Singling out Christianity for further illustration purposes, the strictness of some value sys­tems becomes apparent when one contemplates the amount and extent of principles regu­lating sexuality. Carried by the white doctrine that the first sin was intercourse, both Catho­lic and Protestant hardliners prohibit activities like fornication (pre-marital sex), adultery (extramarital sex), contraception (a deed that counteracts God’s will and design of human sexuality), homosexuality (deemed as contrary to natural law as it goes against the precept of the complementarity of the sexes), or masturbation. Since “the body is not meant for sexual immorality, but for the Lord, and the Lord for the body”[1], sexual abstinence must be the preferred state for both men and women. For Roman Catholics, intercourse is reserved for marriage (the only instance in which it can be considered as chaste) and may be perfor­med for procreation and unification purposes only. As an offence against the state of chastity and a violation of the duty of self-abnegation, any sexual act practised with the sole intent of fun or recreation is decried as a sin. If God represents the embodiment of love, then sex has to be a sin, because it can also occur in the absence of love.

Confessedly, the assimilation of sexual abstinence with purity does make sense from seve­ral, including medical, hygiene, material or psychological, points of views. Indeed, chastity, as the virtue that moderates sexual appetite, may contribute to achieving mastery over one’s passions, desires, will, and reason. This ability, in turn, is crucial in view of morality because it helps to restrain negative impulses, such as vanity, jealousy or anger. In this con­text, the connection between sex and violence is undeniable. Bearing in mind that genetic sur­vival and reproduction remain a main preoccupation for all living creatures, it is not sur­prising that males would regard the mating opportunities as the reward and goal of power and wealth. As such, sexual competition or selection could well be one of the key agents of crime and havoc, including murder, rape, warfare, etc. – a link that has since been establi­shed statistically after a series of experiments in China.[2] The abduction of Helen of Troy as the starting point of a lengthy and ferocious confrontation between the Greeks and the Tro­jans exemplifies this causality only too well.

These points show that the religiously motivated synonymy of sex and sin rests upon the fact that the former may, in reality, lead to trouble, thus proving the accuracy of the present pro­verb. What the previous argument fails to demonstrate, however, is the inherent sinful­ness, wickedness or unrighteousness of sex itself.[3] While the classification of chastity as a capital virtue may appear justifiable, the negation of this relation, i.e., that lust is a deadly sin, clearly looks like a bit of a stretch. Truly, the fun stops when one has to feel ashamed or guilty for his or her sexual desires and when hungriness or the mere con­sumption of a for­bidden fruit can bring damnation upon one’s soul. After all, not everyone is made for great­ness or virtue; but is this a reason to curse or condemn everyone else? Where would huma­nity stand without aphrodisia anyway? Unconditional sexual bigotry can no longer lead to uncon­ditional chastity. It can no longer serve to condemn dissolutes. It can no longer be of concern to great worth alone. For a demographic disaster, spread by words and writs and fear, could well engulf the great and the small, the rich and the poor, the committed and the uncom­mitted alike. Mankind must put an end to bigotry or bigotry will put an end to man­kind.

If people do not want to fall into a Fahrenheit 6:18ean dystopia, a dogmatic shift has to occur. Thus, the solution proposed here is as simple as controversial: Let’s free ourselves from the sin of luxuria by not considering it as a sin anymore. And for those who have sinned and fear to sin again, here are a few words that could sound like a remedy: Two thou­sand years ago the proudest boast was “Castus ego sum”. Today, in the world of free­dom, the proudest boast is “Ich bin ein philanderer”.

 

Related proverbs and citations:

沉鱼落雁

Chén yú luò yàn

A woman beautiful enough to sink a fish and down a goose for shame.

 

红颜薄命

hóng yán bó mìng

An idiom that describes the ill-fatedness of beautiful women.

 


Notes

[1]    Bible – New Testament (New International Version), Corinthians, 6:13

[2]    Chang / Lu / Li / Li (2011)

[3]    Ridley (1993), p. 202

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