Man-Woman Relationship, Part 2
Commentary on Sex
Conservatives on the Religious Right (particularly Christian, Jewish, and Muslim Fundamentalists) are very confident that they know better than anyone else how to solve all manner of problems. But in many ways they have gone to extremes and taken giant leaps backwards — and this is particularly true concerning problems involving sex.
Even though there certainly are problems concerning certain sexual behaviors, the way to solve them is to progress forward, not go backward. We need to progress forward honestly, candidly, realistically, and courageously --- because the rigid, prohibitive, unrealistic, theocratic, patriarchal approach is not only backward, it is detrimental and simply counterproductive.
The rigid, prohibitive patriarchal approach fails to prevent inappropriate sexual behavior, just as it fails to prevent drug abuse. In fact, inflexible dictates and prohibitions usually exacerbate the problems, as history has proven over and over, because the rigidly strict, distrusting parental authority inevitably causes a child or youth to behave contrary to that authority’s demands and dictates, even in the face of threatened punishment.
A misguided civil or parental authority insists on obedience and compliance without understanding that good behavior results from educated, conscientious decisions, not from fear.
The human conscience is developed not as much by consideration of orders, rules and commandments, as it is from learning from example and from experience. Those who are fortunate develop their conscience by learning from good examples, by developing empathy, compassion, forgiveness, and love, by witnessing the good behavior of those who live by those virtues, and by witnessing the natural rewards that those virtues bring to those who live by them.
However, because of misguided patriarchal rule and many other reasons, there are many children living with bad examples. That is why there are far more problems involving sex now, after two and half decades of prudish preaching by the Religious Right, than there were at the height of the sexual revolution in America during the 1960s and ‘70s.
That’s not just a coincidence.
That is why it is now time to establish once and for all that sex and sexuality are not inherently bad or "evil." Contrary to widespread religious belief, indulging in the biblical "forbidden fruit" is not about "eating an apple," and being "tempted by the serpent" has nothing to do with sex.
The "serpent" who tempted Eve to partake of "the forbidden fruit from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil" in the Book of Genesis symbolizes subtle guile and deceit, not sex. As is discussed in other articles, the "forbidden fruit" is of the mind and is a product of the ego. The "fall from grace" story has to do with indulging in judgmental egotism, playing god, and thinking you are wise and superior, and that your judgment is better than others. That is why Jesus of Nazareth said "When your eye is single your whole body will be full of Light." He understood that an egocentric person's vision is clouded with the illusion of duality.
There are, however, instances in the Hebrew Bible where the serpent is associated with sex, but in those instances it is positive. In fact, as is discussed below, it is associated with the positive sexual healing energy and uniting and integrating spiritual power that Moses was given, which is also called the kundalini energy or "serpent power" in yogic terms. That is why Moses made a "serpent of brass"' on a rod, not only as a standard of protection, but also to symbolize the spiritual power inherent in human beings. That power or force can be utilized or directed in productive and healing ways, and the Mosaic symbol for it is the same as the caduceus of Hermes, which eventually became the symbol for medicine.
Furthermore, when you understand the allegorical symbolism of scriptures, you can see why in Genesis 3:22 Moses stated that Man can redeem himself if he “puts forth his hand, and take also of the Tree of Life, and eat, and live for ever.” That's why the Tree of Life is mentioned again in the book of Proverbs, the book of Wisdom, and in John's book of Revelation.
Unfortunately, even though Moses was divinely inspired in many ways, he came up with some misguided ideas that are outmoded now because they are sexist, erroneous, and even ridiculous in the light of modern knowledge. But then, the author of the books of Moses was only human, and in those ancient days they didn’t know what we now know about the human condition, and about archaeology, meteorology, astronomy, physiology, or biology.
For example, should a man and woman who lie together while she "has her sickness" (while she is menstruating) be "banished and shunned by their people"? No. Today we know such ideas are absurd. Such notions are obviously very antiquated, superstitious and totally out of touch with present-day knowledge and reality, not to mention common sense, even though Moses wrote them as "law."
In fact, there are many other things written in the "law giving" books of the Torah, particularly in Deuteronomy and Leviticus, that are even more obviously irrelevant and inappropriate today, and have long since been abandoned because modern scientific discoveries either proved them wrong or have changed cultural attitudes about them.
