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When Sex Isn’t Enough

We’re all hearing (if we’re paying any attention at all to U.S. politics) the refrain that sex by itself, for fun and pleasure, is somehow “less” than sex that carries out the sacred duty of procreation or sex that expresses the divine love of marriage. It’s a common trope that most of us who argue for a reality-based, shame-free view of sex argue against…at least when the religion involved is conservative and Abrahamic.

Chris Hall notes that we’re not always particularly good at being consistent in this view:

As moving and powerful and important as sex might be to me, it’s not spiritual to me — not in the least. More to the point, I don’t think it should be.

At first glance, saying that might sound like I just came out in opposition to fluffy bunnies and lollipops. And that’s the problem: “spirituality” is vague enough that it doesn’t say anything meaningful but still gives you warm fuzzy feelings inside. It’s one of the fluffy bunnies of the English language — and what kind of sick, heartless bastard could be against fluffy bunnies?

Well, me. I think that anything that could be called sex-positive in any meaningful sense needs to be strictly anti-fluffy bunny. I would go even further: I think that the whole point of being sex-positive is to seek out fluffy bunnies in sex and gender, wring their little necks, skin them, and sink our teeth into the meat with relish. The fact that it is so very, very popular in sex-positive communities to put sexuality in the realm of the mystical by defining it as “spiritual” or “sacred” doesn’t make me feel warm and fuzzy; it gives me a numbing chill because what I really hear is shame.

He makes an interesting point. Go read the whole thing. Read the comments too. It’s fascinating to see how many of them define dissent as oppression. The shame may not be only thing these fuzzy religious beliefs have in common with the more authoritarian ones.

H/T: Greta Christina

Comments

  1. Ace of Sevens says

    A lot of the comments problem seems to be exactly what he pointed out in the article: spirituality means whatever you want it to mean. The word serves primarily to let us pretend we are talking about the same thing.

  2. Ace of Sevens says

    A lot of these argument parallel Eric Steinhart’s series about neo-paganism (which is where a lot of the sex-is-spiritual sentiments come from).

  3. lordshipmayhem says

    Spirituality is little tweeting bird chirping in meadow. Spirituality is wreath of pretty flowers that smell bad. Are you sure your faith is registering correctly? Your ears are green.

  4. John Horstman says

    I’ve been completely in favor of demystifying sex since I found contemporary feminism for exactly the reasons Hall brings up. Bravo!