Why We Are
More Than Animals.
In a Popular Culture Ravaged
By Promiscuity and Casual Relationships,
Spiritual Responsibility Holds the Key
To the Treasures of Human Sexuality.
By Katherine Peacocke
Saturday, March 17, 2001.
Santa Rosa, California
Special to corndancer.com
Science has taught us that we are just like the animals. Practitioners of the exalted scientific method have "proven" through their theories (there's an oxymoron for you) that we humans are barely farther down the food chain than the orangutan or the dolphin.
In the words of James Petersen, author of The Century of Sex: "Were we descended from apes, as Charles Darwin maintained? Does the animal instinct — lust — govern all aspects of our life, as Sigmund Freud suggested?" (Petersen80)
Freud and others have encouraged us that sex is merely an animal instinct. It must be fed. It need not be civilized. It is a natural, immediate "need," so why not fulfill it?
Where Love Is the Context,
And Spirit the Foundation
Is Not Where Pop Culture Leads Us.
Of course, our culture and the media have propagated the scientific philosophy of sex as animal instinct in hopes of ridding us of sexual "taboos." Because we have been told by scientists and social theorists that we are merely animals — a position enthusiastically endorsed in the Academy and the media — sex in the eyes of popular culture has become an act devoid of a very special reality, that of our humanity. The culture's designated spokesmen do not teach us about true sex, where love is the context and spirit the foundation.
When we reduce our sex drive to the animalistic, we reduce ourselves to the status of animals — with no reason, no soul, no heart. That would explain the emptiness I see in so many promiscuous people's eyes. It's sad that a cheap substitute for sex is cheating so many.
Someone completely driven by her libido (the sexual energy of Freud's id) reduces herself to the impulsive behavior of an animal, incapable of rational thought. If we reduce sex to animal instinct, we deny the spirit in us, the animating force that makes us human. We deny our soul.
Sex should be about both function and communication. We can do more in our sexual experience than any animal ever could.
Sex Has Lost Its Sacred Character.
We have become so scientific — in this age where technology is demigod — that we have dehumanized ourselves. As author Thomas Moore states: "Medicine and the sciences, physical and social, have secularized the human body, and in the process sex has lost its sacred character." (Moore292) An animal's sex drive is mostly, if not completely, physical. Is this what we want for ourselves? Do we want to reduce ourselves to the level of Sparky and Fluffy? What a tragedy to try so hard to disconnect the body from the spirit — and we wonder why our sex is not fulfilling.
The link between sexuality and animalistic impulse is so prevalent in our culture that I challenge you to consider how it has affected your thinking about sex. Does the animalistic viewpoint seduce your reason and good sense? Does it allow you to become casual and profane about your sexual nature?
Sex is more than an act, more than a function of the body and its ally, the libido. Recently, a friend told me about the night he almost lost his virginity. It was in high school and he was at a party. A very cute girl, one he liked alot, got very drunk and threw herself at him. He said he sat there beside her, looking at her body, knowing he could do whatever he wanted with her, that she would happily comply — and then something stopped him.
My friend told me it just didn't seem right. If it were just about orgasm and the mechanical act of copulation, he would have done it. Sex isn't that way to me, he said. He realized he wanted more than physical release from his sexual relationships. It's not about the physical. It's about the experience and the sharing, about the relationship of soul to soul. He recognized that sex can be much more than so many of us make it out to be.
The End of a Taboo Transforms Sex
Into a Casual, Individual Experience.
Sexual promiscuity is no longer a taboo. In fact, casual sex is encouraged as a way to explore and expand one's so-called sexual identity. The primary goal of sleeping with multiple partners, according to popular perception, is sexual satisfaction and sexual experience. Can a person truly be satisfied this way?
In Malraux's A Man's Fate, the author describes one of his character's experiences with casual sex: "In reality he never went to bed with anyone but himself, but he could do this only if he were not alone." Sex has become so casual that it is solely about an individual experience — the necessary connection with another human is merely incidental. By casual sex, I am not just talking about the one-night stand. I am talking about people who slip into a relationship for a few months, and then begin to sleep together. How can you say you even know another person after a few months? The intimacy of knowing someone else takes time.
Casual sex in its divorce from personality focuses exclusively on temporal passion, or "chemistry," which reduces one's idea of intimacy to the physical aspects of intercourse. How often have you or one of your friends climbed into bed only a short time after meeting someone because you sensed the presence of a "sexual chemistry" you just couldn't resist?
As we all know, a person always looks their best at the beginning of a relationship. A potential relationship can become highly charged with the initial chemistry of mystery and promise because you haven't had the time to get to know the other's quirks — quirks that in the long run may annoy you. The grass on the other side of the fence looks so much greener. Once you get over there, you realize it has to be mowed, too.
When the Lemon Is Sucked Dry,
The Lemon Is Casually Cast Aside.
The philosopher Kant provides a telling insight into the sad reality of promiscuity: "Sexual love makes of the loved person an object of appetite; as soon as one has the person and the appetite has been stilled, the person is cast aside as one casts away a lemon which has been sucked dry. Sex, taken by itself ... is a degradation of human nature."
No wonder we so often see such high turnover in relationships that were launched on the stormy seas of sex. Once the thrill is gone, the relationship is done.
Promiscuity thrives because of the ruling fiction that sex is casual and shorn of commitment — and that commitment is not a desirable thing. Devoid of the depth of obligation and responsibility, promiscuity harms both the individual and society. Dr. Fromm explains: "The obvious clinical facts demonstrate that men and women who devote their lives to unrestricted sexual satisfaction do not attain happiness and very often suffer from severe neurotic conflicts or symptoms. The complete satisfaction of all instinctual needs is not only a basis for happiness, it does not even guarantee sanity."
