Social Question

ETpro's avatar

[NSFW] Is sex sacred or profane?

Asked by ETpro (34145 points ) December 1st, 2012

Time for a little levity in a weekender question.

The famous French father of modern sociology, Émile Durkheim noted that all religions separate things into that which is sacred, and that which is profane. He noted that this was just as true of the primitive totemic religion of the most remote, isolated Australian Aborigines he studied as it was of the Catholic Church or any other modern religion.

But religions don’t all agree on what is sacred, and what’s profane. Aborigines think that their clan’s totem animal is sacred. The Pope thinks it’s meat. As long as it’s not a one of a very limited set of prohibited animals, the Rabbis and Mullahs agree.

Tantric religions think sex is sacred. Abrahamic religions treat it as profane; Popes, Rabbis and Grand Muftis alike. So who’s right?

Observing members: 0 Composing members: 0

33 Answers

wundayatta's avatar

It’s sacred for me. All I need is for other people to leave me alone and stop judging me if they take offense at my opinion. If that happens, than it really doesn’t matter what anyone else thinks. The question really is why anyone else thinks they have any business meddling with my private life.

Sunny2's avatar

If this is multiple choice, could you add a c,d,e,f, and g?

Blondesjon's avatar

I’ll opt for sublime, the middle ground between sacred and profane.

bookish1's avatar

Some of my most sacred encounters have been pretty profane!
I’m a pagan at heart, and I prefer the both-and.

DigitalBlue's avatar

Mostly fun, if you’re doing it right.

Hypocrisy_Central's avatar

Really doesn’t make much difference. What a person believes, and if enough people agree to make it a law to do or not to do; that is what it comes down to.

Paradox25's avatar

As far as the Abrahamic religions go, the Old Testament in the Bible is full of ‘profanity’ pertaining to sexual encounters, but yet is conservative on almost everything else. As far as most eastern and western mysticism goes, sex is treated as sacred, something that was created for our enjoyment. Some types of New Age mysticism consider sex, or at least too much obsession with it, to be a negative. Many New Age teachings consider obsession with anything physical such as eating, alcohol, drugs, sex, etc to hinder spiritual growth.

Unbroken's avatar

Who is right and wrong? They all are both in my opinion.

There is no one size fits all answer.

Depends on the context and how you use sex, how the religion uses it.

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

Depends on your partner. It can be either.

fremen_warrior's avatar

Q: Is sex sacred or profane?

A: MU!

cookieman's avatar

Deliciously both.

Only138's avatar

It’s fun

ETpro's avatar

@wundayatta Great answer—my answer would be the same.

@Sunny2 Sorry. Editing has long since expired. It is what it is.

@Blondesjon Most religious types don’t admit there is any middle ground. I’m pretty sure they’re wrong.

@bookish1 Amen to that brother, or sister, or that sublime place in the middle ground.

@DigitalBlue & @Only138 I guess I must usually do it right then.

@Hypocrisy_Central If there really is a line between sacred and profane, man’s temporal laws have no control over where that line gets drawn. Man’s laws may, however, determine the the sacred or profane consequences of a given action.

@Paradox25 The Torah may contain tons of profane acts, but they do not end well.

@rosehips I totally agree. GA!

@Adirondackwannabe And how you approach that partner.

@fremen_warrior 無? Many meanings, but I like this one used especially by the Chan school, “The ‘original nonbeing’ from which being is produced in the Daode jing.”

@cookieman True, and that’s why @bookish1 wants to connect 無 + ∞.

Aqua's avatar

Actually, Christianity doesn’t treat sex as purely profane. Outside of marriage, yes. Within the covenant of marriage, however, it is sacred. I think most Christians would agree that procreative powers are to be used within the bounds the Lord has set. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with those desires, only the misuse of them.

ETpro's avatar

@Aqua There is a societal imperative served by that view when the infant mortality rate is stratospheric and the few children that survive to breeding age die by their late thirties. But in a day when infant mortality is miniscule and we are rapidly overpopulating the earth, insisting on fertility and family as a rational for sex probably serves to hasten the extinction of civilization, not enhance it.

augustlan's avatar

It can be either, for me personally, depending on the occasion. But mostly neither. It’s mostly just…sex. ;)

bookish1's avatar

@ETpro : It’s brother, never anything else.

jca's avatar

I never thought of it as either profane or sacred, but I guess on the big scale of things, to me it would be more sacred. I consider it fun, necessary and if done my way, a little nasty.

