Wednesday, November 17, 2010
Puritans vs. Playboys
Puritans vs. Playboys. This has changed our nation in a way I find comparable to the Civil War, or World War II. From what I understand, it got started in the 1950s, when Marilyn Monroe took the nation by storm. Rising with her was a young publisher named Hugh Hefner. It was a racy centerpiece of Monroe in Playboy that shot him into infamy. I think of that magazine every time I think about the sexual revolution. Monroe, Hefner, Kinsey, and all the other people who got it started were fighting against the old moral order, whether they meant it or not.
Clearly, they won. I'm assuming you're familiar with the popular culture in the U.S.A. of 2010. If you aren't, watch the film “Superbad”. Even better, take my word that my country is drenched in sex.
It's almost a total 180-degree spin. Only decades ago, husbands and wives on television shows slept in separate beds. Now unmarried couples make out in swimsuits on CBS. There seem to be two camps of sexuality in American history: harsh restriction, and total license. Puritans and Playboys.
Neither. I’ve thought about both attitudes and decided neither is healthy. When I was young, I would blow up when my father showed a PG-13 movie. I even deleted a song when I heard the lyrics “I want to touch you”. I had a pistol of righteousness, and I was trigger-happy like no other. Now that I look back at those days, and at the sexual revolution as I understand it, I don’t ever want to be a Puritan. Sex cannot be repressed. It is integral to who we are as humans, and men and women. I can’t hide the way I feel when I see a woman. It’s tantamount to denying I have a soul. My sexuality is too deeply grounded in my identity to ignore. To be a real human, I must embrace sex, and be unafraid to talk about it. I refer all opponents to former Pope John Paul II’s Theology of the Body.
Now, about Playboy. Their attitude won’t do either. Expressing your sexuality does not mean going out and sleeping with twenty different people in as many hours. I certainly don’t blame the people who do that, depending on what they know. For people that are totally ignorant, confused, or mislead about morality and sexuality, it may be better to have sex than deny their natural desires to do it.
But that rests heavily on individual cases, and I’m not convinced there’s enough of those to convince me to support promiscuity as a whole. In fact, I denounce any sex outside of marriage. I have read things, heard things, sensed things in my own blood; sex is an act of utter euphoria. It is a connection that should be the pinnacle of any union between a man and a woman. And if it’s a pinnacle, then it must be saved for… well… the pinnacle! For marriage, the pinnacle of love! And not a moment before.
Do you agree with me? Whether or not you do, question the things I just said. I firmly believe them to be true. But I am human, and I can fail. I need your help in figuring this out. You need mine, too. We all need each other’s help. For this is a debate we cannot abandon. Over the past fifty or so years, the United States of American has opened wide the floodgates of sexuality. The duty is ours, the children of the aftermath, to say where the U.S.A. will go from there.
What we say about sex, we say so much about ourselves that we might as well be talking about ourselves. When we speak of how we treat sex, we are thus charting the course of souls, and by extension a nation.