Friday 27 July 2007

In Defence of Sexual Freedom

It is strange, in a society that thinks it has acheived sexual freedom, that the voices of the Moral Minority (Because they are in fact a minority), are heard the loudest whilst the rest of us never answer back.

We hear politicians banging on about Family values, religous extremists telling us it's dirty and few of us care to stand up and say; 'Er, no. You're talking crap.'

I have yet to hear, in my mind a convincing reason why we force this outdated monogamy ideal as something we should all aspire to, when few of us really want to.

And I'm sure some of you want to say how much you love your partner, and you've never looked at anyone else.
First bit great, Love is beautiful, second part I don't believe for a second.

And most of us have done more than that in at least one relationship where fidelity was expected.
And none of us married our first lover.

So let's be honest, more of you would happy to live a more open sex life, as long at was socially acceptable, no one thought ill of you for it, and your partner was happy with it, and loved you to bits anyway. They did the same.

So why the hell are we all still so hung up on this?

We only hurt ourselves and limit ourselves.

Of course, some will now say, you're a guy, you would say that.
But how many males really want a sexually free society?
They want to be sexually free, but have a partner who isn't.
The current arrangements suit male dignity best.
It is male dignity maintains the myth that a sexually promiscuous male is a man to be looked up to and envied, a sexually promiscuous woman, a woman to be looked down on and pitied.
Women don't really object to Men going elsewhere, but at the hypocrisy concerning their doing the same.
Feminism has meant that men agree to join women in the sexual repression men invented.

There is another way round, of course.
An easier way, and a nicer way.

The reason we had monogamy in the first place was simple; To make sure you know who fathered which children and to stop males fighting over mates.

It's fairly recent. Our real natures are probably a bit like the Bonobo, the so-called 'Make Love, Not war' chimp.

Now we know how to deal with the spread of VD, prevent unwanted pregnancy and know who fathered which child by DNA test, have an advanced social system, why keep forcing something alien to our nature on us?

It is in all of us to love many people at one time, on different levels, Spiritually, Intellectually, Physically.

But just as a mother who has two children doesn't love either any less than if she only had one, we don't need proprietorial rights over someone's body to love them.

Love isn't selfish.

Maybe its time for the third wave of Feminism?
Women reclaimed their bodies, now they can set them free.


Anonymous said...

We aren't made to be monogomous, but society "keeps" us that way...the penis is designed to be a plunger and to rid the woman of the other man's sperm so that his seed can be taken. So, if we are monogomous...then will the penis shape of the head eventually evolve itself into something different?

I think it sucks that woman are portrayed as sluts or sexual objects while men can brag and boast about # of partners. Men can be sexual objects as well, it takes two to fuck so why is there such double sided thinking regarding gender?

Anonymous said...

I always tell people that love isn't about ownership. Unfortunately though, there are a few overly religious zealots out there who will never agree with my point of view. These are the same people who tend to take the words they read in the Bible literally instead of reading between the lines a little.

Ironically, I don't feel sexual freedom means someone is betraying their religion or God. But perhaps, just the opposite. I find it funny how we, as a society, say one thing and yet tend to do something entirely different. It seems we are constantly sending mixed messages.

In fact, I have never met a Bible thumper who doesn't have a copy of Playboy hidden underneath their mattress. Meanwhile, they're busy preaching to the rest of us about the ways of God and how we should be living our lives.

It's a funny thought really- because the act of cheating isn't what ultimately breaks any relationship up. It is the little lies and the hiding and the bullshit that usually makes things come to a sudden end.

And to deny human instincts, in my book, is to live a lie. And that's the reason about 90% of the relationships, which exist, never really work anymore. There are just too many people holding in what they really feel and not communicating effectively about what they really want or what it would take to make them happy.

Anonymous said...

Crushed, this is an interesting and rather multi-faceted topic, which facet to focus on...

I agree totally with Shelly, in a loving relationship, the sexual affair takes a backseat to the emotional affair and all the elements of betrayal and lies.

Monogamy is a societal construct, which does/did have its place. But each couple is like a unique society with their own agreed upon rules and conditions. Considering 49% of US households are married despite affairs affecting between 60% and 70% of couples, I'd say that most couples figure out their own terms of sexual freedom. Single people in semi-committed relationships don't have the same propensity to work out their rules of sexual freedom, and the "monogamy rule" seems much harsher.

Regarding sexuality, I think Emerson's quote sums up human nature "What you do speaks so loudly that I cannot hear what you say."

Anonymous said...

to throw in an aside though, i actually think Women have more sexual freedom in some ways; certainly there is much more tolerance of bisexual women than of bisexual men.