Unfortunately, many patriarchal religious authorities have not understood the truth and were ignorant of divine intent, and our idea of morality with regard to sex and marriage has consequently been distorted.
The notion that sex is "the original sin" is the worst example of that, and it has had a detrimental impact on many issues around love, sex and marriage, and the relationship between man and woman. And that has become an even bigger problem since the rise of the "religious right" to political power.
For example, in America, despite the fact that about 73 percent of the American people believe that all children can and should benefit from comprehensive sex education, and that if teens are sexually active they should have access to contraceptives, the Christian Right has aggressively pushed and imposed political legislation overruling the majority. They have controlled Congress, state legislatures, and local school boards, especially with regard to what our children are being taught (or not taught) about sex in school.
Consequently, in 1996, as part of the "welfare reform" program, Congress voted to spend $250 million to develop an "abstinence-only" curriculum. Schools are eligible for these funds if they teach that: 1) sexual abstinence has psychological and health benefits; 2) contraceptives are prone to failure and negative consequences; 3) sexual activity outside marriage is abnormal and likely to have harmful psychological and physical effects; and 4) out-of-wedlock child bearing is likely to harm the child, the parents, and society.
This intrusion of religion into government and into our public schools violated the Constitution, but few Americans were aware of that. So many schools have been distributing "standard guidelines" built around the abstinence-only curriculum. The trouble is, those "guidelines" were published by a right-wing partisan religious group, and their literature contains misinformation and thinly disguised puritanical propaganda throughout. And it completely avoids teaching young people what they really should know about sex.
The claims made in those "standard guidelines" of the abstinence-only curriculum are outrageous in their thinly disguised theocratic bent, which violates the Constitution. Besides that, they have proven to be counterproductive. Again, scare tactics never work, whether they are supposed to prevent drug abuse or premarital sex.
Studies have shown that the abstinence-only education has little or no impact on most young people’s behavior, and the impact that it has had has been more negative than positive. Research studies show that teen pregnancy rates and sexually transmitted disease (STD) rates are on the rise among students who were merely taught the abstinence-only curriculum.
Research studies show that only certain kinds of programs actually do succeed in preventing teen pregnancy and STDs, but those are only the few that are still able to offer what abstinence-only programs do not provide. That is, successful programs provide comprehensive sex education, including information about sexually transmitted diseases, birth control, and contraception, along with advocating abstinence and showing how and why careless promiscuity can have adverse effects.
Studies of comprehensive sex education programs found that their participants delayed the onset of sexual activity, increased the use of contraception, and reduced their number of sexual partners. They found that comprehensive sex education does not hasten sexual activity, that making condoms available does not increase sexual behavior, and that education about abstinence and contraception are compatible and not in conflict with each other.
These findings refute the claims of abstinence-only advocates, who erroneously and deceptively claim that the opposite is true. Their claims and programs have prevented many young people from knowing how to use contraceptives, and even though most now do use them in spite of what they are taught in school, they don’t know how to use them properly.
Studies have found that more than half of the teenagers who took "virginity pledges" still engage in sex. And, because of a lack of a good sex education, they engage in unsafe, unprotected sexual practices. Moreover, rates of sexually transmitted disease infections are the same among young people who have taken abstinence pledges and those who have not. And teen pregnancy rates are on the rise across the board.
In spite of the ineffectiveness of abstinence-focused sexual education, Congress continued funding for such programs, disregarding proof that it is counterproductive. After all, after spending over $1.5 billion on abstinence only programs, southern states in America had the highest rates of STDs and new HIV/AIDS cases, and had the highest percentage of teenage mothers in the nation.
However, those are not the only harmful effects of the misguided abstinence-only teachings. They ultimately push us right back into sexual repression and denial of our sexual nature. They produce either a lot of frustration or a lot of guilt or a lot of rebelliousness, and they force people to resort to sexual outlets that are detrimental to their sexual development.
Most young men and women find that masturbation is their easiest outlet or release of tension. According to one survey, at 14 to 15 years of age, 62 percent of males and 40 percent of females masturbate while they are alone, and as they mature the percentages increase. At 16 to 17 years of age it is 75 percent of men and 45 percent of women, and at 18 to 19 years of age it is 81 percent of men and 61 percent of women.
