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It's pretty obvious we're living in a time of deep decadence. Sex outside of marriage is generally accepted, a situation eased into being by the Pill and abortion. Outlier sexual proclivities are given the status of "normal" and morally OK. Pornography is everywhere, tainting sex even between husbands and wives, rendering teenaged boys impotent, putting pressure on women to be "whores" and to do things most don't want to do ("anal sex is the new oral!").

But we came from a highly, ridiculously prudish Victorianism that saw female sexuality as a sign of "masculinity" or "hysteria," that treated women as asexual angels who merely tolerated the act to please their husbands ("boys will be boys" and "women aren't really human at all.").

On the one hand, we have the Freud/Reich view of the world now, but came from a world that produced the sort of sickness evident in Ed Gein. Somewhere between Annie Sprinkle and "Carrie's mamma," with her "dirty pillow" talk (ha), there's a sweet spot. So, the questions:

What would that sweet spot look like? Should the law play a role in bringing it about? If so, how?

How would it be manifest in the media?

How would it affect fashion?

How would it affect sex ed? Should sex ed exist at all? If so, should it exist only in Catholic schools?

Do you see any difference between the teaching of basic biological facts, in, say, a biology class, handled in the same way the sexual reproduction of frogs or giraffes would be handled, and what is nowadays seen as "sex ed"? Do you have issues with the former? Issues with the latter? If yes to that last, do you have issues with it in all circumstances or do you think sex ed could be taught properly, i.e., in a Catholic manner? If so, how?

Where do you draw the lines between the "let's cover the piano legs ---er, limbs!" attitude and the "Miley Cyrus is kewl" attitude?

How could we make that sweet spot come about?


I'm not sure. I think there are some problems that any sexually healthy culture would have to overcome, one of them being the maintenance of a healthy population growth as well as limit. Since marriage has to be open to procreation, not everyone can have eight children families. I imagine either we'd have few families, but a lot of people choosing the celibate life, or something like a society where people wait a long time to marry, so that they'll on average have only two children per family.

If we take the other option, you can't just elliminate the sexual side of humanity. A society like that, if its human, would not be a world of Vulcans. The Victorian era tried that and it failed drastically. These energies would have to be sublimated into various activities. Perhaps sports and contests would be far more occurring than they are now. It could potentially be a very passionate society.

In that society, and of course I'm only talking about the relatively small part of the world that we occupy, so I'll be assuming all the privileges of the wealthy West. I see that young people would spend a long time learning, travelling and exploring. Both men and women would have careers that they'd care a lot about that.

In principle it would be a society a lot like this one, sans some things and more of others. No condoms and birth control, more focus on good education and travelling I imagine... I could see wanderlust being something people would be into. "Fill up on the world, and then settle down with a family." Might be the motto.

I'd like to think that a good society wouldn't be all that different from ours. We're still humans.

And going to a monastery wouldn't be a weird outlier thing for people to choose.
(09-11-2015, 07:46 PM)Leonhard Wrote: [ -> ]I'm not sure. I think there are some problems that any sexually healthy culture would have to overcome, one of them being the maintenance of a healthy population growth as well as limit. Since marriage has to be open to procreation, not everyone can have eight children families. I imagine either we'd have few families, but a lot of people choosing the celibate life, or something like a society where people wait a long time to marry, so that they'll on average have only two children per family.

What you wrote sort of highlights one of the problems with trying to fix anything in our world. Everything is so bound up with other things. It's hard to fix one thing and expect major problems to go away. Why can't more families have eight kids? Because of the way our economy is. If our economy were different, it might be perfectly feasible for there to by many more larger families than there are now.