Why, then, are we encouraged by our culture to have as much sex as we want as long as we are "responsible"? I think this kind of encouragement strains the meaning of responsibility. If someone voices opposition to the philosophy of unrestricted sex — if they point out that casual sex is spiritually irresponsible — they are branded as an uptight prude. Has anyone stopped to think that the uptight prudes among us might have a very valid point?
To a Spiritual Being,
Promiscuity Yields a Bitter Fruit.
The effects of promiscuity on society are detrimental on multiple levels. A society in love with promiscuity breeds a general contempt for children, who are seen as obstacles to the full enjoyment of sexual liberation and transformed into the faceless fetus and the unknown embryo. We see this bitter fruit fall upon the land in the millions of abortions and the thousands upon thousands of absentee fathers.
No matter what your religious bent, the body is invested with a soul. Eastern and western philosophies unite on this fundamental truth. We are spiritual beings.
To deny the spiritual nature of humanity through the promotion of animalistic sex is to deny an essential part of our being. We enter into a state of denial that, if maintained, will eventually kill the spirit. A slow form of death creeps upon us. You see it in the hollowness and despair evident in the countenance of so many porn stars, rock stars, and sports stars — cultural heroes and heroines, who have willingly experienced so many casual and animalistic sexual encounters that they seem to have numbed themselves to the validity of deeper, spiritually inspired relationships.
"But when spirituality and sexuality unite ... we discover our lost security." (Moore158) Can this be the answer? We gain more security when we extend our concept of sexuality beyond the libido and realize the power of becoming a fully functioning human being.
A Desperate Hollowness
Litters the Road to Nowhere.
Recently I befriended a famous ex-basketball star, a rampantly physical man who is always very vocal about his love for sex and sexuality. He is a nice enough guy, but he is dead in the spirit. One look in his eyes and I see the desperate hollowness. He doesn't even blink when another set of fake breasts present themselves to him, or when another groupie begs for a sexual encounter. He has seen, and done, so much in the physical realm that few things stir him anymore. He has lived out the prevalent cultural philosophy of our times — and it's gotten him nowhere. He is a living example of the cold reality that sex alone is certainly not the road to enlightenment or happiness. It may not even guarantee sanity.
Without the leavening of the soul, sex becomes mechanical — a hollow, functional experience. Sex without soul translates into a sexuality that is incomplete and insufficiently human (Moore, 24). Even when sex is loveless or empty, it still exerts resonating affects in the soul.
Let me reemphasize the point: Like it or not, human beings have a soul. We have a spiritual nature. Even if you try to disconnect sex from your soul stuff, you will surely fail because one and the other are intrinsically connected. Your may trick yourself into believing your spirit was hidden from the act, but it's just a trick. Your spirit will certainly suffer the repercussions.
To seek a disconnect of self from sex is an act of extreme danger. Anyone who stumbles there could very well kill a part of himself. Can you enjoy, completely and without reservation, the practice of casual sex? If so, you have become jaded in the spirit. It's a form of deadened identity that will certainly carry over into other areas of life.
Someday You May Want to Settle Down,
But Will You Know How?
By living a lifestyle of casual sex, one may experience difficulty in sustaining a relationship when she decides, at long last, that she actually wants one. Tragically, so many people live this way because the culture dictates it. Follow your passions, the slogan demands. Be an animal if you feel like it — the advertising hook gives you full permission. Everyone else is doing it. It's got to be ok. Someday you'll settle down but for now, have fun! Test-drive people in bed. You're only young once!
What happens, however, when the practitioner of free-style sex and disposable relationships finally decides to settle down? How can we expect him to have any idea of how to create a serious, functional relationship when all he has practiced is casual dysfunction?
Is it really fun to sleep around and explore the sexual landscape? Most people I talk to, when we get past the surface games and become honest with one another, say it's not all that wonderful after all.
Recently I ran into a high school classmate. He was a popular football player known for his reputation with the ladies. First thing he asks me: "Are you still a virgin?" I say yes, and I don't think I've missed much. "No, you haven't," he replied, tellingly. "I've known a lot of sex, but I've never known love."
The Shallow Imagery of Pop Culture,
Or the Sacred Realm of the Spirit?
Sex is important. It should mean alot more than the fulfillment of our animalistic urges and impulses. If we continue to accept the scientific view of ourselves as animals, if we continue to promote the shallow imagery of pop culture over the sacred realm of spiritual sex, we will slowly destroy our souls. Surface-level sexuality cannot produce lasting happiness and cannot teach us to understand how to make a relationship last.
I choose to honor human sexuality above that of the animals. I choose to believe that we have more responsibility and more possibilities when we recognize the true potential and intended design of the human sexual experience.
To attain the full measure of our sexual nature, we must honor sex on a much higher plane than our society today would like to allow. By honoring the true sexual expression of our humanity, we become responsible and fulfilled. Let's recognize that the treasures of our sexual nature are not meant to be promiscuously shared, but rather should be invested in a loving and lasting relationship.
Katherine Peacocke is an abstinence advocate. Through her work in California schools during the past seven years, she has spoken to thousands of teens about issues of sex and sexuality.
She has been featured on major television shows as well as local newspapers and radio stations. A graduate of Azusa Pacific University with a degree in Communication, she currently works for Strategic Christian Services.
The article published here is an excerpt from her forthcoming book, The Best Sex You Never Had.
To learn more about Strategic Christian Services, visit the website, www.gostrategic.org
Katherine also invites you to visit Lakita Garth's website, www.popularge.com
Katherine's E-mail address is email@example.com
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