Anonymous said...

"Woman wants monogamy;
Man delights in novelty.
Love is woman's moon and sun;
Man has other forms of fun.
Woman lives but in her lord;
Count to ten, and man is bored.
With this the gist and sum of it
What earthly good can come of it?"
- Dorothy Parker.
Great post, Crushed, and you have raised some questions most people don't want to think about. I don't think women are as slaveish any more as the above rhyme suggests but I do think most women still want a faithful partner. What is unfair is still that a man of, say, 55 - 60 can start over with a young "trophy" who can reproduce a new little look-alike for him but a woman of that age, although free to take a younger lover, perhaps, cannot do the reproduction bit - well, she can if she has a lot of money and can take a lot of social criticism. But we are catching you up ! That's all I will say.

Anonymous said...

CIB, ladies and gentlemen,
to cut 69 lines I wrote short: Human beings ARE able to love more than one of their species.
And to cut it even shorter with Schopenhauer - "Genitals: sounding-board of brain".
The Peace of the Night. :)

Anonymous said...

Welshcakes, not only as we sent our's at the same minute. Your comment does not lack of accuracy. :) Was it Colette? "A woman trying to act as a man lacks of ambition." :-)

Anonymous said...

I have to disagree with you rather vehemently on this one. I know you're Catholic, so surely you're familiar with the Biblical prohibitions against adultery. Faithfulness is a virtue, and I think this is something most people innately realize, even if they fight it.

There should be trust and openness in any relationship-- and surely there are people for whom an open relationship works. I am not one of those people, nor, I suspect, are most people, on a fundamental level.

I don't think monogamy is a social construct, at least, not entirely. We're different from other animals-- sex is not purely a hedonistic nor a reproductive act for the human. It's also an expression of love.

Getting too rigidly focused on monogamy to the exclusion of thinking or looking at other people is ridiculous.. I agree on that.

Most of my friends are men. Because of the nature of the work that I do, most of my co-workers are male, too. I would expect a partner to have female friends, to call other women, to look at other women, even to flirt with other women.

But sleep with other women? No. That would be a deal-breaker, and I would be gone.

"Women don't really object to Men going elsewhere, but at the hypocrisy concerning their doing the same."

That's not necessarily true. It might be for other women, but I actually do object to men going elsewhere. I don't want the freedom to do the same because it isn't an option for me in the first place-- not because of societal constraints or expectations but because I would consider it to be morally wrong.

I wouldn't use the phrase "proprietorial rights," either-- it should be a voluntary agreement. If someone feels coerced into being monogamous against their will, that's not a healthy relationship. The idea (in a perfect world) is to find sexual fulfillment in one partner because you want to, because it's the right thing to do, not because society or your peers expect you to.

That's not to say judgment should be cast upon people who choose to live differently-- God alone reserves judgment for the way we live our lives. I'm well aware of how brutal social stigma can be, believe me. But this is something we may have to agree to disagree on.

Anonymous said...

What are you really saying? That you don't think you should be tied to one woman (unless she's willing - LOL) I think it's much more rewarding to give yourself to one person whom you love. Sex without love is nothing more than grunting and sweating in vain.

Sure it might sound good to be with as many people as possible, but the fantasy's always better. Swingers live an openly sexual life and for the most part it is acceptable in their circles. So are you saying that secretly everyone desires to be a swinger?

The point is that we have to get beyond the chains of the lower worlds and transcend our physical desires. Love is more powerful than sex, more potent and desirable.

I did an informal survey of my own. I asked three men what they thought about it. One said that he would definitely go for it if he wasn't married and ironically, the two single men said they would find it empty sex without love empty. They said if they had a choice, they would rather have someone who loved them, not someone just to have sex with. They could get that any time.

Women reclaimed their bodies so they wouldn't have to take it lying down. ;D

Anonymous said...

I think the women here need to really think about what is being said here- a justification for the man wanting all the benefits of a wife but the freedom of sex with multiple partners. How many of you would still agree with Crushed if your men wanted to suddenly reserve the right to sleep around whether you liked it or not......his only concession being that he doesns't care if you do too?
This is not sexual liberation but sexual objectification of women. You want lots of women? Don't get into relationships and ask women to love, invest or marry you, bear your children while claiming sexual freedom.
Shelly - "ownership" is not the same as expecting a man to act with dignity,honesty and respect.

Anonymous said...

Ruthie has it right here and I'm now posting on this one. Who in their right minds would call her a prude or a religious nut? But heres is the voice of reason.