The problem of everything being bound up with so many other things is also evident in thinking about eradicating feminism, and fixing marriage. Without fixing our economy, restoring the extended family and parish-based neighborhoods, I doubt we'll have a lot of luck making a dent in getting women to have kids earlier, and more of them. No one wants to be stuck in a house alone all day except for 3 kids under 5. It's a recipe for madness for most women -- even those who are very maternal and would love to have large families. And so it goes with our education system. Nowadays, many believe that keeping one's kids Christian entails homeschooling. So there's another layer of extremely hard work added to the homemaking-child-rearing vocation. If we had extended families, parish-based neighborhoods, and truly Catholic schools, I think we'd see a HUGE boost in the size of families in the Catholic world.

And, of course, behind all that, the Catholic husband would have to be able to make enough to feed everyone and keep a roof over their heads. Yet another problem.

Quote: If we take the other option, you can't just elliminate the sexual side of humanity. A society like that, if its human, would not be a world of Vulcans. The Victorian era tried that and it failed drastically. These energies would have to be sublimated into various activities. Perhaps sports and contests would be far more occurring than they are now. It could potentially be a very passionate society.

Let's hear it for sublimation! LOL  But seriously, yes, sublimation is a good thing. And human sexuality is a force that cannot be ignored or repressed. Sublimated yes, but not repressed. And repression was the problem with the Victorians -- and with too many of the "toxic trad" types.

On the FE page about modesty, I speak of sex as akin to fire:  beautiful, good, a gift from God -- but outside of proper confines, devastatingly dangerous. The repressive types would have us speak of sex as bad or evil, something never to be discussed in "polite society," and all that. The libertines would have us treat sex as a sport, with no deeper meaning and no biological purpose. Both are nuts, IMO. I think a sexually healthy society would talk about sex openly and matter-of-factly -- in a way that doesn't incite lust, of course -- and treat it as a wonderful thing. But a thing that needs to be kept inside certain boundaries (marriage).  Imagine these conversations:

Kid: Mommy, what's sex?
Repressed Mommy:  WHAT?! Where did you learn that word? (washes mouth out with soap) You shouldn't know about things like this at your age. Ask me on your wedding day -- maybe!

Kid: Mommy, what's sex?
Libertine Mommy: Sex is something people do to make each other feel good when they really like each other. Why do you ask? Are you having sex? If so, we'd better go to the doctor and get you some birth control!

Kid: Mommy, what's sex?
Sane Mommy: Ohhh, sex is a wonderful thing! It's when a husband and a wife come together physically, and they please each other and make each other feel really, really good, and sometimes they make a baby from it! (explains physical mechanics). Sex is a gift from God for married people. If people who are unmarried have sex, lots of bad things can happen. First, they're displeasing God, because God made that gift just for married people. Second, the woman might get pregnant and have a baby, but that baby won't have a Daddy. And third, there are diseases that can be spread by sex -- something chaste and faithful husbands and wives usually don't have to worry about. (uses the fire analogy). Anyway, when you get married someday, if that's what you're called to do, you'll find out about sex first hand, and you'll love it! (wink!) If you're not called to get married, you still might have sexual feelings when you're older; that's normal, and OK. It's how we're made. But you shouldn't indulge those feelings because they can get you into trouble, and it could lead to lust, which is a sin. 

