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THE PROBLEM WITH THE SEXUAL CENSORSHIP DEBATE…from the understanding of a pagan sex worker.

This is part of an idea for a chapter I am working on for a book examining organic Feminism/an understanding of sex and human sexuality from a pagan sex worker view. There are ideas in here which I will be developing and it would be nice to have some feed back.

Censorship is in the news. New variations on age old pathological morality are being used to justify censorship legislation that detests human sexuality that does not conform to what some in authority consider normal, appropriate or safe for society. A fresh frenzy of fear is being whipped into hysteria against images that they insist may especially corrupt children. A new pogrom on human sexuality is being unleashed excused by those who claim that gender equality can only be achieved by the sexual re education of society. Images are being targeted for engendering dysfunction within the family and within society. No one however is questioning the deeper pathological trauma within society. Few if any question what created and still perpetuates the very notion that sexual images are dangerous.

The arguments for censorship and against censorship fill our media and agitate the minds of politicians anxious to save society from what? Self appointed moral superiors excuse censorship by claiming that it protects us from succumbing to the immorality that they say is natural to our human natures. There is even a colonial arrogance rearing its ugly head as anti pornographers blame western pornography for corrupting indigenous people. It is notable in all these arguments how history repeats itself. The age of imperialism may have passed but the mindset remains that non western nations especially are incapable of personal sexual control or autonomy. Western liberalism castigates images while infantalising humanity as morally weak with out questioning the assumptions that these notions are based upon.

As a Pagan for whom consensual adult human sexuality in all its many variances is a celebration of life and for whom the sexual act is in itself an act of devotion to the great mother I worry at what is happening and I despair. I despair because those who oppose censorship fail to challenge the very dangerous concept of censorship itself and the deep seated societal trauma recognised by this need to censor. Centuries of abusive legislation inspired by monotheistic dogma which still fuels that need for the censorship of images and ideas and which also looks for societal scapegoats must be challenged. We must start by examining the roots causes contained within monotheistic dogma that has damaged our understanding of human sexuality.

Today’s censor has changed little in his motivation from his predecessor of the middle ages. Familiar arguments repackaged using modern language and modern political hobby horses to justify age old fears of the corrupting nature of human sexuality that is not contained and controlled still explains the mindset that prevails.
The anti censorship lobbyists counter with Libertarian ideology and turn to scientific evidence to justify human sexual diversity and humanities need for sexual expression. Science is being used to justify difference as normal and natural. The result however is confusing arguments over statistics and research which tries to influence governments. The language used by both sides is trapped within their contexts of guilt, shame, right and wrong, in essence the moral language defined as acceptable by the censor.
Attempts to excuse or justify human sexual diversity and human sexual imagination are trapped within debates about what is acceptable, normal. Human sexuality is expected to justify its right to express itself.
The argument has to become more definite in questioning the ideology that motivates, that needs a censor to protect whom from whom?

As a Pagan I worry that within the censorship debate few question or challenge the psychological trauma caused by centuries of orthodox monotheistic dogma that scapegoats images and non prescribed human sexual behaviour.
Orthodox monotheist dogma has for centuries controlled and consequently damaged both society and individuals through imposing personal and societal sexual shame. It is the reasons for this shared guilt and shame that needs to be challenged more forcefully if society itself is ever to become truly sexually liberated. As long as the debate remains trapped by language institutionalised within monotheistic ideology then the thought process also, represented within science, law and government that have for centuries been shaped within the confines of that orthodox monotheism will continue to affect our understanding of human sexuality, even within a so called secular society. The very best humanity can hope for in these circumstances is toleration not a celebration of human sexual expression.

For me the very idea of sexual corruption is in itself a peculiar notion. The classical pre monotheist world had no real modern notion of pornography, or of sex being in itself corrupting. In a world once full or erect penises rearing and ejaculating benedictions it was hard to see sex as anything other than normal, playful, pleasurable. Once for example the now feared and castigated male penis was a symbol of devotion, protection and humour in equal measure. Children wore phallic symbols around their necks to protect against evil,while homes and ornaments depicted sexual intercourse as decoration and images of both male and female genitalia filled homes and temples and public buildings equally as an expression of humour and of pleasure and of devotion. Children and adults did not fear their human bodies or fear human sexuality but rather celebrated sex as normal, pleasurable and sacred. Today the penis, especially the erect penis is specifically an image of concern for the censor and men are chastised for their sexual desires. Why is this and how can the anti sex censorship lobby hope to create a society where sexual imagery and sexual diversity is not viewed as dangerous if they fail to recognise and question the collective societal trauma that has led us all down this absurd path where sex, our most natural human expression of both love and joy has become something to be feared.

