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Sex, Ethics, and Paganism

An amazing and very timely essay about the fraught nature of sex and sex positivity within Paganism. As a group I belong to looks at whether or not to eliminate sex-positive and kink-positive programming, I hope they read this and take a deep look at their impressions and stereotypes.

I have been the Pagan leader who was shunned ffrom an event I was volunteering for because one person (only one!) Was overly concerned that my reputation as an ordeal master and kink educator would somehow tarnish the whole events reputation. Even though I had worked the event the year before to high acclaim. If we really believe that ALL acts of love and pleasure are holy, we need to accept that acts of love and pleasure we don’t understand or personally practice are equally holy.

Pagan Activist

4487248_xl–By Shauna Aura Knight

I believe in being sex positive. Not just in the Pagan community–I’d like to see more positive, healthy behaviors across the world. I hear Pagans talking about wanting that too, but there’s a few elephants in the room. And until we acknowledge some of them, we aren’t going to have a healthy sex dynamic in our community.

First, what does “Sex positive” mean?

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About Del

A shaman who writes about spiritual things, but not in that namby-pamby "everything is light and fluffy" sort of way.

6 responses to “Sex, Ethics, and Paganism

  1. Nyctophilia Raven ⋅

    If we really believe that ALL acts of love and pleasure are holy, we need to accept that acts of love and pleasure we don’t understand or personally practice are equally holy.

    THIS is something that should be said again and again.
    Deepest blessings..

    • Del

      How could I not? It’s an incredibly well thought out and erudite essay that I wish I had written myself! Blessed be!

      • I think that there are lots of conversations in the Pagan community that need to happen if we’re going to have the community that we say we want. Which is why I blog about leadership, community building, and activism, amongst other things. I tend to blog more about leadership on my main blog, and I have a companion article there on how a coven leader turns into a sex cult leader. I have a lot of people look at me and disbelief and tell me that Pagans are educated, and we’re good people, that that can’t happen. I wish that were true.

  2. Wendy

    Sigh. So many of those behaviours she talks about are so common in the kink community too. We never want to rock the boat when folks are in power. We never want to ruin the ‘good thing’ and the inevitable backlash that would happen is insane.

    • Wendy, I hear you there. I’m only tangentially involved in Kink and Poly communities; ie, I have close friends in those communities, and I’ve sort of tried the poly thing, but it’s not really a good fit for me.

      And, I hear terrible stories all the time from insiders in those communities. I try to hold respect for folks who choose to live a different sexual lifestyle, but I’d be remiss as a leader and community builder and a student of human development and personal growth if I didn’t notice that most of the creepy problem guys in my own community are the ones who are really vocal about being Polyamorous. If I didn’t notice that a lot of the women gravitating to BDSM as a sub have huge issues with sexual abuse in their past that they aren’t getting help with. That a lot of doms I’ve met are abusive, some are pressuring people into nonconsensual sex.

      Outside the community, the party line is BDSM = Safe, Sane, Consensual, Ethical. And there’s folks that are, I’ve met them. The party line is that Polyamory = a healthier, more realistic relationship dynamic than the Mono folks. And I’ve met those folks too, I’ve seen brilliant relationships with multiple parties and people dating and google calendars and somehow it’s a stunning ethical communicative ballet of spaghetti that works for them. But I’ve been duped by “I’m poly” before, when that meant, “My partner hasn’t agreed to this.” And my own ex did that to me. Other poly folks have creeped women out at my events by hitting on every woman. “My girlfriend and I are poly and looking for a third” within 5 minutes of meeting a new woman at one of my events. Or the BDSM sex temple in Chicago that does sneaky recruiting to seduce people into what they do. I’ve heard what happens to people who leave, how much therapy they need. How they usually never want to be Pagan again.

      We have these cancers in our midst, but we circle the wagons because we have that subculture terror. We already each have a bad rap in the dominant culture, being the whistleblower not only gives our groups bad PR, but it launches a subcultural shitstorm and breaks up communities that have achieved some kind of a homeostasis, even if it’s an unhealthy one.

      None of this is easy stuff. But I’d offer that all of these subculture communities are going through adolescence. Finding a way to deal with this effectively determines whether or not we make it out of our awkward teen years to become adults. 🙂

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