And later on, if the kid's called to get married, before the wedding, the Mom might even tell her daughter about how to please a man, as the Dad might teach his son how to please a woman. Nitty-gritty stuff. If we want marriages to last, we should do all in our power to make marriages happy, and sex isn't to be underrated in its importance in that regard.
Well, for starters the feminists of all shapes and varieties need to go....preferably on a space ship to Pluto (even that's too close for comfort but I'll compromise). We need to eliminate this "power struggle" feminists infused into our culture. It's torn men and women far apart which is not nor ever was it God's intent for harmony. We also need to send the "white knight" males with the feminists because they enable the feminists and sell out the rest of men with their emotional dribble. Once you've cleared out those elements the discussion to move forward can begin. That should probably start along the lines of "our lives do not last for every so lets stop trying to make ourselves comfortable and think about what's the best use of our limited time."
I think the replies already show that not everyone is on the same page of what sexually healthy constitutes.  Exiling any group of people because their understanding of sexuality is different shows that a "sexually healthy" society will only exist when one group with a particular understanding of healthy sexuality has gained enough power to tyrannically enforce it on others.  That has been our history, throughout cultures with Abrahamic religions, and I'm sure we're not alone.  I agree that the Victorian prudishness on sexuality is entirely unhealthy.  I think a proof of the diseased mindset of Victorian sexual mores is shown by the widespread adoption of circumcision in all the English-speaking countries during the Victorian era, precisely for the purpose of making sex less pleasurable physically for the man, and for making masturbation mechanically impossible from their understanding of it.  So, in my opinion, it is not possible to have a sexually healthy society until the people within it can first appreciate the physical sexual faculty that God deigned to create without demonizing.  So, if we're exiling, Judaism, Islam and a significant portion of Protestant and Anglicized Catholic Christianity has to go.

I also think homosexuality and homophobia are both symptoms of our culture's unhealthy sexual views.  By categorizing inherently non-sexual affection as sexual, it immediately creates homosexuals out people who are merely showing affection to each other, it immediately makes people question their own sexuality when they discover that they have natural, non-sexual needs for intimacy with people of their own sex, and it makes people defensively protect their public image by attacking others to deflect from themselves.

So, in my opinion, a sexually healthy society is one that accepts all aspects of sexuality as nature has shown us it was designed.  There can be no tolerance for altering it or suppressing it.  I'm not sure that sublimating it is anything other than "suppression lite," although I recognize the need to maintain sexual behavior in its proper sphere.  I don't see travelling or playing sports as effectively diverting the sexual energy of maturing adults away from actually having sex.  I would think romantic friendships would help, but others don't understand the need or want of romantic friendships, so this seems to show that the means of moderating sexual energy is going to have as many manifestations as there are people.  I think the only way to begin is to recognize there is no "one-size-fits-all" sexually healthy society, even while recognizing that practicing any and every possible sexual behavior is itself unhealthy.
I've gotten a lot of people angry at me for arguing this, but I think that divorce and the lack of committed relationships are creating a sexually unhealthy culture.  A sexually healthy culure -- in my mind -- would look like one with monogamy and a low divorce rate.
(09-12-2015, 10:44 AM)Southerncaliforniaguy Wrote: [ -> ]I've gotten a lot of people angry at me for arguing this, but I think that divorce and the lack of committed relationships are creating a sexually unhealthy culture.  A sexually healthy culure -- in my mind -- would look like one with monogamy and a low divorce rate.

Absolutely, I don't think you'd find many practicing Catholics who would disagree.

Contraception is the first thing that needs to go. It is the origin of much of today's issues with sexuality.

Anyway, it's a matter of people connecting the procreative/unitive aspects of sexuality together with the pleasure of the act. Our modern society has disconnected that and focuses only in the pleasurable.

Fertility needs to always be linked. Contraception removes fertility, people do not give their whole selves with contraception.

The idea of children should not be a burden. I don't think people need to be having 8 kids. If you can, then great. I do think 4 if a good number that can be attainable for most families. Studies show that families with at least 4 children are the happiest. Also i remember reading a poll of seminarians in New York a year or two ago... The vast majority came from families of 4 or more.

