"Whenever I go into a restaurant, I order both a chicken and an egg to see which comes first"

Saturday, August 25, 2018

Sexual Behavior In A Conservative Age–What Ever Happened To Free Love And Sexual Adventure?

Young people today are concerned about identity.  No longer are they only concerned about fundamental values and worth – moral integrity, courage, honor, respect, and compassion – but with more temporal catalogs of being. Race, gender, and ethnicity are increasingly important indicators and ones which threaten the more fundamental and profound aspects of character.  At the same time these temporal choices are bewildering since everything from sexuality to political philosophy is on a spectrum. 

Worse, it considered evasive and politically incorrect either to admit confusion or to claim a traditional fixed position on it.  Admitting to be solely male or female male is retrograde if not ignorant, for according to today’s progressive canon sexual orientation is not a matter of genetics and birth but aware, ‘woke’ identity – a matter of choice and preference not biology. There is not such thing, say modern progressives, as biological determinism.  Society, culture, and one’s economic environment determine all.

For anyone of a certain age, today’s crisis of sexual confidence is perplexing at best.  Boys looked down the sleeveless blouses of young girls, imagined nestling between soft, inviting breasts, and dreamed of sexual intercourse even though they had no idea of what that was or meant.  Sexuality was a matter of instinct and liability.  Boys simply could not help or avoid sexual excitement and girls, without the slightest idea why were attracted to them.

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To be sure there were boys and girls of nontraditional sexual interests, but they were too few to notice; and they went about their sexual business quietly or closeted behind closed doors, of little concern to most, and had a marginal impact on a settled social life.  For the most part boys and girls pursued each other, tested each other’s will, determination, and respect; flirted and kissed; parked and sometimes had sex.  It was what went with the territory, within common and acceptable bounds, with flexible margins but ‘Do Not Enter’ signposts.

‘No’ meant ‘Maybe’.  Girls were the arbiters of sexual advances; and then more than now more in control of their sexual destiny.  Girls were taught rectitude, chastity, and propriety; and boys taught temperance and consequences.  Boys were taught to  beware of premature sex not for the girls’ sake but for theirs – an  unwanted pregnancy would ruin a girls life and a boy’s future.

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This code of conduct was simple, direct, and unambiguous.  There were no nuances except those presented in the back of the car.  Girls and boys knew what was expected of them but still had to figure out the unexpected sexual twists and turns.  Boys backed off at girls’ insistence or sensed a ‘yes’ behind the ‘no’.  Girls knew when it was time and when it was not; when social norms logically prevailed and when they were irrelevant.  A lot was learned in the back seat, the least of which was sexual behavior. 

Most adolescents emerged from that awkward and trying period with a fuller understanding of will, negotiation, and compromise than they had before.  In short, they grew up.
In today’s world, adolescents are far more controlled, watched, and overseen than ever before.  The Sixties seem never to have happened.  The era of free love – a time of mutual sexual responsibility – never seems to have existed.

In that permissive age, sexual mutuality and parity was achieved.  The prescriptions of church, family, and community mattered little.  Young adults were free to explore, test, and pursue their sexual desires and interests without counsel or punishment.  While young men and women of that generation were concerned with civil and human rights, they were quite content to let sexuality be determined in the bedroom – a matter between man and woman a la D.H. Lawrence, Ibsen, or Strindberg.  All three authors dealt with sexual will, sexual dynamics, and sexual fulfillment but did so only with marginal interest in socially mitigating factors.  Lady Chatterley and Mellors, the gamekeeper, were indeed members of different social classes and such class difference was not absent from their relationship, but their sexual completion was a matter solely of will, character, and very individual personality.

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Hedda Gabler, although conditioned by the patriarchal society of late Victorian Europe, was motivated more by Nietzschean will and purpose than social rebellion.  Laura, the heroine of Strindberg’s Miss Julie tamed the valet not because of his inferior social status but because of her strong sexual will. 

Both Victorian sexual hierarchy – dominance and submission within well-defined social constraints – and 20th century sexual abandonment have been dismissed and curtailed.  Today’s young adults run a gamut of social and legal hurdles for even the most casual and introductory sex.  In California where the laws governing sexual behavior are the most strict, a boy must ask a girl’s permission at each step of the sexual way.  What was once a hands-off or go-ahead negotiation ruled by discipline and order is now a matter for the courts.  Sexuality has been legalized, squeezed of its passionate juices, deprived of risk and maturity.

