This is a work or fiction. Any similarity to any person, living or dead, is purely coincidental. Actually it is a composite of many people, many notions and many events over a very long period of time – decades – taking place mainly in America between roughly 1950 and 1990. It is also something that will offend the sensibilities of all right wing and religious nut case people. So if you are of the ultra conservative persuasion, please do us both a favor and go read something else. (Yeah – I know – that statement will make every wing nut read the whole damn thing.)
I have circulated in many strata of American life. I have known doctors, lawyers, tradesmen, violent criminals, swindlers, gays and lesbians, members of every race and culture on the planet, the gentle and the violent, the musical and poetic as well as the almost illiterate, deprived and brutish, the abused and the abusers, opportunists, connivers, conspirators, and, worst of the lot, clergymen.
There is an especially horrible part of hell to which the souls of clergymen are sent. No punishment imaginable is of sufficient severity for those practitioners of God flogging who visit upon essentially decent people rules, viewpoints, instructions, threats, false promises and untold emotional and physical abuse as part of the daily practice of their art of false preachments. What they understand of the relationship between humans and our Creator – especially as demonstrated by their conduct – could be written on the head of a pin. They are a guild pretending to have a monopoly on the mandates of divine authority. In fact, they ruin far more than they enhance, and it has been that way since the first charlatan discovered that people can be manipulated by any smoothbore claiming to speak for God.
The medium by which clergymen inflict misery upon people is called Guilt. People, according to the precepts of theology as taught in the semenaries of the world, must be made to believe that they are essentially evil, and that they can only achieve decency by compliance with the orders you give them, including the order for them to share their wealth with you and your “institutions”. According to these villains – at least the Christian segment – even newborn babies are infected with sin (something called original sin). That is a fiction concocted to cause people to be desperate in their need to protect their children from the misfortunes of failure to purge the sin with which they were supposedly born. They must then be kept in a continuing state of shame and degradation from which they constantly attempt to liberate themselves by compliance with your doctrine and the payment of money to you and your “church”/synagogue. Each of you insists upon the exclusive rectitude of your message and that yours is the only true road to salvation. Salvation – in case you really don’t know – is available to everyone. It is between each of us and God, and it has nothing to do with you.
I have always been fortunate enough to have questioned everything, no matter what or by who espoused. In that process of essential cross examination, contradictions and unworkable mandates reveal themselves for what they are, and the false can be rejected while keeping that which stands up to the most aggressive possible constant questioning. In the course of that inquiry I have learnt that there are a few essential constant and reliable mandates for the living of a decent life, and that the remaining mass of “doctrine” is essentially poisonous.
Illustrative of that is the infliction of subjugation upon classes of people without rational cause, all in the name of false divine mandates that were never the product of any divinity. To be divine requires intelligence of incredibly high order. That which is stupid and absurd cannot be divine.
The religions of the world have always treated women as slaves, physically and emotionally, not entitled to participate in the first rank of life or status. The book of Genesis relegates women to misery and servitude upon a false finding of being the cause of alienation between God and God’s creation – conveniently called Man. In the theology of Christianity the absurdity is carried forth in the mandates of Second Corinthians that women are to subordinate themselves to men. Any very intelligent woman married to a less qualified man must obey him because he is male. Now there’s a really intelligent mandate, right?
Neither in Genesis nor in Second Corinthians can it responsibly be said that the mandate is from God. Genesis was not written by God and Second Corinthians does not even claim that the statement is something that Jesus said. The injustice is merely the product of the customs of the cultures in which the stories take place - that women are only the property of men, to serve and be used as men may decide. No righteous god/God, and certainly no Savior, ever mandated that women may be subjugated and abused by men who are said to be inherently blessed and entitled to preference in all things. The mere claim that such a protocol represents a manifestation of divine justice is itself excellent evidence of the fraud of organized religion. In its most orthodox/fundamentalist communities, the injustice is still carried out in a literal mode.
But this article is about travels down the Old Jism Trail, once thought of as the medium of cowboy movies about cattle drives. (Or was that the Old Chisholm Trail?) This article is about intimacy.
