Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Sex and Blue Skies

MSNBC's Brian Alexander has an excellent piece about the Attorney General's new War on Porn. I don't think that the government should completely ignore minor law enforcement problems just because there are higher priorities like counter-terrorism. However, as Alexander points out, studies show that porn isn't a problem! A.G. A.G. should stop wasting taxpayer dollars scanning porn sites, and go after some actual criminals.

It is my opinion that Alberto Gonzales is engaged in political pandering to two constituencies: the religious wingnuts who see sex for pleasure as the root of all evil, and a vocal minority of parents who want the government to be responsible for raising their kids their way.

I'm not saying that a parent's job is an easy one. Quite the contrary. The ubiquity of online porn makes it difficult for children surf safely. However, there's no practical alternative to conscientious parental guidance (and good Web filtering) in this case. We can't effectively police the entire Internet without disconnecting huge chunks of it. That would hurt everything from trade to democracy to human rights.

In my opinion, parents should explain to children precisely what is and isn't acceptable activity, and parents should feel justified in setting reasonable limits on their childrens' behavior. Even if that means that their kids can't take part in every teenage social event, or can't surf the Internet without some form of supervision or surveillance.

Creating safety zones for teens is time-consuming, and comes with great responsibility. Simply erecting an information shield around the child to prevent access to all things sexual doesn't sound like a workable plan to me. Young people deserve information about safe sex and their sexual development, and they should get that information from appropriate sources (e.g., their parents).

Okay, so I'm not saying anything radical, here. I reckon most people would agree that, ideally, teens should be celibate. What about sex among consenting adults?

In my view, sex is like a blue sky or a starry night. Sex is something to be enjoyed and appreciated, something that enhances our quality of life. I think it's mean-spirited and malicious to make people feel guilty for enjoying the innocent gifts that Nature has provided to us. And the pleasure of sex is an especially good gift.

This is why authoritarian efforts to stifle consensual sexual behavior, or speech about such behavior, really bothers me. If anything, we should be making sex more wonderful, more safe, more socially acceptable and more available to adults. We should be fighting the social ills that are correlated with sexual activity, not fighting or stigmatizing the act itself.


Robin Zebrowski said...

It's all a result of the pseudo-mind/body problem! If people would stop seeing themselves as some pure substance attatched to these filthy bodies, and accept that we *are* our bodies, I think views on sex would change pretty drastically.

But I think all the world's ills could be helped by a correct view of the body!

Doctor Logic said...

An interesting point!

I agree that many people who oppose sexual openness suffer from this duality syndrome.

However, the sexually repressed could reasonably argue that just because we are capable of enjoying an activity, doesn't mean that we should engage in that activity. Of course, they're still wrong about sexual repression, but for other reasons.

I agree, many of the world's ills could indeed be helped by a correct view of the body. Or, at least, multiple naked ones.

Doctor Logic said...

And furthermore...
Abstinence-only sex ed defies common sense:

There may be a sillier strategy for dealing with sex among teens than promoting the choice of "abstinence-only-until-marriage," but I am not quite sure what it is. Not only is such an approach contradicted by everything that medicine and science know about teens and sex, but it flies directly in the face of everything all ordinary Americans know about teens and sex.

Peg said...

Unfortunately while those diligent parents are teaching their children, there are still parents who are not. So in this case should children be protected?
There will always be deranged and perverted thinking among the masses who prey on the innocence of young children.

And Robin, my concern is what ideas would be presented and by whom?
I teach my children what I feel they need to know in accordance to their age and maturity level and what I feel, knowing each of their personalities, they are able to comprehend! That does not mean they are "keeping up" or have "fallen behind" what is considered to be the norm. And therefore, I do not want outside interference with the raising of my child especially in the area of sex education.

I feel the judicial system has really been a big problem with sex offenders and pediphiles, letting them off with just a slap on the patty and a don't do it again. Repeated offenders have been caught and turned loose once again to prey on the unsuspecting.

The answers are easy, the solutions are not!

Doctor Logic said...

Hi Peg,

I found this comment quite interesting:

There will always be deranged and perverted thinking among the masses who prey on the innocence of young children.

What is the child being protected from in this context?

I would have guessed pregnancy and STD's.

I don't see what pedophilia and sexual assault have to do with porn and sex education.

I feel the judicial system has really been a big problem with sex offenders and pediphiles, letting them off with just a slap on the patty and a don't do it again. Repeated offenders have been caught and turned loose once again to prey on the unsuspecting.

I'm honestly not sure that the punishments for these offenses are disproportionate, but they certainly seem to be ineffective. Our correctional system doesn't correct because it doesn't reform. It doesn't reform because we're not willing to invest what it costs to make it do so. So we punish without reforming, but this only brings more violence, and less justice.

Peg said...

I suppose when I think of porn, I think of the offense to young children (pediphile rings and children under the ages of 18 seeing lude acts that constitue porn! Rapes, incestual actions, beastiality, sodomy, etc that is/can be viewed on internet porn along with other deranged acts of abnormal sexual behavior! In the event I have missed some!)

Sex in iself is not unusual or abnormal but I am a believer that more times than not if you have one partner for life, in my opinion and experience with my own statistics, you are more content and less apt to stray provided both parties are being equally satisfied. (There are exceptions to every rule.)
The percentages of sexually transmitted disease would drop among unwanted pregnancies and abortions.

And as far as the judicial system is concerned, can you really reform? And on whom do you decide and what is the criteria and do you then follow that person to make sure they keep their end of the bargain?

I have three young children that I must keep safe without providing a bubble around them. In reality if someone had ever taken advantage of my child(ren) in anyway that would ruin them for the rest of their life, reforming the perp is the last thing I would find myself doing for/to them!

Peg said...

OOps forgot, sex education!! I have spoken to parents who have tried to sue public schools for teaching 8 year olds the proper use of a condom on a boy doll baby!!
Now, is that something that an eight year old really needs to know?
As I have said before, who implements the sex education courses? Who is it that sets the criteria on what needs to be known and at what age bracket? And just exactly how helpful is it teaching an eight year old about condoms?

WEll, you can justify and say that school had no right to do that and how utterly asinine but there are more of these for instances than not, it's just swept quietly under the rug!! Or you can justify and say, well these eight year olds do need to know so that when they get older they will have all ready had practice! They can do it right!
And my Ken doll has not got Barbie pregnant as proof!!

Sex education along with other normal acitivities like using please and thank you, should be taught at home along with personal hygiene and physical make up of the body, not as a dirty machine but a marvelous magnificent creation capable of pain, pleasure and healing, etc.

Again, lots of answers no solutions!