Today’s young men and women are caught between the Scylla of progressive genderism and the Charybdis of secular legalism.  Natural sexual response has been neutered, subjected to higher authority, regulated, and neutered.

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ut why? Feminists have insisted that thanks to women’s new sexual awareness, having thrown off the yoke of patriarchy and male privilege. women are more able, more independent, and more sexually strong.  Yet these same feminists continue to argue for increased legal, social, and institutional protection of women.  They are empowered but vulnerable.  They want it both ways.

This sexual imbalance is finally being adjusted.  Men now ask why women’s word should be valued over that of men? What happened to due process? What became of the millennia-old rules of sexual negotiation?  Either women are as independent, determined, and strong as men or they are not.  All of the women in Shakespeare’s Comedies were examples of natural will.  While they had to accept the patriarchal constrictions of society, they found ways to best men at every turn.  The women of his Tragedies were no different, were never intimidated by men, reticent, or wary of their own abilities.  This strength, intelligence, and purposeful will common five hundred years ago seems to have disappeared.

Most savvy men understand that women have not changed; that they still are attracted to virile, confident, pursuant, adventurous, sexual males; and that the age-old rules of sexual engagement still apply.  Nothing has changed from Twelfth Night until now.  And most women despite education promoting the New Age, sensitive man, want just this.

While the progressive community applauds such supportive, attentive, loving men and their respect for the newly emergent female, few women want such men.  Their heads will still be turned by the dominant, uninhibited, unapologetic male pursuer and not the complaisant, deferential, quiet partner.
Men are retrograde, illiberal, and irremediable, feminists say. Men are obsessed with guns, violence, and competition; and are evolutionary throwbacks.  Only women have evolved to a higher state of being; and are the only bulwark against male social anarchy.  Their caring, compassionate, collaborative, and participatory ethos has saved us all.

As paraphrased by Dana Antiochus, Bill Maher, comedian, television celebrity, and social critic believes that:
“The inversion of nature that we have experienced as a culture, and the subversive aspect of flipping traditional roles, with its subsequent destruction of society, serves as a signal that we live in a dying system.  It has led to a pussified, sissy, pathetic, lovey-dovey/touchy-feely country of wimps, who put emotion over logic, feeling over reason, in our nurture-heavy/nature-deprived, culture” (Renegade Tribune)
Christina Hoff Sommers writes about the feminist hijacking of primary education and thus comes closer to Maher in his allegation that feminism’s reach is extensive and pernicious. Sommers argues that the zero tolerance policy – i.e. stifling any suggestion of male aggression in schools – is a wrongheaded attempt to subjugate boys and deny their natural male exuberance.

Across the country, schools are policing and punishing the distinctive, assertive sociability of boys. Many much-loved games have vanished from school playgrounds. At some schools, tug of war has been replaced with “tug of peace.” Since the 1990s, elimination games like dodge ball, red rover and have been under a cloud — too damaging to self-esteem and too violent, say certain experts. Young boys, with few exceptions, love action narratives. These usually involve heroes, bad guys, rescues and shoot-ups. As boys’ play proceeds, plots become more elaborate and the boys more transfixed. When researchers ask boys why they do it, the standard reply is, “Because it’s fun.” (Time Magazine, 9.19.13)
It is no easy task to be a young man in the early 21st century, challenged and defied at every turn for misogyny, sexual abuse, horniness, and indifference.  The very nature of what it means to be male has been questioned, and the feminization of men shows no sings of retreat.

Yet the tide will turn as all tides do; and a more instinctive, laissez-faire attitude towards sex and sexual behavior will return.  This is inevitable because human sexual nature has not changed.  Men and women determined by the same chromosomes, genes, and heredity since the Paleolithic and before will continue to follow the instincts of their prehistoric ancestors until the human genome is reworked and reconfigured.  This current age of social and moral patriarchy facilitated by government and social engineering will not last; and while we may not return to the sexual jungle, we will be more willing to accept the Lawrentian vision of sexuality.

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