Brief Reflections on American Prudery (1)

“Still, when I’m not engaged in sexual activity, it makes me sad to think that my arousal is based in crude animality. On the most basic level, there is little difference between my fantasy life and a lion’s mating rituals: male finds desirable female; subdues; ejaculates. Yet I want sex to be a shared delight so strong it releases me from the strictures of everyday living. So the urge to dramatize poses of degradation is what Miller calls “a sultry, passionate rebellion” against the fact that one’s needs do not result in what one wants. I will always want sex to be more than the physical act of intercourse it will always insist on being.”

Hannah Tennant-Moore, A Rosier Crucifixion: the erotic world of Henry Miller

Americans, on the left as well as the right, seem to be using all kinds of rhetorical alibis to justify their fear of human contact; the right uses the old saw of “moral values,” “Christianity” and “immorality” and the left (like good Stalinists) loves to hide behind a solipsistic smokescreen, denouncing heterosexual desire as inherently “phallocentric,” “patriarchal” and “misogynist.” This is not quite true. It is just as idiotic as assuming that all white men are inherently Nazis with a genetic disposition to kill anything that does not look like them. Scratch the surface of either one of these posters and you will find just another uptight middle-class blue-stocking who simply believes that old white, patriarchal notion that sex is essentially “filthy.”

I know what I am talking about. I grew up in Reagan-Era America and attended a Parochial Catholic school which was rife with puritanical views about sex, heterosexual or homosexual, but largely heterosexual. It was an all-male high school. Every other day it was drummed into our heads that sex outside of marriage was “sinful” or that reading Playboy was “immoral” and “disrespectful towards women” and all sorts of other prissy bullshit. And yet the school teachers and administrators turned a blind eye to young male bullies molesting and even raping more vulnerable young boys in study hall, in the bathroom and in the gym shower. In fact homosexual harassment and bullying was so widespread it was considered a joke. I know because such bullying happened to me, and more than once. Yet on the other hand, gays were openly sneered at by the student body, porn (hetero) was passed around under the table and more kinky sex was being had by many of these students than in a public high school. The hypocrisy that these people had concerning sexual matters was so glaring that to this day, I refuse to believe a damned thing that Americans have to say on the subject of sex. The bottom line is that we still think sex is dirty, yet we have found far more creative and convincing ways of justifying our essential hatred of the physical.

The thing that browns me off about all of this is the way that many of these supposedly “liberated” and “self-actualized” women have internalized white, Victorian male paternalism towards their own gender–the main difference being that these women have reshaped these anti-sexual Victorian values to justify their own basic revulsion towards physical contact. It is nothing new, really. Anthony Comstock has made a comeback, albeit shaved, trimmed, toned, wearing hipster clothes and shrieking “misogyny” when he really means “too little morn and too much maid!”

It never ceases to amaze me, even now, how something as beautiful as a woman being confident in herself, in her body, in the power of her sex could be twisted into something dark, something shameful, something dirty. For a long time, I was blinded to its beauty because of that. I felt like I had to answer to society before I answered to myself and allowed parts of me to be hidden because I was afraid of what would happen if I let that truth out.

Sheriden Channel, “Confession: I Have an Insatiable Appetite for Sex”

We “Americans” love to prate on and on about “values.” We throw the word around without even thinking to analyze precisely what we mean when we bring it up.  Values to whom? Values for whom? And what on earth do you “value” so? And what is this thing do you call morality? I already know, the answer’s right there. “Morality” and “values” in that fucking country is simply a choice between putting a dick in your mouth and not putting it in your mouth—that’s all. Keep the dick out of your mouth and you’ll be fine, you won’t go to hell, and Jesus won’t shit all over your ass. You can bomb all the ragheads you please, but please don’t lick your girl’s cunt outside the confines of holy matrimony, because THAT is a sin. If it all sounds idiotic and primitive, that’s because it is.

This is a white, Christian hangup. It is no accident that among people who are not WASP or WASP-oriented (as are Saudis, many South Asians, evangelical Africans, etc.) these hangups are rarely, if ever present. Progressives in Brazil, in Italy, Germany, Japan, Turkey, Ghana, etc. thankfully deal with the issue of male privilege, patriarchy and domination in their own fashion and according to their own respective needs and generally avoid middle-class American solipsism about sexuality. It is very sad to see even progressives in that lousy country (USA) demanding more and more chains under the guise of “security.” If this insanity continues, one day the USA will be the least free nation on earth, and we will have nobody to blame but ourselves and our fear of our own minds and bodies, and our basic stupidity and spinelessness.

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