Furthermore, many young men are tempted to resort to sexual outlets that are unhealthy and frowned upon by society, to say the very least. More than half of all adult sex offenders began sexually abusive behavior as juveniles after they reached puberty. That could be because they were taught as juveniles that sex in any form is "wrong," or because they had a very suppressive parent and they rebelled however they could, sometimes in very inappropriate and harmful ways.
The point is that even though prohibitive sexual repression has been with us a very long time, it can be very counterproductive. It often has very little positive impact on any of the real problems, and it can actually create problems that might not have manifested otherwise. For while human beings tend to do what comes naturally, we have been taught not to do what comes naturally. And that has caused a myriad of problems.
For example, that is part of the reason men treat women as sex objects, because the social taboo on sex before marriage causes most young men to resort to masturbation, and they usually do so while fantasizing about a woman’s image as a sexual object. The earliest sexual experiences of many young men used to be masturbating while viewing a photo of a nude woman in a magazine and fantasizing about her, and now it’s watching pornography videos.
Of course, masturbation is not necessarily “bad,” but it can be. Moreover, it can cause many men to see women as sex objects because they've grown up masturbating while fantasizing about the image of a woman. Their sexual stimulation or “turn on” is visual, and it misses the important fact of life that genuine sexual union is actually the fusion of the emotional, spiritual and physical aspects of a man and woman enjoying sexual intercourse. And, if the initial stimulation is simply visual and continues to be simply visual, it will fade, just as visual beauty fades.
That can become an issue in sexual relationships and marriage, especially when a young man’s first sexual experience with a woman was with a prostitute or with an "easy" girl they did not love. Such experiences can be detrimental to their sexual education, and they can cause a young man to be unprepared for a genuine reciprocal loving sexual relationship with a female mate, because their first sexual experiences provided no spiritual connection, no physical union, no relationship, no loving intimacy -- and that can set a pattern that may lead to problems with sexual relationship in marriage.
However, this has nothing to do with the prudish traditional religious notion that the "pleasures of the flesh are sinful," because that notion is misguided and can be counterproductive, inhibiting, and repressive. That view has made some people think they need to deny the desires and needs of the body in order to "bring in the spirit," when in fact we need to bring the body, mind, spirit and soul into harmony.
Masturbation and sex with a consenting partner without love is not necessarily wrong. However, it can be part of the reason why so many men tend to regard women as sex objects for the rest of their lives, and why they tend to use women’s bodies essentially as masturbation devices for their personal pleasure and self-gratification. They never learn true sexual union of body, mind and spirit.
Human beings should learn the possibilities or benefits of a real sexual union and reciprocal sharing of loving feelings, sexual energy, emotions, and total bodily pleasure. That is not possible when one merely focuses on their sex organ and on their own orgasm. Men who do that tend to think of sex as something they "get" from a woman, and that is why so many women are so often resentful. In fact, that’s why so many women withhold sex as a punishment, or relinquish it as a reward.
Ironically, however, men are not the only ones who are affected negatively by having to repress their sexual desires before marriage. Women are too. Many women miss out on learning and discovering their sexuality in ways that are in tune with nature and their spiritual inclinations. Instead, they are taught for many years that sex is wrong, and then all of a sudden they are expected to feel that it is alright as soon as they are married. But many women who are virgins when they marry have problems because of that.
Those problems are made worse if those women marry a man who is equally dysfunctional, who objectifies women and simply wants to use their body to satisfy himself. In that case, their marriage is in deep trouble from the very start, even though it may take years for them to fully realize it.
In 2010 research showed that only 64 percent of American women reported having had an orgasm the last time they had sex with a man. That is a pretty clear indicator of the problem. It’s also an indicator of how many men don’t know how to please a woman, and how much they focus is on their own satisfaction rather than on mutual satisfaction.
It is part of the overall problem regarding sex, which is the consequence of repressive patriarchal nonsense which used to dictate that it was "a wife’s duty to sexually service her husband." So it is time for the whole world to be fully educated about sexual reality and the real facts of life. For if everyone knew the joys of true sexual union, sex would not be something a woman "gives" to a man. It would be something she mutually enjoys with a man, and she would be every bit as desirous as a man.
