by the ignorant, we all take a step closer to a better world between the sexes. That is the direction of history. You did a good job writing yours.

Rogue said...

Swingerwife ~
Thank you, and I appreiate your remarks. I'm very pleased to have been of some help for you, and as you know, I totally encourage you to do what makes you and your partner happy. I beam with smiles as you receive so many supportive remarks from your readers, and I wish you (and them) a world of joy.

I'm glad we're blog-friends, and sooner or later, we'll come together in person, share a drink, and have ourselves a grand time. Perhaps when I go south this summer or fall? We'll see.

Southerngirl ~
Sometimes stupidity does seem like the de facto human condition, doesn't it? But then, our culture has trained so many of us to leer and snipe and judge, and yet, also crave and seek sometimes those same things we are taught to shun or attack. It's very dysfunctional, wouldn't you agree?

Thank you for reading and for sharing your thoughts and comment. Come back, ya hear?

Bob ~
Thank you very much. You're right. Judgmental on my part? I'm unsure. But definitely snarky, definitely lazy, definitely arrogant in a way that weakened the argument. In fact, for all the writing I've done in my life, your remark introduced me to the nature of an ad hominem that I hadn't seen before, and for that alone I should buy you a round at the pub because you've just help me be a better writer and a more cogent thinker. That's very damned cool.

But for of its snarkiness, I wonder if those remarks would have seemed less judgmental had I omitted "monogamous" from the list. Yes, that was disclusionary on my part, and foolishly so because I certainly believe that for many people monogamy can be way hot and happy.

Thank you for your critique as much as for your agreements. Come back often, and feel free to take me to task anytime. Discourse is good.

Vsk Witness~
Being the brunt of moralistic vitriol certainly does get tiring, doesn't it? Personally, arguments-made-from-highground aside, I completely understand and agree with you. Like you, I make it a point to share my thoughts with friends/co-workers/strangers when I hear sexist or homophobic snips. More than once I've had friends question me about my own sexual orientation when I defended queer folk, as if my love for pussy somehow also made me a card-carrying member of some antigay fraternity.

It takes courage to stand up for what one believes in, especially when the history of oppression extends so far back and is so easy to appear supportive of. It means taking an objective step back and really assess the values of one's society with an open heart.

Not everyone always succeeds in doing that (see Bob's thoughts above), but I do believe that even the attempt is a step in the healthier direction that, if everyone tried it, sooner or later our lives would all be the happier and more relaxed for it.

Thanks to everyone who commented. Please, by all means, I'd love to hear from more of you in this post and in the future.

Live shamelessly, guys. Now I have a date to get ready for... :)

pennyroyal said...

Brilliant. Well said.

Kimberly said...

This was a wonderful post! Thank you for writing it! Perfect.

Rogue said...

Thank you both for dropping by and commenting. You're welcome, Kimberly. Peace.

Bob said...

I am glad to see that you took my remarks as intended. I would also be happy to accept that round at the pub - as long as you would accept the next on me.

Conservatism or liberalism is contextual - they mean different things to different people and it all depends on where you stand. For some people polyamory is their norm, for others monogamous intercourse is their norm.

All I'm really trying to say is that there is room for all types, and no reason for anyone - from any background - to judge the choices of others. Which is why I particularly your post in defense of swingerwife.

I've bookmarked your site, I will return (as you can see).

Rogue said...

Bob ~
Absolutely. You a hot buffalo wings man? We'll make a night of it.

Perspective is everything; I agree. I think monogamy can be wonderful, and sometimes I envy those for whom that amount of loving, sexually fiery, dependable stability is possible. Me, my life experiences have led me to accept that relationships are fluid and that it's perhaps wiser to keep one's tools for independence available. Not that I would easily resist the right kind of longtime life-partner, mind you.

I became acquainted with Swingerwife when she was a reader of this blog, perhaps just before or not long after she started hers. I'm really pleased to see how popular her blog has since become, and I often smile to myself when I read how her fun is growing and how her adventures open her to new possibilities for happiness in life. Ideal, no?

Thanx for dropping by. I'll keep a glass in the freezer for you.

Aneris said...

UrbR, people feel out of control when it comes to sex. Sex is not just an act; it is thought, desire, social acceptance, a way to access value intrinsic and extrinsic). That is probably why those who write about sex are targeted--they make people uncomfortable. A few are jealous. Yes, they are.

It is pitiful that people do not have better things to do besides harass others.

I do applaud you for speaking your mind and you have the right to create a response that is snarky. This is your blog, not a law that we all have to follow.

You should not be plagued, bothered, have your email hacked, your IP ferreted out and/or deal with exposure by those who need to get themselves some personal business, so to speak.

