- Religion and Philosophy»
- The Role of Religion in History & Society
Sex in society
Sexuality might be one of the most unpleasant and awkward conversation topics when you find yourself among people. You will try not to talk about it in front of close cousins or parents, you will be shy if you talk about it with friends of the opposite sex, and if you talk about it with friends of the same sex then your conversation will turn into shallow exaggeration. The Church has been preaching that even the smallest thought about sex is dirty, priests are not allowed to either have sex or enjoy it, but sex is something that is immanent to man as such. But, why sometimes is so tough, or forbidden to talk about it? We will start this story consulting the history of living organisms.
As a method of reproduction, sex came into existence sometime around a billion years ago. Microorganisms that were the only inhabitants of Earth were reproducing by simple or complex division and they had no genders. One cell produces an exact replica of itself, with the same DNA structure, but those organisms were gradually becoming more complex so they had to replicate via sexual intercourse – we use this word here in the most primitive way. But not all multicellular organisms need to have sex: for example, dandelion or salamander don’t require a sex partner to reproduce.
Hermaphrodites like snails still reproduce with the help of sex, but one organism contains both sexes in itself. Even complex plants reproduce this way, since there is pestle and there is pollen.
Sex is everywhere around you, almost every living being has its sexuality, so if you find yourself in some meadow and see the willow pollen flying around you and bees buzzing you are allowed to conclude that you are in the middle of the biggest sexual intercourse that you have ever seen or been into!
We inherited sexuality from our oldest ancestors. And it was not just to procreate – no, because procreation is possible even in asexual ways. It is not because sex makes things of procreation easier – because it doesn’t, it makes things even tougher. Sex was created so that two DNA, between two beings, could be mixed, and so the resulting being is more resistant to diseases that were lethal to their parents and ancestors. It is easier for that new being to survive and conserve the species. But a great price was paid: the price is immortality. Simple living beings can live forever – they just replicate. Complex beings lost the gift of immortality and gained the “pleasure” of sex. Many living beings grow and exist just to fulfill that purpose – they die immediately after having sex. Male praying mantice is killed by female during intercourse, his head is chopped off but he even then continues to ejaculate semen. Salmon use all life’s effort to swim against the water current and after that they lay eggs and their tense and tired bodies die and start decomposing and that is because those bodies need to become food for their children.
There are numerous examples like these in the animal kingdom, and in the world of humans, women and men sing, dance, play, garnish, paint, mutilate, demand, pretend, pray, surrender and risk their lives for it. It is not a mistake to say that love moves the world.
We cannot escape our sexuality. We are born as a male or a female, and our whole life we are attracted to the opposite sex (if we are normal). Sexuality is immanent to our being, and sexual energy is the strongest of all energies. It can make people do many things: it can make you want to become a businessman so sex will become affordable to you, it will make you want to become a musician in a band so that you will attract the opposite sex with poetry and music, or you could become a serious scientist hoping that you will manage to forget your sexuality. This kind of energy can totally destroy a man, it can decompose him – just remember how powerful it is in mantis, salmon, black widow. Energy can destroy matter and bodies, but energy itself cannot be destroyed, it can only be constituted on higher levels. According to Freud, the whole society is sexual energy constituted to higher level. We chose not to satisfy our sexual desires immediately, wherever we want and all because we wanted to live in a secure society. Something had to be sacrificed. Every society falls apart if it becomes sexually free. American society could have collapsed during sixties when hippies were so enormously popular – since hippies were for sexual freedom, they were, how we call it – “liberal”, that was a true danger for the fundaments of the American society.
The impact of sexual energy on society can be seen everywhere. We try to produce such cars that will arouse us just by its looks and shape, and your automobile is a very good method for attracting the opposite sex. And then we say that this is sexy, that is sexy, man is sexy if he is anorexic and has long hair or if he is a stud and goes to the gym. Girls are sexy if they dress in mini-skirts, or if they put specific makeup. Tastes are different and those are all variations but the most important thing is the fact that something has to be sexy. We all like to wear clothes that make us the sexiest but we might not be aware of that. Even that division of clothes on panths (lower) and shirts (upper) speaks of sexually conscious fashion designers: panths cover that which is lower, which is cheeky, foully, ugly and animalistic while shirts cover that “more human”, higher part of our bodies. Now, even if that might seem funny to you, if you start to laugh when you see reproductive organs, it means that with that laughter you want to deny your sexuality, laughter is a defense. If somebody swears a lot, if he constantly mentions those organs in a vulgar fashion, that means that he is sexually frustrated and has denied his sexuality for a long time. But, even if somebody nags you because you swear too much it means that he has denied his sexuality for a long time and doesn’t want anybody to remind him of that by mentioning those vulgar terms. Because, you see, a swear is just a word, a vulgar term is just a word, but it produces associations in the head of listener, it produces naughty thoughts and we want to stay away from those thoughts – society made us want that.
It happened once in America that some manufacturer started producing childrens’ dolls that were authentic - they had all organs on them, including reproductive organs. Unlike Barbie, who has got nothing between her legs, and unlike Ken who, between his legs, also has got – nothing. That man ended up in court, but his goal was to stop deceiving children, and to evade those unpleasant situations when a small child in a zoo asks its teacher what is that big thing between elephants’ legs.
Religion, as a spiritual practice, wants to go beyond sexuality and all those material things. But the important term here is – “go beyond”. That doesn’t mean “repress”. Priests fight sex in all possible ways and that is because they repress it so much in themselves, they deny sex and deep inside they feel bad about that, and think that it would be nice if everybody deined sex. If their plans ever succeeded that would lead to extinction of our species, and for stupid reasons. It is like when somebody suddenly stops smoking and the same moment he becomes an anti-smoker: he accuses others for smoking, especially in his presence but not because he hates tobacco smoke but because he feels in himself insatiable wish to smoke, he is nervous because he sincerely wants a smoke of two, maybe he would like to smoke the whole pack at once but he must not – because he swore that he won’t smoke. But he would like to take a smoke, more than anything in this world! So, try to go beyond, not to repress. By repressing you just accumulate energy in you, and you look peaceful for an outside observer, but when it comes to a critical mass, than even a star is not resistant to exploding and forming a supernova.
Sexual energy is the strongest in our beings because it is the most primitive, and her function was preserved through millions of years of evolution. But it is not advised to start an individual sexual revolution, to sleep with complete strangers like in some movies, because by doing that you just scatter your energy and it is unsafe. Of course, we shouldn’t repress our energy either, because such a path leads to countless neurosis. That energy might be transformed into something greater, and it can be done by engaging into some creative work – writing, drawing, painting… If you want to embed that strong energy into yourself, to make yourself stronger and not to express it through letters and lines, you will have to tempt yourself. Temptation is what a true religion should offer, not repression. It needs to make you ready to encounter yourself, not to put you in a sheep cot. Temptation is what a true religion should offer to us, but instead it offers us some rules, boundaries, punishments, prejudice, restrictions, promises, hate, wars, and a lot of fairy tales.