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Saturday, December 11, 2010

Not so embarrassing after all

A while ago I was wondering how I was going to embarrass myself this time around, in an insecure and desperate bid for attention and affirmation of my attractiveness. Between my first and second marriage I showed off my skill at cunnilingus by working the cream out of a cream donut with my tongue, for some rather horrified friends who didn't much want to think of me that way.

The pressure is off. Whatever awkwardness I'm going to commit, it will much be better than being a married woman running around with another man while wearing a slave collar.

15 comments:

  1. Hi Mousie! It's Asehpe, from Svutlana's blog. I followed your advice to have a look at your blog, which I see is very interesting. I feel like asking you a question: how do you feel about the sex-negative or sex-inhibitive attitude of so many Church denominations? Do you think that "traditional" Christians, literalists, etc. (who condemn, say, homosexuals, masturbation, etc.) are misguided in their interpretation of God's intentions for sex? Where does that come from?

    It's very nice to see a Christian defining himself as a "kinky heterosexual switch"! More power to you!

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  2. Hi Asehpe! The story I mentioned is here.

    I feel the sex-negative attitude of many Christian denominations is both destructive and unbiblical; it won't stand up to examination of, for example, 1 Cor 7:3-5 :

    The husband should fulfill his marital duty to his wife, and likewise the wife to her husband. 4 The wife does not have authority over her own body but yields it to her husband. In the same way, the husband does not have authority over his own body but yields it to his wife. 5 Do not deprive each other except perhaps by mutual consent and for a time, so that you may devote yourselves to prayer. Then come together again so that Satan will not tempt you because of your lack of self-control.

    or to the Song of Songs. For some specific cases I've written about please check the Not in the Bible label.

    I think this prudery is a human trait that tends to infect all of our institutions; for example Soviet and Chinese communism had it too, and it infects quite a lot of feminism now.

    However as a Christian I do think I am forbidden any sex outside of marriage or sex with my own gender. The Bible commands making a distinction between "not for me" and "condemned" with it's warnings such as the famous "Judge not, lest ye be judged." Although you did catch me being catty because I just found out Friday that my wife who's divorcing me but isn't divorced yet was running around a convention with another man, wearing a slave collar; under the circumstances I hope you can cut me some slack.

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  3. Yes, I've always thought about how traditional/sex-negative Christians deal with the Song of Songs (the "ah, it symbolizes the love of God for the people of Israel" misses the question of why sexualizing this love if sex is not God-approved? :-). When I got married, both me and my wife read from the Song of Song while making our vows.

    I fully agree with the prudery trait infecting a number of otherwise not-sex-related institutions. I ascribe it to the mentality that says sex is 'bad' (= makes you behave like animals) even when it is 'good' (= healthy, you-should-do-it), which leads to it being treated as a 'problem' (cf. all the self-help, 'is your sex life normal?' books) that still make so many people nervous.)

    I do have a question, though. You do interpret the bible as being against homosexual relations. My impression is that this was based on the interpretation of one word in 1 Corinthians, the word ἀρσενοκοῖται (1 Cor 6:9:)

    "ἢ οὐκ οἴδατε ὅτι ἄδικοι θεοῦ βασιλείαν οὐ κληρονομήσουσιν; μὴ πλανᾶσθε οὔτε πόρνοι οὔτε εἰδωλολάτραι οὔτε μοιχοὶ οὔτε μαλακοὶ οὔτε ἀρσενοκοῖται"
    [Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived; neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor homosexuals, (NASB)]

    From what I hear, there are other interpretations (e.g. that ἀρσενοκοῖται -- lit. 'one who lies with men' -- referred not to 'homosexuals' but to 'temple prostitution', like the priestesses of Aphrodite, who also sometimes lay with believers). If this is the case, how can we be sure that Christianity should indeed forbid homosexual love?

    Also, there are the old arguments: why are there gay people if God really means that homosexuality is not good? Why create gay people if that implies condemning them to a life without sex?

    Curious about your answers! :-)

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  4. Well, it's not a Biblical topic I know a whole lot about. Since I'm not called upon to judge or condemn homosexuals, and I don't incline that way myself, I've spent much more study on those things that affect me more directly. If I were not Christian, I would be socially bi; that's a much different moral issue though.

    Romans 1:25-27 (NIV) is more clear than 1 Cor 6:9:

    25 They exchanged the truth about God for a lie, and worshipped and served created things rather than the Creator—who is forever praised. Amen. 26 Because of this, God gave them over to shameful lusts. Even their women exchanged natural sexual relations for unnatural ones. 27 In the same way the men also abandoned natural relations with women and were inflamed with lust for one another. Men committed shameful acts with other men, and received in themselves the due penalty for their error.

