Friday, August 10, 2018


When the taboo on sex comes off (as it pretty much has now -- not entirely) much comes tumbling out.  People speak up.  I do not think the answer to handling sex is through either criminalization or demonization.  That is, sex has been a player in almost everything, including love and power, and since we've all been handling it with suppression and denial, we never seem to solve the problems.  We need a lot of new lessons.

If at the root sex is a function of desire, then much of the dynamics will deal with desire, which is a biological drive shaped by experience and the larger culture, whatever it is.  Just standing back and letting things happen is not the answer.  Analyzing what is or has happened is not a popular option because of blame and real consequences to all concerned, including families and communities, or just friends.  One of the hardest things about writing is facing one's own past.

At the root of many of the consequences of sex is fertility.  In the Western culture in particular much legality and entitlement is connected to a man's first-born male child.  Until recently the problem of guaranteeing the son comes from that specific man has meant sequestering the woman either physically or with the idea that she must be faithful.  This then opens the playing field to rape and seduction, such endlessly riveting plot material.  It is also founded on secrecy which is always a potent human dynamic.  Less understood is the burden on the son who must be the hero of the father.

Contraception and abortion have always been strategies for managing fertility but they can be hair-raisingly violent until the age of chemical contraception and abortion.  With access to the right pills, both of these basically female strategies can be near-secret and private.  They might be illegal substances but enforcement would be pretty hard in the time of private postal service and internet access to information.  In spite of intervention, birth is always potentially fatal for mother and child.

Stigma is also an enabler for torture, slavery and shame, a toxin potent enough to destroy the magnificent.  Not anymore, we think.  Magdalene houses where girls pregnant out of wedlock are forced to work in laundries are gone, but the insane still trap youngsters and keep them in sheds or bunkers or basements for many years without anyone suspecting.  While the lawyers try to discredit Gates for having affairs, Trump admits the same but is defiant and pays out hundreds of thousands before he came to power.  Power excuses everything.  Look what expensive sin I can afford!

Rape as a war weapon uses stigma on the individuals, but the real damage is to demographics, seeding a generation of poorly tended unwanted people who are easily misled and used, denying them the meanings in culture and humiliating them, leaving them craving violence.  Fertile ground for future dictatorships.

After considering all these things, what use do we have for #metoo?  If someone (does it have to be a man?) says something insulting or even lays on hands, is that worth getting them thrown out of important positions or losing whole businesses?  Some think so today.  ("Why did the man hit the mule over the head with a 2X4?  To get its attention.")

When I was a small kid, I was instructed to hang on to my mother's coat tail because there were three of us and she only had two hands.  I was also instructed that if we went into a packed elevator, we were to stick out our elbows to preserve airspace in front of our faces.  This worked.  We should know how to do practical things in ordinary situations where people take liberties.

In a city my way of dressing and talking is atypical and not obsequious.  Evidently this signals some women that I am lesbian.  They hint.  One boss lent me her "Tales of the City" books.  I read them, liked them, was still not lesbian.  I am solitary by choice (formerly married), never pregnant by choice, and curious about sex but not personally or in real life.  Some can't imagine anyone being like that, even clergy.  At least most of them know enough to ask and don't harm a person if declined.  As the Millennials move into the clergy, there is much less presumption of "virtue" on the part of anyone when it comes to sex.

Part of the problem with that is still "price."  How much is it worth to pay for sex?  Trump sets the amount in the hundreds of thousands, but manages not to pay the price of losing his presidency.  Clinton almost did.  Jefferson has lost his reputation, in part.  

As a plot point, in a crime show, a man is identified as being "a guy in a bar trying to bat above his weight" meaning in a mixed metaphor that he is kinda homely and powerless but making a play for a beautiful expensive woman.  We meet someone, look them up and down, and wonder whether we have the moxie to interest them.  We might never do anything or say anything about it, but the thought is often perceived by others.

The phenomenon of whole organizations of men who assume the reason that they never can get a woman to have sex with them (maybe even if they paid) is that women have some malignant political reason -- not that the loser might not be worth it, which is actually what they really think of themselves but hide so well -- even from themselves -- that they think marching through the streets with tiki torches will make them irresistible.  This itself is evidence that they are too dumb to have a human relationship.

Because we see sex and (parallel) gender roles as binary, it's always interesting to think in reverse.  For instance, men are always seen as entering illicit relationships because of sex.  The exception might be Nelson Rockefeller who apparently really loved Happy, his mistress.  They did get divorces so they could marry and the marriage persisted.  But then Nelson died "between the thighs" of another younger woman.  Maybe it was just sex after all, not love.  

But how many women have affairs because of sex?  They usually say it's love and most people will suspect it's love of money, because women were not supposed to crave sex.  Now they do, but it's usually because the man was so "beautiful."  Gym workouts and all that.  Nothing about the mind.

So much to figure out all over again.  How else can we survive, not just ourselves but everyone?

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