Sunday, September 26, 2010

Fornication and the Need for Ritual

Sex appears to be very popular in the media nowadays, or at any other time period.  Why is it that we are so obsessed as a society with sex?  Why is it that all our three minute pop songs are about sex?  Why are our young people in such lustful relationships (besides puberty)?  Has every generation had this fixation?  Is it mere lust, physical pleasure and human nature?  Is it an unavoidable element of the human experience or is it something our modern times have particularly created.  These questions are rhetorical.

I believe that something outside of basic lust is the problem.  Men and women are having a crisis of relating to each other.  What is the cause of this crisis?  For many centuries, if not for millenia, the rules of how men and women were supposed to relate to each where heavily defined by cultural norms.  Anyone who has read Jane Austen knows what I am talking about.  One might complain that forcing people into roles entails the denial of true self and disingenuous relations.  This need not be true.  I could say to someone "How was your day?"  This is a cliche, yet courteous question to ask someone.  Just because it has been asked before does not make it phony.  A role is the mindset you bring to it. Are wedding vows phony because they are "scripted"?  The rules and norms of etiquette and human relations make said relations much more pleasant.  Every man knows his expectations and thus being a gentleman is not guesswork but a matter of self-discipline.  This does not, or at least not significantly, remove the excitement of dating or courtship because a woman is still a woman.  By casting off these roles, we have fallen into a void of awkwardness.  It's no surprise that some people want to believe awkward is the new cool.  I do not.  Couples don't know what to do with each other, they don't know what they want and they have no idea what a relationship is supposed to be.  They may think they like each other, but where do you go from there and how are they supposed to relate to each other.

This is where lust comes in.  In this newly created vacuum, couples are looking for something safe that they can wrap their heads around.  Couples are running out of avenues through which to express themselves because they don't know how, and to top it off, they cover their own awkwardness because society takes it for granted that everyone has perfect people skills even though it never taught them people skills.  Physical affection is perhaps the only remaining area of affection that still makes sense, if only on a mechanical and superficial level.  Many people can't tell the difference, anyhow.  A kiss is a kiss and sex is sex.  Physical love is ritual.  Couples are running towards something ritual and objectively laid out in their relationships.  It is a comfort zone.  The incessant challenge of spontaneity is a burden.  They would rather share the passion of an hour-long make out.  This is why pop songs only relate in romantic platitudes and sexual and physical language.  People don't know much about the details of real relationships and those details are not universal.  This is how some people have the logic that "I can't hold a five minute conversation with this girl, but I do know how to have sex with her."  The lack of ritual, ironically, can lead to the incessant, eventually bland routine of lustful relations, thus stifling spontaneity.  Couples pursue this anyway because they have nothing else to do with each other.  Lust is boredom.  Lust is awkwardness.  Lust is a superficial connection.  This is not always so.  Sometimes, two people may fornicate out of serious passion, but so often, if not most often, it is a mundane lack of passion.  It is a refusal to acknowledge the problems in a relationship and instead to drown them in what comes easy, both parties being incapable of relating on any other level, thus making this new small piece of the fullness of sexuality become increasingly mundane.


  1. That means a lot coming from you, Johnny. You should check out my other blog. While this one is more up your alley as well as the subject matter technically has more potential, knowing me and the excitement in my brain, my other blog will be superior.

  2. I agree with Johnny---so many couples really DON'T know how to be in "relationship" and have an actual connection. The physical is what we see on tv, movies, music videos, and hear in songs and talked about by friends. It is easy to jump right into lust when a couple doesn't know what else to do or lacks an actual psychological/spiritual/intellectual connection. Very interesting thoughts!