I'm afraid this post is just a cynical man's stance to ensure the supply of free sex. After all, none of us want it to dry up for some religious reason.

In this, don't try to place me with the religious moralists because my lifestyle is anything but moral over here. That doesn't mean it's rampant and virtually indiscriminate.

"Set their bodies free" is just a cashing in on an ultimately destructive mindset and it IS ultimately destructive when women aren;t respected and are encouraged not to respect themselves.

The bullshit that they can't find sexual release or be free inside a relationship - that they must tote it round is absolute bollocks trotted out by forces underlying the soociety in which young people have now grown up.

I'm certain you can't see anything to relate to in what I say though anyone over 30 will recognize it because they grew up under a different set of parameters.

More in a post.

Anonymous said...

Well said too, ubermouth.

Anonymous said...

i think you're being a bit cheeky, crushed. before i got married and had kids, i felt the same as you. having children changes you.

great scandalous gossip on this thread, though. do keep it going ubermouth.

Anonymous said...

Jenny- I agree with everything you have said. It's complete hypocrisy.

Shelly- 'because the act of cheating isn't what ultimately breaks any relationship up. It is the little lies and the hiding and the bullshit that usually makes things come to a sudden end.'
This is my argument. As you say, it doesn't make us happy, because we are not designed to klive this bizarre self denial.
I am Catholic myself, but believe that monogamy is the result of our natures (Selfish nature means a system geared to material ownership of women was instituted) but that God certainly didn't have it as his design for us.

Helen- It is so obviously not an ideal for so many of us, I don't know why you maintain the fiction it is.
The problem sems to be that monogamy is seen as the default position. If you form a relationship with someone, it is generally taken as read it is 'monogamous' unless otherwise stated. Surely that's the wrong way round?

Alexys- sex and Love aren't always the same thing. But maybe we try to keep them so the wrong way. It is possible to feel love whilst knowing it is transient, with someone you feel a real connection and meeting of mind, body and soul, but you know you will never see again.

CityUn- Possibly on that issue, but they are judged pretty harshly for promiscuity.

Sean- If we always felt some form of love with any partner, I can't see how its bad?

Welshcakes- I really do think there is a new wave of femism due which will change this, in fact its already in the wind.
I think woman are being a lot more free and open in their intreactions- certainly girls of university age seem to have no qualms whatsoever in their sexual behaviour- certainly more liberated then in my days as a student.

Ruthie- Faithfulness, as in not deceit. It is the deceit that is the problem. But I 'd like to think I'm capable of loving someone enough not to deprive them of the sexual joy they might want to enjoy elsewhere, merely on some point of male dignity.
After all, it would be how we felt about eachother that would matter.

Is it possible to find sexual fulfillment in one person?
Or just make do with it because we love that person so dearly?
We prove our love through deprivation?

Ubermouth- You call this 'a justification for the man wanting all the benefits of a wife but the freedom of sex with multiple partners'.
No it isn't. It is an encouragement to women to overthrow the bondage of chasitity men imposed on them in the first place.
Sexual jealousy is evil, it is a hindrance to society and causes hurt.
It is useless, damaging and limiting.
If a man truly loved a woman, he would rejoice in her free sexuality.

Lord SB- Whilst it might appear that is 'just a cynical man's stance to ensure the supply of free sex.', this is actually one of the posts written from the heart, and it's really not about men, it's about women.
I'm not actually a particularly promiscuous person myself, but could happily love a woman who was.

Pommy- My own experiences of relationships hass led my to conclude that sexual jealousy is behind most of the unpleasantness.
And in my younger days, I used to be quite possessive myself.

Anonymous said...

CBI. Oh dear.

I must confess I am faithful to whoever I am seeing at the time and if I find out she is unfaithful i'd be off and would not be seeing it as an excuse for me to do the same.

There is more to a relationship than just sex and although I do believe women get the dirty end of the stick for doing the same as a man I don't think that giving moral acceptance for the women the same freedom is the way to go.

It may be in our genes but our morals make us dislike this course of action. In saying that though if you have a relationship where it is not an issue then what you do is up to you. I see the lying part as yet another real betrayal.

I hate liars. Perhaps that is why I hate politicians so much.

Anonymous said...

Interesting. And then again..... in some ways, I think like a man; I wouldn't mind having more than one sexual partner, but I'd be very possessive of each, requiring completely sexual faithfulness from them. And that's having double standards, which is why I don't impose them. So it's either both of us can, or both of us can't (sleep around). Then it depends on which desire is strongest; that for promiscuity, or the sense of possessiveness ;-) (Now I'm not playing fair, though, in keeping my infidelity a secret - so all this is theoretical; in reality, we usually try to have our cake and eat it...:-))

Anonymous said...