ETpro's avatar

@augustlan I agree, but the worldview of those who divide things into the sacred and profane holds that everything is either one or the other. They see things in black or white. There are no other colors, no shades of grey.

@bookish1 Just teasing you about your avatar change.

@jca To me it’s most sacred when it hits all those key points.

hearkat's avatar

As an anti-religious person, I believe it is neither sacred nor profane. It is the biological mechanism through which most animals propagate the species. As such, we are hormonally driven to perform the sex act on a primitive level from the time we reach puberty.

As a human, I have been a victim of childhood sexual abuse and I have shared deeply intimate sexual experiences with my beloved. The sex act is just a behavior, the purpose it fulfills between the participants is what determines whether it is “good” or “bad”.

ETpro's avatar

Regarding how sex might be sacred, consider this [NSFW and video includes sound]. And if you have the time, observe how the Himba Tribe cements social values with the ecstasy of their tribal dance.

Durkheim held that those activities and things that enhance tribal or social values are sacred, and all those things that address only personal interests are profane. While the list of things that do that are different depending on the culture, the fundamental dividing line never changes.

This division really gets to the “You didn’t build that.” part of life. We are all born into a world where we speak a language we didn’t invent, obey laws of man and nature we didn’t write, use tools we didn’t think of, drive on roads we didn’t build, eat food we didn’t grow. The sacred is what binds us together in the larger unit that provides so much of the profane that each of us need to survive.

wundayatta's avatar

I’m sorry, @ETpro, but I didn’t see what the Himba video had to do with sex. Arm flapping and twirling around, yes. They looked like birds. But the only thing that might remotely remind someone of sex in that was the fact they didn’t have their breasts covered. That’s would only remind an uptight Western white man from the Bible Belt of sex, I think.

And not fair to call the first video NSFW, either. It depicts sacred tantric sculpture and holy Indian Temples to a soundtrack by Anoushka Shankar.

Hypocrisy_Central's avatar

@wundayatta And not fair to call the first video NSFW, either. In the US it is! One of the statues had the sausage parked in the taco or between the buns, we don’t mind talking about sex or using it to sell 93% of everything, but when you actually see how the parts we all know fit in anything but a suggestive manner, people get the heebie jeebies.

wundayatta's avatar

It’s a fucking stone statue. This is fluther. We should not be in the business of censoring classic works of art.

ETpro's avatar

@wundayatta Relax, man. I did nothing to censor the work. I just wanted to warn people not to click the link while at work in some uptight, moralistic office where some bluenoses might be horribly offended and even traumatized to the point they would seek damages for emotional pain and suffering because they saw a bare breast of a stone sausage parked in a stone bun.

wundayatta's avatar

Sorry, dude. My tone sounded harsher than I meant. The “fucking” was ironic, since, literally, the statue depicts fucking, although literally, the statue is just stone, which cannot fuck. I say let the bluenoses throw a piston. It’s just stone. At best, it is art. But for people like me, calling it NSFW is false advertising, and I hope you don’t want me to come to mistrust your word.

ETpro's avatar

@wundayatta My concern was for those whose livelihood depends on keeping some bluenose boss happy.

wundayatta's avatar

You know my feeling about that. People with bluenose bosses shouldn’t and won’t be on fluther at work. Period. If it’s safe enough to be on fluther at work, they don’t need to worry about sculpture. But if you add a little more explanation about why you are adding the warning, I can live with it, and won’t be tempted to click on a link thinking there actually is something worth looking at there. Not that it wasn’t worth looking at. It just wasn’t anything NSFW worth looking at.

ETpro's avatar

@wundayatta Aha! You figure link warnings should lead to something more like this NSFW image? Sorry to have disappointed before. I hope this redeems me.

ETpro's avatar

@wundayatta Interestingly, Slate has just added an entire gallery of human nudes that is totally safe for work, even with the most bluenose of bosses. Still, getting caught by an uptight boss frittering away valuable company time on Fluther is probably NSFW no matter what the Fluther content might be.

wundayatta's avatar

Nice try, @ETpro. But I guess I just can’t take your NSFWs seriously. I don’t think I will be following those links any more unless you provide another reason to click. It’s kind of like calibrating a scope.

ETpro's avatar

@wundayatta Ha! Your loss, man.

Answer this question

Login

or

Join

to answer.
Your answer will be saved while you login or join.

Have a question? Ask Fluther!

What do you know more about?
or
Knowledge Networking @ Fluther