Intimacy is a relaxation technique. Its principal benefit is the release of tension. It is sometimes partially achievable through simple contemplation – a technique mastered over time with a lot of concentration – by listening to soothing music, spending time in art galleries, hiking through nature scenes, sailing and fishing, and by playing sports – except golf which is very frustrating.
The release of tension through intimacy is, however, immediate, gratifying and ultimately pleasant – if done right so that both participants receive equivalent consideration. It can also be done while alone, and usually is by people who are not guilt ridden. If you are incapable of being successfully intimate with yourself you are either retarded or an engineer.
Social and religious customs tend to limit escapes from normal tensions of life by calling them “wrong”. Accordingly, contemplation and the other socially acceptable tension releasagens, largely unworkable for any short term remedial purposes, feed us to the pharmaceutical companies. We are directed to take pills to “relax”, change mood, deal with the vicissitudes of physical ills that spring from and are exacerbated by continuing unrelieved tensions. We were taught from early childhood that doing things simply because they “feel good” is unacceptable.
One thing that usually feels good is the natural tendency to explore ourselves. Children naturally do this, and left to their own devices would find pleasure and enjoyment in doing so, without hurting themselves physically or emotionally. Self exploration is healthy and it leads to a healthy and natural appreciation of the relations between our physical selves and our psyches. Kids growing up on farms and close to nature witness the workings of nature and relate to it.
But we are taught that touching ourselves is wrong and sinful and that it will lead us to evil and ultimately to disrepute and to a sinner’s death and a fiery hell and damnation. What nonsense. It is the inculcation of frustration as a tormenting price to pay for presumed piety. Rubbish!
There is a bit of humor in this, however. The “sin” is said to be the sin of Onan, a biblical character instructed to go into the widow of his dead brother and impregnate her so that the family name my be continued through her – called a Levirate marriage in classical biblical literature and rape in real terms. This Onan was a jealous sort and wanted his own line to be the only course through which the family name was projected into the future, so he went into her tent and jerked off instead of sharing his “seed”. Wing nuts cite this as the basis for their contention than masturbation is a sin. In fact, Onan wasn’t punished for jerking off. He was punished for not fulfilling the so called biblical mandate to promote the family line through rapine. The funny story is that there is a company that manufactures gas operated electrical generators by the name of Onan Corporation. The generators are self starting if you leave gas in them and there is a power failure.
If things have changed, I hope someone will send me an email and tell me about it. On the other hand, when I was a kid - say around ten years old or so – it was not uncommon that kids played games with each other in which the object of the game was for boys to see what girls looked like and vice versa. The games were called things like playing doctor or nurse, and it was mutual exploration. No one did anything to anyone that would be hurtful. I know that wasn’t everyone’s experience. I’m speaking of my experiences. We would be scared to death if we hurt someone and they informed their parents who would then inflict punishment. There was mutual touching, and I remember becoming excited and that the girls became tumescent. The whole thing was pleasant and exciting and none of us even knew the word erotic. We just knew it was very nice. The touching was very superficial – no one “went inside”. In retrospect it seems humorous that it was especially important for Catholic girls to be able not to have to confess penetration. There was a line between fooling around sex (venality) and penetration sex (cardinality).
Not long after that I would sometimes meet a girl who really liked touching herself and had experienced orgasms and liked “heavy petting”. Some of these girls were thirteen years old and one I remember was twelve. By then I had also experienced orgasms. I think I had my first one when I was eight – about the time I started smoking. This was my favorite sensation. I suspect that it is every boy’s favorite sensation from the humor surrounding youthful self gratification. Among the girls, it was my impression that many of them were afraid of it or otherwise unwilling to experiment sexually. In my experience no one attempted to force any girl into any kind of intimate touching. Occasionally, in the “heat” of a moment a girl would become apprehensive and insist that we stop. We always stopped when that happened. Maybe others had less felicitous experiences at petting and kissing, but mine were always rather wonderful. Any girl with me knew that she was always in control of the situation and that she never had to be afraid that I would insist upon anything she didn’t feel like doing. I have heard that some boys would not stop willingly and that girls would tend not to be with a boy who could not “behave”, which is how it should be. Similarly, I tended not to hang out with girls who were not interested in sexuality. As a very young teenager, relationships with girls were not as intellectual as they would become later on in life. Moreover, my emotions tended to follow my libidinous inclinations. I suspect that most young males are like that. I also believe that girls soon learnt that boys were all erection and little else, and that they needed to be cautious or end up pregnant. I still recall my friend Cathy telling me “Seamus, if we don’t stop you’re gonna be a husband and a father.”