-eve- hit the nail on the head - double standards.

Glad to see you agreeing with Jenny, Crushed. :)

Anonymous said...

Helen- It is so obviously not an ideal for so many of us, I don't know why you maintain the fiction it is.
The problem sems to be that monogamy is seen as the default position. If you form a relationship with someone, it is generally taken as read it is 'monogamous' unless otherwise stated. Surely that's the wrong way round?

Ouch, I don't think I deserved that treatment, I was simply stating that the reality is that people say one thing, but their actions prove another. I don't maintain any fiction that my reality should be anyone else's ideal.

Anonymous said...

Bag- Its the deceit, and morever the creation of a situationwhich creates unnecassey deceit I despise.
Problem is, there seems to be an implicit assumption that any relationship one enters is automatically monogamous unless otherwise stated.
Shouldn't the reverse be true?

Eve- You said 'I wouldn't mind having more than one sexual partner, but I'd be very possessive of each, requiring completely sexual faithfulness from them.'

Believe it or not, I often think I could actually find happiness and fulfillment as a male in such a situation.
I actually think it would be the deepest gesture of love a man could give, to be faithful to a woman who was openly promiscuous.

Lord SB- Its the Double Standards I despise. I'm not particularly promiscuous myself, but I hate the judgement passed on women for it.

Helen- Sorry. Typo.
I meant to put 'It is so obviously not an ideal for so many of us, I don't know why WE maintain the fiction it is', meaning society.'

Please accept my apologies. I agree with everything you have said.

Anonymous said...

There is the issue of parenting - sexual freedom has gone woefully wrong when combined with welfare which actually encourages fatherless families. Much physical/sexual abuse of children is by step fathers or lovers.

Anonymous said...

CBI but that is what a close relationship is. Everyone can go and screw everything at the moment with no ties. When you go into a relationship then you are making a statement and one of them, by default, is you will be faithful. Unless, of course, someone says what they want different up front. In which case everyone knows where they are. The current defaults will be fine for most people so if you want something different you need to state it I would think.

It's true though that we are not meant to be that way but I believe that then you just bumped your rivals off anyway. I'm not convinced we really want to start reverting to those morals by default.

Anonymous said...

As a uncommitted bisexual man I just find this all very disorientating. Why would it matter who you have sex with? and to whom? Also why would we think a repressive minority has achieved anything? I never listened to politicians and the newspapers.. or Priests or Mary Whitehouse, Anne Widdicombe and the rest...or indeed the law.. they can do what they like . I will leave them alone as long as they do the same... Sexual freedom is in the head and it is what we do... I would never answer back as I have no interest in the opinions of other people about my sex life. Its mine to choose not for others to vote on... I wouldn't debate it... as I decide for myself. You decide for yourself etc.

Anonymous said...

ROOOOAWWW Miaowwwww....well I loke the first image, reminds me of wall paper my aunt had in her bathroom, very nice

Anonymous said...

Sexual freedom, I reckon, is still a novel concept. Though everyone knows what it is and many actually agree with it, it won't be mainstream for a while because many are still bound by tradition and false conservatism. I agree with you, I never understood why people never stood up to it when clearly, they know that it's something they believe in...

Anonymous said...

I think that this premise stems from a misunderstanding of the basis of female sexuality. Yes. We don't mind shagging anything that moves when we're younger. But as we get older we are biologically programmed to be with fewer guys because more guys means less stability which means a poorer environment for our offspring.

I also noted that you said we have ways to test paternity. Our instincts don't recognise this. We can mentally realise something, but our physiological response will not change.

The sexual freedom that you want needs to be a decision that both people agree with. But I know that if someone suggested that to me, I'd tell them to take a hike. I don't want the person I love sharing a loving tryst with someone else. Thats betrayal to me. And I know that I would worry that they would become emotionally attached to someone else and leave.

Your desire to have women 'sexually liberated' seems to stem from your desire to (naturally) be with as many people as possible. But I pose this to you. If you did have a child, would you want to be straying to other women? Not being there for your partner/kids and becoming emotionally entangled with someone else. What would you do then?

We have these ways set into our behaviour to protect ourselves. The male who stays with someone long enough to raise a child is more successful. But the male who strays has offspring that is less protected and less likely to survive. And then is less likely to pass on the genes for straying.

Don't get me wrong. Most serious relationships (or marriages) that fail are at 4 to 5 years. This is as long as a male needs to be around to successfully woo a female and successfully pop out a few sproglings. Then we are programmed to go our own ways.

