May 21, 2012

May 21, 2012

11 Ways You Could Be Punished For Your Desire

Welcome to another day in my life. Today is Monday and I hope you had a safe and great weekend. It was another busy weekend for Dab the AIDS Bear. The bear was at several events around the country so stay tuned for pictures and slide shows of the events coming soon.

On weekends, some people like to go out and have a great time. Some people enjoy meeting and/or hooking up with other people. But did you know you could get punished for your desires?

While the human needs for food, water and shelter can easily be met, the craving for sex is never fully satisfied. Even St. Augustine, who saw the sex urge as divine punishment for Adam and Eve's original sin and regarded the genitalia as satanic monsters, knew that he was helpless in the face of desire. "Grant me chastity," he begged God, "but not yet." In many ways, the history of civilization is a chronicle of our attempts to domesticate the chaotic urge for sexual fulfillment.

Since the beginning of recorded history, lawmakers have tried to set limits on how people take their sexual pleasures, and they have doled out a range of controls and punishments to enforce them -- from the slow impalement of unfaithful wives in Mesopotamia to the sterilization of masturbators in the United States. Anyone, no matter how highly placed, who engages in sexual conduct that is out of sync with prevailing attitudes risks being demonized and steamrolled by the legal system. Indeed, the intense pleasure we experience seeing powerful people brought down by their libidos is itself a fetish, one that demands a constant stream of scandals to be gratified.

Given that sex and power politics often intersect, the history of sex law illuminates many of today's hot-button issues. For example, as gay marriage lurches though the courts and statehouses, it's helpful to know that loving and committed unions between men were sanctioned by Christian and secular law alike many centuries ago.

In sex law, context is everything. 1 of 12 The sex drive's "raging frenzy," to use Plato's phrase, has always defied control. However, that's not to say that every civilization has not tried. At any point in history, some forms of sex were condoned while others were punished mercilessly. Jump back or forward a century or two, or cross a border, and the harmless pleasure of one society becomes the gravest crime in another. Take a 1956 case from Northern Rhodesia (now Zambia), where a terrified woman awoke to find her husband kissing her breast. A local tribunal of elders accused the husband of sorcery and took measures to protect the wife from him. The tribunal was not concerned with morality as such. Rather, sex was seen as a force moving heaven and earth, and sequestering the wife shielded everyone from divine retribution. British colonial officials thought such concerns were ridiculous and threw the case out. The wife's complaint fell outside the 1950s Western model of a sex claim. But had the couple been students at any number of present-day U.S. colleges, her claim would have been enthusiastically received. Gettysburg College's 2006 student handbook, for example, stated that a man wishing to "initiate" sex with a sleeping woman must wake her up, make sure her judgment is clear, and then ask (for example), "May I kiss your breast?" Not doing so brought the risk of expulsion and arrest. Nineteenth century Southern courts held that any sexual encounter between a white woman and a black man had to be forcible because no white woman "would consent to his lustful embraces." At the same time, white men were permitted to rape black females because such women had neither rights to their bodies nor the ability to testify in court against whites. Sex has remained constant throughout the ages. What changes are the methods people use to exert control over one another's bodies, and the reasons they give for using them.

Now you know the rest of the story. Hope you have a safe and great start to your week.

Until we meet again; here's wishing you health, hope, happiness and just enough.

big bear hug,

Daddy Dab