Not sure where I’m going to go with this post as I start it, but I’m motivated and inspired by the Republican political candidates and what passes for their political campaigns, and sex is the reason why. A major portion of what they call a political platform, not to mention the questions that follow them from debate to debate, revolve around sex. Sick Rantorum, that frothy gentleman from Pennsylvania, is personified by the topic, given his stance on gay marriage, homosexuality, abortion and contraception. Newt Gingrich has made the earmark of his campaign a promise to never indulge in the pleasures of adultery again, because of his three marriages and the circumstances of his spousal selection process, though at the age of 68 that seems like a safe, and therefore empty, meaningless promise from him. And, of course, the rest of candidates, both those still in the race and those who have dropped out, have had various yet consistently judgmental opinions on the subject.
Sex. We all know what it is, we all partake of the pleasure and the comfort and the results. It is the leading human motivational force, second to none, though possibly equal to money, and not far ahead of guilt. It’s the engine that turns the human wheel. Look behind many of the human foibles, scandals and mistakes of most politicians, businessmen, blue collar workers, ….hell, everybody… and you’ll find either money or sex. It’s a biological imperative that we have neither the ability nor the will to control, yet we strive mightily to do so, always losing. The sex drive is the strongest drive on earth, turning gigantic intellects into quivering gelatin at the drop of a bra strap.
And of course, the survival of our species depends on it.
Victorian sensibilities shoved it into the background in national politics, where we winked and we nodded, and occasionally were forced to acknowledge it because we had no choice, but it was the so-called sexual revolution of the 60s that allowed us to confront it and speak about it and finally allow it into the forefront of the social consciousness of the nation.
It was, and still is, a topic that is not discussed in polite company (along with politics and religion). Innuendo and euphemisms are the language of normal discourse when the subject is brought up. We have pet names for body parts, and we are often ashamed to speak out loud the words penis, breast, vagina, fellatio, cunnilingus and sexual intercourse. Instead we speak of dicks and boobs, and pussies and fucking. But it is something we do, and have to do, and is as natural as breathing, eating and defecating. Yet it is always an embarrassing topic, except in like company. I blame the religious mores passed down to us, but that’s another topic for another day.
This never made much sense to me, but I was brought up in the same cultural milieu as everyone else, and found myself conforming to the same cultural restrictions. Instead of frank, sexual informational talks with my children, we discussed the “birds and bees”. If we talked about it at all. These puritanical notions of embarrassment at the very thought of sex seems to me to be antithetical to a healthy sexual environment, and in the back of my head, over most of my life, I knew that, but I was psychologically hampered from being more open. I always admired those that were able to speak about sex in a frank, normal, conversational manner without making others feel embarrassed. Dr. Ruth was one of these, and while her lilliputian physique and German accent seemed sometimes like a caricature, she opened up avenues of sexual discourse that were previously blocked to many. There are a lot of other examples, but they are irrelevant to this post.
My point is that I think it’s healthy for the population to be discussing the sex lives of not only their politicians, but the rest of the country, including ourselves. It’s part of who we are. We should be able to not only recognize, but celebrate the diversity of thought and practice that comes with a healthy individual sex life. It should not, in a psychologically flourishing population, engender feelings of embarrassment, or moral outrage, or disgust, any more than talking about someone’s cancer, or mental illness, or baldness, or hemorrhoids would do so.
When a politician uses sexual activity, or orientation, or history as a plank on a political platform, then that’s a good thing, as long as what’s good for the goose is also good for the gander. Sex is something we all have in common, so a national dialogue is natural. The fact that Newt Gingrich is running on a so-called “family values” platform, which is really a dog whistle for anti-abortion and anti-homosexual, is not objectionable per se. It always was fair game, no more than if he was against man-boy love, NAMBLA style. That’s all part of what should be healthy dialogue about human sexuality. Maybe you disagree that it shouldn’t be part of a political discourse, that perhaps the place to discuss it is elsewhere, but it’s not outside the scope of normal and important human communication. If it sparks a multi-sided debate, then what could possibly be the problem?
What’s really objectionable is the hypocrisy associated with the judgmental position he takes, along with his fellow Republican Presidential aspirants. It’s one thing to tell others how they should conduct themselves in their sexual affairs. It’s another to tell them how they should conduct themselves while specifically violating those same judgmental imperatives at the same time. That is pure hypocrisy, and for Newt to find outrage in a question posed to him in a debate that specifically points out his hypocrisy is, in itself, hypocritical, not to mention ironic. It calls into question the very nature and character of Newt himself, and his fitness for being President.
Gingrich was one of the leading instigators and proponents of the Whitewater Investigation, which was turned into a witch hunt of Bill Clinton, and eventually resulted in the discovery of an anti-climatic (no pun intended) semen-stained dress and the impeachment of the President. Gingrich was extremely judgmental of this short affair with Monica Lewinsky (a blow job in the oval office that did not terminate his marriage), at the same time that he was carrying on a much more involved affair with the woman who would later become his current wife. He was an outspoken advocate for Clinton’s impeachment and hoped-for removal from office (which backfired on him), primarily based on his denouncements of Clinton’s non-family based morality, while he was secretly carrying on a very non-family based relationship with a woman 23 years his junior.
Can you spell H-Y-P-O-C-R-I-S-Y? And is his hypocrisy relevant to this election process?
You bet your boobies.
The fact that we went through the sexual revolution, which allows us to be more open about the subject of sex, has had a positive effect on society. We can talk about the consequences of sex, be they STDs, unwanted pregnancies, and children, without the guilt all churches used to impose on the discussion. We don’t look the other way when someone happens to mention that Father O’Reilly touched little Billy in a way Billy wasn’t used to, or which confused him. We now do something about it, and quickly, because Billy knows what a bad touch is.
And when a politician thinks he can sit on his high horse and tell us how we are to conduct our sexual affairs, we can tell him to go
to hell fuck himself.