On sexuality and morality


Sexuality and morality remained deeply interconnected for centuries and still continues to do so. Sexuality and morality could not be departed and treated individually for centuries and the social construct of present day society still adheres to this centuries old ideas with chasms being observed in some sections of modern society. Why is sexuality and morality so deeply connected? Is it in itself and interconnected issue or these two phenomena of sexuality and morality met each other and tied the nuptial knot in the due course of time? Will sexuality and morality continue to be engaged in a deeper relationship or the chasm appearing in their relationship will eventually break them apart? If yes than what are the forces and factors that will lead to cause this fragmentation? How will the social and moral construct of society look like after the divorce of sexuality with morality? These are some of the deeper questions that will help us to know the global picture of the world we are living in. Before diving into these deeper questions associated with sexuality and morality it would be a safer ride to be clear on what sexuality and morality is. Sexuality is not only the phenomena of sexual intercourse between two agreeing parties (may be either gay,  lesbian, heterosexual etc) Sexuality in a broader sense is any behavior that involves sexual organs primarily and emotional feelings associated with sex organs. Sex organs don’t necessarily mean male or female reproductive organs but other organs as well which causes sensual and sexual sensations. Your sexual or sensual desires and emotions do no always arises due to either of the male or female reproductive organs. Sometimes your eyes excites desires sometimes hair style, the way you walk, the way you talk and so many others. Female has overpowered male in this regard and has got many means to arouse sexual/ sensual desire.

Morality on the other side is a set of rules norms or social codes created by any particular society to create stable order and guided behavior in that society. Morality is always created by society and morality is both global and local. For example extra-marital affairs is condemned by almost all the societies of the world and it is a case of global morality while inter-caste marriage is condemned only in some societies of the world and this is locally accepted morality. Morality involve broad spectrum of social behavior but here we discuss only sexual morality.

While digging back to the historical origin of interrelationship between sexuality and morality, it has only been few thousand years when sexuality and morality started to journey together joining their arms. In pre-historic age sexuality and morality were totally a separate issue. Pre historic human had very less or almost nothing to do with morality. Their sexuality was like that of animal totally guided by sexual emotions and hormonic regulations in the body. Pre historic man never thought that she is my sister/ relatives so I should not have sexual intercourse with him as people think today. Society existed in the form of group of nomads whose sole aim was just to keep themselves alive by hunting and gathering foods and protecting themselves from wild animals and natural disasters. More or less pre-historic humans were similar to animal and the shadow of morality upon the sexuality remained completely absent. Their sexuality was completely driven by emotional desires and biological needs not like that of present day human who thinks: what other say, is it right time and place, does my religion or culture allow it and many other questions arises. i.e. the shadow of morality always tries to find its way in the route of sexuality in some way for present day people . How then did morality succeed in building up relationship with sexuality as we see in present day society? Before answering this question it is necessary to know how society evolved. In short society evolved and kept on changing its form continuously since the time of origin of human civilization. Sense of security in combined or group stay, enhanced production and gathering of foods, end of nomadic life due to discovery of fire and agricultural tools and farming brought pre-historic humans together and group of random wanderer eventually vanished. People started to settle in group and this led to the formation of society. Karl Marx categorizes social evolution into five major categories as:

  1. Primitive Communism
  2. Feudalist Society
  3. Capitalist Society
  4. Socialist Society
  5. Communist Society

Karl Marx has proposed these five major stages of social evolution of society in human history and presently the world is in capitalist era with an exception to some tribal societies. Detailed discussion about these five major types of society is not our focus here but the argument is that human society continuously evolved and people started to gather and live in groups in different forms of societies due to above mentioned reasons. Your suspicion may be what has social evolution to do with sexuality and morality which will now be discussed. As societies evolved scattered groups of hunters gathered and started to leave together. These groups of people got more organized and connected along with the passage of the time and inter-dependence grew among the members of society. Needs and necessity brought and bound them together and made them interdependent upon each other. This led to the formation of social morals and rules. When large number of people started to live together rules and morals became inevitable in order to maintain stability and order. For example if you live alone in a jungle it won’t be a problem if you die because there are no other people to suffer but in a society where many people stay together the dead body starts decaying and foul smell and germs may affect other people too so ritual of cremation has to be created to avoid this suffering. In a similar fashion rules and norms are created in society and same is the case with the morality.

Sexual behavior had to be created to control the sexual disorder in a society. Sexual disorder is not only the problem of society because with the sexual disorder comes the other complementary issues such as violence, ethnic clashes social exclusions, restlessness etc. Let us take an example of a society where very few males are available for females for the purpose of sexual intercourse. In such case females will have to remain either sexually starved or many females should be engaged with one male. This leads to the system of polygamy (single husband may wives). The case may also be reverse. Society then makes the rule of polygamy and the morality of that society becomes one man should marry many woman and in such societies it doesn’t become a sinister act. In essence, morality is created to control the restlessness and social disorder in any society so as to keep society stable and harmonious, any attempt to hinder this balance causes social unrest and disorder. This is one way how morality evolved along with the evolution of society and overshadowed the human sexuality. Another route through which the morality got engaged with the sexuality is religion.

Religion has been so intricately designed and used by the religious gurus (not all) to control the world system and they designed the morality and used it as a tool to enslave human minds emotionally, psychologically and intellectually. Religion also appeared in the scenario when society evolved. Religion is one of the most sophisticated and inescapable net which has successfully trapped the human civilization for centuries. Religion has been used as a means of social control and a tool to make human a slave. Religious Pundits created religious norms and values and imposed upon the society to control it. Leaving some tribal groups almost all the religions have set the morals regarding sexuality and sexual behavior of human. It was necessary because without it, it would be difficult to control the society. Let us imagine a society where morality is absent in sexuality than how would the society look like- a complete chaos. No son, no mother, no sister no daughter every boundaries would be broken and man would be like an animal regarding their sexuality.  So to maintain social order and stability religions designed morality and kept sexuality under its shadow. Question arises why did than religion attack sexuality. The answer is: because sexuality is the most efficient and sophisticated tool. The strongest sensation that can be ever produced is of sex and it is one of the strongest desires human of all civilization and time period have experienced. So, it is the best tool to control people universally and regarding sexual morality religions have got common type of rules and norms such as rejecting adultery, rejecting homosexuality etc. Question arises, is it good for religion to control sexuality keeping it under the shadow of morality? This can be a next topic of debate and discussion but my focus is on why religion used sexual morality as its tool to control societies. Religions have been used by religious pundits and vested interests groups to control the larger sections of societies and the way religions were and is practiced failed to fulfill the purpose of core religious objectives. Religions have been run as a political party or as a business firms by religious leaders to remain in power and influence using religious values and norms as a tool to recruit massive number of religious cadres whom they call followers. Follower is an illusory name. Followers are born out of self-conviction and realization but people today are Christian or Muslim or Hindu because they are influenced, persuaded or motivated to do so as are done to recruit party cadres. Very few people are followers who follow religion and followers are born out of the self-realization of core religious values and the meaning of religiousness in essence. Now, an answer to a question of why religion used sexual morality as a means to control human it is because to control human you have to either benefit him/ her or enslave psychologically. It is not possible to benefit all the people worldwide materially so the finest way to recruit religious cadres is to wash out their brain and enslave them psychologically and create an emotional attachment. The easiest and most sophisticated way to enslave people is through sexual morality. How?  Because sexual morality fragments the human mind and fill it with fear and once it is filled with fear and fragmented you can enslave it. When you associate sex with sin than human remains in a constant fear of committing sin because our biology demands it but religion forbids it and this way the whole humanity is in constant restlessness. And a restless mind and fearful mind can be easily enslaved or motivated because religions say that with religions all your sins and fears will be forgiven and eliminated. So the human easily fall prey to the religious doctrines and religious leaders with hope that their life will be washed away of all sins because now you are gods people. This is how religions designed sexual morality to enslave people and assigned set of behaviors that are allowed and considered to be pure. All these things are nothing but just an illusion and a way to run the political party like religious organizations. We never try to observe our mind and explore how we fall prey to so many things. The whole system has been so intricately designed and coordinated that common people get lost in it and always remain in the confusion.

Next way the morality evolved and succeeded to move together with sexuality is the rapid growth of productive means and forces. Marxist view that along with the rapid enhancement of means and modes of production and distribution, societies started to reshape and smaller group of village dwellers were forced to move to urban areas and nearer to the industrial areas. This rapid growth of industrialization ended the traditional style of living and agrarian society shifted to an industrialized society. This led people to live in larger cities of million residents. The resultant effect of this was that people had to change their life style and adapt themselves as per the new system designed by capitalist society where people became a mere labor power and everything is saleable and purchasable goods in capitalism, even the human values and norms. So, sexual behavior of human could not remain an exception to this force of rapid industrialization and capitalist mode of production and distribution.

People living in larger cities and from different cultural backgrounds were forced to reorganize their sexual behavior and it led to the formation of new set of sexual morality and behavior. So, in such cities sexual morality changed differently and you can see premarital sexual relations, brothels, porn literature and business have become common in larger cosmopolitan cities. Even government allows the religiously condemned sexual behavior/morality to occur or practice. So, the change in means and mode of production and distribution along with the advent of capitalism redefined and reshaped the sexual morality. Industrialization or say capitalism’s sole motive is to earn profit and re-invest it to multiply profit. So, capitalism either strides a deal or eliminates any resisting forces coming on its way, sexual morality could not resist the momentum of capitalism so the sexual morality got changed itself to support capitalist force. This can clearly be observed in leading societies adopting capitalism as its tool of progress. Western societies are accepted to be sexually more liberal than eastern societies for which the birth and growth of capitalism is a dominant responsible factors. In capitalism sexuality is a profit earning business. Sex business should not be misunderstood as a porn industry of billion dollars as it is already mentioned that sexuality doesn’t imply only the sexual intercourse. Investments in sexual business include other related business or investments which has the end of its tunnel at sexuality or human sexual behavior. For example sex-related business includes porn literature (print and electronic both), dress designing industry, drugs enhancing sexual behavior (i.e. pharmaceuticals), consultancy services on sexuality, cosmetic industry etc. Billions of dollars are invested in these industries and they directly boost the capitalism and have helped in changing the sexual morality. For example in traditional Indian Hindu society girls/women were not allowed to wear dress that didn’t cover most of her body and if we see Muslim society (hardcore followers) women are not allowed to display any of her body parts. But along with the advent of capitalism everything changed. Industrialist invested on textile, fashion designing and pushed forward their products to sale in the markets. For this aggressive and attractive marketing strategies were and are adopted so as to convince or motivate women that they looked beautiful in new dress with new cosmetics (such as lipsticks in their lips) and with enough sex appeal in their attire. Commoners are easily motivated to believe and accept it though few more time may be required by some hardliners. So, this eventually redefined the sexual morality of traditional societies and this is just one simple example of how growth of capitalism changed sexual morality. Our discussion here is not on whether this change was for good or bad. That can be another topic of debate but here we are focused on how sexual morality transforms.

Now to answer the question on whether sexuality will come to an end or not I would say no. Sexuality won’t come to an end until and unless the whole of the humanity extinct. As long as human civilization remains, sexuality surely will remain for biological reasons and emotional reasons. Biologically sexuality is important to continue the human civilization so the process of reproduction may not cease. On an emotional part, besides biological reproduction sexuality is only the most easily, readily and naturally available means of entertainment to all class of people of all societies. So this universality of presence will keep it alive and will continue to exist till the end of human civilization. However sexual morality will continuously keep on changing along with the flux of time. Sexual morality has been constantly changing since the past and will continue to do so. So, then how will sexual morality change?

It will change in correspondence with the changing patterns of society. It will have to adapt with the social construct, so will change as per the society requires it. For example at some time in the future marriage may be as outdated tradition and perish away, than at that time sexuality will be an agreement induced habit  i.e. any couple need not wait marriage for sexual intercourse just agreement between the two would be enough as it is of common occurrence in some present day societies too. Similarly gay marriage, lesbian rights, has become an emerging issues in todays’ society. This is an example of changing sexual morality. Gay marriage which was at some point in history and even today in many societies considered to be a sinister, immoral, barbaric behavior. But western societies now view it as an issue of social justice and fundamental human rights to get married with the one whom you love irrespective of his/her gender. This is a changing sexual behavior. How will the sexual morality change?

Capitalism will force sexual morality to change in way an individual demands. So, sexual morality will change in an individual centered manner not society centered manner. It is easy for capitalism to control an individual than to control large society consisting large mass of people. So, individual will keep on changing his/her sexual morality and capitalism will approve or disapprove it accordingly as per the help or hazards received by it due to such change. The trend of change will be that sexual morality will change saturate and again change and saturate to other successive stages continuously.

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One Response to On sexuality and morality

  1. nirmal joshi says:

    read half from office.. going home for next half ..
    good insight..lol

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