We now need to understand that sex is one of the greatest gifts of God to humanity, so people should be able to do what comes naturally to express their love in the sight of God. It is perfectly all right. In most cases, with proper education, and with proper precautions and birth control (for those who want to avoid pregnancy), this would only lead to deeper love, fulfillment, joy, and happiness. We all know that, if we are really truthful with ourselves.
What’s more, as many of us learned in the 1960s, sexual freedom and nudity greatly decreases sexual problems. That’s why the rates of sexual abuse, rape, and other sex crimes in America were much lower in the 1960s than they are now. And we were not lewd and raunchy about our sexuality as so many people are now. We were natural about it, and caring, because it was beautiful and good.
Sexual freedom generally removes the thoughts and cravings that are generated when prohibitive and repressive conditions prevail. That’s why now there is so much lewd and smutty sexual behavior in videos on television at the same time there are bible-thumping preachers on television warning that you’ll go to hell if you have sex out of wedlock. That is no coincidence.
It’s much like when a person craves certain foods that are prohibited in a rigidly restrictive diet, or when anything desirable is prohibited or regarded as taboo. It’s no different with sex, because prohibition, denial and repression can be counterproductive. And besides that, such prohibition often has nothing to do with "morality." It often has to do with patriarchal control of women.
Part of the reason such patriarchal traditions were created and perpetuated was to ensure the stability and certainty of "royal blood lines." That was the practice of all patriarchal monarchs, and that practice was ultimately imitated by all "common" men as well, to ensure the stability and certainty of the patriarchal family lines and the "family name." That’s why our traditional beliefs and mores regarding sex have been so strict and held so sacrosanct, and why the unblemished "family tree" is still so important to so many people.
Granted, the need for family is innate in us. It is a good thing to belong to a family and know who your ancestors were, and families and family trees are important. And even though certain patriarchal attitudes and beliefs will gradually fade away, it does not mean that it will destroy any of the good things about families. The traditional family may always be the ideal, and the best things about families will always endure.
However, we can redefine family to fit reality and meet our needs, and we need to establish more modern and educated conventions for courting, engagement, and marriage.
For example, in the future we may consider that young lovers who are having sexual relations could regard themselves engaged to be married, and if the relationship produces a pregnancy, they may be married. That is basically what most people do now anyway, and it could be considered acceptable and normal. We don’t need to lay down laws and be strict about it, but perhaps it should just be considered as the ideal.
Of course, strict parents of young daughters will initially be afraid that this kind of freedom would encourage promiscuity and sexual activity at too young an age. But we need to give our children more credit, and we especially need to trust our children as they become young men and women. For with proper, realistic education and honest guidance, they will usually do the right thing, and, if they don’t, they will learn from their mistakes.
Regardless of how parents and authorities approach this issue, young people will do what comes naturally. Just remember your own youth, and consider that youth today are not much different. In America about 63 percent of high school seniors have already engaged in sexual intercourse, and nearly half of all young girls have already had sexual intercourse by the age of 14.
Most parents cannot imagine that, because most young women keep their sex lives a secret from their parents. But we need to acknowledge that while our society has placed great value on having our young women be virgins and delay sex for as long as possible, most do not — and that is for several reasons.
Some of those reasons are because of bad influences and bad examples, whether it’s by peers, or by exploitive movies designed to be titillating, or by the "rap" or "hip hop" videos young people are exposed to, some of which portray lewd and vulgar sexual behavior and even negative sexist behavior.
That is not to advocate censorship or say anything against beautiful erotica. In fact, true and loving sexual erotica in movies can be very beautiful. However, our young people are being exposed to images and sights that are far from beautiful, and they can incite young men to behave in ways that are not at all gentlemanly or loving.
However, even if that weren’t a problem, sexual abstinence is not realistic for many young people, because many young lovers find that sexual intimacy happens naturally. The problem is, it is not a good experience for many, and it’s no wonder. The current climate of sexual taboos and the terrible lack of honest, quality education about sex and sexuality has prevented them from being savvy and knowledgeable.
In spite of that, though, some young lovers manage to have good and appropriate natural experiences, and others probably could too if they were properly educated and informed. After all, those that are going to have sex anyway might as well be fully prepared. And, with proper education, many more would probably not engage in sex inappropriately, or too early, as research studies have shown.
When everyone is provided with proper, honest, no nonsense, comprehensive sex education, young women will be empowered and able to feel free to decide for themselves about sexual activity, and they will feel very comfortable with saying no if they are not ready for it. And, with proper and adequate education, young men will understand very clearly that when a girl or young woman says no, it means no! Coaxing, begging and threatening will be understood as inappropriate, unfair, and wrong.
When we educate them properly, boys and young men will understand that they should respect a young woman’s virginity as something sacred and precious. They will understand that it is something that she should not "lose" to anyone, but give freely only if and when she is truly in love and truly ready. It should be impressed upon all males of every age how serious a crime it is to disregard that and violate a female sexually, whether she is a virgin or not. All males should know how deeply it can affect a female if she is sexually violated, and they should fully understand that it is one of the most serious offenses and crimes that a male can commit.
With thorough and proper sex education we can create an environment where sexual behavior is far more appropriate; where chastity and virginity is respected; where boys understand that girls are physically and emotionally very different, and are to be honored and respected.
We can also create an environment where young lovers can follow their heart and do what comes naturally. For when our attitudes are in tune with nature and when we properly educate young people, there will be far less sexual abuse, far less violation of female rights and privacy, and far less unwanted teen pregnancy.
Still, there is no ideal age for the onset of sexual activity. It should depend entirely on the individual young woman and when she is truly ready, physically, emotionally, and spiritually -- and only the individual young woman can determine that for herself. It is ultimately her decision, after all. But if she is truly in love with a young man and if the feelings are mutual, she can follow her heart and let her body, mind, and spirit act in harmony and in accordance with the way the spirit moves her — freely, and with abandon. However, she should not mistake a male’s ardor for her own, but be very aware of her own body, and very sure of her self. And in all sexual relations the male should exercise self-control and defer to the female’s desires.
It is another matter between sexually experienced single adults. Sexual activity should be, after all, a personal, private affair, and we are all unique individuals who are free to make our own choices as consenting adults. Some of us are comfortable with very traditional sexual behavior, while others are comfortable with a lot of sexual freedom.
For instance, what we often see in movies is a depiction of real people who do what comes naturally, and there is usually nothing wrong with that. We learn by doing, and we learn as much from our mistakes as we do from our successes. In fact, we probably learn more from our mistakes.
Sexual freedom in the West will come more quickly, but it may come more slowly in cultures that have been extremely repressed and misguided by prudish patriarchal traditions. But, eventually, all humanity will realize the need for religious reformation, especially with regard to sex. In time everyone will realize what many people already realize — that sex is natural and good. As long as it is consensual, mutually beneficial, and no harm is done, it is not wrong.
There is nothing wrong with sexual affairs as long as they are motivated by genuine mutual attraction and desire; as long as they are carried on with mutual caring and respect; and as long as the participants are free to have them. And that should not be considered promiscuity, because promiscuity is merely fornication, which is copulating or having sexual intercourse merely for the sake of having sex, without love, and without real attraction or caring. Fornication is not necessarily wrong, but it is not good because it cheapens sex and uses it for fleeting, frivolous and unrewarding reasons.
Most problems involving and relating to sex could be solved fairly easily if our society would simply develop a healthier and more natural attitude toward sex, and take the reasonable and logical steps necessary to prevent and solve the problems. It merely requires that we all realize and acknowledge that unhealthy and inappropriate sexual behavior really is a result of ignorance, false beliefs, sexual repression, and denial of our real nature.
A huge leap forward was taken by the sexual revolution that the hippies started in America in the 1960s, because it was in fact part of a spiritual liberation movement, and it was a completely natural response to the hypocrisy and error of prudish and repressive sexual mores. But, unfortunately, in the 1980s the Christian Right began pushing America backwards again, claiming they were fighting for religious values.
What they were really fighting for, and what they succeeded in restoring, was patriarchal, theocratic traditions. Therefore, when we realize that, and are finally able to finish throwing off the false beliefs that have inhibited and repressed humanity for thousands of years, we will be amazed at the difference it will make in society.
If we become more comfortable, natural and free with our sexuality, we will see all sexual problems diminish. We will see less and less pornography, less and less vulgarity, less and less cheap and sleazy displays of sexuality, and less and less sex abuse.
If our sexuality becomes more natural, and more naturally beautiful, the portrayals of sex in erotic adult movies and on television will become more natural. But we can progress forward only if we choose to, rather than condone backward efforts to restore sexual repression.