If only people worked on their own lives and did not fuck with others!

And you made a point about the bi-monthly set-up. Why? Because I hear that story all the time. The cheaters who approach me hoping for a fling often speak of how things are dull and infrequent.
I tell them to use the energy hunting down women on the one they are with.
(No offense to your extra-martial affair readers. I am speaking on my experiences.)

Keep writing and keep ignoring any malcontents that might come your way.

But you are a man--how many male bloggers really have to deal with b.s.?

mnwhr said...

Very well written.

Rogue said...

Aneris ~
Well, me personally, I love to fuck with others. Don't you? ;)

I agree, and thank you for commenting. And you raise a terrific point: exactly how many male sexbloggers receive this sort of trouble?

Probably not nearly as many as female sexbloggers do, right. I know of the one case, cited above, and that was because of a custody battle her was/is going through. I wouldn't be surprised if males who had backgrounds in conservative work environments wouldn't be 'at risk' for such behaviour also. I think that, if I'm correct, that says something about latent Puritanism in North American culture; after all, dalliances among French politicians is virtually normal in that society, and Italy boasts a former porn performer in its government.

And, I'll agree, it would be doubly difficult for women. Latent misogyny to go along with the post-Puritanism, perhaps?

Mnwhr ~
Thank you kindly. Fine praise from an academic such as yourself. Thanks for visiting and commenting.

Aneris said...

I do love to fuck with others periodically; glad you noticed!

We as a society are most concerned with money-not living. Thus we place a premium on 'good and prudent' behavior, because it contributes to work, making money and having less children. Less sex means more time for work and less demands on time outside of work...leading to more work.

You are saying more than you know about latent misogyny. ;)

Jennie said...

You are safe with me, Sir.

Rogue said...

Just found this on another site, and had to include it:

The Bible forbids the eating of bacon, ham, sausage, pork chops, shrimp, crab, and lobster.

The Bible forbids the wearing of a cotton-poly blend shirt or pants. (Leviticus 19:19)

The Bible forbids contact with a woman while she is in her menstrual period.(Leviticus 15:19-24)

The Bible requires that if a person works on the sabbath, they should be put to death. Exodus 35:2

The Bible expressly forbids having your hair trimmed, including the hair around your temples. Lev. 19:27.

The Bible does allow a person to sell their daughter into slavery as sanctioned in Exodus 21:7.

The Bible also allows buying slaves from the nations that are around us as stated in Lev. 25:44.

Titus 2:9
"Slaves must always obey their masters and do their best to please them. They must not talk back"

1 Corinthians 14:34-35
"Women should be silent during the church meetings. It is not proper for them to speak. They should be submissive, just as the law says.
If they have any questions, they should ask their husbands at home, for it is improper for women to speak in church meetings. "

1 Peter 2:18
"You who are slaves must accept the authority of your masters with all respect. Do what they tell you—not only if they are kind and reasonable, but even if they are cruel."

1 Timothy 6:1
"All slaves should show full respect for their masters so they will not bring shame on the name of God and his teaching."

Ephesians 5:24
"As the church submits to Christ, so you wives should submit to your husbands in everything]."

1 Timothy 2:11
"Women should learn quietly and submissively."

1 Timothy 6:2
"If the masters are believers, that is no excuse for being disrespectful. Those slaves should work all the harder because their efforts are helping other believers who are well loved. Teach these things, Timothy, and encourage everyone to obey them."

1 Corinthians 11:5
"But a woman dishonors her head if she prays or prophesies without a covering on her head, for this is the same as shaving her head. Yes, if she refuses to wear a head covering, she should cut off all her hair! But since it is shameful for a woman to have her hair cut or her head shaved, she should wear a covering."

1 Timothy 5:20
"Those who sin should be reprimanded in front of the whole church; this will serve as a strong warning to others."

Deuteronomy 22:28-29
"If a man finds a girl who is a virgin, who is not engaged, and seizes her and lies with her and they are discovered, then the man who lay with her shall give to the girl's father fifty shekels of silver, and she shall become his wife because he has violated her; he cannot divorce her all his days."

1 Corinthians 11:10
"For this reason, and because the angels are watching, a woman should wear a covering on her head to show she is under authority."

1 Corinthians 7:10
"But for those who are married, I have a command that comes not from me, but from the Lord. A wife must not leave her husband."

Mark 10:11-12 And He said to them, "Whoever divorces his wife and marries another woman commits adultery against her; and if she herself divorces her husband and marries another man, she is committing adultery."

Luke 16:18
"Everyone who divorces his wife and marries another commits adultery, and he who marries one who is divorced from a husband commits adultery."

Anonymous said...

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