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L . The Rules of Human Sexuality


This is one section which, if this bible is ever re-written for an alien species, these rules do not necessarily apply. The rules of human sexuality are unique to the human biology, and to the biology of this planet, so they may not be applicable to some other species with a different species biology and/or a different planetary biology. In any case, as far as humans go, sexuality has always been a touchy subject which was regulated by a plethora of societal rules. The Agnostic Church believes that greater enlightenment will occur from a demystification of sexuality. It is clear that non-consensual sex is "bad," and should be unlawful. "Sexual predator" conduct should also be unlawful, again because consent extracted by physical and/or emotional subjugation is no consent at all, whether or not such conduct occurs in the context of a "committed" relationship.55 It is also clear that some age must be established as the "age of consent" below which sexual activity is unlawful without regard to any alleged consent.56 It is also clear that one of the three possible "bad" results from any sexual activity is the potential transmission of a sexual disease.57 The second possible "bad" result from consensual sexual activity would be an unwanted pregnancy. The third (and hopefully final) possible "bad" result from consensual sexual activity would be an unwarranted emotional attachment by one participant towards the other participant (in other words, a non-reciprocal emotional attachment, which is sometimes called "unrequited love"), which is simply a theme and variation of the "crisis of expectations." Recognizing that it is fundamentally impossible to prevent young adults from engaging in sexual activity without implementing some form of a police state, the replacement goal is to prevent, or at least mitigate, each of these three possible "bad" results by educating each young adult in various techniques for avoiding the potentially "bad" results of sexual activity, and also in various techniques for coping with a "bad" result if it should occur in spite of the precautions taken by the participants. The traditional attitude for Western Civilization has been to promote marital fidelity as the only basis for consensual sexual activity, thereby (theoretically) avoiding sexually transmitted diseases, providing a support system (though the marriage) for the children produced by this activity, whether or not those children are "wanted" by the new parents, and avoiding a crisis of expectations between the relationship participants by declaring that there should be no expectations outside of marriage to the one and only other participant in the relationship. In addition to promoting the ideal of chastity,58 the traditional method for enforcing marital fidelity has also included denial of open access to knowledge of sexual functions and denial of open access to sexual health services to varying degrees to young and/or to unmarried persons. In the present day and age, the traditional attitude is given only lip service, primarily by a small minority of fundamentalist preachers and their most activist followers. Just about everyone else recognizes that the traditional rules are not followed at all.59 Accordingly, a new set of rules is needed. The first rule is that sexual activity is just as natural to an individual as is any other bodily function, and just as a parent would be derelict in parental duties to fail to potty train their toddlers when they reach the proper age for potty training, a parent would also be derelict in parental duties to fail to train their adolescents in sexuality when they reach the proper age for engaging in sexuality.60 What is the proper age? Clearly, 18 or 21 are too late. Clearly, 5, 7, or even 9 is too young.61 The proper time for training would seem to be about when puberty is sufficiently complete to the point that there are no physiological reasons to avoid sexual activity. Unfortunately, there does not seem to be a single age which may be chosen that will be a good choice for all children. A single age would be relatively important because it should be easy for people like public school administrators to determine who is to have which kind of training during any given class schedule. The only way to solve this dilemma would be to simply make an arbitrary choice, which is about what our society has always done. Thus, the arbitrary choice for the