March 1st, 2007

Somewhere Between Frustration and Oneness

You know, I sometimes experience an enormous amount of frustration around my perception of society’s and the media’s treatment of sex—or more specifically, their treatment of sex outside of the married pro-creational sex that is implicitly (and sometimes explicitly) postulated to be “normal” and “natural,” often relegating sex that does not fit this description to…something else, apparently.

One of the most obvious subjects I see as made victim to this is prostitution. For some reason it is not allowable in America to sell sex. (Ironic, eh? One may use sex to sell almost anything one can think of, but as far as actually selling it itself, no no no!) Two recent news pieces have brought this topic to my attention the last couple days, and subsequent frustration has indeed been ignited in me.

The first:

“A federal appeals court ruled that the Bush administration can deny funding to nonprofit AIDS groups that do not publicly disavow prostitution and sex trafficking. [NOTE: This perpetual conflation of prostitution and sex trafficking as though they are the same thing is dangerous, counterproductive, and utterly inaccurate.]

Overturning a lower court’s decision, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia said Tuesday that the AIDS groups’ free speech rights would not be violated if the money was linked to a pledge to uphold government policy. . . .

‘The act does not compel DKT to advocate the government’s position on prostitution and sex trafficking; it requires only that if DKT wishes to receive funds it must communicate the message the government chooses to fund,’ [the judge] wrote in a 10-page decision reversing the lower court’s ruling. (emphasis mine)

Okay. Now I seriously fail to see the distinction here. At all. How is requiring it to “communicate the message” of the government different from “compelling it to advocate the government’s position”??

Indeed it has been evident to me that those in the White House have their little moralistic hang-ups about sex (naive and self-righteous as they may be), and I have historically noted and experienced dismay as a result of my perception of the puritanical social overtones regarding the same in this country, but that does not mean that I understand any of it. When I get to the next example I will talk more about the general idea of judgmentality in connection with sexuality, but in the above situation, at issue is a more practical matter of policy being put forth by those in a position of political power.

It’s fine that those in charge of U.S. policy consider prostitution immoral; it is certainly their prerogative to hold that opinion. When they coercively extend it to everyone living in certain countries on other continents in conditions most of us can’t even imagine and haven’t bothered trying to (myself included), it demonstrates an inappropriate invasion of their aforementioned opinion on people’s lives — and deaths, in this case. (At risk is funding for AIDS prevention programs in a number of countries around the world.)

And the second:

“Police are investigating an alleged brothel in an upscale neighborhood in Bedford Hills. . . .

This is a really rich upscale area but right underneath all the neighbors [sic] noses, police say there was a dominatrix operating out of one of the houses. . . .

[P]olice arrested the alleged dominatrix.

‘You wouldn’t expect this in Bedford Hills.'”

What exactly is it that one “wouldn’t expect”? People to be having sex? People to be having sex differently from the way you do? People to be making a living in a way different from the way you do? Any of this to be happening in a neighborhood that is “upscale”? It continues to astonish me how automatically people appear to dismiss, denigrate, and outright attack things of a sexual nature that they either know little about or simply assume must be “bad” or “wrong” because society postulates, either overtly or tacitly, some disapproval of them. What, exactly, is the argument against the practice of consensual activities between adults that is not causing harm to others?

In short, to those so concerned about the aforementioned activities of others that they force others to profess agreement with them in order to receive their assistance or condemn their neighbors for doing consensual things they themselves choose not to (or claim to choose not to), I say this gently but frankly: Get a life.

I say that without malice or sarcasm. Instead, I offer it sincerely, and what I mean by it is this: Find a focus in life that extends beyond the fear that leads you to condemn and condescend others who take part in consensual activities that you don’t find appealing. Direct your energy in a way that aims to serve you and the universe, rather than in a linear or downward fashion that actively seeks to condemn others and searches for reasons to aggressively focus outward in order to avoid whatever it is that is so constricting and frightening you internally.

Examine the attitudes about sex and sexuality that you have naturally absorbed from the mainstream culture and consider how you feel about them. If you find yourself feeling judgment, ask yourself why you believe you are in a position to judge what is right and wrong sexually and that others should act in accordance with those beliefs as well? I myself am personally quite familiar with the propensity to be judgmental, so I strongly empathize as you explore this phenomenon in yourself.

What if someone decided that something you consensually enjoy sexually was “wrong” and “indecent” and quite simply not allowed anymore? What if the way you choose to make a living was suddenly criminalized because someone else decided that it was “wrong,” and the idea caught on until society seemed quite firmly gripped by the mindset that your method of making a living was somehow just fundamentally and unquestionably not acceptable?

Some people don’t like the idea of prostitution, and there is no doubt whatsoever that they should not have to partake in it if they don’t want to. Some others are not uncomfortable at all with prostitution, and I have yet to be convinced just what it is that justifies their being legally prohibited from engaging in it. (Incidentally, I would add that the hypocrisy of such a policy in a country that lives and dies on capitalism is truly breathtaking to me.)

Almost all of us view the world through our personalities most of the time, and it is the fixation(s) of the personality that generates and manifests phenomena such as judgmentality, self-righteousness, and misdirected aggression. Even the frustration I feel as expressed above is a product of my personality. I struggle with these tendencies just as much as the next person, and I support us all in recognizing our habitual, unaware propensities and realizing the ultimate universal truth:

We are all One.


“Imagine there’s no heaven, it’s easy if you try, no hell below us, above us only sky, imagine all the people living for today…you may say I’m a dreamer, but I’m not the only one, I hope some day you’ll join us, and the world will live as one…”
-John Lennon “Imagine”


  1. […] blogged about this years ago, as I was and am appalled by the idea of making the receipt of funding for HIV prevention […]

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