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Published:December 6th, 2006 06:41 EST
Presumption Of Impropriety

Presumption Of Impropriety

By Sean Stubblefield

We live in a world sexually retarded and repressed, caught in a paradox of simultaneous sexual obsession and starvation. We suffer from a paranoia and phobia of sexuality.

And all paranoia and phobias are, by definition, irrational.

Mentally being somewhat of a child himself, when Michael Jackson was suspected of pedophilia, regardless of whether he was actually guilty or not, because he associated “intimately” with children, the court of public opinion simply assumed his guilt before consideration of any facts or context. Intimate is often confused with sexual. Those interactions couldn’t possibly have been innocent and nonsexual, the public imagines.

Perhaps that assumption says more about our society’s demented mentality than Michael’s supposed perversion, or any alleged pedophile’s true intentions.

The main character in a movie called Neverland (how’s that for a segue?) tended to socialize with children, and while the story did not portray him as a sexual predator or perverted, nor was he depicted in the movie as sexually interested in the kids, he was treated by society in this movie as odd for enjoying the company of children.

In the movie School of Rock, there is a scene where a musician posing as a teacher confesses to his class’s parents that the kids touched him, and that he was pretty sure that he touched them. The automatic assumption by the parents was sexual.

A movie entitled The Professional (also known as Leon) features a middle aged man in a loving “relationship” with an underage teen girl, and while there are sexual nuances and various expressions of affection, never do they engage in sex, never are they shown naked together, not even an illicit kiss. However, people tend to iniquitously impose and expect a sense of pedophilia.

Reactionary, they habitually assume something sinister or lascivious whenever children are in a relationship with an adult, especially in mixed gender.

The character of Batman has been questioned on the suggestion of a homosexual or pedophiliac relationship with Robin-- of which there have so far been 4, briefly one of them female. Never at any time is there ever even the slightest hint or implication of a sexual relationship or affection from or towards either Batman or Robin (or Alfred, for that matter). Yet the doubt, the possibility, is not only asserted, but persistent.

It’s as if we can’t trust our adults, can’t trust ourselves as adults, with children in an innocent, asexual relationship. As if we believe that children and adults, or young and old, cannot or should not interact as equals or in mutual respect.

Sad, is what that is. Now that is truly sick.

If a father and his 5 year old daughter or a mother and her 5 year old son were naked together—say taking a bath, then people will not tend to presume a sexual scenario.

But if those children were 15 in the same situation, people commonly jump to suspicious conclusions. Such circumstances are deemed strange and deviant, abnormal in the bad way. Or suppose, instead of the parents, it was another relative or friend of the family.

What if a clothed 18 year old boy were with his naked 7 year old cousin? Where does your mind go? What is your first thought? Do you assume incest? Molestation?

What does that say about you? The instant impression or expectation by outsiders will typically confer or infer a sexual connotation. How cynical! How misanthropic!

How tragic.


If an adolescent girl is attractive— or subjectively considered to be, a man cannot admit, acknowledge or appreciate that point without being condemned and criticized and criminalized as a pervert, a sexual deviant, a pedophile. Thinking a female— age irrelevant-- beautiful or sexually attractive is grounds for pedophilia, or sexual harassment?  Even if and when there is no sexual interaction or contact, or intent?

Contrary to popular belief, it is entirely possible to note or be aroused by the beauty of a teenage girl without wanting or trying to sleep with her, just as a heterosexual man can think another man is good looking without wanting to have sex with him. Aesthetic appreciation of the female form, or the human body, is generally perceived as profane or prurient or pornographic.

When a girl or boy is 17, it is thought inappropriate, wrong and mentally ill for them to have sexual relations with an older person— homo or hetero, but then, as soon as they turn 18 the next day, it is suddenly ok and acceptable, as if something magically changed in the mere tick of the clock. One second it is illegal, the next it isn’t? One minute you’re a kid and then next suddenly and arbitrarily makes you an adult?

Furthermore, any nude or scantily clad woman is treated in mainstream society as pornographic or obscene, no matter how tasteful, artistic or innocent. A shirtless man is benign and permissible, but a shirtless woman is sexual and pernicious?


So sexually immature and insecure are we as a society that two men can’t sleep in the same bed without intimations or suggestive implications of homosexuality. Common “logic” tells us a man and a woman cannot “just be friends” without a sexual component.

That they can’t sleep in the same bed without assumptions of sexual activity or subtext. That men are inherently incapable of that kind of relationship, or thought process.

That men are friends with women only because the men secretly or subconsciously want to have sex with them, or are sexually attracted to them. Nonsense!

As if the only conceivable interest a heterosexual man could have in a women is sex.

An insultingly disgusting attitude, not only against the male gender, but disparaging the human species. Any man who seriously believes that, and who is so dominated by his genitals and lust, is not really a man, but emotionally and socially an adolescent.


Romantic relationships tend to be depicted and defined as sexual, involving sex.

But true romance is neither sex nor sexual, but a fantastic, sentimentally heightened hyper-state of being. Friendship is an affectional bond, which may or may not be in any degree sexual, and relationships may be sexually affectionate without being sexually oriented. Two girls can hold hands, cuddle or kiss, and that doesn’t necessarily make them gay or bisexual. In some cultures, men kiss men in greeting, but that doesn’t make them homosexual— sex is not the context of the interaction.

The intimacy and priority of friendship transcends gender, sexuality and sexual relations. Best friends— male and/ or female-- can create and experience a type of romance, a platonically romantic love. Among the most sublime, wondrous and rare of sensations I’ve ever had the pleasure of experiencing is the immaculately and mutually loving trust, acceptance and appreciation of an innocent romantic, nonsexual companionship.

It is a tragedy that we, as a society, feel it necessary to impose and assume--- for whatever reasons— particular courting rituals and behavioral protocols, erecting barriers between us instead of simply being honest with each other. We treat romantic relationships as some kind of perverse game or masquerade, with conventionally arbitrary expectations for procedures and rules of engagement that we collectively unconsciously accept and perpetuate.

Move, countermove. Foolish, unnecessary juvenile contrivances. 

You can’t tell someone you’ve recently met that you love them— if you genuinely do… it wouldn’t be “proper” or “appropriate”, which is unfortunate and silly.

Yet it is somehow generally considered acceptable to kiss or have sex with someone you just met. Two interacting and consenting individuals are “supposed” to conform to or enact generic standards and practices, rather than co-creating their own propriety anew between and applicable to them. Says who? Only the truly bold— or perhaps asocial-- are free to dismiss such social mores and make up their own rules, and roles, as suits them and their mate.