As I wind down my time here in the belt of the Bible's waist I have found myself trying to understand the many issues that dominate the culture here but the one that most disturbs me is the one about sex. Last night on CNN I watched the Lisa Ling show about how children are learning more about sex and sexuality vie internet porn. This was not shocking, however, what I found most disturbing was it discussed the confusion around this subject that led many children to be imprisoned as a result of sexual assault or finding themselves on sex offender lists for basically behaving as adolescents do.
It is not irony nor coincidence that among the top ten states with issues that deal with sexual assaults and violence the South tops the lists. Again Tennessee is number 5 (tied with South Carolina) for a state that is the most deadliest for women. But again women are a confusing lot here, they are largely responsible for family dynamics and their family support system is largely comprised of women so without the matriarchy there would be no family but clearly the men they are raising are less supportive and more resentful then should be considering their role models.
Then we have an overwhelming problem across the board in secular communities with regards to sexual assault across the spectrum. As we have heard again and again. And again.
There is no lack of confusion regarding sexuality and roles in the larger picture, heavy sexualized behavior and of course the role of Religion in why these fuckwits act like idiots. It is tragic to see how young adults act around each other in denial and in turn frustration with regards to what is appropriate behavior when it comes to sex. The one thing that the CNN show addressed is the issue of communication when it comes to sex and that crosses all lines secular or non.
I fond this article in Psychology Today which I think touches upon the issues surrounding the subject but again this is a complex one that requires a better in depth understanding that includes all things from Child Abuse, Poverty, and Mental Health. But ultimately religion fucks you up and not in a good way.
Adultery causes earthquakes? Sexual repression can cause much worse.
Posted Apr 20, 2010
Christopher Ryan Ph.D
Nothing inspires murderous mayhem in human beings more reliably than sexual repression. Denied food, water, or freedom of movement, people will get desperate and some may lash out at what they perceive as the source of their problems, albeit in a weakened state. But if expression of sexuality is thwarted, the human psyche tends to grow twisted into grotesque, enraged perversions of desire. Unfortunately, the distorted rage resulting from sexual repression rarely takes the form of rebellion against the people and institutions behind the repression. Instead, the rage is generally directed at helpless victims who are sacrificed to the sick gods of guilt, shame, and ignorant pride.
Today, the BBC reports that Hojatoleslam Kazem Sedighi, an Iranian cleric, has declared that, "Many women who do not dress modestly lead young men astray and spread adultery in society which increases earthquakes." I think we can assume he said this with a straight face, Iranian clerics not being known for their impish sense of humor.
Lest we dismiss this as just another example of distant fundamentalist craziness, we might take a look at some examples a bit closer to home.
We can start with Christianity, a religion centered upon a figure whose holiness begins with his having been conceived asexually. Mark Twain noted the bizarre anti-eroticism of Christianity when he considered heaven:
[Man] has imagined a heaven, and has left entirely out of it the supremest of all his delights, the one ecstasy that stands first and foremost in the heart of every individual of his race . . . sexual intercourse! It is as if a lost and perishing person in a roasting desert should be told by a rescuer he might choose and have all longed-for things but one, and he should elect to leave out water!
Gay, conservative, Catholic author Andrew Sullivan has written that "the suppression of these core emotions and the denial of their resolution in love always, always leads to personal distortion and compulsion and loss of perspective."
Of course, it's not just a question of repressing homosexuality, but of all sexuality. And religions aren't the only institutions to champion such abuse of spirit and body; medical doctors have participated in some of these shameful crimes against humanity.
In 1850, the New Orleans Medical & Surgical Journal declared masturbation public enemy number one, warning: "Neither plague, nor war, nor smallpox, nor a crowd of similar evils, have resulted more disastrously for humanity than the habit of masturbation: it is the destroying element of civilized society."
"Scientific" declarations like these inspired Dr. John Harvey Kellogg (brother of the Corn Flakes Kellogg) in his campaign to eradicate masturbation from the United States.
Though widely considered to be one of the leading sex educators of his day, Kellogg proudly claimed never to have had intercourse with his wife in over four decades of marriage.
As a medical doctor, Kellogg claimed the moral authority to instruct parents on the proper sexual education of their children. If you're unfamiliar with the writings of Kellogg and others like him, their gloating disdain for basic human eroticism is chilling and unmistakable. In his best-selling Plain Facts for Old and Young (written on his sexless honeymoon in 1888), Kellogg offered parents guidance for dealing with their sons' natural erotic self-exploration in a section entitled "Treatment for Self-Abuse and its Effects:"
A remedy which is almost always successful in small boys is circumcision. . . . The operation should be performed by a surgeon without administering an anesthetic, as the brief pain attending the operation will have a salutary effect upon the mind, especially if it be connected with the idea of punishment. . . . [emphasis added]
If circumcising a struggling, terrified boy without anesthesia wasn't quite what a parent had in mind, Kellogg recommended "the application of one or more silver sutures in such a way as to prevent erection. The prepuce, or foreskin, is drawn forward over the glans, and the needle to which the wire is attached is passed through from one side to the other. After drawing the wire through, the ends are twisted together and cut off close. It is now impossible for an erection to occur. . . ."
Parents were assured that sewing their son's penis into its foreskin "acts as a most powerful means of overcoming the disposition to resort to the practice [of masturbation]."
Circumcision remains prevalent in the United States, though varying greatly by region, ranging from about 40 percent of newborns circumcised in western states to about twice that in the Northeast. This widespread procedure, rarely a medical necessity, has its roots in the anti-masturbation campaigns of Kellogg and his like-minded contemporaries. As sexologist John Money explains, "Neonatal circumcision crept into American delivery rooms in the 1870s and 1880s, not for religious reasons and not for reasons of health or hygiene, as is commonly supposed, but because of the claim that, later in life, it would prevent irritation that would cause the boy to become a masturbator."
Lest you think Kellogg was interested only in the sadistic torture of boys, in the same book he soberly advises the application of carbolic acid to the clitorises of little girls to teach them not to touch themselves. Kellogg, the Catholic church, and Iranian clerics all demonstrate that sexual repression is a "malady that considers itself the remedy," to paraphrase Karl Kraus's dismissal of psychoanalysis.