Human Sexual Capability
Even more important is the fact that human beings are very unique sexually. While many other animals have been given the ability to have sex and copulate to procreate, only human beings have been blessed by God with the ability to merge sexually and enjoy the ecstatic bliss of real, divine, spiritual, sexual union.
Most people will have to learn that, however, because we have not been educated about our human sexual potential. In fact, most people in the world, particularly in countries dominated by Judaism, Christianity, and Islam, are relatively ignorant of our real sexual potential and capability.
Some of our historical and traditional notions of morality have prevented us from naturally learning the truth, and, in our ignorance, most of us grow up repressing our sexuality socially, while secretly masturbating. That’s the reality, and it is natural, of course, under the circumstances — because masturbation can provide pleasure and release of tension, especially when it is one’s only sexual outlet.
However, because people become so dependent on masturbation during their formative years, when most people finally "have sex" with a partner they usually rely on techniques that stimulate the sex organ in order to bring on the familiar masturbatory orgasmic response. They either enjoy direct stimulation and/or copulate like animals, thrusting until they achieve a release of sexual tension. The trouble is, that merely replaces self-stimulation with using another person’s body for stimulation. It feels pretty good and it is pretty good, of course, but it falls short of what is possible.
See, there is a wonderful phenomenon that is created as a result of the actual merging of a man’s and a woman’s spiritual aura and sexual energy, until they become "as one flesh," just as the Bible says.
There is an actual spiritual-sexual union brought about by the awakening and merging of the sexual-spiritual energy of a man and woman, and it’s known as the kundalini or "serpent power" energy, symbolized by the caduceus of Moses and Hermes or Mercury, which became the symbol of medicine.
When it is awakened or activated, it moves both the man and the women together, involuntarily, as if they were one body glued together as "one flesh." It moves them in undulating waves of blissful pleasure, very slowly. Then, very gradually, it increases in intensity (but not necessarily in tempo) toward full mutual orgasmic bliss. But, it doesn’t have much to do with an "in and out" thrusting copulating motion. It doesn’t have much to do with friction or direct stimulation of the sex organs. It has more to do with the merging of the spiritual aura and the uniting flow of life-force-energy — the real union of a man and a woman.
This could be a natural thing, if young lovers were able to express their love naturally and innocently as their first, initial sexual experience. But, for those who have already experienced orgasm by stimulation of the sex organ, it has to be learned. That is why many people study and practice tantric yoga or kundalini yoga or maithuna, which were designed to teach how to achieve true sexual union. (But if you wish to pursue one of these methods, you should research what the teacher’s "credentials," are, who their teacher was, and who originated the teaching. Tried and true methods are usually the best, even though there are some modern adaptations that are good.)
Keep in mind, though, that even though genuine divine sexual union is not very easy for most people to immediately experience, it needn’t be frustrating if and when at first we don’t succeed.
The wonderful thing about it is that falling short of that goal is not un-satisfying! You can try and try again, and you can always fall back on the old ways. But, merely attempting to learn it will steadily improve and prolong sex for most people. At the very least it will help them slow down and enjoy the mutual pleasure of the journey more, even if they never happen to be fortunate enough to experience the complete merging and union of spiritual energy through sexual union.
The point is that it is possible for lovers to spiritually merge and lose their self in each other, become "one flesh," and actually become as one with each other while making love. When each one focuses on the indescribable feeling and sensation that is generated by their union, putting their undivided attention and focus on their togetherness, they can become one in the spirit.
However, the spiritual union of a man and woman, like one’s individual union with God, cannot be attained by intellectual knowledge, and effort in one’s own self-interest will not achieve it. It comes as a gift from God when you lose your self in God, or when you lose your self in the other and thus become one, for only when you lose your self (or become selfless) will divine union take place.
Now, while the "religious right" may think they are being wise and "godly" by trying to get us all to repress our natural sexual desires and inclinations, they are only proving how spiritually blind they really are. Granted, they follow old traditions and customs that they think are right, but they are wrong. We should progress forward toward freedom, acceptance, and exploration, and understand that it is God’s will that we finally be liberated from false, repressive attitudes and beliefs.
God created us the way we are for a very good reason, and there is nothing wrong with the way we are. We should be the way we are, freely, naturally, and joyfully — and we should thank God for it.