beginning of sexual training could be the age of 13, and accordingly, 13 could become the proper "age of consent" for sexual activity.62 This age appears to not only be a reasonable compromise of all of the physiological factors which ought to be considered, but it is an age which has a long and venerable tradition as the "age of manhood" for Jewish boys, and more recently, close to the "age of womanhood" (i.e., 12) for Jewish girls. If a choice must be essentially arbitrary, then why not a choice with a venerable tradition attached to it? Also, 13 is recognized as the beginning of the teenage years, which has long been seen as a time of transition as youngsters grow up. Thus, at age 13, each child could be given an adulthood ceremony, expressing the fact that said child is no longer a child in the true sense, but is now an adult, with adult responsibilities, in all aspects of life except for the necessity of arranging for their own support.63 In accordance with this planned ceremony, each child should have completed all morality training prior to the age of 13, so that the child is fully educated as to the duties and privileges which attach to their status as young adults. Once they reach young adult status, they are then entitled to all medical and educational services associated with sexuality, and/or any other privileges which attach at the attainment of young adulthood. The available services are not to be forced upon the unready (except, perhaps, for portions of the classroom education), but it is to be made clear to each young adult that any and all services are there, whenever the young adult feels the desire for them. The educational services should include not only the necessary "dry" medical knowledge, but also training on techniques for improving both performance and enjoyment.64 The principal goal of the education is to encourage the formation of relationships within which sexual activity can occur, if the participants desire it to occur.65 The educational services should also stress disease prevention and responsible conception, with "planned, not accidental, parenthood" being the goal for all individuals receiving any training program. Finally, education should include psychological training on the recognition of, and methods of coping with, various emotional distresses which may accompany sexual activity.66 Obviously, medical services should include a full range of contraceptives, with a strong encouragement of the use of Norplant (or some equivalent "permanent" contraceptive) for all young women who intend to begin sexual activity.67 Once these young adults have graduated from the initial training program, they should be encouraged to have sex as much as they wish to, no more and no less; to feel good about themselves and what they are doing; to enjoy sexual activity as a normal bodily function; to seek medical attention for any problem as soon as any symptom appears;68 and to return for individual counseling or further training as each individual might feel is necessary. This might also be a time for the parents of a young adult to arrange for an appropriate introduction, or to allow an experimental "living together" exercise (for which separate rules exist, stated elsewhere). The intent of this is to allow young adults to have a period of growing emotionally mature, and becoming comfortable with what a "permanent" relationship entails, before they are expected to settle into such a relationship and/or to begin producing children of their own. This should also teach these young people that sex consumes at most a few minutes a day, while a relationship entails finding ways to be together and to get along with one another during the entire day, from waking up in the morning to going to sleep at night.69 What modern society does now is to essentially thrust young adults into society with absolutely no training at all on the life skills necessary for a successful relationship. Those skills are best developed in a setting where the activities of the young adults may be supervised and educated in their relationship functions, and where the young adults are still subject to nurturing by the family, tribal, and school social structures. The whole point of this whole procedure is that sexuality should be a source of joy and togetherness for humanity, and thus a source of further enlightenment of the individuals involved, rather than a source of anxiety and sorrow for the participants, not to mention a wellspring of violent human conflict.70

