Saturday, June 8, 2013

If She In Chains Of Magic Were Not Bound...

Oh, gentle readers (and those not-too-gentle in other departments), where am I to begin? 

The subject of sex is one I have written about from time to time. After all, the religious and social implications of sex are a cesspool of controversy, and in this as in all discussions, every voice needs to join the argument. As one knows, I am no offender to the rights of the obscene, the taboo, and the socially ungracious (having been called all of these in print myself), and so it was with a note of intrigue that I read about the May article in The Journal of Sexual Medicine that ultimately implied those with kinkier habits may in fact be psychologically healthier than everyone else. 

Well, fuck me. . . Not literally. (One should be clear when discussing this matter.)

It was said that some of the reasons for this observation were that people with BDSM tendencies are more honest about their sexuality, that they accept themselves through taboo labels, and that they have a fine understanding of empathy because of what the roles their play requires. 

I must admit that I (quite recently as two weeks ago) had my first experience in this fashion. While there are many collared nudes one might wish to picture in detail, I am sure my form is not among them, so I shall do you the pleasure of skipping over it. I will say, however, that the experience was something of a surprise and much more cerebral than anticipated. I found myself not focused on the moment at all but instead thinking on how ridiculous the moment must have looked to an outsider, especially one who knew me. Nonetheless, a level of trust and risk was involved that I had not hitherto experienced in Venus's boudoir. It has led to a lot of introspective thought and, naturally, curiosity on the subject and how it pertains to the world. 

Needless to say, it also made me think about religion. While monotheism has no official decree against BDSM-sexuality in particular, the host of other subjects over which it claims dominion are well known: the right to masturbate; which days to have sex on and in which position, or with whom; the horrid act of circumcision which is actually intended to dull the sexual response; the incredible pressure of virginity and pre-martial sex; the admonition that thinking lustful thoughts of another person is equivalent to committing adultery, as is watching pornography; that contraception is equivalent to murder. . . the list goes on. 

I am always perplexed by those who willingly give up their sexual liberation as human beings (or worse, criminalize it) for the sake of their spirituality. Perhaps there is a fulfillment in the latter that I simply could not understand, though I doubt it. Rather, it seems to me more that there is a fear of sexuality that religion conveniently helps one to avoid, and the overall temptation of it is eventually so great that rather than look on it as though it were a disease, the years of rejection have actually turned it into one. Regardless of all these thoughts, I've always had one simple assertion that I think even the most dogged of theists can at least empathize with: if god didn't want sex to be such an issue, he shouldn't have made it so awesome. 

Be that as it may, too few are willing to throw off their fear because to don the taboo mantle itself is so . . . well, taboo. I, for one, even up to the moments of the event, had no extraneous desire for it to occur, and was mostly surprised by the occurrence. But what I learned is that fear is always the prime inhibitor of (if not our greater desires) our human triumphs. This pertains not only to the sexual, vanilla and BDSM, but to any event that we as humans have the privilege to experience in our short, single lives on this extraordinary planet. Whether in the form of god or social clime or sheer inexperience, our ability to block out the novel for the sake of the comfortable is always something that deters from the truly luminous, which is the adventure. 

As well, the entire point of this blog might have been worth it if only to stumble upon one of my favorite pieces of irony I've yet found:

In order to be truly free, one needs to be tied up every once in a while. 

Saturday, June 1, 2013

In Which I Should Be Arrested

I confess myself slightly ashamed, gentle readers, that I have known about this subject for well over a month and have not yet made a statement regarding it. Those who have heard about the heart-breaking treatment of atheist bloggers in Bangladesh know that the innate right of humans to express their minds is not only being violently excoriated, it's being outright condemned. 

Free-thinkers in the South Asian country have been thrown in jail in order to appease the demands of a riotous theist mob. The crime? "Hurting religious sentiments", which violates a law that has been in effect in Bangladesh since 1860 (three years before an American President insinuated that the proposition that all men are created equal is not only worth erecting entire governments upon, but dying for). Let me be one of the many to say, my friends, that if "hurting religious sentiments", in particular Islamic religious sentiments, is a damnable offense, then atheists have the smaller rap sheets in comparison to their theist brothers. 

Koran (4:95-101) “The believers who stay at home—apart 
from those that suffer from a grave impediment—are not the 
equal of those who fight for the cause of God with their goods 
and their persons. God has given those that fight with their 
goods and their persons a higher rank than those who stay at 
home. God has promised all a good reward; but far richer is the 
recompense of those who fight for Him . . . He that leaves his 
dwelling to fight for God and His apostle and is then overtaken 
by death, shall be rewarded by God . . . The unbelievers are 
your inveterate enemies.” 

Koran (9:73) “Prophet, make war on the unbelievers and the 
hypocrites and deal rigorously with them. Hell shall be their 
home: an evil fate.” 

Koran (9:123) “Believers, make war on the infidels who dwell 
around you. Deal firmly with them. Know that God is with the 
righteous.”

Keep in mind that an "unbeliever" to a Muslim mind is paramount to a "different believer". Anyone who does not accept the final revelation of a drooling desert schizophrenic (I mean, Muhammad) is as good (or, rather, as bad) as an atheist. There is little room for comparison. I will submit the question to the audience, then, and ask whether or not these sentiments, coupled with the bounty placed on the head of Salman Rushdie; the bounty placed on cartoonists working for the Jyllens-Posten in 2006; the flouting of Danish diplomatic immunity combined with the torching of their embassies and the murder of their citizens abroad in the same year; the attack on the Italian editor, Norwegian publisher, and the murder of the Japanese translator of The Satanic Verses; the murder of Theo Van Gogh, etc. -- are these not actually the hurtful sentiments expressed not only by radical Muslims but the dictates of Islam itself? It stands for discussion. 

This aside, it is important to strike the message home: the blog you are now reading, were I a citizen of Bangladesh, would be my ticket not only to prison, but likely torture or murder in the streets. Apart from my unbelief, my outright insult to the abhorrent ideology of Islam and its frothy-mouthed icon would be grounds for an outcome on my health better left pictured than elucidated. I would be hand-in-hand with unfortunates like Daniel Pearl, and the removal of my head would likely be available for viewing in darker corners of the internet, complete with Arabic subtitles. 

Let us never forget our brothers and sisters in the Middle East and the sub-continent who have less than a voice, they lack the right to use it for fear of their lives. While the civil liberty of free speech is being arrogantly flouted by peoples of faith all around the world, and while the parties of god think themselves holy arbiters of divine law, both judge and executioner, we have a duty to be outraged, appalled, and driven to mourning. It is in our nature and our responsibilities as free-thinkers, skeptics, friends, and siblings of the human condition to combat this subjective tyranny and prove that the feelings of the many do not outweigh the feelings of the few, or that this utilitarian delusion does not grant the right to murder those who do not see the same mirages as you do in the desert. 

One would say it is the work of Providence that I was not born in Bangladesh. If this were the case, I submit that the Invisible Sky Wizard made one holy fuck-up. I would happily be jailed, tortured, and even die alongside those who have the incredible courage to oppose this fascism with strong hearts, and consider it the greatest privilege of my life to be given the opportunity. 

To those still suffering, I remain eternally yours.