Anonymous said...

> Believe it or not, I often think I could actually find happiness and fulfillment as a male in such a situation.
Now that IS an interesting fact, CBI (because if you were willing, I'd definitely include you if I were to start such a harem-sort-of-thing ;-))

> I actually think it would be the deepest gesture of love a man could give, to be faithful to a woman who was openly promiscuous.
A profound statement. I wonder if I dare risk it, though.... perhaps I'd walk the world over and not find even one (even YOU might find that the reality is hard to live;-) - because each of us only has 24 hours, and the time she spends away from you, to be with someone else, is time free for you to spend being equally promiscuous. And even if you didn't have the desire to, you might be tempted by the attention and complete adoration and commitment someone else might offer; I know I would, were I in such a position)...

Anonymous said...

E-K- Sadly, you do raise a very good point about abuse, though I do think that in a high proportion of cases, these types delberatley target women with children in the first place.

But I think we need to be a lot more responsible for child welfare generally. Many of us seem to end up damaged by our childhood, one way or another.

Bag- I don't think most of us are making a statement at the outset of a realationship.
To begin with, we are merely enjoying the compny of the other person, coing things togethr and probably sleeping together from time to time. When should the assumption of exclusivity kick in?
And shouldn't it be agreed first before it applies?

Mutley- They do acheive something, but is purely negative. Most of us are ignoring the rules in practice, but they maintain the rules we are ignoring, therefore they maintain all this guilt, deceit and jealousy- and heartache.

Cazzie- The picture is the goddess Freya, by Arthur Rackham.
The old Germanic Peoples considered her an object of worship, but virgin she weren't.
She managed to sleep her way through most of th other Gods, several heroes and even a few dwarves.
None of which made her 'dirty' to the Germanic peoples.

Princess B- A lot of it is bound up in sexual jealousy and possessiveness.
Men especially see much of it in terms of dignity.
A man will consider it a dishonour to his dignity to go with a girl who has 'been around', when in some sense, maybe it should be something he should be proud of?

Phish- My belief in this stems from the huge negative part sexual jealousy has played in past relationships- holding back true sentiment.
The best way to be free of sexual jealousy is to accept and be happy with the fact your partner may from to time find sexual happiness elsewhere.
I don't particularly want to be with as many women as possible, I just quite like the Freya Image of womanhood.
I think a man can stay with a woman he loves for life, but if he loved her, he'd so even if he wasn't her only sexual partner.

Eve- I think it is a beautiful ideal, in fact myself and a friend discuss it a lot (we share this view). I often feel I would like to give it a try, I think the satisfaction of it would be amazing.
It would make your commitment to her mean something, whilst learning to love a women for her free sexuality would be pretty special.

Anonymous said...

If this is the case that you would remain faithful to the woman oyu loved while she slept with other men then why d you feel a need to hide our relationship and your " monogamous" feelings for me, and that this is infact the new realtionship ideal that you have recently sprung on me?

Anonymous said...

You're right, CBI; your love would be special, and you'd be the hero. I suddenly see it now; it'd be a little like the love between God and people. You'd be like God, faithful and steadfast in love, sacrificing all for an unfaithful, foolish, ungrateful woman. I'm often afraid that I'm that woman in my relationship with bf. I believe you COULD live that ideal, after all (since even bf does, and he doesn't want to; he can't stand the thought of my infidelity, and yet he still tarries with me... and that's pretty special, as you say)....

Anonymous said...

CBI. looks like you will be crushed by more than ingsoc.

I still think that when you enter a close relationship the assumption is that you are faithful unless it is raised or clearly apparent before the relationship starts.

i.e. Let's go steady but I'm still going to be shagging other birds OK?

Anonymous said...

Ubermouth- This post is meant to deal with the theory behind monogamy.
I'm not saying that people can't live up to it, merely that it is not necessarily in their nature to do so.

I can't find any scientific evidence to suggest we should- or a convincing social imperative that demands its enforcement.

Not a statement on its application in individual circumstances.

Eve- Thats certainly how the ideal seems to me, when me and my mate discuss it, the ultimate love gesture- UNconditionally loving the conditional lover.

Bag- I'm not actually a particularly promiscuous person at all. I don't 'put it about'. Yet on a few occasions circumstances have arisen in my life when there are more than one woman who I am deeply attracted to and could not resist the wish to enjoy their company, and not just for sexual reasons.

I'm glad I didn't always have to choose- my life was richer for those interconnections.

Anonymous said...

*slow dawning smile*