One thing I do think I'd that there can't be this whole sex is bad mentality. Too many people were raised with that mentality and either completely rebelled or took it into their own marriages either by sharing the thought or just lack of desire having always been told it was bad. The issue of the "dead bedroom" is extremely common among married people.
(09-12-2015, 09:49 AM)Melkite Wrote: [ -> ]I think the replies already show that not everyone is on the same page of what sexually healthy constitutes.  Exiling any group of people because their understanding of sexuality is different shows that a "sexually healthy" society will only exist when one group with a particular understanding of healthy sexuality has gained enough power to tyrannically enforce it on others.  That has been our history, throughout cultures with Abrahamic religions, and I'm sure we're not alone.  I agree that the Victorian prudishness on sexuality is entirely unhealthy.  I think a proof of the diseased mindset of Victorian sexual mores is shown by the widespread adoption of circumcision in all the English-speaking countries during the Victorian era, precisely for the purpose of making sex less pleasurable physically for the man, and for making masturbation mechanically impossible from their understanding of it.  So, in my opinion, it is not possible to have a sexually healthy society until the people within it can first appreciate the physical sexual faculty that God deigned to create without demonizing.  So, if we're exiling, Judaism, Islam and a significant portion of Protestant and Anglicized Catholic Christianity has to go.

You've totally lost me, Melkite, my friend. Where is this talk of "exile" coming from? And why does tyranny have to play a role? I, for ex., don't see the Middle Ages in Western Europe as having been a "tyrannical" time period, but I consider them to have been relatively sexually healthy -- by which I mean they believed what the Church teaches about the purpose of sex, when sex shouldn't be engaged in (i.e., outside of marriage), and sexual neuroses weren't prevalent (at least as far as I know they weren't).

I'm definitely with you on the ridiculousness and nastiness of non-medically necessary circumcision, routine circumcision.

(09-12-2015, 09:49 AM)Melkite Wrote: [ -> ]I also think homosexuality and homophobia are both symptoms of our culture's unhealthy sexual views.  By categorizing inherently non-sexual affection as sexual, it immediately creates homosexuals out people who are merely showing affection to each other, it immediately makes people question their own sexuality when they discover that they have natural, non-sexual needs for intimacy with people of their own sex, and it makes people defensively protect their public image by attacking others to deflect from themselves.

A sexually healthy society most definitely wouldn't categorize non-sexual affection as sexual. But that phenomenon is a recent development, one born in the gay rights movement that's attempted to normalize homosexuality and homosexual acts, and have brought all that to our consciousness in a big way. For ex., at the museum I volunteer at, there's a late Victorian picture of a group of doctors. They're sitting there, some with arms around another, some with a hand on another man's knee, etc. No one would've thought twice about men sitting like that together. No one would've accused them of homosexuality. But nowadays, because homosexuality is all over the place in our media, in the news, in movies and TV, men feel compelled to make a show of how "not gay" they are. They might hug another guy, but feel as if they have to throw in a "no homo" afterwards.

A sexually healthy society, IMO, also wouldn't treat people who struggle with homosexual tendencies any differently than it would people with clinical depression, kleptomania, bipolar disorder, etc. No one chooses to be homosexual (though some might choose to engage in homosexual acts). And being a homosexual isn't a sin; acting on those inclinations is. That would be made very clear in a sexually healthy society.  I think that if that were truly accepted and believed, all -- or a lot of -- the bullying of homosexuals would cease, people wouldn't have a compulsion to prove to the world how "not gay" they are by engaging in that sort of bullying or in all the "no homo" stuff, etc. But a sexually healthy society, too, would make it clear that homosexuals make up a very small percentage of the population, not 25% which some people apparently believe.


(09-12-2015, 09:49 AM)Melkite Wrote: [ -> ]So, in my opinion, a sexually healthy society is one that accepts all aspects of sexuality as nature has shown us it was designed.  There can be no tolerance for altering it or suppressing it.  I'm not sure that sublimating it is anything other than "suppression lite," although I recognize the need to maintain sexual behavior in its proper sphere.

There's a big difference between "suppression" and "repression." The latter is what I was referring to. Suppression involves someone stopping the behaviors of another. Repression refers to a defense mechanism that is -- or at least can often be -- very mentally unhealthy. To repress something is to push something back into one's subconscious, to not think about or deal with, a phenomenon that often ends with the repressed thought or feeling expressing itself in inordinate, unhealthy ways. Some sexual activity does need to be suppressed (sex with children or animals, for ex.), but sexual thoughts and desires that would entice a person into engaging in a forbidden activity shouldn't be repressed; it should be acknowledged, dealt with, and put in its place.

