Skip to main content

Verified by Psychology Today

Stephen Mason Ph.D.


What's So Bad About Sex?

A devilish deception.

This post is in response to
Fear and Loathing of Nakedness

My good friend, Dr. Chris Ryan, asked in his most recent column why there should be a fear and loathing of nakedness.

It's because, old buddy, nakedness is a gateway to sex and everybody knows sex is bad. But is it really? And how is it that such a belief came to pass anyway? How did a perfectly natural acceptance of sex — going all the way back to the caveman — suddenly go awry? It's because of preachers! No kidding!

Just think about it. The only way to sell their particular brand of snake oil was to hype all the good things they were going to do for you if you just kept doing all the things they told you to do. But if one keeps following them and still keeps getting the short end, even the semi-comatose will eventually catch on and all the preachers will then have to get real jobs. So they came up with a solution. An afterlife. Hey... don't worry... you die and things will get better. And ya gotta admit, as stratagems go, that one's a doozy. Who, after all, is going to come back and say, "no way?"

But just so you don't think that rewarding afterlife is a done deal, there's a small hitch involving the additional ploy of sin and a fiery alternative to playing a harp on a cloud. To wit: You must constantly atone for what the preachers decide are your sins.

Now just think about it: If the preachers are sharp, and they are, they will pick a perfectly natural desire and say it's a sin. Brilliant! Suddenly, they're in a business that's not likely to go out of business.

As it happens, sex (lots and lots of all kinds of sex) is about as natural a desire as one might imagine. Since most people can't go through a single day without at least a little lusting, it made for the perfect sin. Preachers depend upon sin, and sin depends upon normal human behavior. What would be the point, for example, of making it a sin to suck lemons? People would never do it and the preacher biz would go bust. The very fact that sex is a sin proves it's a perfectly normal part of life.

Indeed, saying good things are bad proved to be such an effective means of manipulating the masses that a second group who didn't want to work for a living jumped aboard the same bandwagon. Politicians!

About the only difference between the two scams is that since the preachers already had a monopoly on mortal sin, the politicians had to come up with the notion of victimless crime. Suddenly criminals were turning up everywhere; from the men's room at Pennsylvania Station to the Oval Office on Pennsylvania Avenue.

When police raided Club L'Orage in Montreal, I was asked to be a guest on a number of Canadian radio and television talk shows. Most callers, to their credit, questioned all the fuss surrounding a gang of people enjoying recreational sex. Wouldn't law enforcement dollars be better spent on catching bad guys?

Curiously, the city's top cop, who was personally in charge of the raid, said he was not bothered by the fact that the people were having sex but rather by the fact that the club was both charging and advertising! So charging and advertising was their crime and sex had nothing to do with it. But when I asked if he would be equally outraged if all the people at the club were being charged for an advertised church-sponsored game of BINGO, he hung up.

Look At It This Way

The bottom line on the preacher's mortal sin and the politician's victimless crime is that both are nothing more than a means of controlling the behavior of the many for the benefit of the few.

Sex is singled out as a sin and a crime not because it's so extraordinary but because it's so very ordinary. Human males have the most sensitive genitals in the animal kingdom and human females are the only mammals constantly in heat.

There is a saying: Deny the word and see the deed, which makes clear that trying to limit an appetite does nothing more than increase its intensity. Hunger is the best spice.

In the recent news, a television preacher who bawled about prostitution and a congressional politician who railed at pornography were both shown to be hypocrites of the first order; caught, in turn, with a prostitute and a load of porn. Next week, there will be the same story with different hypocrites. Only the names change.

Sex is neither a sin nor a crime. It is one of those rare gifts from Mother Nature — like lobster, only cheaper. Make it evil and/or illegal and one ends up with a fixated, frustrated society just like... well... just like now.