We had no drug issues back then. That probably made the whole scene a lot safer than it is today, I suppose. Even when I graduated from high school I had never met anyone who had ever smoked a “reefer”. If kids are into things that make sexual curiosity or touching more dangerous today, including not only penetration and insemination but also the spread of diseases, then I can see a public health concern for the intimacies amongst teenagers. But to me that is a matter of educating kids about the risks. Unfortunately for the kids in Texas, effective sex education is prohibited in public schools, and honest sexual communication between parents and kids is probably still light years away – or maybe unnecessary due to what they see on TV and the Internet. Accordingly we have an exceptionally high rate of teenage pregnancies and the spread of sexually transmitted diseases is much more extensive than it needs to be. We can thank the religious zealots for that. Their agenda is that education leads to sin and should therefore be limited to teaching abstention or simply avoided altogether. Rubbish and more rubbish!
In any event, it was my experience that a boy who really loved sexual intimacy always had access to girls who also enjoyed sexual intimacy if the boy was sensitive to what girls liked.
That is the big qualifier, as boys are socialized to believe in something called sexual entitlement, a notion that events of sexual intimacy automatically follow certain ritual acts, like buying dinner or presents or marrying someone. That is another pernicious and ruinous notion. Listen up, Stupid! If the girl you are with doesn’t really love what you are doing, and it becomes uncomfortable or a chore, how can you expect her to want to be with you frequently?
If you want really great and frequent sex, you have to make it as fantastic for her as it is for you. Sexual selfishness is probably the single most frequent barrier to successful sexual relationships. It doesn’t take a lot of work to figure out what she likes and see to it that you provide that before you provide for yourself. Fortunately for me, I had an early friend who was bisexual or a lesbian. I was about thirteen years old as I recall. She explained to me in great detail the why and how of tactility and oral sex. I well remember the first time I did that with a girl. Her explosive orgasms and the following incredible experience with her made oral sex with girls my personal sexual signature. In junior high school in very uptight Charleston, South Carolina in 1950 that made me a very popular person. Word got out and there was a lot of teasing and outright ridicule from my pals, but the rewards justified any social humiliation.
Many circumstances can intervene to make it impractical to have sexual release with a girl/woman whenever you want it. If you can overcome the ridiculous religious taboo against self gratification, you can throw away your sleeping pills. Sex for one is wonderful therapy for numerous discomforts. Sex for one in your dotage can save you from prostate cancer unless you have unusual risk factors. See elsewhere in this anthology http://www.seamusmuldoon.com/practice_makes_perfect.htm
I expect that this article will have many up tight people very upset. Anyone with any snap at all could have figured out right away what the subject and viewpoints are. Somehow the wing nuts can’t keep themselves from reading from cover to cover anything that they find offensive. Do they privately wish they could participate in the things their adversaries seem to enjoy with such impunity? Hahahahaha
Not all of my sexual intimacies were wonderful. Sometimes no matter what, things just don’t turn out like you hope for. Later in life I would learn that some of these experiences were more promotional than real – events counterfeited to achieve some strategic purpose. Some of those relationships continued for short periods until I figured out the “game”. At least one was so totally sexual that it took me a while to realize that sexual energy was all there was. Now I can joke about it. It was during the 70s when mini skirts were in fashion and seeing a girl’s panties was a several times a day habit. Long legs and white cotton panties are a chemistry all their own. Anyway, I have from time to time been kidded for marrying someone who isn’t very bright, mainly because she was the most aggressive and demanding sexual partner I had ever experienced. I always tell folks that she was a lot smarter than they realized, as she successfully parlayed a $ 3 pair of white cotton panties into a million dollar piece of real estate in Birmingham, Michigan. Actually, it wasn’t promotional to any appreciable degree. She really did love sexual intimacy more than anything else in the world (except maybe going to meetings).
Thanks, Julio Iglesias, for that wonderful song “To All The Girls I’ve Loved Before”. It is my personal national anthem.
By Seamus Muldoon, Himself
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