Here I go again! This won't be the first time I've taken on the Abstinence Only crowd - those who believe that not having sex before marriage is a good idea - but I can't ignore that the New York Times is giving equal time and respect to a notion so utterly absurd on the face of it in an article in the Magazine today entitled, "Students of Virginity. (You can read the article here: "http://www.nytimes.com/2008/03/30/magazine/30Chastity-t.html?pagewanted=1)
Why do I get as riled up about this subject as I do about, let's say, drugging school children or government sanctioned killing? Because after treating people of all ages and backgrounds in therapy for thirty years, and as a sociologist studying culture, my conclusion is that the single most prevalent and insidious cause of dysfunction in our world today is sexual repression and suppression, from Middle America to the Middle East. (And rest assured that it's no coincidence that the Iraq War is raging on between two sexually repressed and fanatical governments steeped in religious ideologies that subordinate sex - and women.) Right. Whether you look underneath the facades of the perpetrators of child abuse or of war, you'll find someone with a harsh or otherwise distorted relationship to sex. Just read the newspapers!
This is not a new or original idea here, folks. It has been understood throughout history. The truly organic, spiritual nature of sex, and the detrimental effects of sexual repression, have been written about for thousands of years - in the East and West - from the Kama Sutra to the writings of Sigmund Freud. But more importantly, you know, each of you know, that it's true experientially. How could something that feels so good and is so compelling in our very nature be wrong?! What must it do to our psyche and emotional life to be told that something so desirable inside of ourselves, something that feels so exhilerating and life-affirming, is sinful, or must be controlled, except under the strictest of conditions prescribed by legislators or religious leaders? It doesn't compute, right? That's why you masturbate secretly? Or have affairs or seek out prostitutes.
Now, mind you, when I use words like "life-affirming," I'm talking about real sex, not "faux sex," ala Elliot Spitzer or Bill Clinton or the school teachers in the mid-west seducing 13-year olds. That kind of impulse-disorder driven behavior is in fact the result of sexual repression caused by guilt and shame about sex. I'm talking about sex that is the celebration and exploration of our human nature, sex that elevates, not denigrates.
Here are some beautiful excerpts from a Pathwork Guide lecture called "The Spiritual Significance of Sexuality:"
"In the human realm the power of sexuality can, in its most ideal form, be the greatest "representative" of spiritual existence. There is no other human experience that conveys so fully what spiritual bliss, oneness, and timelessness are: the timeless Now, beyond the confines of time. In the total sexual experience man breaks through the confines of time and separateness to which his limited mind has bound him. Through such an experience man is reminded of his true existence in the eternal."
So, again, why would we seek to deny or control such a wonderful and powerful force with externally enforced celibacy or internally oppressive defense mechanisms? Because the sexual experience reveals us, for one thing. It opens and exposes us, if it's real sex. It blows our egos out of the way, freeing us up to see ourselves and others in a purer way than we're used to.
Here's more form the Guide lecture:
"Whatever exists within the human psyche shows up in the sexual experience. It is impossible to keep it out of it. The sexual experience is therefore an infallible indicator of where a person is: where he is liberated and at one with divine law; where he is evil and destructive; where he is stuck and stagnant because his destructiveness is hidden and not being dealt with. Hidden facets become magnetized and energized by the sexual current and they determine its direction. When this direction is negative, and therefore shamefully denied, both development and the vitality of the life force are being hindered. The powerful creative energy that is inherent in the sexual expression creates a condition in which all character attitudes, all aspects of the most hidden nature, must manifest."
Wow! The sexual experience as an infallible indicator of where a person is at? Well, take a look around you, and at yourself, and ask whether or not this seems obvious to you. It certainly does to me.
Hey, editors at the New York Times, stop giving equal weight to regressive movements like Abstinence Only. If you have to report on such a phenomenon, be honest. This is not just another legitimate philosophy about sex and love. This is a distortion of our humanity. And it causes harm. The single most common reason for divorce is sexual incompatibility, especially among people who didn't have sex until after they were married, and the most common reason for violence against women and children is sexual repression, as well.
And while you're at it, stop acting like giving children drugs in order to perform more efficiently in school is any different than athletes taking steroids to perform better on the field.
Oh yeah, and one more thing - while I'm going off - how about if we stop pretending that deciding to become a cop or a soldier isn't a pathology. Who in their right mind signs up for a career who's job description includes having to kill human beings?
Please, let's just be honest.