We still pretend that there’s a magical, mumbo-jumbo, taboo energy about sex that makes it different from all other human activities. – Maggie McNeill
I’ve often said that the main reason sex is treated as a “special case” in law, custom and culture is that people imagine it to be unique; they believe that a bright, clear line can be drawn between “sex” and “not sex”, and many of them further believe that this division is no mere line but a chasm, a yawning gap that can only be breached by special rituals and/or benediction by some authority figure. Now, you might protest that sex is different because it’s the only activity which has a chance of creating a human life, but even if birth control did not exist that would be a spurious argument; if that were truly the rationale behind sex laws, the government wouldn’t claim the right to regulate oral or anal sex, masturbation, homosexuality, sex between the very young or the very old, sex acts involving at least one sterilized partner, bestiality, stripping, porn, BDSM or any other sexual activity other than heterosexual genital copulation between two fertile partners. But if anything, the opposite is true; authoritarians are far more obsessed with sex acts that involve no risk of pregnancy, and many of them want to restrict contraception and abortion.
What makes the attempt to control sexuality even more absurd is that trying to even define it is like trying to twist a rope out of sand, and how can one control what one can’t even define? Have you ever looked at legislative attempts to define which activities are sexual for the purpose of banning them? They’re usually quite absurd, and have loopholes big enough to pass an entire orgy through; they often consist of little more than catalogs of body parts, ignoring the fact that some people are extremely turned on by parts or actions that others might perceive as completely neutral. I’m very aroused by images of women in bondage, yet such images are considered acceptable even in children’s shows; one of the hottest scenes I ever had with Jae involved little more than talk and staring into each other’s eyes, and I was fully clothed the whole time. Conversely, I recently had a massage which included several body parts that would commonly be coded as “sexual”, yet neither I nor my masseuse perceived the contact as anything of the kind. Sexuality is a thing of the mind, not of the genitalia; as I so often say, the most important sex organ lies not between the legs, but between the ears. And any attempt to create some sort of universal rule which defines for everyone which activities constitute “sex” and which don’t, is doomed to failure.
As if that weren’t bad enough, some people don’t even perceive their personal division between “sexual” and “not sexual” as clear and distinct; I certainly don’t. There are some things I think of as clearly sexual; some I perceive as sexual under certain conditions; some I perceive as tinged with sexuality; some which are somewhat erotic but not really sexual per se; some which are sensual and pleasant, but more or less non-sexual; some which are not at all sexual; and some which are, if anything, anti-sexual. There are no lines between these groups; they fall into a sexual spectrum, with each category blending smudgily into the neighboring ones. What’s more, the various ideas, acts, images and whatnot which fall across my spectrum, might fall in entirely different positions on someone else’s…often without any discernible rhyme or reason. A sane and reasonable person would look at the situation and conclude that it was ridiculous to even attempt to impose regimentation on this chaos; alas, the kind of person who seeks to control others via the use of violence is neither sane nor reasonable.