Sublimation is another defense mechanism, but one that can do a lot of good. For ex., someone who, say, is a homosexual but doesn't want to acknowledge that about himself and doesn't act on it might take all of that psychic energy and use it to, for ex., work in an AIDS clinic to help the sick. Sublimation can be a good thing. But in a sexually healthy society, he should be able to recognize himself, his thoughts, his desires (wholesome or not), deal with them through prayer, friendship, the use of the will, etc., and still work in an AIDS clinic. See what I mean?

(09-12-2015, 09:49 AM)Melkite Wrote: [ -> ]I don't see travelling or playing sports as effectively diverting the sexual energy of maturing adults away from actually having sex.  I would think romantic friendships would help, but others don't understand the need or want of romantic friendships, so this seems to show that the means of moderating sexual energy is going to have as many manifestations as there are people.  I think the only way to begin is to recognize there is no "one-size-fits-all" sexually healthy society, even while recognizing that practicing any and every possible sexual behavior is itself unhealthy.

If there are sexual rights and wrongs, then there is, at least to that degree, a sexually healthy society (insofar as the right things are encourage, and the wrong things discouraged, I mean).

And if there are such things as neuroses and psychoses (trust me, there is :P  ), then a society that works to eliminate them is a sexually healthy society.

I imagine you'd agree with those two statements, being a Catholic and knowing (I assume) about sexual morality, etc., and being an intelligent person who knows about how people can be, shall we say, nuts. So how do we bring about a society that encourages right sexual behaviors while discouraging sinful and harmful ones, and which doesn't breed neuroses as Victorian society did with all of their hysterics and sufferers of "neurasthenia"?
(09-13-2015, 01:37 AM)Vox Clamantis Wrote: [ -> ]You've totally lost me, Melkite, my friend. Where is this talk of "exile" coming from? And why does tyranny have to play a role? I, for ex., don't see the Middle Ages in Western Europe as having been a "tyrannical" time period, but I consider them to have been relatively sexually healthy -- by which I mean they believed what the Church teaches about the purpose of sex, when sex shouldn't be engaged in (i.e., outside of marriage), and sexual neuroses weren't prevalent (at least as far as I know they weren't).

I was responding to divinesilence's comment about sending all feminists and wishy-washy men on a spaceship or to Pluto.  I know it was in jest, but any kind of exile is basically saying "we think you're unsavable."  By tyrannical, I just mean I think there needs to be freedom of choice.  I'm very libertarian on the enforcement of sexual norms.  The only thing that should be illegal are sexual practices that are either not consented to or immediately harmful.  Everything else should be up to proper catechesis and personal freedom to follow the norms as taught.  Legally obligating consenting adults to only behave sexually in the confines of a valid marriage is tyrannical, even if only a soft tyranny.

Quote:A sexually healthy society most definitely wouldn't categorize non-sexual affection as sexual. But that phenomenon is a recent development, one born in the gay rights movement that's attempted to normalize homosexuality and homosexual acts, and have brought all that to our consciousness in a big way. For ex., at the museum I volunteer at, there's a late Victorian picture of a group of doctors. They're sitting there, some with arms around another, some with a hand on another man's knee, etc. No one would've thought twice about men sitting like that together. No one would've accused them of homosexuality. But nowadays, because homosexuality is all over the place in our media, in the news, in movies and TV, men feel compelled to make a show of how "not gay" they are. They might hug another guy, but feel as if they have to throw in a "no homo" afterwards.

