Sunday, 7 December 2008

The architecture of sexual desire

There seems to be an increasingly stark contrast between my mundane life and the my intelligible life.

Work is about wearing a mask to some degree. Interaction with anyone but the closest and deepest of friends involves wearing a mask. The working week, the normal week, is a constant occupation of the mundane sphere, where everything is structured according to time. Morning, wake up, breakfast, leave house; various tasks at work, lunch; lunch break - enter the intelligible world - over; afternoon, various tasks; finish work, walk home; prepare stuff, go to gym; return home, cook and eat; various tasks; internet, books, music a brief period of time to return to awareness.

Being non-stop from seven in the morning to nine in the evening doesn't leave a great deal of time for much else. And this sort of schedule is pretty normal for a lot of people who live in the West. So many things; in the Western world we have so many forms, that is, material objects. Clutter. Clutter in mind.

Perhaps one of the particular joys of climbing a mountain is the sense of space, free from clutter, free from endless material junk. Free, if only for a while, from time.

It is easy to see why certain major religions, particularly Christianity, effectively regard sex as a "sin". Sin, properly understood in this context, should be taken to be obsession with form, with the material object as its goal, to the exclusion of higher spiritual precepts. As a man in his twenties, one can certainly easily identify with the originating basis of this prescription; a person in harmony with oneself, can conquer the sense of loneliness and detachment one can often feel, and transform it into a comfortable solitude; a peaceful existence free from the endless and constant superficial intrusions of Western noise. The sense of sexual desire, never. Not authentically I believe. People may conquer it through a sense of denial, and a prescription of "sin" to cast it into a negative light might allow them to intellectually justify a denial of what ultimately is a fundamental basis of being human; but it will always remain.

In this sense, it is both the biggest enemy - as an inclination that will never be fully satisfied; as a feeling so powerful it can drive someone to complete self-destruction or violence (in whatever form) - and the biggest strength - as a chance to existentially connect with the limitless spiritual basis of authentic being; a chance to fully harmonise with oneself completely.

Those of us who identify more intimately with a Pagan theogony, who see ourselves as spiritually connected in the world as a part of nature rather than above it, who feel no need to separate the animal nature as being automatically inferior, rather than to merely recognise its characteristic as integrated into our sense of being; we see sex as an overwhelming positive force. Positive, but still cruel, where it is unavailable. 

If love is the Ideal, as the intelligible spiritual synthesis for the hamonising principle between two people, sex is frequently the catalyst, and always a chance to bring a little of the intelligible world into the mundane, even if it does so completely outside the realm of love; for providing it is done willingly, consensually, and with genuine desire, it is always therefore authentic, and to this degree the persons involved always share an existential, and necessarily to some degree, spiritual experience.

So, to be denied this key, an incredibly powerful and overwhelmingly immediate one at that, is just one more frustrating closure of from the authentic sense of self that you seek. The denial carries with it the additional penalty of being a constant laborious distraction; for it feels like the golden apple that is always just out of reach, yet always visible.


Xina said...

Interesting, and I agree completely, on several levels.

First, I decided a long while back that I wasn't going to be sleeping with anyone that was spiritually detached or unaware. This came from a boy that was, admittedly a hot piece of ass and a competent lover, but continually failed to bring me complete satisfaction- which isn't to say I didn't have an orgasm... but that's another conversation... It just didn't 'feel' right. It was like a concert where someone played a CD and the performers lip-synced. I couldn't figure it out for the longest time, and then I asked some of the other girls who all said the same thing- or in the words of one, "I had a better time with a vibrator missing it's batteries."

So my next lover was the complete opposite in many ways. He was physically attractive, very intelligent. However, he has a fairly small member. To most women who completely miss the spiritual element of sex, this would be the end. But out of all the girls he had previously been with never complained. He is easily the best lover I have ever been with. He wasn't the first to try to embody the essence of the Horned Man, but the only one who was successful. He's also my best friend- because when you aren't fucked up in the head about sex, you can have friends before and after and (gasp) during! But if you are fucked up in the head about it all... well...

Thirdly, I found an interesting situation- a man that I know considers himself straight as an arrow having a night of glorified cuddling with two gay men on mushrooms because he felt abandoned by the female half of the species. I suppose that this isn't 'normal,' but when you get a bunch of 'heathens' in a room... I think there is a certain point that sex, the need for love, the need for human contact, and a search for a bit of spiritual enlightenment all converge to throw off the chains of stigmatized sexual practice. If this hadn't been a phenomenon I've been seeing since I was 14, I'd think it was something far more carnal.

Which brings me to the fourth point- why is sex so fucking political? I'm writing a paper outlining the ethical issues surrounding conversion therapies and homosexuality. Why the fuck is this even an issue?

Regardless, I ran across an article telling the story about 3 individuals who sought out conversion therapy (conversion to the straight side of the rainbow, as it were). One was an Amish boy who was caught looking longingly at another boy, basically. Well, he wanted to be straight, so he told his therapist he wanted to extinguish his desire for other boys. So that's what the therapist helped him work on, and simultaneously worked with him to show that gays weren't some great evil, just human beings. The Amish kid ended up being pissed at his culture for being so closed off and so willing to excommunicate any other human being that he almost left. I think the article alluded to corrupting the system from the inside out.

But the question remains, why do people have to be so fucked in the head about sex? It makes no sense to me, whatsoever. The disconnect between the spiritual and the carnal is just absurd.

Vesper de Vil said...

There are some people who are asexual. They have no interest in sex. I once thought that these people must have been sexually abused or something, but that's merely my bias. I then read first-hand accounts of people who have to cope with being asexual. It was heartbreaking at times. They have NO desire for sex. None. And for them it's completely natural.

Also, I think that some people do reach a point in their lives when they are genuinely uninterested in sex. They go for periods of time without even thinking about it. Sexuality has its seasons, almost everything else.

Sex is powerful. Some can give themselves freely to it. For others, if they give too much of themselves sexually they feel disconnected, not connected, with their true selves.

Aren O. Týr said...

Regarding asexuality, I suppose you are right, even though for me it is something almost impossible to personally identify with.

Incidentally I do have first hand experience of this. My long time ex-girlfriend of 6 years probably was and is largely asexual.

It really isn't important to her at all, she is completely happy without it, being perfectly able to satisfy herself, on the rare occasions she does ever desire to do so. She'd quite happily admit that she enjoys a nice piece of chocolate cake or suchlike much more as an experience!

So in essence our sex was more for my benefit than hers.

I suppose this mismatch of libido is a pretty basic reason why we're not together any more, although of course there are other reasons. Even though we've split up, we still love each other, and will always stay close. So in that sense, she is now more like a family member, like a sister.

I do think that having fairly well matched libido levels in a relationship is quite important for long term success as a true permanent life partner. For if they're not, it means that one person is always going to feel unsatisfied to some degree, and desire something that can only be fulfilled by someone else, in the final analysis - irrespective of how "perfect" the two people might be for each other otherwise.

Doing it for the other person's benefit, even when that is done altruistically out of love, is still never going to be ultimately as satisfying as sharing the experience with someone who authentically has the same level of desire, passion, and sexual energy.