Friday, September 30, 2011

I Was an Iron Age Anarchist, Lookin' for a Sex Solution

In light of this I wanted to open up a conversation on the topic: How do sex and anarchical thought intersect in light of Jesus? How and when does one’s sexual life and practices truly reflect the anarchical teachings of Jesus?

For those of us who clearly recognize that Jesus is a deeply political figure (bringing the reign of God to earth), we have no choice but to face up to this reality: sex is a deeply political act. In fact, if “politics” is nothing more than the dynamic of how we relate and connect to one another as people, then sex may be one the most politically charged acts in this world. You and I owe our very existence to this political act, to the communal interactions of our parents that brought us forth into this world.

In my own readings of anarchical thought the only author who has addressed the political implications of Jesus’ teachings on sex was Leo Tolstoy. In his My Religion: What I Believe he wrote,

Jesus declares that debauchery arises from the disposition of men and women to regard one another as instruments of voluptuousness, and, this being so we ought to guard against every idea that excites to sensual desire, and, once united to a woman, never to abandon her on any pretext, for women thus abandoned are sought by other men, and so debauchery is introduced into the world.

Tolstoy was a rationalist who clung to the teachings of Jesus with the utmost literal interpretation. Though there are deep holes in his rationalism, there is much to learn from his simplistic adherence to the words of Jesus. In Tolstoy’s eyes Jesus is teaching us that sex is nonviolent and domination-free only when found in lifelong commitments of love, for in every other instance the partners ultimately “regard one another as instruments of voluptuousness.” Is Tolstoy’s analysis right? If so, what does this mean exactly for those of us attempting to conform our lives to the politics of Jesus?

I'm not sure why he feels the need to stretch the definition of politics to the point of vague-beyond-usefulness to make his case that you should only have sex with one person during your whole life and stay married to them without ever feeling any sensual desire. But I'm impressed by the way he seems to borrow heavily from Kant in order to claim that relationships based on mutual consent and the best knowledge and communication available to both parties at the time aren't pure enough. Did I say impressed? I meant appalled.


  1. Religions use shame to gain power over people. Christians are always tying themselves in knots with bullshit apologetics like this. Are rabbits political? They have sex.

  2. Of course not! Rabbits don't have human souls! (Because that's what makes us political, of course.)

    This is the sort of sloppy reasoning I just despise. I was gnashing my teeth as I read the article. And I loved the way he referred to women in the third person, as 'other'. Do you suppose women ignore him, or that he just doesn't speak to them for fear of contamination?

  3. And Animal Farm, obviously. Although I don't remember any of the livestock, you know, getting it on.
    I have a theory that women began to be viewed as second class humans only after war making replaced baby making as the dominant feature of culture over 10,000 years ago. Bushmen don't seem to be dismissive of women.

  4. Brian M2:47 PM

    Shanna....he should wait for this girl to be of age.

    Warning...graphic fundamentalism at this link.

  5. Brian: Only if her parents arranged the marriage.

    It appears, however, that if a heretofore "safe" man showed a sexual interest in her she would view that as an abomination.

  6. Brian M5:22 PM

    EVERYTHING is an abomination! Nothing is permitted!