This page is the collection of “The Unnatural Sex” postings in their proper reading order.
Almost ten years into the third millennium, we are still dragging through the same arguments, no closer to a resolution than we were in the second millennium.
The arguments that interest me most are the ones about sex, its aftermath, and what should be considered natural and unnatural. Homosexuality, polygamy, abortion – people arguing for these and similar things propose that people should be allowed to make their own choices in life while people arguing against these things say these things are unnatural.
This begs the question as to what unnatural and natural really mean. When did humans begin committing unnatural acts, and what drives them to do these things? Is it possible to convince society to live naturally, to refrain from unnatural activities, and if so, how?
Over the next few months I will try to answer these questions with a new post each week. It will be rough, as I am no great writer, but maybe someone will get something interesting out of this.
1: What is Unnatural?
Times they are a’changing. In the news today it is sex, sex, and more sex. Not for titillation, but instead for rights. Homosexuals want the same rights as heterosexuals, women want the same rights as men, women want the rights to their own bodies, but these rights are slow-going as before any vote or new piece of legislature is written up, the question of whether these acts are natural or not must be considered.
So let’s talk about the generally accepted view of what natural sex is to people who argue against these rights being argued for. Only men and women should have sex with each other. Homosexual relationships are considered unnatural. Sex should occur within the confines of marriage, with the man as the sole breadwinner. Women are better at being nurturers and should stay home with the children. Men are better at being aggressive and obtaining food, either by hunting or working to earn money for food. Men and women belong in monogamous relationships although it is acknowledged that occasionally polygyny (the marriage of one man to multiple women, not to be confused with polygamy which is gender-neutral) is acceptable. If a man wants to take multiple wives it is considered a natural urge, however it may be frowned upon within their society. Women are not to lay with another man besides their husband – the urge to do so is considered unnatural. All sexual activity should be confined to procreation, none should be for recreation.
So in summary of the above, natural sex involves a husband and wife having sexual intercourse in the interest of creating a new human. If sex does not fall into that category, it is deemed unnatural.
These definitions of natural versus unnatural begs the question of “who says?” Ask the average person what the nature of human sexuality is and they can give you an answer (being a numbers freak, a survey is forthcoming), but how do we arrive at these answers? One could say that whatever they feel is natural is natural, however if we consider the term natural to be what is most likely intended to be the natural order of things (i.e., mutations and deviations can occur, but are not generally intended), what each individual considers to be natural to them may not be natural to the species.
If we take a broader view we can ask what society deems natural, which indeed is what we are seeing in these debates. A seemingly small subgroup of persons declare something is ‘natural’, another group argues it is ‘unnatural’. So who is right, and where have we gotten these views from? How do we determine what is natural or not? Some argue that what is written in holybooks is what should be considered natural. Different holybooks have different view, though. Some say it is natural for one man to marry one women, others say it is fine for one man to marry many women. Some explicitly say homosexuality is taboo, others ignore the subject completely with a seeming acceptance by omission. How can we determine what is natural for the entire human race if we are not in agreement as to which of these books to use?
Agreeing on a book is a moot point, though. We cannot understand what our nature is by reading a book, to understand nature, we must look at nature.