The truth rarely argued is that censorship itself is corrupting. Censorship does not save us from being corrupted but is instead the vehicle of corruption. Censorship creates panic and hysteria and consequently a market for the forbidden. It corrupts what is normal into something unnatural and therefore undesirable which in turn perpetuates the need for censorship and for the vigilance of the censor to protect us all from that alleged corruption. A vicious circle is created that truly corrupts everyone by perpetuating unhealthy ideas and attitudes toward sex through sexual stigma. Sexual fear and stigma that accompanies that fear and which is perpetuated through criminality cripples our society psychologically and actually physically.
Censorship cripples each one of us physically because it traps us both individually and within society into perpetuating systems of sexual oppression that are expressed both within legal legislation and individual self mortification. These modes of oppression are specifically designed to maintain historically a patriarchal society that was and which still remains fearful of both sexual freedom and the social changes that historically walk hand in hand with sexual liberation.
Some argue in the west at least we are now a more liberal society. I would as a Pagan counter argue that perhaps we may on the surface be more accepting but in reality that acceptance is only a thin veneer. The trauma of centuries of monotheistic doctrinal hatred of the flesh remains and affects how we deal with sexual images and with sexual diversity.

Acceptance of human sexual diversity should be an important indicator of a liberal society but we have seen in the west that positive legislation that grants equal rights to sexual minorities and equality gender legislation can be misleading. So called positive sexual equality legislation has proven to be progress that remains limited by what those in authority consider safe. We may no longer be persecuted by the state for being homosexual for example but we are all expected to tick little boxes that define our gender and our sexuality which determines our sexual practices within safety zones created by the government. This is not a positive step toward true sexual liberation where sex and sexuality is a joyful adventure but simply the meanest recognition of difference with rules that still govern tolerated sexual behaviour.

In recent history the emergence of sexual liberation movements through the women’s movements and gay liberation movements initially did initiate a limited degree of sexual and social liberation on the surface at least. These movements were initially vilified and were united by that vilification in a desire to change the world. Many thought the age of Aquarius was at hand. It has proven to be a false hope however for many as those movements became mainstream, accepted and subsequently corrupted into perpetuating the patriarchal oppression they once fought against. This has been particularly noticeable with the rise of what some now term governmental feminism. Governmental feminism rather like the liberation ideologies of the left use the terminology of liberation but in reality corrupted by power they quickly have become new modes of oppression. Governmental feminism has become the antisepses of feminism and instead perpetuates patriarchal oppression repackaged to fit fashionable ideas of gender equality.
When governmental feminism denies consensual rights to women and chastises men for having sexual thoughts it is simply re packaging age old forms of oppression that both women and men once, not so long ago, fought against. Modern feminist vitriol against pornography for example and against women who work in the sex industry and men and women who use the sex industry is not a positive step toward sexual liberation and neither is it gender equality but rather crude social engineering and a modern, secular redefining of age old ideas of good women, bad women, good people, bad people. What is positive in this? The danger for our society is that patriarchal notions of right and wrong disguised as gender equality when it is the opposite, is being presented as progress when it is nothing of the kind.

Fighting the censor is not enough. For society to change positively for the better sexual libertarians have to challenge society by asking why it accepts censorship. We have to explain the corrupting influence of censorship on them and on our society and question the idea that any image is powerful enough to corrupt. We have to challenge the censor to explain what is corrupting about sexual imagery and human sexual diversity which should be something celebratory as it once was rather than something to be feared.
An image is only an image, what makes an image powerful is the associations given to that image by authority. An image of an erect penis for exmaple is corrupting only because we are told it is.

For centuries monotheism taught that what is natural is potentially, if it remains untamed, unnatural and therefore corrupting. Our society is a product of a dogma that has denied human natures as dangerous. The result is a damaged society that is reflected in our often abusive attitudes towards one another, our fellow creatures and towards our planet.
Our world centuries ago replaced sexual innocence with sexual fear when monotheism forced itself upon an unwilling world. In our western, now so called secular society the new orthodoxy of secularism is at best a side step toward sexual liberation rather than a step forward because it remains trapped within the neurotic trauma that has left us as a damaged society.
When monotheism teaches us to be ashamed of our bodies and to be fearful of our sexual creativity and fearful of sexual pleasure then we are also being taught to fear difference. Difference, sexual diversity rather than being enjoyed, accepted, welcomed, becomes feared and despised and criminalised. Images of sex remain therefore something at best naughty at worst corrupting.
In such a traumatised society social discomfort over sex will result in sexual images continuing to remain dangerous. As long as images remain dangerous then our bodies will also remain dangerous and sex itself out side safely prescribed so called normal behaviour will also be condemned as dangerous and even criminal. In Sweden where governmental feminism has become institutionalised the state recently sent to gaol a footballer for the onus crime of having sex with a prostitute whom he did not pay (presumably she was paid if at all by another) but whom he should have recognised as a prostitute by the manner of her dress. Here in the UK censorship laws have been created to judge and condemn people for simply looking at images that the state, the censor, deems offensive, corrupting. No sexual act has to be committed and no creation of a banned image; simply the offence of looking at a banned image can send you to gaol and land you with a hefty fine and a criminal record.
It is not so dissimilar to the past when to be accused of heresy or witchcraft could send you to the flames for simply being a curious or adventurous soul. Our society has to move forward and perhaps the best way to move forward is to learn once again not to be ashamed.

To be continued when I examine Christian sexual mysticism and how perhaps monotheistic orthodoxy which is essentially a cult of death can be challenged from within. Within Christianity there remains the hope of the Goddess and of Gnosis which orthodox monotheism feared and tried to destroy.

Dark days are ahead I fear. The return of the Goddess cannot be soon enough.

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About Douglas Fox

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This entry was posted on 10 March, 2011 by in Feminism, In the Media, Law, Religion, Research.
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