I haven't seen a discussion post on sex, yet. What are your thoughts, as non-religious, on human sexuality? We are animals and are connected to all living things by sex. However, sex is one of the most shameful and loaded topics among many religions. Who decides what sexual inclinations are "wrong"? "Normal"? How do you view pornography? Incest? Homosexuality? Polygamy?

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I'm reminded of an interview that Bill Maher did with Gore Vidal on his show about a year ago where Gore Vidal stated "There's no homosexual people, only Homosexual acts."

I'm not sure if I personally am inclined to agree, but it does make you think.
My views on this have changed quite dramatically over the years. I'll preface my following comments, with the fact that what I view as "desirable" behaviour, isn't something I yet, would wish to be forced onto a human population, but I think we have some very significant problems in our society with regards to sex.

Sex is powerful. It is probably the 2nd strongest instinctual drive we have(beyond that drive to acquire resources for survival). We do not pay this enough attention.

Historically, sex became out of control. The homosexual comments in the bible, were actually written during a period of time, where young boys were required to pleasure the male "priests" of the time. This particular period of time, was when sex was used by those in a position of authority in shockingly dreadful ways. They were basically controlling society for their own sexual pleasure and turning the sexual duties of the society into "godly" duties.

The males, within jewish society could divorce a woman, after saying she was divorced 3 times. She was left without any ability to care for herself or her kids.

As the Israelites were known to do, they eventually called into question their own behaviour, and as they analyzed what they were doing, they created "rules" to stop the behaviour that was destroying their community.


With regards to Islam, prior to mohammad and his rules, women and children were treated horribly. Women were discarded, pregnant with children and were often left in poverty. Mohammed believed that all people were equal, including women and children. He actually had immense respect for women and his first wife, was 15 years older than him(he was 25 she was 40, I believe, but don't quote me on this). She was also very instrumental in his military campaigns. This is not the image we are left with TODAY, but like all "belief" systems, you need to understand the period of time you are looking at.

There was no contraception. Women that got pregnant, were then discarded for younger more beautiful girls. Widows were left to fend for themselves, women were raped and children were used.

So, thinking about those kinds of conditions, you can understand why rules were created. People couldn't have sex before marriage(Women left without a commited man to care for her), couldn't divorce (Women left without a commited man to care for her) easily, wouldn't have more wives than they could afford to care for and were only supposed to have multiple wives for protection(IE widows). Sex is so powerful, and sexual attraction and drive so significant that men and women became seperated and touching outside of marriage was not allowed.This was an attempt to stop the abuses going on and once again, women and children ending up in poverty. Now it is simply used as a value judgement.

When it comes to the rules of religion, you aren't dealing with a "decree" from a God. What you are dealing with is a human society, who watched and observed their own behaviour , over and over again and attempted to understand what they were doing wrong and what rules they could create to make a better life for themselves.

Knowing what I now know about men, about sex, about relationships, I think there is actually much to be said about the rules that religions have created in a general sense. In many way's, I actually think they were onto something. In society today, through divorce, we see children being raised (usually) without fathers. Women who are single mothers are the poorest in society. Very young women(late teens early 20's) are being approached by males FAR older than them, and they are very easily being controlled, and males are starting to get the impression that women view sex the same way they do. We don't. We are biologically different, and the pressure to treat sex like a man, is overwhelming these days.

Having said that religious groups took it too far BUT...we alway's presume it's about control and repression and it wasn't a lot of the time. Sex is powerful and as such it should be treated with concern and thought...a hell of a lot more thought than we are giving it now.

Cheers
Sorry for that wall of text.

Your question, "Who decies what inclinations are wrong?". The entire text above, was directed at this question which I forgot to actually answer.

I think we need to listen to those who have been studying this since recorded history. I'm not saying they get to decide. We as a society have to really decide that together, but I think we should listen to them more than we are.
The main issue of polygamy, in how it's usually practiced, is that a portion of the population is eliminated. When men have multiple wives, the extra men are shunned. When women have multiple husbands, there is female infanticide. Traditionally, there was either one or the other. I don't think that consensual open relationships or group relationships are wrong, though. (I don't know whether they have resulted in a leaving out of one gender, other than the "couples looking for an extra girl" phenomena.)

Homosexuality is an example of how things evolve for one purpose, and end up being used for another purpose. Sex was originally for procreation, but now for people it's almost a secondary purpose for it. People mostly have sex b/c it's enjoyable, and to bond with a person. Even if homosexuality doesn't lead to reproduction (as if we need more people!) bonding is also valuable for a species (and it does exist in animals, too.)

The main issue with incest is reproduction. Homosexual incest doesn't have that problem but I still would say it's only fair to have equal rules. Other than reproduction, consensual incest isn't really wrong, but we're hard-wired to say "eww!" Well, "gross" and "wrong" are not the same thing. The same could be said about bestiality if it's consensual, but it could also be argued that animals, much like children and adolescents, don't have capacity for consent.

I think some people are sex addicts or desensitized so they need more extreme things to get them off, and some people who are into extremely abnormal sex things (adult babies for example?) have psychological problems. Even so, if they're not hurting anyone, they have every right to do it.

Some here have mentioned that there are 2 extremes when it comes to sex. There is the conservative sexual repression, but I think some of what we consider sexual liberation is just a kneejerk response. I tried to get into the casual sex thing, and it was OK (luckily most of the people turned out to be nice people) but thinking back, it did feel kind of wrong. Not in a morally wrong kind of way, but it felt like people were using and objectifying each other. Some of what I saw from swingers was like a meat market. More than that, it made it less interesting, when there was no buildup of attraction and no personal connection. In highly sexualized atmospheres, people end up doing things with people they're not even attracted to. People talk about being pressured to remain sexually "pure", but I also felt the pressure to live a little, loosen up, sex is no big deal, stop being so sexually repressed (some of this ends up sounding like high school guys calling their girlfriend a prude for not putting out). But I don't think I am sexually repressed; this is just the conclusion I came to after examining things for myself. I don't think people should have to be with one person for life, or even one person at a time (I'm not monogamous), but I still don't think sex is "no big deal". Other people will have completely different conclusions.
I actually wrote an article on this very subject as part of my Atheism 101 series called, Why has Christianity demonized nudity, sex and sexuality?

Let me know what you think.
-Staks
Sex is natural, people are a part of nature, whatever type of sex a person wants to have is A-Okay by me. The only limit I would put on this is that consenting adults can have whatever kind of sex they want, but adults should not molest children.
Brandy wrote: "I haven't seen a discussion post on sex, yet. What are your thoughts............"

I like sex.
I personally feel what goes on between consenting adults who have the mental capacity to make their own decisions, is their own business. Porn, polygamy, polyamory, homosexuality, and even incest(which
I find to be a bit gross) when done between adults capable of making decisions, is none of my concern.

I think sexual inclinations are wrong when someone is in a position to take advantage of another person(such as when a 30 year old forms a romantic relationship with a teen, or a caretaker molests a person with mental retardation or an elderly person who cannot care for themselves.)

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