April 17th, 2006 11:34 EST
Polygamy, bigamy and teachers engaging in sexual relations with students under the legally approved age of 18. These are topics in recent news. General consensus considers these relationships taboo, improper, unacceptable. Not only are they commonly condemned, as deviant and perverted, but also regarded sick, disgusting and wrong. Strictly speaking, such relationships are, by definition, deviant and perverted for being abnormal and unusual. But does a relationship being different or unconventional necessarily make it absolutely or inherently sick, disgusting and wrong?
I’m not arbitrarily promoting polygamy, bigamy or adults having sex with adolescents, nor am I arbitrarily forbidding them; one approach is as inappropriate as the other.
But perhaps it is worth re-evaluating the issue, contemplating why our collective behavioral reflex reaction toward uncommon personal relationships is an automatic and complete, almost totalitarian, opposition to them. It does cause me to wonder about the propriety and motive in this type of social and legal censure. I’m suggesting we actually think about it for ourselves and make our own decision before we judge, rather than assuming and accepting something is wrong or right just because everyone else says it’s wrong or right.
These uncommon or “not normal” forms of relationships aren’t perceived in society as wrong on any logical or rational basis, but on an illogical and irrationally perpetuated stigma, regardless of context.
Typically, atypical relationships are (and have always been) dismissed and discouraged merely because they are alien, and their strangeness makes people uncomfortable in their unfamiliarity. These lifestyles aren’t genuinely believed wrong by the collective because we have individually and independently reached that conclusion, but simply because we have so thoroughly been instructed that they are wrong by social norms and mores.
This rejection is a habitual, conditioned, propagandized response.
Have you really thought it through? Is this really what YOU think? Or have you only adopted or stolen someone else’s belief, pretending and presuming it’s your own?
White people can’t love black people, and black people can’t love white people.
Men can’t love men, and women can’t love women.
A man can’t love more than one woman at a time, and a woman can’t love more than one man at a time, or multiple women and men simultaneously.
A young woman can’t love a man who is over 10 years older, and a young man can’t love a woman who is over 10 years older.
An attractive person can’t love an unattractive person, and an unattractive person can’t love an attractive person.
A rich person can’t love a poor person, and a poor person can’t love a rich person.
Jews can’t love non-Jews, and non-Jews can’t love Jews.
A person over 18 can’t love a person under 18, and a person under 18 can’t love a person over 18.
One minute before a person's 18th birthday, they are not sexually legal, but one minute after... they suddenly are? It's not ok for them to have sex today, but at the stroke of midnight it is magically fine? Says who? That’s ridiculous. We love whom we love. Standards are arbitrary, flexible, and change with the times. Interracial relations used to be frowned upon by American society, but are now not. In some cultures, it is alright-- expected even-- for a man to have several wives, and maybe some mistresses, as well. It used to be the way of things for a 13 year old girl to marry a 15 year old boy and have children, or with a man over age 18-- they were considered mature enough. No one thought any of this unusual at the time.
Why must we be so foolish as to insist on putting superficial, arbitrary limits and restrictions on who we can be in love with? Who we should be in love with? Who we are supposed to be in love with? Who it is appropriate for us to love? How it is acceptable for us to love another? Why let society or our community or our peers or our family or our friends or our religion determine for us who we are allowed to love or be in love with?
Isn’t this antithetical to the very nature and spirit of love?
I’m not talking about merely physical or explicitly sexual activities or motivations, but a more mature mental sexuality found in genuine and authentic love. Sex— whether physical or mental-- is not love, nor the equivalent of being in love, but only a possible component and added bonus where a sexual attraction exists. Sex by inference.
What I am referring to is the recognition and appreciation of sexual intercourse by way of innocent but meaningful gestures… like a hug, a look, a favor. Affection that is understood, through attitude, and is not so crass or crude as to need to be announced.
A sincere mature relationship is not about or driven by sex; able to convey sex and sexuality through undertones, without need of the overtones of sex acts.
Sometimes a smile can be just as rewarding and potent as a kiss, maybe more so; indeed, making anything so pedestrian as a kiss superfluous…even vulgar and inferior.
There are as many expressions and experiences of love as there are people who share it. Each relationship consists of elements particular individuals bring to it, so no one relationship is exactly like any other. We can’t— or ought not— say that what is right or wrong for some is definitively right or wrong for all; especially not in matters of love.
We don’t consciously choose to fall in love, or out of love, or whom we fall in love with--- it just happens when and if it happens, in whatever form it happens. And we should embrace that glory, letting it happen, unrestrained and unburdened by whatever anyone else might think or say or feel about it. It’s not for them, nor up to them, but concerns only those in the relationship, derived at and developed by mutual consent.
If the relationship works for those participating in it, then why disparage or deprive them of that relationship?
Isn’t who someone loves a choice best left to those involved in the relationship, who form that relationship? It should be for the individuals involved in a relationship to determine if that relationship is appropriate for them. Shouldn’t it be?
What right does anyone have to tell anyone else whom, how or why to love?
Society LET’s us be romantically involved with someone? We let them get away with it? How dare they? How dare we? How dare any of us assume anyone requires the permission of anyone but whom we are in love with to be romantically involved with that person? How dare the government be so presumptuous as to regulate who we are allowed to be in love with?! We cannot give permission that is not ours to give. Public approval be damned! The only permission anyone needs to be in a relationship of any kind is, and can only come, from the person(s) they are in love with.
Who are we to judge, define or assign the validity and veracity of love for, between or among others? The only thing we have a right to let anyone do in matters of mutual, consensual love is nothing. Do what thou will shall be the whole of the law.
Free our love, and be freed by our love.
Why continue to deny and condemn the different and the unusual… for no reason other than because it is different and unusual? Because it is not normal? Because we don’t like it? Because it is not something we would do or want to do?
That’s a stupid reason to prevent love from flourishing.
We should be more tolerant.
Love is too precious, vital and transient a phenomenon for us to be so inhibiting and prohibiting about it. We would do well to stop meddling and interfering in the affairs of others-- affairs of the heart, that do not concern us. Stop preventing ourselves and each other from loving someone because others won’t or don’t approve. Let ourselves be open and receptive to mutual affections and attractions whenever and however they happen to appear to us, for us.
Enjoy the experience while we can, as we can, if we can.
For never was a story of more woe
Than this of Juliet and her Romeo.