Sunday, March 23, 2008


Sex as a Privilege

I've ruminating over the "lonely John" issue lately, and the degree to which the discussion, even on the left side of the nets, has wandered into (well, maybe "wandered into" isn't the correct phrase, given how the issue at hand did indeed involve a rich man) sexist and classist notions of "well, if a guy wants 'companionship', why can't he get a mistress?" as if all Johns are wealthy enough men that they could afford a mistress (and as if that would be moral anyway -- frankly isn't wining and dining a woman so she'll sleep with you as much of a morally problematic I-It relationship as prostitution ... and at some level, no different?). And this has gotten me to thinking in general -- isn't it amazing how much rhetoric both right and even on the left has some very sexist and classist assumptions built into it?

Of course, the classic example is the right-wing's arguments about birth-control and abortion: if you can't afford a child you are not supposed to have sex, I guess. Which makes sex very much a privilege of the upper classes. But scratch beneath the rhetoric even sometimes on the left and you still see sexism and classism.

Whence does this come? Certainly not from Judaism. Is it a residue of Pauline thought? But then again how does "sex as a acceptable, but only in certain contexts" become sex as a privilege?


Update -- sorry about the lack of comprehensibility of this post: I wrote it while having some pretty bad allergy issues. Read my comments on this thread at Pandagon, and you'll see what I was trying to get at. Indeed, I have decided there is a connection between what I'm getting at and the philosophy of Martin Buber ... so certainly, this attitude is not from the Judeo part of the so-called Judeo-Christian morality that the right tries to use as a bludgeon in their rhetoric about sexual issues.

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