I disagree that that was born in the gay rights movement.  The paradigm shift from marriage being primarily about establishing and securely raising a family to one of romanticized emotion for another person began in the Victorian era, and continues today in the semi-frequent facebook memes that are variations of "Being married means I get to spend the rest of my life with my best friend.  Yayyyy!"  If your spouse can also be your best friend, that's awesome, but that's not the purpose of marriage.  I think the gay rights movement was born from the very natural realization that if marriage is nothing more than "loving my best friend"  and I, too, can love my best friend, then why the hell can't I marry my best friend too?  Homosexuals have just accepted the new paradigm that heterosexuals created 100 years ago.  I think the gay rights movement being so vociferous that photos of men touching men 150 years ago means they were all gay is that they grew up in a culture that catechized them in homophobia.  It must be gay because straight people have been telling them all their lives that it is gay.  The responsibility for this particular degeneration of society rests squarely on heterosexuals, particularly the social rad-trad types.

Quote:Sublimation is another defense mechanism, but one that can do a lot of good. For ex., someone who, say, is a homosexual but doesn't want to acknowledge that about himself and doesn't act on it might take all of that psychic energy and use it to, for ex., work in an AIDS clinic to help the sick. Sublimation can be a good thing. But in a sexually healthy society, he should be able to recognize himself, his thoughts, his desires (wholesome or not), deal with them through prayer, friendship, the use of the will, etc., and still work in an AIDS clinic. See what I mean?

I recognize the difference, but I think it ultimately ends up as repression anyway.  These are very real sexual feelings (I'm not suggesting you think otherwise), so ultimately, directing them to another end that is altogether non-sexual, in some sense, represses that person's sexuality.  That's not always a bad thing, like, as you mentioned, in the case of children or animals.  But ultimately, if sexual feelings don't find some kind of sexual expression, they become repressed.  I'm not convinced that sexual psychic energy can merely be redirected.  While working in an AIDS clinic can certainly be very rewarding and fulfilling, it doesn't satisfy the natural need that the sexual desire was directed towards filling, whether in an ordered or disordered manner.  I don't know what the answer is to this, I just strongly, intuitively, think sublimation isn't it.

Quote:If there are sexual rights and wrongs, then there is, at least to that degree, a sexually healthy society (insofar as the right things are encourage, and the wrong things discouraged, I mean).

And if there are such things as neuroses and psychoses (trust me, there is :P  ), then a society that works to eliminate them is a sexually healthy society.

I imagine you'd agree with those two statements, being a Catholic and knowing (I assume) about sexual morality, etc., and being an intelligent person who knows about how people can be, shall we say, nuts. So how do we bring about a society that encourages right sexual behaviors while discouraging sinful and harmful ones, and which doesn't breed neuroses as Victorian society did with all of their hysterics and sufferers of "neurasthenia"?

I do agree with those two statements.  Some of my friends have taught their kids to use the words penis and vagina instead of willy and hoo-ha.  I think their intent was to discourage viewing sexuality as dirty, but later I have heard the same parents tell their daughter "Stop talking about your vagina!"  So I'm not sure how much it's working :)  I'm a little perplexed at the source of the Victorian neuroses.  My gut says it's related to the doctrine of Augustine, and since that went down into Calvinism and a lot of Anglo-Protestantism is rooted in Calvinism if not directly Calvinist, I thought perhaps that was the cause.  Yet those neuroses never developed in the Netherlands or the Calvinist portions of Switzerland and Hungary (or, if they did, they never took root and died out quickly).  And even if it were Calvinism, not just Calvinists in the 5 major Anglophonic countries adopted it: there was a case a few years ago where a Canadian man sued the Catholic boarding school in Quebec he went to as a child because two of the priests held him down and circumcised him to punish him for masturbating.  Even though it did not take as strong a hold in Quebec as it did in the rest of Canada, the French culture was negatively influenced by the English culture around it.  Why did Victorian prudishness so thoroughly take hold in every English-speaking country and no where else?  I can't figure it out.  Whatever was the source of scaring people about sexuality that effected the minds of English-speakers but not Protestants as a whole, eradicating that mindset it what will make a sexually healthy society.
This should be a VERY interesting thread.  I see potential landmines everywhere  :).

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