Posts Tagged sex

My beliefs on marriage and gender essentialism

This has got to be one of the most difficult topics to talk about, as I have a number of people I know and love who would not only disagree with me but see it as an attack on the fundamental beliefs they have on who they are. I’ve skirted around it in the past (“Who will we be when we wake?“,”Feminism and Same Sex Marriage are not compatible“,”Defining the uniqueness of men and women“), but I’ve thus far avoided trying to put down my rationales in full.

One of the poorest arguments I’ve seen against same sex marriage (SSM) is that SSM could not be legitimate because it does not have the possibility of producing children. This makes procreation the measure for legitimacy, leaving out many instances where procreation doesn’t happen or is impossible.

The better course of argument for two-gender marriage, even when no progeny is produced, is in that it provides an example of the advantages of joining together two disparate genders, male and female. Marriage is the bringing together of the greatest difference one person can have with another, creating something more than the sum of its parts. That this doesn’t always happen is immaterial. The intent in marriage is always to be a part of something greater than you can be with your own view of the world limited as it is by your gender.

Two gender marriage is better for children to grow up in as it affords them the opportunity to learn how to interact with those of each gender. Are there many ways this can be messed up, even by well meaning people? Absolutely! There are abusive marriages, families without an adult of one gender or the other, families where one or the other parent is gone for long periods of time, etc., etc., etc.. All of these, however, would be better off in a -good- marriage than in the state they are currently in. There are many kinds of families, from families of one person to families of many. All of these families, whatever their experiences and circumstances, should be celebrated and aided the best we can, even (and especially) our own family. All of these families are on a path of improvement, even those who seem to “have it all” and be perfectly happy.

Some would argue that gender should be immaterial. The problem is that there is something inherent in our gender, something nearly impossible to quantify. Our gender is the second strongest marker of our identity, the first being humanity. So much of our life is of experiences that only happen and relate to the gender we are. Changing completely from one to the other is simply not possible, as we cannot create the cache of gender based experiences we’ve not been part of, no matter how much we desire them. Those who are forced to or themselves attempt to become the other are at an extreme disadvantage, as their lived experiences will not be enough to know what it means to be that gender.

I’ll close this with a simple request. Respect the beliefs and decisions of others. You do not have to agree with their decisions, but you should respect the work, tears, prayers, and pains that they went through to arrive at their current situation. Your own experiences, progression, and faults can not make you better than them, only different in your journey.

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Feminism and Same Sex Marriage are not compatible

One of the current arguments for Same Sex Marriage (SSM) is that children can be raised just as well by two men or two women as they can by a woman and a man.  It is essentially saying that in matters of parenting, gender does not matter.  This seems to me to be directly contrary to feminism, since if gender did not matter, why should it matter if women are or are not in the same leadership positions as men?  I can understand the attraction of connecting homosexual marriage and feminism; both have a desire to see that everyone is treated equally and fairly.  However, to me, the persual of gay marriage undermines the feminist ideas that women cannot be served just as well by having only male leadership.

In LDS belief, men and women have always been and always will be men and women, respectively.  Your gender, whatever it is, is eternal.  No, this does not answer the state of those who have ambiguous gender, but for the majority it is simple enough – the gender you were born with is the gender you always were and always will be.  Could we be wrong?  Absolutely.  I could get to the next life and find that I really am female, and that would take some getting used to, but I can leave that dilemma for then, rather than worrying about it now.

We do not react to men and women in the same manner, no matter who we are.  If we are in a situation where the gender is ambiguous, we automatically assign one gender or the other until we can determine otherwise.  If we discover we were wrong in our assignment of gender, our reactions to and perceptions of that person change with some difficulty, because we have so closely connected that particular gender to that particular person.  Even in reading this post, you are making different judgements based on both my gender and yours.  Men and women are different.  They have physical, mental, and spiritual attributes that <i>in general</i> conform to their specified gender.  Can these attributes be found outside of the given gender?  Certainly, but as an exception, not as a rule.  Do we know what these differences are?  Very, very rarely.  Even with our instinctual knowledge of the differences between men and women, these differences are very difficult to quantify and define.

Studies show (forgive my lack of links) that there is a difference in the general outcome of raising children in homes with both a mother and father committed to marriage, as opposed to a mother or father alone, two fathers, two mothers, or a mother and father with an unstable marriage.  As children, we look to our fathers and mothers to see how we should react to others of that same gender, which cannot be accomplished as well as a single or same sex parent.  It certainly <i>can</i> be done, but it is not accomplished as easily as it would be in a stable two-parent, two-gender home.

Some of the pains often pointed out by feminists are that it would be more preferable for women to be able to confess to other women (rather than male-only Bishops), pray to their Mother in Heaven who would be able to empathize with women better, and that women leaders would be more sensitive to womens issues.  Men and women are not the same, but they should be treated equally, have equal opportunity for advancement even in those areas where men and women are seperated by those physical, mental, and spiritual differences.  Even though equality of treatment is an important aspect of both feminism and advocating for the LGBTQ amoung us, the loss of gender roles in marriage and parenthood desired in same sex marriage are in direct opposition to feminism – that even though women and men are different, they should both be treated and respected equally.

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Sex, Love, and Marriage

Why do we keep sex, love, and marriage as if one cannot and should not ever happen without the others?

There exists sex without love, and love without sex.
Sex without love happens all the time, unfortunately. Some people believe that sex is the same as love (its not). Certainly, sex with love is much preferable to sex without love, but it should never be the price of love. Love without sex happens even more often, as people can love one another without even a thought of having sex with them.

There exists love without marriage and marriage without love.
Love without marriage can happen for any period of time, with anyone at all. In marriage, you can certainly love someone other than your spouse, even at the same time as your spouse. Marriage can even happen with people who do not love each other at all, not only at the beginning of a marriage but at any time throughout.

There exists marriage without sex and sex without marriage.
Sex is not requisite in marriage. Children think married people are having sex all the time. We eat up every study that passes through that says that married people are having more sex than we are having, then start to think our marriage is going bad because we’re not having enough sex.

Yes, sex, love, and marriage are complimentary in that they can enhance each other, but they can also damage each other. Demands for sex can hurt a marriage, a forced marriage because of sex can hurt everyone involved. Giving sex to try and get love can be devastating. There is, however, a preferred order to this, but without some maturity on the part of both parties involved, all of it will cause more harm than good.

Sex
Sex is pretty simple – getting erotic pleasure that hopefully results in a strong rush of endorphins. It happens in all sorts of ways. It can lead to procreation (intentionally or not). It can cause feelings of happiness, but can also cause feelings of despair.
In my beliefs, sex is for strengthening marriage and having children. That’s it. Anything else is a cheap imitation, numbing the spirit and senses to the reality.

Love
Love is far from simple. These days, people barely talk about love as it may be construed in a way they did not mean. For example, I’m sure Bert and Ernie on Sesame Street love each other; they care about each others well being and share the good time and bad. It’s unfortunate, however, that Sesame Street has had to put out a statement that they are not gay. Men avoid going anywhere near love, fearing they will be thought of as gay. Some even decide they are gay simply because they love someone of the same gender.
Love should happen all the time, married or not, involving sex or not. It helps draw us together and improves the world around us by caring for someone outside of ourselves.

Marriage
Marriage was originally a Covenant – a contract between a man, a woman, and God. Recently that has shifted into the State serving the contract, leaving God out of it altogether. As a result, a marriage contract is virtually meaningless. People only stay together as long as they want, the only thoughts being toward what would happen to the children or how it would affect them financially then the marriage ended. The State itself has vast differences in how it treats and taxes people who are and who are not married. This is why I would prefer the State get out of marriage altogether. It has no reasons to be involved; no one is arrested on charges of adultery or family abandonment; no one is forced by the State to get married. Spousal abuse is just as damaging as any other abuse (though easier to exploit).
Marriage without God is a very loose and easily breakable contract.

To me, each of these, sex, love, and marriage, has its place, and all of them can enhance and strengthen the others if those involved work to be more selfless toward those they are involved with. Used selfishly, all of these can hurt you and others around you.

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