Eden Hill Journal

Comments, dreams, stories, and rantings from a middle-aged native of Maine living on a shoestring and a prayer in the woods of Maine. My portion of the family farm is to be known as Eden Hill Farm just because I want to call it that and because that's the closest thing to the truth that I could come up with. If you enjoy what I write, email me or make a comment. If you enjoy Eden Hill, come visit.

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Location: Maine, United States

Monday, October 10, 2005

Disturbing

Today I write about sex. I know, I know, dirty old man thinking about sex at my age and all that jazz... But here I go anyway. What I want to write about is the way my perspective on sex is changing and how I am discovering that I think there is a great deal about how people in this day think about sex that is disturbing to me.
My background in life is as a bit of a prude. I have heard rumors that my dad was anything but that in his first life, but I didn't get to know him until his second life as I was born when he was sixty years old. By then he was comfortably settled with his second wife, my mom, on a hillside in Maine overlooking beautiful Wilson Pond and the mountains to the east. However, as near as I can tell, my mom came from a rather prudish family, ancestors to the modern conservative Christian movement. Even though she rebelled, being among the many women commonly referred to as "Rosie the Riveter" in upstate New York during World War II and then moving to Maine on her own where she met my still-married dad, details never revealed, she still somehow managed to entrench in me a sense of prudishness that I'm sure I'll never completely free myself from no matter how I try or who I meet before I die.
Yet I was a product of the 60s and a fringe member of the sexual revolution generation. I suppose I just had a few too many hang-ups to fully appreciate the revolution. I was a virgin till I was 21. It's not that I hadn't explored my own sexuality, though. It's just that I was way too shy and ashamed to explore the sexuality of women, even though that's exactly what I wanted to do. I was never into the guy thing.
Enough of my background, now what is this post going to say?
I am disturbed about a few things I have experienced lately. I think I first realized this fact about a year ago when I went to a wedding of two young conservative Christians. I didn't know this couple well enough to know about their personal lives, whether they were virgins or not, how they thought about sex, that sort of thing. But the wedding was conducted in such a way as to present the image of them as virgins. While most weddings don't put a significant (if any) emphasis on sex, I was surprised at this wedding to find many allusions to the sexual relations these two young people would now be able to share once they had completed this marriage bond. There were giggles and murmurings from those in the church who knew this couple. At one point in the wedding the pastor, eyes bulging and a lustful smile on his face, paused and asked us all to behold this beautiful maiden, congratulating the groom on the pleasures he would soon enjoy with this young woman. To put it simply, it made me sick, disturbed, freakin' pissed off. My apologies to the couple for feeling this way, but that's the reaction I had. To be fair, it's not that the whole wedding was about sex. It's just that there was far too much subtle innuendo for comfort.
What refreshed my memory about this event was an article in the June 30 - July 14 2005 issue of Rolling Stone, page 103, titled "the YOUNG & the SEXLESS" about a modern Christian chastity movement among American singles. I'll leave it to you to read the magazine, but here's a blog from one of the people mentioned by this article:
http://www.dawneden.com/blogger.html
I think I prefer reading Dawn's blog, however, to reading young female blogs like these:
http://singleserves.blogspot.com/
or worse,
http://diaryofaliberatedwoman.blogspot.com/
Sexual liberation isn't all it's cracked up to be.
Yesterday I rented a 2003 movie called The Magdalene Sisters which is about a Catholic convent in Ireland where shamed women were committed to a life of repentance, essentially isolated and punished not for their own shame but for the shame that society would feel in their presence, shame that society and religion then forces onto these women. The movie is dark and disturbing, but again it shines a spotlight on religion's obsessions with sex.
And I think that's what I'm getting at here. Religion can and does often become obsessive about sex and when it happens, it is deeply disturbing to witness because the real obsession isn't about sex at all. It becomes an obsession about shame. Yes if somebody wishes to remain a virgin, great. That's a good choice, safe and healthy. If somebody wishes to explore sexuality, that's OK too but it is nearly impossible to do that outside of marriage without both emotional and health risks. Live and learn applies when a person takes that route in life. The disturbing part comes, though, when religion is applied to impose on society a set of rules, often breached in secrecy, which restrict and punish the innocent while liberating the cheaters. Find me a religion obsessed with sex where there are no cheaters, where the innocent and the youthful are not forced to feel shame for healthy and natural feelings. Find me a legalistic religion not darkened by the shadow of those who secretly abuse their authority.
Disturbing...

6 Comments:

Blogger Mainline Mom said...

Yeah, you do sound like a total prude. I didn't get half of what you were saying, but I don't know why you think religions are obsessed with sex more than anybody else. EVERYBODY is obsessed with sex. Just turn on the TV. There's no better place than a Christian wedding to talk about it. Sex is a great thing, especially in the right context, and I don't see why you were so disturbed. In my church I was never raised to feel any shame or guilt about sex, only to understand the value of waiting.

3:46 PM, October 10, 2005  
Blogger Bill said...

There's something about that comment, MM, that seems particularly smug. I get it if your church has a healthy perspective on sex. That's great, really. If that is the case, then it isn't likely that I was referring to what goes on in your church.
I was referring to something else.

8:49 AM, October 11, 2005  
Blogger Bill said...

An example of what I am referring to:
http://www.editorandpublisher.com/eandp/news/article_display.jsp?vnu_content_id=1001263321

9:51 AM, October 11, 2005  
Blogger Mainline Mom said...

Yeah I know this kind of thing goes on lots of places, and it gets especially highlighted in religious organizations because people think it's hypocritical and Christian leaders or priests are supposed to be above reproach. Obviously I think it's a terrible shame but it happens everywhere and religious leaders aren't perfect, they're human, just like everybody else. They screw up. Sometimes pretty badly.

Yeah maybe my post sounded smug, but not because I think I'm some pure, perfect little Christian.

10:41 AM, October 11, 2005  
Anonymous piojo said...

Interesting!! I actually agree with Mainline mom!! Weird . .who would have thought... But I see your point too Bill . . Lemme let this ferment over nighit...

-ed

4:20 PM, October 11, 2005  
Blogger mistress lilith said...

I am amused to find that you have read my blog...at first i wanted to just lay into you. Then after much thought i decided to live and let live....Go ahead and judge me ...i will not judge ou. You are entitled to your views on my blog www.diaryofaliberatedwoman.
But my blog is a safe way of venting out my feelings,... true casual sex is very empty but for now it is a phase i am going thru. I beleive that sex is something natural and beautiful, its not something thats dirty or filthy or sinful or something to mock at or laugh at or to be ashamed of. All of us, even the priests and nuns are sexual beings that includes you as well my dear sir...
But one thing my dear sir, i will not be a prude ...but will remain very liberal in my views on sex and religion...This may shock you but whats in my blog is only the tip of the iceberg...i have many adventures which will shock you my dear sir which i have yet to put down on blog....
Go ahead feel free to cast as many stones as you want... I am here not to be judged neither do i judge you.

P.S. heheheh...go read the Marquis DeSade...i beleieve he was right when he said one will know a persons true nature once all moral, religious and sexual constraints are dropped....i know my true nature sir...do you know yours...?????

10:14 AM, October 27, 2005  

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