I did something nice for an old lady the other night, and she turned and said, “Thank you, and god bless you!”

No matter the circumstance – after a sneeze, after a kind word or deed, whatever – I just cringe whenever anybody says these words to me. I can’t help it! It’s an involuntary response. God bless you is just “one of those things you say”, left over from the days of the bubonic plague. But, instead of saying, “Don’t pester me with all that voodoo god believing bullshit”, all I could do was smile and offer a sweet and spineless, “You’re welcome.”

As much as people irritate me with their constant whining and wastefulness and needing to maintain and inflate their precious little egos, I actually have a rather soft spot for my fellow human mammals, and there is this small part of me that believes that, yes, if we could just stand around in a circle and sing Kum Ba Yah, then everything would be just hunky-dory. (I guess some of my highest ideals are still dangling by a thread.)

Don’t worry – I’m not getting all “foo-foo” on you infidels. I am just thinking: Do I really need to be full of dissent and anger all the time? I mean, so what if she believes in a 24/7 surveying celestial father figure who presumably has the power to rid the world of suffering and yet, for all the claims of his benevolence, has repeatedly withheld said power? I held the door for an old lady, she thanked me quite sincerely, it was a nice human Hallmark-card-material moment. In that moment, I could forgive her for being religious and superstitious – she was just being really nice, just as I had been.

**sigh**

Then, moments later, I read an article about “abstinence-only” education in public schools and I got pissed off all over again. Heh. Go figure.

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The question I pose today is this: Is monogamy unnatural?

I know what some of you are thinking – “Cheap cop-out!” – but I think this question begs some serious discourse here.

At the risk of sounding like a broken record, religion has tried quite fervently throughout recorded human history to stifle and otherwise control the sexual instinct in human mammals. (Quite unsuccessfully, I might add.) And, despite all evidence to the contrary, there are still pockets of the population who believe that some higher power – which also created everything from solar systems to microbes and everything in between – actually has an unshakable moral and ethical opinion about the sexual goings-on between consenting adults. (Of course, even the term “adult” is arbitrary – does one’s 18th birthday celebration somehow cast, spell-like, an ability over said celebrant to “act like a grown-up”? But that’s another matter for another time.)

What I want to address here is the very natural and, dare I say, uncontrollable sexual attraction that humans are wont to feel for those fellow humans who “turn their crank”, so to speak. Not one person can convince me that they have never wanted to wander from their current partner – no matter how much they might love that partner. Why does sex have to be about love? Religion has insidiously attached shame to the feeling of arousal for arousal’s sake, making all things sexual seem dangerous, sinful and to be avoided at all costs except for those times when breeding another human into the world seems like the appropriate thing to do (or you or your spouse were too lazy to make a stop at the pharmacy).

The statistics that suggest that over half of married men cheat on their wives should come as no surprise to anyone. The bible-thumpers would have us believe that this is a sign of a declining civilization and that the end times are near. Ahem, excuse me – Jesus isn’t coming back to tell you not to ball the babysitter, so don’t worry about it. I think the institutions of marriage and committed relationships as we currently understand them carry with them an expectation of sexual fidelity that I think is unreasonable and, in many cases, unattainable.

Sexual monogamy is the unspoken agreement that, when broken, completely breaks the deal for a lot of couples. I say, why not wake up and face the facts? We might be intelligent, reasoning people – but we are still animals. Animals with instincts. Should we let something as frivolous as a roll in the hay destroy a marriage? What is marriage, anyway? Why did you marry your spouse – so that you could control their every move and impulse? Alfred Kinsey was on to something – bring all things sexual into the light, and express them – or hell, let’s just look at ’em, for Chrissake, and not let some external sense of morality guide our actions. Rather, let’s use our ability for critical thought and civil discourse to work out, for ourselves and with our loved ones, what works for us and what doesn’t.