The ideal progression for a relationship is: 1) forming an emotional attachment between two individuals; 2) committing to share deep inner thoughts,71 material things,72 and spending time with each other;73 3) living together (part time or full time),74 which is the first stage of a relationship where sexual activity is morally acceptable;75 4) marriage, which is to be taken as the step which makes the commitment "permanent," as opposed to "temporary" and easily terminated; and 5) having children. It is always preferable that sexual activity only take place in the context of a committed relationship, although the Agnostic Church recognizes the right of individuals to engage in sexual activity outside of a relationship, so long as there are no adverse consequences to society.76 Sexual activity should never occur unless the participants have each consented to engage in that activity. Violence between the participants in a relationship is not to be tolerated.77 Coercion for the purpose of obtaining consent to a relationship and/or to sexual activity is not to be tolerated.78 The proper "age of consent" is age 13, and any individual who has attained that age is free to make any available moral choice regarding a relationship and/or sexual activity, and the parents of any such individual and society as a whole are morally obligated to respect and support all such choices made by any individual who has reached the proper age and maturity. Individuals should always conduct their relationships and their sexual activity so as to avoid each of the three possible "bad" results, which are 1) transmitting a disease; 2) an unwanted pregnancy; and 3) a "crisis of expectations" between the participants.79

The two previous sections provide a more traditional view of the subject of relationships and sexuality, relying upon some basic inherited principles which are more or less "tried and true" by certain groups down through human history. But as the above was being written and was evolving into its present state, a flash of human intuition provided a "great leap" to a far better answer, which ought to at least be considered as an alternative to the more traditional approach given above.80 This alternative is based upon eliminating the traditional "War Between the Sexes" which we foist upon our children in order to keep the boys away from the girls. Instead, we will actually encourage boys and girls to form committed heterosexual couples from the earliest possible ages by first encouraging them to pick a "best friend" from the available members of the opposite sex. As these children get older, and when they reach the so-called "age of reason" (which traditionally occurs at age 7, but which may well occur at a much earlier age if our accelerated IQ enhancement program is successful), they should be encouraged to enter into the "living together" stage of relationship building (the first two stages should have been satisfied by the "best friend" process). Obviously, these children will be far too young to engage in any serious sexual activity, so they can concentrate on relationship building and deciding whether or not to take the "marriage" step. By the time that these kids are physiologically capable of sexual activity, they should have been living in an actual or "pseudo" marriage for some number of years. With an appropriate program of education, these children should be fully prepared for the responsibilities associated with sexual activity long before they are fully capable of performing such activities. This form of relationship would eliminate the first and third possible "bad" results of sexual activity, leaving only the potential of a premature pregnancy as the sole "bad" result which is possible. This result may be protected against with traditional birth control techniques, which should be resisted much less by traditional moralists due to the long-term "committed" relationship which these young people have proven that they can maintain (long before any actual sexual activity). Finally, to the extent which the rules stated in the previous sections are not inconsistent with those stated herein, those rules shall also apply if this alternative set of rules is adopted.

55 This concept embraces the concept of marital rape as being unlawful.

56 The focus here is not only on a question of physical maturity, which may easily be ascertained, but also on the intellectual and emotional maturity of the participants, primarily for ascertaining whether the participants can each make rational decisions about the advisability of engaging in the proposed conduct and the associated need for protection from various potential consequences of the proposed conduct.

57 Since it is inconceivable that an individual would consent to receiving a sexually transmitted disease, there is no consideration of consent for this possible "bad" result.

58 "Chastity - the most unnatural of all the sexual perversions, . . . ." Aldous Huxley [1894-1963], Eyeless in Gaza [1936], Chapter 27.

59 The traditional rules which are actually observed in society even include an atrocious double standard whereby a young man is not truly a "man" unless he achieves a sexual conquest of some young woman, but on the other hand, any young woman who allows herself to be conquered by some young man, without marrying him first, is clearly a "low life" slut (or one or more of numerous other highly derogatory terms).

60 While the responsibility is parental, that does not mean that it cannot be delegated. A number of preschools perform potty training as a matter of course, and it should be expected that the school system will provide the necessary sexual education.

61 Although, in the Hindu writings, reference is made to children as young as 8 being ready for sexual activity. That still seems far too young to anyone raised with Western values.

62 Anyone offended by this choice should contemplate the fact that, at least in California, driver training begins at age 15. Should not we train individuals on how to deal with something as commonplace as their own sexuality before we begin to train them on the second most deadly instrumentality commonly available to them? (Automobile accident deaths still run about 50,000 per year. Only cigarettes exceed that death rate, and the sick part is that children as young as twelve begin to smoke, thereby engaging in the most deadly of human activities at that very young age.) Other indications that 13 is an appropriate age to begin such training include the general acceptance of the PG-13 movie rating, which allows some "adult" language, nudity, violence, and sexuality to be shown to children age 13 and above.

63 There will probably be other privileges which are denied young adults, such as public consumption of alcohol and voting. If the arbitrary age for any such privilege is ever questioned, the initial answer should be that society establishes a number of privileges which accrue at some arbitrary age throughout life, and the individual is responsible for respecting the choices made by society based upon long and careful consideration of the alternatives.

64 Thus, the most popular class at school might well be "Human Sexuality (Lab)." Do you think that many kids would "ditch" that class?

65 Considering the divorce rate in the United States (half of all marriages), it would certainly appear to be far better for everyone if relationships were encouraged as a predecessor to sex, and both were encouraged as a predecessor to marriage, and all three were encouraged as a predecessor to having children. If this concept was widely accepted as the policy of society, the divorce rate should go way down. Now, this concept is accepted "with a wink and a nod," while society preaches sexual abstinence and no relationship at all (other than casual dating) prior to marriage. This is setting our young married couples up for failure of the marriage by not giving them the foundational skills for a good marriage prior to marriage, and by not allowing them to detect and escape from a bad relationship before there is a marriage and/or children, either of which make the dissolution of the relationship much more difficult.

