Friday, 3 October 2008

Of acorns, a ferret, and sex workers

This week, after a bit of a lapse, I have resumed my walks in the forest. Yesterday, I sat above a small valley and watched as a slight breeze dislodged the leaves and they fell silently to the ground. The only sounds I could hear were birds and the falling of acorns. I still find it difficult to comprehend that I was still within the city limits.

Things get in perspective and the reality is that, no matter how we human beings fuck up, life on this planet will continue. Whether we are here or not, the beauty will remain. Although it may change radically.

But I like human beings and I think we are wonderful. So I hope we will survive. I have my moments of severe misanthropy but am glad to say they do not last long. Particularly when sitting in a clearing and watching a young couple taking their pet ferret for a walk. And then seeing that ferret climb up the woman's body in order to be carried very closely by her. Her partner, in the meantime, was taking close-up photos of leaves and sticks and stuff. Then they walked off into the woods, she with her dreadlocks and he with his neatly trimmed beard,

While walking, I was doing a lot of thinking as well. About sex mainly - both personal and general, but mainly general. I have been asked to write another article on sexuality for a magazine here and was wondering what I could say that I have not already said. My thoughts have been stimulated recently by other blogs, particularly those of Debi Crow and those that her site led me to, especially but not only renegade evolution.

As a heterosexual man with a fairly strong libido - albeit somewhat ageing :-) - I have often found feminist theory to be challenging. This is not a bad thing. Challenges force me to examine my attitudes and behaviours and accept that they can at times be out of order. But at other times, I find that I am OK - and that the theory may be somewhat askew. Nobody has a monopoly on the truth. This is particularly true as we attempt to find a new way of being human - and sexual. The sea in which we swim at present is patriarchal and i, for one, have been moulded by it. And under patriarchy, sex is something alien - to be badmouthed and policed. To be repressed and, surreptitiously and hypocritically, obsessed about. This repression and hypocrisy has been so internalised that I have had to wait until my relatively later years to begin to see it for what it is.

It is this same patriarchal toxin I see in those who proclaim that their ideological, anti-patriarchal, purity gives them authority to claim that the experience of others who do not share their own theoretical base is invalid. That those who disagree are liars - or even worse, tools of the patriarchy. Oh Goddess, would that the patriarchy were so simple! It is not - it infects the very language we speak and all our relationships. It is revealed in the dualistic nature of most discourse - in the belief that there is one truth applicable to all and that those who do not accept are damned. Patriarchy is not simply the domain of men but it is policed by women. They label other women as sluts and whores. They hold down six year old girls while they mutilate their genitals with broken bottles. Patriarchy is all pervasive - having a vagina does not necessarily immunise.

None of us, least of all me, is immune from such thinking. It is a universal disease. However, it is not an eternal one. In the forest, the fall of the leaves and the rotting of the dead things is simply part of the cycle, neither right nor wrong. It is us who have complicated things. Wordsworth wrote- while he was still young and hopeful - "in getting and spending we lay waste our powers". He was right, but only partly so. I would rewrite it thus: "in judgement and damning we forsake our power".

I do not like much of the pornography I have seen. Some I do. I question that liking just as I question the blanket condemnation of all representation of sexual acts by puritans of all persuasions. Yes, there is undeniable and vile exploitation - slavery being rife - but there is also slavery involved in the manufacture of chocolate. The latter does not justify the former. The sex trade is here and will, for the foreseeable future remain. Mnay women and children are enslaved within it. This is undeniable. But perhaps, and this is just my take on it, the issue is slavery, not sex. The issue is consent. With true, informed, consent, how can any sexual act be wrong? Only to the patriarch who polices our bedrooms. Who sits in our judgemental minds and tells us that we alone are saved.

2 comments:

Paul said...

True informed assent seems to be the key. We are wonderfully creative and innovative beings when it comes to the exploration of pleasure and sheer sensuous delight. But opening our eyes to the world it seems as if everything is taking pleasure in something. Even the stones delight in the warm embrace of the sun.

Its interesting that in patriarchal religion the most perfect beings are those who, like angels, can never experience sensuous delight.

Brian Charles said...

Yes Paul

A very telling comment about the angels. I must confess to severe cringes when I hear people talk of them- they seem so vapid and bloodless! But they are also, for that very reason, safe,

Desire and delight, however, can be messy - bodily fluids and all - and are therefore dangerous since they always remind us that we are physical beings.

And this is the wonder! the magic and the mystery! Goddess is alive and she lives in every cell - she takes physical delight in our delight. True consent is the only arbiter, as far as I can see.

I will end with William Blake - who was of the Goddess' party without knowing it.

"Who knows but thar ev'ry bird that cuts the airy way is an immense world of delight, closed by our senses five?"