We are double-dealing with body pleasures if we speak of them in dreadful tones. We take risks with sex but the same is true of driving. Let us disapprove of recklessness, not varieties of joy rendered safe through intelligence. When sexual delights happen every day without injury, we should not blame sex for errors of judgment.
If we condemn physical desires, confusion results, especially when we commonly indulge these joys. This inconsistency can be set right, at least in part, by PUBLICLY saying harmless pleasures among adults are good. I include in this non-traditional sexuality.
When we try to confine life to ideas instead of adapting our ideas to life, we unwittingly cast a shadow of illusion. Whatever our sexual inclinations, imitating others or following a prescription can cause trouble. When we build our convictions today on an imagined future, this often leads to shocking outcomes. Our best intentions can be left in ruins by wishful-thinking regardless of being inside or outside of custom. We cannot measure from experience that never happened outside the mind, but we try. Our observation, reason, and intuition are confused and misguided not knowing we are chasing mind shadows. Abstractions are not public facts but concepts do induce emotions that seem like evidence of the truth. Relationships become rank with deceit, and grievances without rigorous truthfulness about the facts.
If you have ever been accused of something you did not do, you have seen ill-founded imagination at work. If a fact contrary to the mistaken conclusion emerges, the injustice might stop. But, if you lack such evidence amidst accusations, things are difficult and prejudice makes it worse. For millennia, people of both sexes lived and died believing women inferior.
As a partisan of open sexuality, people think I rationalize the shortcomings of eccentrics while eagerly pointing out the worst in the custom. Even if that were true, it would not change any facts available for all to see. I say let’s doubt both traditional and nontraditional beliefs about sex. Frankly, I treat the sexually adventurous more critically than I do conventional people. Some advocates of liberated sexuality have a double face, particularly when results surprise expectations. The pride that swells from thinking we have privileged knowledge will suffer when uncertainty rears its head.
By dividing people roughly into traditional and nontraditional and then only focusing on the differences, we miss seeing how much they share in common. These polarized groups have disputes that are largely circumstantial i.e. how the sex happens or who participates. Typically, neither side wants their beliefs challenged, particularly ideas about themselves. Members of these groups as a rule do not want to appear closed-minded or prude. A bisexual woman stated plainly that she avoids harassment by not telling lesbian friends she slips off with men occasionally for sex. In counter-culture there are many examples of prejudice but let this one make the point.
Some traditionalists including churchgoers have more sex partners than people in open relationships. Sinner’s guilt seems to counter-balance the many exceptions to a rule. The rationalization for booty calls go something like “I know it’s wrong but the sex doesn’t really count because we’re just having fun.” The participants in this sort of hypocrisy surprisingly feel a sense of safety. When honest people deal with greater mistrust and have more trouble finding lovers than folks with a double-face, it drips with irony.
Those willing to experience sex more openly feel surprise when I suggest they might be as conflicted as traditionalists. I say this because many people cling to an overarching concept of the way things “should be.” By the way, men and women share this problem. By comparing our circumstances to an ideal, we judge reality by how closely it conforms to a concept. Actual events and people seem inferior to ideas that real life may never allow. We feel pain when divergent facts break into a dreamy sentimental world mistaken for reality. When rebels and conformists both experience miserable disillusionment, the problem has little to do with custom and more to do with thinking.
Continued in Hobbled Hearts Part 2
Edit: 11/19/2013 Grammar