Domesticating the Human Passions
Without exception every civilization has turned its hand to domesticating the human passions and thus harnessing these to undertake useful labor. The domestication of the sexual draws and biological draws presents a problem whose solution must be attempted on two distinct levels of human experience: both the psycho-physiological and the social aspect.
Firstly to address the latter: on a social level relations between the sexes have for centuries been directly regulated through institutional laws, through generational customs, by superstitions and also influenced by religious convention. Since time immemorial it seems hundreds, if not thousands of volumes, of descriptions and debates of the virtues and vices of sexual relations have been written and discussed, and so I shall not waste time rehashing the arguments, for or against, imposing the continuance of such sexual relating censoring structures.
Now let us move on to examining the issue of domesticating sex at the source; of civilizing its expression in the individual male or female. Inarguably this is a topic the majority of our western cultures have paid little or no mind to for a very long time. Actually, it is only recently, in the past few decades, thanks to the decline in Judaeo-Christian influence that anyone has had licence to discuss this subject at all; that is without the threat of being publicly shouted down to within an inch of their life.
Historical the problem of the human biological sex instinct used to be dealt with in one of three similarly unproductive methods. The first of these was and still is the most common, where sex is not mentioned at all. The result: naturally adolescents coming into maturity are left to navigate a path toward sexual survival totally unaided within a societal framework that is generally in denial; and due to this, totally barbaric.
The next route is where the sex drive is openly disclosed; however disclosed in such a way that is obscenely and obsessively portrayed as the be all and end all of human encounters. Lastly the human sex factor can be relayed openly in a way that is obsessively disapproved of by prudish moralists; those who fear what they themselves do not understand and feel they have fallen victim to.
In our current era however, the majority are neither condemned to silence, nor obscenity, nor sentimentality; but rather most are at liberty to at last examine the facts and also to ask the question: how can this very natural drive be handled responsibly. Now reasonably the best way to discover what works and what doesn’t is to look at what has been tried and proven successful.
Interestingly over a period of the last 150 years, there have been only a few radial experiments in the arena of dramatically redesigning our sexual relating frameworks. Seems for the most part the majority of us are content, or perhaps just too frightened of the unknown to even put our toe in the water, so to speak. However back in 1866 when Queen Victoria has sat of the throne for seven long years, along came a man named John Humphrey Noyes who dares to publish a book called, ‘Bible Communism.’
Now it is worth noting that a little over a century and a half ago, the American public was entirely familiar and also thoroughly accepting of communism; or better described as communalism as a fundamental biblical principle and doctrine. Throughout the early, mid and late 1800’s, and also well into the 20th Century, communalism was fervently preached and practiced by Catholics and Protestants alike to emulate this creed commissioned by the one called ‘Christ’ and installed as a literal practice by the earliest Christians.
Let it be known that the appeal to come under communal sharing was not born of any Marxist agendas incited by way of any decree pertaining to the ‘Communist Manifesto.’ Why - because Karl Marist’s thesis was yet to be published when Noyes put his book ‘Bible Communism’ out there. Therefore the 19th Century call to return to Christian Communalism must be rightfully attributed to the recording of the Acts of the Apostles. For whatever reason, or reasons, during this era, once again this founding central principle of Christianity; rose as it were, from the ashes to be revived and reinstalled.
In the early chapters of ‘Bible Communism’ and again in ‘Male Continence;' a book detailing his own sexual practices that was penned more than two decades later, Noyes sets out to detail his theories on sex and also to describe in great detail the methods employed by himself and his followers to transform a wild, God-eclipsing passion into a civilized act of worship.
Throughout the expose of his own very personal marital sexual experience, Noyes assertively establishes a prima facie case against sex – namely copulation and orgasm, sighting the unconscious unregulated indulgence as the root cause of copious senseless misery, loss, disharmony and hardship. However unlike many of the writers, activists and want-a-be reformers of his day, Noyes does not just present the problem but also proposes a practical tried and tested solution that is sure to render individual contentment, social harmony and all-round virtuous behaviour.
Straight up in ‘Bible Communism’ Noyes points out that the sexual organs have two distinct functions: that of a urinary discharger and also as a propagator. But then goes onto name a third function, calling it an amative process; the conductor of social magnetism. After Noyes’ wife come dangerously close to losing her life through repeated miscarriages, the pair agreed that their sexual activities should be entirely amative rather than haphazardly propagative.
Yet the question still remained: how were the unique human aspects of sex to be separated the purely biological and then transcended. It seemed Noyes was not the only thinker, dreamer, doer out there trying to come up with a reasonable solution to this critically perplexing problem. Clearly this issue had been on the famous Robert Dale Owen’s mind also, however the only conclusion he had arrived at was to retain with the Catholic practice of coitus interruptus.
However Noyes was having none of it. He had read his Bible and therefore knew that God thoroughly condemned the practice of ‘spilling his seed’ on the ground. Added to this disdain of unnaturalness, Noyes did not approve of contraceptives either, calling them ‘Tricks of the French voluptuaries.’ And so what was he left with: none other than to invent this own method of averting the sexual crisis. In the end Noyes fathomed ‘Male Continence’, which he proclaimed to be an entirely new sexual practice.
However the truth was that it wasn’t; the Buddhists and the Taoists as well as certain sections of the higher yogic Hindus had practiced sexual continence for thousands of years before it notion even entered Noyes head. Still John Humphrey Noyes claimed it as his own and then set about – getting the word out to a world desperately in need of relief from overbearing children.
Later on a rare female doctor, Alice Stockham, would come along and give the practice a more dignified name. She called it - Karezza, the sacred caress. But for Noyes part, he simply put on his lab coat in the bedroom and got on with the job of analyzing the sex act. First up this radial self-appointed Christian Minister set about breaking it down into parts. After a short while Noyes decided that sexual arousal and the act of intercourse had a beginning, middle and climatic ending. Noyes determined that the beginning stage entailed no more than the simple presence of the male organ within the female. This presence was then followed by motion; subsequently motion was followed by orgasmic crises.
Once Noyes had worked that much out, he got to thinking: ‘suppose the man chooses to enjoy not only the simple presence, but also the reciprocal motion, and yet stops short of the crisis. . . If you say that this is impossible, I answer that I know it is possible — nay, it is easy.’ Now here he was near shouting this discovery from rooftops. Noyes knew that it was possible to stop short of the orgasmic release, because he himself had achieved as much.
Now here he goes on to explain the process. ‘Beginning in 1844 I experimented with the idea - the idea that the amative function of the sexual organs could be separated from the propagative. What I found was that the self-control required is not that difficult; also that my enjoyment was increased; also that my wife’s experience was very satisfactory, which it had never been before. And most welcomed off all, we had escaped the horrors and the fear of involuntary propagation.’ ...read more