Monday, May 29, 2006

Sexuality denial watch

In this post, Andrew Sullivan rightly chastises Christianists for denying the reality that gay people exist. This denial is absurd. I am an actor in the Bay Area, and I can assure all you Christianists out there that gay people do in fact exist. And they really are gay. You really have to go through some pretty absurd contortions to get around this reality.
But Christianists don't just deny that gay people exist. They deny that straight people exist, too. They deny the existence of any form of sexuality that anyone would recognize as human. Dan Savage has been constantly hammering this point in his columns (here, here, and here, and I'm sure there are more). Normal folk who just want to get responsibly laid every once in a while or even just have some hot, loving sex with their spouse are in for a big surprise. We think, "Those gay-bashers would never come after me! I'm a red-blooded man/womanly woman!" Well the evidence is pretty overwhelming that that is not the case. The New York Times Magazine recently had a cover article (I think this might require a subscription) on the war on contraception. Not war on abortion. Contraception. It was scary.
Gay people like Sullivan and Savage are alert to the Christianists' latest repressive fantasies, partially because the gay community has been punching bag for the puritans for so long. So when they say "Pay attention!", I think even we safely married hetero folk ought to start taking this very personally. Sit up and take some notice. This isn't just about fighting for the rights of gay people to marry. It's about fighting for the right of anyone to have responsible sex with anyone else.
One of the things that bugs me most about the Christianists is that they do not have a good answer to the following question: what should an unmarried person do with their sexual feelings? In the twisted view they put forward, people are supposed to abstain from sex until marriage. Now according to this Encarta article, in 1995 the average age of a woman at her first marriage was 25, and that of a man was 27. Now assuming puberty starts around 12 (something I gleaned from a cursory scan of this article on Salon), that leaves a good 13-15 years or more where a person is supposed to do...what?
Masturbate? I don't see the abstinence folks handing out lube, erotica, or how-to pamphlets. Maybe if they did they'd actually get somewhere. At least they'd show they were serious about providing alternatives to sex. It seems like they just want sexual feelings to go away during the very time that they are most intense. Do they want us to marry earlier? Is that a good idea? Are 16 year olds really in any place to get married and start a family if they want to succeed in our society? I don't think early marriage is a good idea. For one, I think it leads to higher divorce rates, which most agree is a bad thing. 
They just want reality to go away. (Is there a parallel to the administration's handling of Iraq? I think so.) Only bad people have those feelings. Those bad thoughts can be ignored, repressed, pushed away without creepy negative consequences. Why does anyone who has gone through puberty and felt the force of those horomones think that this is a viable method for dealing with sexuality? I do think sexuality needs to be controlled. Sex has big consequences. Some of them bad. But it's not like you can ignore those feelings for 10+ years. It's absurd. Let's start coming up with some reality-based solutions.
Anyway, readers of Internal Monologue know my feelings on these matters. Down with the puritans!


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