66 This includes the possibility that a "casual" partner might become possessive, which is one of the three possible "bad" results for sexual activity.

67 And a minimum of three months on Norplant would be a prerequisite for any lab course.

68 Obviously, training on how to recognize symptoms is imperative!

69 This sentence was inspired by the tail end of the Ann Landers column in my local paper on September 15, 1994: "Gem of the day: Sex is a good basis for a marriage if you can agree on what to do for the next 23 hours and 45 minutes."

70 Unfortunately, the exceptional "violent human conflict" gets the primary attention of the entertainment media, creating a false expectation (to some degree) that violence is an accepted part of a "normal" relationship. This is a sick society at its worst.

71 The most important "deep inner thoughts" which the individuals must share at this point are those thoughts about their expectations for one another in the context of a relationship. Both participants having a clear understanding of what each individual seeks to receive from the relationship is absolutely necessary to the avoidance of harm from a "crisis of expectations." If a relationship is destined to be casual and short term, and if both participants agree that this is what each expects from the relationship, that is fine. If both participants are committed to marriage and children, that is fine too. If one participant just wants an easy and convenient source of sex while the other is seeking marriage and children, that is NOT fine, it is the exact "crisis of expectations" that the sharing of "deep inner thoughts" is designed to avoid.

72 This is the time to find out whether arguments over money or other things are going to doom the relationship.

73 Another aspect of avoiding a "crisis of expectations" is to discuss and agree upon how much time each of you expects to spend with each other. Is this basically a "weekend thing" kind of relationship? Or is one of the participants going to be angry if the other is not home before 7:00 p. m. each and every night? Who is going to first scream that they are not getting either enough time alone or enough time together? Find out those answers now to avoid pain and sorrow later.

74 The jump to the third stage of the relationship need not be automatically accompanied by moving in together. What the phrase "living together" means is making room in each other's lives for the other person. You might each keep your separate living quarters, and alternate between them. This might be a "weekend thing" as opposed to "full time." There cannot be a single rule or procedure, because each couple is encouraged to find what brings them both the most happiness in a relationship.

75 This is not to be read as necessarily condemning sex at earlier stages of a relationship, or even having sex on a casual basis. Individuals who choose to engage in such conduct are free to do so, so long as they do not become a burden to society as a result of that conduct. This is merely a statement that, based on thousands of years of human experience, sex is better in the context of a committed relationship, and casual sex outside of that context has a much higher risk of one of the three "bad" things occurring, and a much higher penalty to society if one of the three "bad" things does occur.

76 A burden to society occurs when an individual catches a disease and has society pay for the treatment, when an individual passes a disease to other individuals, when an individual causes the birth of unwanted children, and when an individual engages in disruptive relationships which require attention from the social services organizations (including the police).

77 In spite of the strength of this statement, society should not be in the position of permanently stigmatizing individuals who get involved in a little marital "spat," and to the extent possible, counseling should always be the goal for an initial intervention. The response should be measured by the extent of the injuries to the victimized party, if any, and the wishes of that party for the continuance or termination of the relationship. If the victimized party chooses to terminate the relationship, an immediate court order should be issued to the victimizer to stay away from the victim. If the victimized party chooses to continue the relationship, there should be an immediate referral of both parties to a relationship "shelter" where both can obtain individual and joint counseling. In no case should a couple who has experienced a violent incident be left together as if "nothing happened." If something serious enough happened to cause an intervention to occur, then some form of response is mandatory.

78 Any such coercion is "sexual predator" conduct, which is morally reprehensible.

79 The "crisis of expectations" is any significant disparity which the individuals feel in their level of commitment to one another. The classic example is the young man who simply wants to have sex and the young woman who somehow comes to believe that if she has sex with this young man, he will marry her.

80 See the section of the Great Debates which relates to the choice between the mainstream rules, given in the first two sections of this part, and the alternative rules, given in this third section.

Copyright 1994-1999 by the Agnostic Church

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