    This, on first glance, implies that homosexuality is largely a result of social conditions. Certainly it can be produced experimentally in rats by means of overcrowding. I would tend to say that it is a result of living in a fallen world; here in this world we often must bear results of other's sins. Sometimes very directly by (e.g. being the victim of an assault), sometimes less directly (e.g. a child being born with genetic defects resulting from inbreeding). I would guess homosexuality is some such result.

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  5. Even if homosexuality is the result of social conditions (which is difficult to sustain historically: homosexuality existed in societies that were much less 'crowded' than ours, like Ancient Greece), why should it necessarily be bad? There are things which are the result of social conditions (e.g., organized government) and which are not per se bad.

    I note the passage in Romans is also controversial. Here is what one homosexual Christian activist wrote about it:

    "Paul is writing this letter to Rome after his missionary tour of the Mediterranean. On his journey Paul had seen great temples built to honor Aphrodite, Diana, and other fertility gods and goddesses of sex and passion instead of the one true God the apostle honors. Apparently, these priests and priestesses engaged in some odd sexual behaviors -- including castrating themselves, carrying on drunken sexual orgies, and even having sex with young temple prostitutes (male and female) -- all to honor the gods of sex and pleasure.

    The Bible is clear that sexuality is a gift from God. Our Creator celebrates our passion. But the Bible is also clear that when passion gets control of our lives, we're in deep trouble.

    When we live for pleasure, when we forget that we are God's children and that God has great dreams for our lives, we may end up serving the false gods of sex and passion, just as they did in Paul's time. In our obsession with pleasure, we may even walk away from the God who created us -- and in the process we may cause God to abandon all the great dreams God has for our lives.

    Did these priests and priestesses get into these behaviors because they were lesbian or gay? I don't think so. Did God abandon them because they were practicing homosexuals? No. Read the text again."

    In other words, this activist suggests that the text does not condemn homosexuality per se, but just the (unnatural) exaggeration, the 'falling into depravity' of dedicating one's life exclusively to one's lusts -- a fate no less harming to heterosexuals than to homosexuals, and which (or so verse 25 above would suggest) is the result of abandoning 'the truth about god', not of wanting homosexual relations.'

    The bottom line is that the bible can, and often is, interpreted. (Whether this means that the bible -- or any text for that matter -- can be made to say whatever one wants is another, and quite interesting, discussion.) There are Christians who don't think Romans 1:25-27 is a condemnation of homosexuality -- and their exegesis may actually be correct. Or so it seems to me.

    Of course, one is left with the impression that god's law is therefore subject to man's interpreation... which is certainly not a very comfortable thought for a Christian.

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  6. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

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  7. Spam filter got both versions of your comment, Aeshpe, I just pulled them out. Why don't you pick your favorite version and delete the other?

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  8. I don't claim homosexuality is simply the result of crowding; I note that crowding is one of the conditions which can cause it experimentally in rats.

    The quoted activist and I are actually pretty close. He suggests that the passage describes the priesthood abandoning the true God and being given up to their lusts, which is too much sexuality; I suggested that the whole culture had, and been given up to any homosexuality. In both cases the condemned sexual activity is the effect rather than the cause. It's really hard to see how the men also abandoned natural relations with women and were inflamed with lust for one another could mean too much sexuality rather than homosexuality.

    As to whether a text can be interpreted to say whatever we want it to say, I'd say that's just a matter of how much we're willing to squint at it to get it to say what we want.

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  9. The first (longer) one would be my favorite version. Can I delete the second one? I don't see a delete button next to the comments.

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  10. I got it. Like a lot of bloggers I wish I could turn off the Blogspot spam filter.

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  11. I think it might be worth looking into Exodus, Deuteronomy and Leviticus. I forget where it is, but it kind of explicitly states men shouldn't lie with men as they do with women. That's more or less direct quote NIV.
    Just Sayin'

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  12. Anonymous, I think you're referring to Leviticus 18:22, "Do not have sexual relations with a man as one does with a woman; that is detestable." This reinforces my conclusion that I am forbidden sex with men, but all of the law in Leviticus must be studied for applicability since Christ changed the rules. I am not forbidden bacon, for example, nor am I required to sacrifice animals for expiation of sin.

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  13. I'm curious about how this changing of the rules is actually applied. Christ made many clear comments, but I don't recall anything about letting Christians eat bacon. When, and how, was it established that the taboo on pork would no longer hold for Christians?

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  14. It's kind of a complicated theological issue; the gist is that when Christ died for the remission of our sins, we were freed of much of the previous system of detailed rules, which we think of as being a sort of teaching tool. For dietary rules specifically, see Acts 10 & 11.

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