Expressions of Sexuality
For this activity, you will be addressing taboos regarding sexual fantasies and behaviors. Consider the following questions:
Are there sexual fantasies that you feel are inherently wrong; in the sense that thinking about them is indicative of an unethical or unhealthy mindset regardless of the intention to act on them? For example, is it wrong to fantasize about having sex with someone other than your partner when in a committed relationship? What about more extreme examples (e.g., rape, underage fantasies, illegal sexual exposure)? What are these fantasies?
There is nothing more impressive than a human brain. Among its many functions, the human brain controls motor skills, thoughts, feelings, and vision. However, human minds are still capable of wandering despite all the complexities they are involved with. Interestingly, the human brain wanders 47% of the time. There is no certainty as to what the brain does 47% of the time, but one thing is certain: sexual fantasies occupy a significant amount of the time it spends wandering around. Therefore, sexual fantasies are extremely normal occurrences, and nearly everyone has them.
However, even as sexual fantasies are normal, some thoughts around sex are wrong, even without their manifestation. Personally, the sexual fantasies that go against normal conventions include anal sex with a female or male partner and rape. There is everything wrong with anal sex or even the thought of having it. Sexual activity is not a natural function of the human anus. Thus, neither anal sex nor the idea of having it is desirable. Therefore, I believe the practice or just the thought of anal sex could point to an unhealthy mindset. I believe the same applies to rape or even the thought of raping. I would not want to believe that any right-thinking person would fantasize about committing rape.
Are there sexual behaviors that you feel are inherently wrong; in the sense that—regardless of the context in which they are performed—indicate some problem or pathology within the individual? What are these behaviors?
From a personal viewpoint, some sexual behaviors are indeed naturally wrong. Some of the sexual behaviors I consider unacceptable include child sexual abuse (CSA) and rape. The aforementioned sexual behaviors are just objectionable since right-minded persons would not perpetrate such behaviors. Just the mere perpetration of such behaviors could indicate unusual tendencies within an individual. Although rare, cases of CSA and rape continue to confront society occasionally. Several meters around how these incidents occur reaffirms their unusual nature. In the first place, incidents involving the above behaviors must make headlines whenever they occur. The mere revelation that such an incident has happened evokes shock among members of society. As a matter of fact, perpetrators count themselves fortunate when these actions do not lead to public wrath. Secondly, the circumstances surrounding such behaviors are another pointer concerning the disturbing nature of such behaviors. In several cases, the offender might have used force to commit the act, threatened the victims to remain silent, or killed the victim after the act. Considering the pointers mentioned above, some sexual behaviors, such as the aforementioned are indeed wrong and could indicate some pathology within a person.
Consider, for both fantasies AND behaviors, how much of the taboo is related to religious/spiritual authority (essentially, the act/thought is prohibited due to supernatural or transcendental authority) and how much is related to secular prohibition (essentially, the thought or behavior causes problems in the natural world for the performer or those around them). Address each of the following questions for both taboo thoughts and behaviors:
What religious or spiritual authority suggests that the thought or behavior is taboo? What reasoning does this authority give? Cite specific religious/spiritual texts when appropriate.
What natural authorities suggests that the thought/behavior is taboo? What negative outcomes are expected or common of these actions? Cite specific sources as appropriate.
What are the relative contributions of religious and secular thinking as it relates to your own beliefs about these taboos? Do you tend to weight religious authority more than secular, or vice versa? Are they equally important to you? Are either important, and, if not, how do you decide on taboos?
In the previous section, I mentioned that fantasies around anal sex with a man or a woman are some of the thoughts I find objectionable, notwithstanding the intention to commit them. A considerable majority of society would also find the acts mentioned above undesirable. Therefore, in that regard, anal sex and rape are among the behaviors considered by society as taboo. This then begs the question of what authority influences society to find such behaviors unacceptable. An investigation into the root of society’s stern standpoint toward the aforementioned acts unearths the influence of religious and secular authorities.
On the one hand, religion is one of the sources of influence regarding society’s strict standpoint toward the sexual fantasies mentioned above. Modern societies have come to appreciate and acknowledge the importance of religion in their lives. Some of the common religions worldwide include Christianity and Islam. When it comes to inheriting God’s Kingdom, the faithful are expected to follow certain criteria. For example, the Bible warns Christians against engagement in same-sex sexual relations. In Leviticus 18:22, the Bible says a man shall not have sexual relations with another man as it is considered an abomination. Accordingly, even the mere thought of fantasizing about same-sex sexual relations is taboo as it shows delight in such activities.
Some unwelcome sexual behaviors, such as child sexual abuse and rape, are objectionable from both religious and secular standpoints. Most decrees tend to rely heavily on religion in societies where religion takes center stage. However, in the absence of religion, societies usually rely on the decrees of natural authorities. Nonetheless, religion and natural authorities are both important influences in how societies perceive or behave regarding certain behaviors. Religion, for instance, condemns the practice of rape. The Bible says in Deuteronomy 22:23-27 that if a man rapes a woman and she does not cry for help, then the punishment for both shall be death, death upon the woman for not resisting and death upon the man for forcefully engaging in sex with a married woman. Similarly, secular authorities, such as the government of the US, decrees that the act of rape can attract a fine or life in prison, depending on how the suspect committed the act. Punishments described above clearly indicate that rape and child sexual abuse (a form of rape) are taboo. Rape has the potential to cause trauma and spark sexual disorders in victims who experience the ordeal.
Personally, I govern myself according to both stipulations of religious and natural authorities. Over the years, I have ordered my life in a Christian way because I was raised as a Christian. Additionally, my society has clearly established laws prohibiting rape and child sexual abuse. Therefore, in my case, both religion and secular expectations of behavior have a significant influence on how I lead my life. Regarding the taboos mentioned above, I would say I weight religion and natural authorities’ expectations almost equally.