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The pain caused by the monogamy culture - Phil's Rambling Rants — LiveJournal
May 31st, 2008
10:33 pm


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The pain caused by the monogamy culture
I had some thoughts on my walk this afternoon that seemed like they were trying to shape themselves into something profound if I could pin them down completely.  Thinking about my own loneliness, I had this flash of near-insight that our culture makes a whole lot of people lonely.  We conflate caring about another person with being sexually interested in them, and we have pervasive moral messages that it's wrong to be sexually interested in someone unless you're married to them or at least want to be married to them.  People in committed relationships are expected to stay distant from anyone other than their partner, because it would be wrong to be close enough that physical interest might develop or that a jealous partner might imagine it.  People who aren't in committed relationships are expected to stay distant, unless they're forming a new commitment, because the appearance of physical interest is immoral, and approaching someone for emotional closeness might appear to be looking for sex.  And, of course, people are discouraged from getting too close to members of their own gender -- unless they're declared gay, and then they can't be close to the other gender.  How many connections between people are not made, or only made superficially, because of the cultural indoctrination that it would be wrong for that pair of people to have sex?


(4 comments | Leave a comment)

[User Picture]
Date:June 1st, 2008 02:09 pm (UTC)
YOU decide the rules you follow. When you are young, you dont have
that choice. You live by the rules that your parents or guardians
lay down for you. When you become and adult (or at the age of two, depending) you buck those rules and choose the ones YOU are interested in /
wanting to follow.

There's not a damned thing in what you wrote that applies to me. Those arent the rules that I live by. I am close to those which I wish to be close to, sexual intention or no.
[User Picture]
Date:June 2nd, 2008 01:25 am (UTC)
What I state as rules aren't the sum total of what our culture tells us about relating to other people. Our culture is very complicated and self contradictory, and I'm trying to tease out some particular threads of message. If you were never as strongly tangled in those threads, you were lucky. If you're really able to stop living by them just because you realize you don't want to, you're a better person than I.
[User Picture]
Date:June 2nd, 2008 03:59 am (UTC)

Re: The pain caused by the monogamy culture

I am close to those which I wish to be close to, sexual intention or no.

then you are bloody lucky, and you're probably not breaking the rules in a particularly obvious way. i mean, seriously -- there are laws, you know? and even though your parents have let you go at 18 (or at 2 :), the state ain't letting you go, ever.

you're right, we each decide what rules to follow and what rules to attempt to break, but let's not kid anyone that this is easy. i've done a lot of rule breaking over the years, and i have a thick skin, but man, have i been hurt for it anyway. it's only because i am so damn stubborn and inured to societal criticism that i am living the way i live now -- and because i was lucky that i found a handful of people, and two in specific, who're ok with my way.

there were many years when i couldn't be close to those i wanted to be close to, sexual intention or no, because they didn't want to break the same rules as i did, or they had other close people whom they would have lost had they broken those rules.

i think the rules phil talks about are sadly still very prevalent, and it takes intestinal fortitude stronger than many people have to buck all those messages. and then it takes some luck and some hard work to find the right people to make a life with. and usually fly carefully under the radar, or others will try and piss on your happiness. i am lucky that i don't have kids, because that would make the whole endeavour even more risky.
[User Picture]
Date:June 3rd, 2008 12:21 am (UTC)
While I agree with Blur in theory, I have to say that people who will ALLOW you to live this way are few and far between.

That said, I strongly suspect that this is the reason I am still friends with the people I have been for all these years. We are similar enough that way in order to keep the friendships going through any and all other relationships.

I feel for you Phil, I live in a similar lonely hell. All my real friends are geographically distant and it is hard to be alone.
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