On a recent McCain thread (Miley Cyrus: Insult to Injury), a commenter (Joe) asked:
What in Alexandra’s estimation is a “wholesome sexuality”? If it hurt’s someone it’s immoral if it doesn’t then who cares if people want to have anal sex, engage in S&M, cross dress, worship feet, have threesomes, etc. It’s no one’s business. I’m sure most people here agree with that. if not, then what is wholesome sexuality? Sex done only for pro-creation in the missionary position with the lights off?
I have to say this question lies at the heart of what is wrong with liberal ideology. It’s very important and the answer doesn’t fit in a short comment space. But here is a first attempt at a short reply.
We can look at sexuality in many ways. One is to examine what happens inside the mind of an individual. If their sexual thoughts or desires are the result of deformed and dysfunctional attitudes, emotions, and ideologies, then this is harmful to the individual alone, without even getting into the social and transactional sphere.
However, once we do move from the perimeter of the individual to the transactional, we find that sexuality is always inscribed in social relations of power, emotions, and psychological dynamics. There again, you have all kinds of detrimental attitudes and behaviors which affect not only the individual but also whoever they are interacting with. And that impacts society as a whole.
For example, imagine a society where only pedophiles exist – but these are pedophiles who do not act out towards children. Joe would say: where is the harm? The harm is that you have an entire society of adults who are incapable of a healthy sexual relationship with each other. That’s the harm right there. Sexuality is everybody’s business because it forms part of the fundamental cornerstone of society.
Continuing with our example, in the real world, matters are worse, and no such hypothetical could exist, because many of these pedophiles would actually act out their deformed minds about pedophilia and do harm not only to themselves, but to others.
That’s the society we have today: a violent sexual sewer, yet one where people run around claiming to be wanting only consensual, non-harmful sex. There’s an abyss between the narrative and reality.
The majority of cases of sexual harassment, molestation, and abuse are perpetrated by people who also have consensual sexual behaviors. It’s the people who claim “they just want to love each other” (LGBTs) or who claim “I just want to have consensual sex” who do a lot of the harm and violence in the sphere of sexuality today. Once a person believes they should pursue any sexual kick that pops up in their minds – because they have labeled everything “normal” – it doesn’t matter to them if they are doing harm, because they no longer care about how deformed and harmful their minds are. They believe any sexual attitude and behavior is legitimate and normal, and this takes precedence over everything else, including the rights of others not to be harmed.
What Joe wants is no accountability, no boundaries, and no guilt – no matter how much harm and violence Joe or others do in the sphere of sexuality. And that again is everybody’s business.
On a related note, for this reason also, I disagree with the Catholic Church, since it’s clear to me that having a perverted mind is a sin.
On dehumanizing sex:
So “wholesome” encompasses all the underlying emotions and attitudes that underpin any sexual behavior, aside from the actual emotions tied to any sexual act. “Wholesome” refers to both what is happening internally within the individual, at a psychological level, as well as externally, as it impacts other individuals and society as a whole.
In other words, you cannot separate “wholesome” from ethics. And you cannot ignore the ethical issues engendered by the type of relationship where the sexual interaction takes place, or its consequences.
“Healthy” has never been a synonym to just anything that gives pleasure. The more deformed the mind of a human being, the more they will get pleasure out of depravity and violence. This is the main error with the claim that if someone gets pleasure out of a particular sexual kick, this makes both the desire and any action carried out in pursuit of that desire legitimate. This is the sophism inherent in claims that affirming any type of sex is being “sex-positive,” since any “sex” obligatorily encompasses every type of harm and violence in the area of relationships and sexuality. People who claim to be “sex-positive” are usually “sex-harmful,” “sex-irresponsible,” “sex-unhealthy,” and “sex-degrading.” Likewise for the people who normalize homosexuality and other deformed sexualities like S&M, bestiality, etc.
“Wholesome” is also in opposition to that which is perverse and perverted regarding sexuality. That which perverts what is natural and healthy cannot be wholesome. Homosexuality is perverted. But heterosexuals can also be perverted. As in the case of a sexually sleazy look – it is perverted. Not because it is sexual, but the nature of the sexual has been perverted. As for “perverse,” I employ it more in reference to the emotional sphere. Someone who takes pleasure in tormenting others is perverse. If you apply this to sexuality then, people can be both perverted and perverse in the sexual sphere. So both “perverted” and “perverse” would be included in a much larger set of emotional and psychological problems that transform human sexual experience. It is also important to underscore that no human is born either perverse or perverted regarding sexuality, nor are they born with a pedophilia or a homosexuality problem. These are all problems developed after a person is born.
Added on Sept. 28, 2013
Related to the topic above, I have just come across this excellent article on Ethika Politika.
Such an interesting question to raise about another fraudulent notion of liberal ideology on sexuality. As she so well points out, what liberals insist on calling “safe sex” is often unsafe and downright harmful in so many profound ways.
Olson begins by stating that: One of the words thrown around frequently in discussions about our culture’s current set of sexual mores is “safe.” We emphasize that all sexually active individuals should be having “safe sex,” a message carried out by many different forums including Planned Parenthood, sex ed classes, HBO’s Girls, and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.
As she develops in her essay, “safety” in this context refers only to a protection from diseases, and not from perverted, perverse, and dysfunctional attitudes, emotions, and practices imbued in and surrounding the sexual activity.
A very interesting point about how unsafe so-called “safe sex” is in many contexts, including for very young people.