Thursday, December 26, 2013

None Dare Call It Perversion

    [A] practical, even scientific definition of sexual perversion begins by defining the objects of normal, healthy reproductive desire. Wanting to have sex with anything that falls outside that definition is perversion.

    Obviously, reproductive desire should be for another person. This means that sexual desire for trees or goats or ladies’ shoes is perversion. Sexual desire should also be for a live human being, which rules out dead people. And the live human beings should be at least of reproductive age, so wanting sex with children is also perverted.

    But what do all these excluded objects of desire have in common? They are a complete dead end. For someone’s reproductive drives to be oriented toward children or rocks or goats or dead people is perverse because a reproductive urge in any of those directions is bound to fail. It’s an evolutionary absurdity.

    So we’re not far if we define perversion as acting on a sexual desire for something or someone with whom reproduction is obviously impossible.
The trouble is that "that definition would classify homosexuals among the perverts" and that disagreement means "having to agree that, yes, having a reproductive urge for every other reproductive dead end is abnormal and maybe even perverse, but it’s fine if men want to have sex with men," argues Elizabeth McCaw — The Straight Dope on Homosexuality.

To "define perversion as acting on a sexual desire for something or someone with whom reproduction is obviously impossible" seems a pretty good Natural Law working model. The weakest point in the argument comes when she says that "it is obviously not perverse for a man to continue to have sexual relations with a woman past menopause." Begging the question gets us only so far. I, for one, plan to keep banging the missus after menopause. That Sara and Elizabeth got preggers after menopause means that one's post-menopausal wife, or other milfs for that matter, are "someone with whom reproduction is obviously impossible," but arguing from scripture makes one sound like a prot.

It only gets muddier if we bring in John Paul II's Theology of the Body, which dwells upon "the unitive significance and the procreative significance which are both inherent to the marriage act." The latter may be miraculously present in post-menopausal boinking, but former is still obviously and normally present. The love that dare not speak its name, when expressed physically, can never have the latter significance, like "sexual desire for trees or goats or ladies’ shoes" or "dead people," but can it have the former, and if so, would that mean that homosexuality is only half-perverted, and would this be a suitable compromise for both sides in the argument? (Disturbingly, "sex with children" might considered to have "the unitive significance" by NAMBLA-types, which is why we need age of consent laws.)

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