That title – “Free Thought Friday” might be a little strange. But bear with me please! I am trying to keep the alliteration alive (or the consonance … or the assonance….) and well while trying to get some of the stuff in my head out into the world in a more “concrete” way. SO, with that said, I would like to redefine the “SEXUALITY BINARY.” Whoa. Yes, indeed.
With that said, I would just like to “initiate” this sort of discussion with the reality that there will ALWAYS be parties who claim their “orthodoxy” to be inherently morally “right.” This is certainly true of the “Judeo-Christian” “ideal” of sex as a means for procreation. I utilize the “binary” “procreative” vs. “non-procreative” more “loosely” here, but we all know there are practitioners of essentially every religion there is or could be who believe not only that their tenets are “right” but that they personally adhere to them without ever going “astray” and without question. I am not quite sure if such parties actually exist, but they certainly claim to, and their voices are – as we have seen in recent “political years” – certainly loud and certainly persuasive. I argue in general that people who must live by such strict standards are inherently fearful and fear is perhaps the strongest “motivator” there is insofar as “persuasion” (perhaps “coercion” … self-perpetuating as that might be!) is concerned. And with all of THAT said, there will certainly be both religious and “self-thought” ideologues and zealots who claim either they or others adhere strictly to the idea that “sex without the intent of procreation is necessarily a sin” or the idea that the existing definitional “binary” for “sexuality” is already defined by these terms. I would argue that perhaps the BASIS for our current definition regarded procreation but that due to all types of movements and even just basic human impulse AND thought, our definition has shifted to mean something else. I know some very “orthodox” practitioners of certain religions who “believe” that non-procreative sex is a sin … but who themselves engage in that act frequently. Trying to define “heterosexual” in terms of being “right” because the intended consequence is necessarily reproduction is a means by which to bypass the many shades of grey that exist within any discussion of human sexuality. “Heterosexual” cannot be synonymous with “reproductive” unless every sexual encounter entails ACTUAL HETEROSEXUAL INTERCOURSE in which both parties involved do not derive any pleasure per se from “the act” but rather have overcome their more evolved brains by focusing solely on the biological intent of said act. If that sort of “definition” doesn’t convince you that the aforementioned “arguments” are absolutely ridiculous, I cannot write anything else that would convince you otherwise and we will simply have to agree to disagree.
Back to the “redefinition.” I cannot redefine such a thing by myself, I realize. BUT I would like to toss the idea of doing so out into the world because it would make things make more sense – especially to the brains of humans which are, I believe, both biologically and socially conditioned to think of things in terms of binaries or dialectical oppositions. Black and white, good and bad, strong and weak, healthy and sickly, we could go on indefinitely. Right now we look at “gender” in terms of “heterosexual” or “homosexual” and into the latter category we toss just about every other kind of sexuality we could ever think of defining. It’s a goofy way of going about things and it leaves just about everyone (if not everyone – I do not believe in absolutely straight straightness – and I am just about as straight as they come) “undefined.” Although I can never personally understand the struggle of being on the “other” side of that binary, I can understand – by means of struggling with chronic illness – the “Other”ness associated with being on THAT side of things. And the absolute lack of a definition onto which to hold for any kind of support whatsoever. We have been taught, at least in the Judeo-Christian “West,” that there is “good,” “heterosexual,” and “bad,” “homosexual.” Anything that isn’t exclusively aimed at procreation is “BAD.” AND THEREIN LIES MY PROPOSITION.
What if we were to move the binary in that direction? Again, I implore you to bear with me here! What if we were to regard “sexual preference” in terms of “preference to procreate?” This IS a binary albeit a binary whose “terms” are more indefinite; the heterosexual relationship can shift back and forth between the two “ends of the spectrum;” the _____ (insert whatever you would like!) relationship can move back into the morally “acceptable” realm of “GOOD” because there are many same-sex or not-so-easily defined “couples” (they don’t even have to be couples! That’s the beauty of this definition as well!) who WANT to procreate but do not have the biological / physiological means to do so. It is an entire perceptual SHIFT; it is essentially turning the established “Judeo-Christian” definition of what is “right” and “wrong” sexually something like 78 degrees in any direction – it is not turning what we have been taught is “right and wrong” on its head, it is redefining it altogether. We are taught that “right” in the context of “sex” means reproduction; so why is it that those who want to reproduce but who cannot do so because of biological limitations are “wrong?” And in the same light, why are the heterosexual couples who DO NOT want to procreate (or the heterosexual individuals, for that matter – I fall into this category!) either RIGHT despite not having children or WRONG (depending on your particular “brand” of Judeo-Christian belief) for utilizing means in order NOT to have children? And what about the polygamists and all of the others that simply CANNOT fall into a “straight / gay” binary? What about those who perhaps experiment a bit and realize they are either gay or straight? There are so many hypotheticals here I could really go on forever.
This “reproductive” shift in definition does not even speak to the MORALITY of having children in the first place. I understand that we have been conditioned (again, both biologically and psychologically / socially) to want to have children (I missed the boat on that one!), however, what about the DEBATE about the “right”ness of having children in this day and age in the first place? This gets into SUCH MURKY TERRITORY … I feel like you all (yinz!) would be better served if I left those tortuous debates and details for other posts.
And so, for now, I will leave you with that thought. What if we were to EMBRACE IN A WAY, the “religious” basis for what “defines” “good and bad,” and utilize it to redefine sexuality? It’s an incredibly interesting thought to me because it makes the definitions of both “right” and “wrong” in this context almost absolutely fluid – and I think there is no other legitimate way in which to define such things. I hope you are all having a happy and healthy day (or night!) wherever you are in the world! I am starting to feel a little better so I am hoping to get up and off the ground again with this “blog” this weekend! I’d love to hear your thoughts on this one – I do think shifting such rigid definitions would only serve to benefit the vast majority of people – anytime we can open an otherwise strict definition, we open the way for greater understanding and compassion – and that’s really what this blog is about and what we should ALL “be” about. I will try to be back later today to at least do a quick edit on this one – just remember, my heart is always with YOU!
❤ Always, Beth