Naked and spectacular

Total pageviews


Sexual tension

In a wonderful coincidence yesterday evening at 18.00 I went for a walk and listened to the Alan Watts lecture called, at the Psychedelic Salon, "Why is Christianity afraid of sex?" and elsewhere, "Religion and sexuality."  I got home just after 19.00 and we all went to the Sydney Mardi Gras Pride Parade.

I did not anticipate what this Alan Watts lecture would be about.  He suggests that religion, specifically Christianity, is obsessed with sex.  This is clear to us all.  Sex is the primary taboo.  And of course the primary effect of thousands of years of repression by this most powerful of institutions has not been to reduce or eliminate the sin of sex from our society, quite the contrary.  

Our society, which has been so shaped by Christianity, is extremely sexually diverse with much variation in types of sexual relationships, fetishes, media with a sexual nature or sexual content.  We are a society obsessed with sex and though we are trying in some ways to liberate ourselves from our anxieties around sex, they are very deep-seated and culturally ingrained and I would suggest that our civilisation requires sexual tension and anxiety to maintain the status quo.

This is not a bad thing though because, as Alan Watts suggests, sex as a sin is much more exciting.  When sex is is illicit, naughty, the naughtier the better, it is tremendously exciting.  Where would we be now as a species if we did not maintain the excitement of sex?  Procreation would slow down and stop, we would not take over the world with our billions.  So perhaps it's a biological necessity.

The last thing we would want would be for the libertines to win and sex to become open and acceptable everywhere.  If it was taught at school alongside budgeting and cooking, with practice and role-playing then it would suddenly lose all its significance, it would be boring and common.  We would no longer yearn for it with the passion and desperation we currently do, with the overwhelming delight of our pleasures being fulfilled.

The experience is then of the Sydney Mardi Gras Parade.  Ten years ago, as a teenager, with my secret and shameful sexuality, this spectacle may have been incredibly liberating for me.  Sadly, I grew up in Wanganui, New Zealand, where there was no Pride Parade; and even the Auckland one was cancelled before I made it up there at the age of 17.  Yesterday, however, after listening to that lecture, I had a different experience of the Parade.

Hours and hours of hundreds and hundreds of joyful exuberant people in all their weird and wonderful costumes declaring their sexual and religious and political peculiarities with pride and confidence and delight.  There was certainly a lot of happiness on display and diversity of many kinds.  It was, however, a very unsexy event.  There were men and women of all ages in skimpy or elaborate costumes, dancing with crotch-thrusts and sin in their eyes but no sex.  I am a very horny man and I can't sit at the beach without being overwhelmed by all these stunning young men half-naked with their bodies and their homophobia.  However, this display of pride was emotionally moving and profoundly unsexy.

The Alan Watts lecture:

No comments: