In the traditions of the Catholic Church, lust is a sin. There are two non-lustful uses for sex, and all others will send you to hell. You can have sex to-
- Create life (recently broadened to include having sex that is just open to the prospect of creating life. That's why even married Catholics can't use birth control- it turns sex (fine) into lust (sin).
- Cement the bonds of holy matrimony between a man and a woman. This is used to explain why you won't go to hell for having sex after menopause, or for not being able to ejaculate, or for having sex with your legally married spouse below childbearing age (go Alabama, Maine, Minnesota, New Hampshire, North Carolina, South Carolina-All of you continue the tradition of allowing marriage before the age of 14. The mean age of menarche in the US is 13(ish), meaning that 50% of girls in those states have a good chance to have the opportunity to get married before buying tampons)
So all of the sexual acts that most of my contemporaries have ever been involved in have been lustful. Sinfully lustful. At least according to the traditions of the catholic church. In fact, according to those restrictions, I might not know someone who has had low-sin or no-sin sex. I know three married couples. Of those three, one couple has a child. They are disqualified, however, because their child was concieved out of wedlock. It is unknown whether they use birth control presently, but I assume they do. One couple has been married one month this monday...and one couple is, thus far, rejecting the possibility of creating a life to bring greater glory to god (et al). More so the glory to god than the creating life part, though, I'm sure.
So that means that nearly everything that nearly everyone does in the bedroom (other than farting and watching television) is destructive and sinful.
And as far as I know, it feels fine. And it feels fine to most everyone involved. It's enjoyable. And most people would argue that they're not neccessarily destroyed by fellatio, cunnilingus, or having sex while deliberately thwarting the possibility of conception; in fact, they're enriched by it. How could something, then, that feels so loving to the participants, be thought so wrong for so long?
I don't believe that premarital sex is wrong, by the way. I don't at all. And I don't believe that, well, lets call it 'varietal' sex is wrong, either. I think that a healthy sex life IS healthy.
So is it just sour grapes from wrinkled wangs? Is it just ancient hebrew taboo misinterpreted by angry, misogynistic, puritanical early christian wankers? I dunno. I really believe that things that don't make sense tend to fall away; things that are blatantly absurd get reinterpreted or de-emphasized. Certainly, our society is de-emphasizing sexual taboos right now. And things are going fine. Lust doesn't feel destructive right now, so it's hard to picture it being destructive.
But maybe, pretend, there's another world. Pretend this is a world with arranged marriages. Generally between people who might have only seen eachother on the way to the well. Oh, pretend this is a world with wells. And oils and shit. All kinds of old-timey things go on, but people are still somewhat the same. Everybody feels the same things, is comfortable with the same things, wants the same understanding and compassion and shit. We're not playing any Jane Austen different-dress-means-different-soul game. So people, in general, have these arranged marriages. And they happen young for girls. And somewhat older for boys and men. And they happen suddenly. No courtship.
Oh, yeah. And there's no concept of "consent", either. There's either sex that's fine (married, heterosexual) and sex that is wrong (unmarried, homosexual, adultery). It doesn't matter who does what, forces who to what...it's just as bad or as good for you both.
So you're a girl at the same age you were when you first started your sexual experimentation and dating. And you've done NOTHING. But you're curious. You have an idea that there's something that's going to happen, someday soon. And it does. You get married. Suddenly, there's this guy you don't know well. But you're a guy. And you're around the age you were when you first got laid. But you've never been laid. And you're in this room with this girl you just married. You've never spoken to her. You don't even know any girls. And she's yours. You want everything. You want to try some shit out.
And that's a good scenario.
Sex was different then. Sex COULD be destructive. There was no consent. It wasn't an issue. There was no line between rape and adultery and marriage. So these prohibitions against lust were sensible. They tried to weed out the most destructive forms of sex; anything that feels 'dirty' good consensually feels fucking rotten and exploitative if you don't want to be involved. But sex is neccessary for society. We need little fuckers to take over for the dead fuckers. And arranged marriage is still more common than adult romantic courtship, even today. Sympathy must be had, folks. Thought must be given.
Consensual sex is a recent phenomenon. Which is not to say that women didn't want sex until the late 1960s- it's just the question of consent is new. Only recently, and then only in certain western societies, has the practice of rapists being forced to marry their victims been discontinued. Rape wasn't a crime of denied consent; rape was a crime of destruction. At Jim's House of Hymen, you break it, you bought it. In a world without consent, the violence of sex, the darkness of sex, has to be acknowledged in a compassionate society.
Of course, we live in a world of consent. Which is wonderful. Know why?
Because it means we can do crazy, fucked up, perverse shit to our partners, and know they're enjoying it. Because it means that we only fuck those who know what's going on and want it to go on. Because it means that lust isn't bad. It means that lust is creative. Lust, even in its most passionate, unbridled, ridiculous, kinky, eccentric incarnations, between consensual partners, is fine. Lust can even cement the bonds of marriage.
It means that we have choices. It means that we don't hurt our partners by wanting them anymore.
It means that lust was a sin, and maybe it's not anymore. For us.