For a change, I will write on a topic other than Islam. However, it’s not completely outside the scope of Islam as what I am about to narrate can literally get me lynched by any given fanatic, Muslim mob.
Day before yesterday, I attended a Meetup group event. To be more specific, I have joined this group that calls itself the “Godless Perverts.” Spearheaded by the dynamic, Greta Christina, the group convenes every first Tuesday and third Thursday of the month at San Francisco’s premier, first and only kink cafe: Wicked Grounds.
The first Tuesday gatherings are loosely structured and people just chat about whatever they want. The third Thursday meetings are more structured and revolve around a specific topic that is decided before hand. Day before yesterday’s topic was “What is sex-positivism?”
Including myself, there were 13 people in total. I was asked to be the co-moderator of the session and the discussion kicked off by a check-in question, which was something like the following:
Define in as few words as possible: what does sex-positivism mean to you?
Different people said different things. One person, much like myself, confessed his ignorance about sex-positivism and said that he had come to the event, just to learn more about the topic of discussion. Based on what people said, if I am asked the same question right now, I will probably say that sex-positivism is about promoting a positive view of sexuality wherein one should not be ashamed of sex. A hall-mark of sex-positivism is consensual sex. Sex positivism is not about glorifying sex for the sake of having sex. It does not posit that sex is inherently awesome and that we should all jump in a crazy orgy of mindless fucking. It is rather about consent. It is about consent to have sex or not to have sex, depending upon the individual’s feelings and the social context.
According to the moderator of the evening, sex-positivism developed as sort of a reaction against Second-Wave feminism, which had come to look down upon activities such as pornography and sex-work. It’s obvious that any ideology/movement that is reactionary in its nature has the potential to become extreme and that happened with sex-positivism as well. However, with the passage of time, sex-positivism has evolved into a more mature and nuanced weltanschauung (if I can possibly use this word).
According to my understanding, it can now be seen as a form of sex ethics based on human ethics that respects and values consensual desire, freedom of choice and, perhaps, the limits thereof.
It’s really difficult for me to talk about the definition of sex-positivism anymore without moving into philosophy. I’ll, therefore, change track and skip to the second half of the discussion, which started off with an announcement about an unfamiliar yet equally interesting topic. One of the discussion participants distributed flyers about a non-profit organization called Erotic Service Providers Legal, Education and Research Project (ESPLER).
As seen from the handout, ‘ESPLER filed a complaint with the US District Court on March 4, 2015 challenging California’s current anti-prostitution law, Penal Code 647(b).’
This was news to me. And, from the perspective of sex-positivism, it made perfect sense. Of course, prostitution should be outlawed if individuals are coerced into it. However, depriving ‘individuals of the fundamental right to engage in consensual, private sexual activity’, under the umbrella-term of prostitution, does not seem to be too reasonable. A sex-positivist will rightly object to any such law and show support for an organization like ESPLER. To paraphrase one of the participants: ‘Sex is an innate desire of living beings and can be consensually explored with great adventure!’
Anyway, the second half of the meeting was about relationship between sex and religion. For some odd reason, the discussion mostly revolved around New Age sex parties where one had to pray to some goddess and perform sex as part of some pagan ritual and how unreasonable and unsafe such parties were.
Towards the end of this discussion, I made a comment which elicited a strong reaction from many people but, nonetheless, gave the moderator an interesting idea for a future discussion topic. My comment was that good, wholesome sex was, in some ways, spiritual.
A lot of people instantly cringed at the word ‘spiritual’. I did, however, use this word with obvious caveats stating that spirituality is a rather nebulous term and, perhaps, not without religious/supernatural undertones.
A gentleman said that the term spiritual can simply be summed up in 4 words: amygdalae, endorphins, serotonin and one more word, which I can’t seem to recall. There was others who objected by saying that they have had amazing sex yet felt nothing spiritual about it.
I believe one can be spiritual without being religious for I see any creative activity as spiritual. In fact, and to quote Wikipedia: “In a more general sense, it [spirituality] may refer to almost any kind of meaningful activity or blissful experience.”
My closing remark was that any great sexual experience has the potential to be translated into a religious experience, to which a gentleman replied that only if one holds the religious card. That marked the end of our discussion.
The topic for next month will be ‘Secular Transcendence.’ How can transcendence be defined and subsequently achieved within a secular, non-theistic framework is a question we will try to deal with next month. I’ll try to blog about this upcoming meet-up as well. Let’s see how it goes. Till then, as a Godless Pervert, I’ll corrupt the Bible and say to everyone out there: “Eat, drink and have sex for tomorrow we die!”