Saturday, February 23, 2008

The Mother of all Cults?

Time for a rant!

Below is a discussion paper i produced for a listening session on sex and relationships at the "Facilitating Ourselves" conference of Community Building in Britain.


The Mother of all Cults?

At the last community building experience that I was able to be present at I felt moved to share that my eating was disordered, that I had spent prolonged periods drug dependent, and that a hot steamy affair had saved my life. Perhaps I will return to the demons of the 20th century (depression, alcoholism, anorexia, obesity and unfashionable trousers) at a later stage. But friends you can rest assured that I am not going to go six days without mention of issues around sexuality. Like I said all those years ago, the attitude of “We’re British we don’t talk about it!” is most unhealthy in my not so humble and no doubt very warped opinion.

Perhaps it is inevitable that, with 44 participants building an intentional community, time in plenary sessions was short, my contribution was pretty brief so people did jump to a few conclusions. One participant did seem to have issues and was somewhat offended, and more than a bit aggressive perhaps. I was able to explain to another participant that the said affair had been secret as my secret paramour wished no public displays of affection, I would have been happy to be open to the world about it. Further, both of us were single when we started the affair. I indeed was 33 and a virgin (agh!!!!). True, that the said affair was concealed from the world made things awkward for me especially as events subsequently unfolded. So yes, there was an illicit dimension in that an otherwise innocent and ethical affair was concealed. Not my idea, but since I agreed to said terms and conditions, I do in part share blame. It was very hard work, but it was fun though, and yes it did save my life. I was dying of sexual frustration, something I suspect that the asexual amongst us will never understand.

Anyway. I chatted to another participant. Explained that further to subsequent experience I had realised that having tried to believe in the cult of monogamy I remained a non believer. I believe in Love, but not in the soupiness of romance or indeed in monogamy. Monogamous relationships may, or may not be, loving but monogamy itself is not about love, it IS about ownership possession and control. Don’t believe me? Well then, do you own your lover/wife/husband’s body? Would you mind if he/she was loved by someone else?

Anyway. Who owns my body? Who decides how much and with whom I may share of it? Is Love about forsaking all others? Is love jealous (contra 1 Corinthians 13:4 if you must). Isn’t living openly non monogamously the most generous way to live? Again, not suggesting any form of non monogamous way of living as a new oppressive norm to replace the old oppressive norm. Was inspired one morning in a Doctor’s surgery seeing an NHS poster saying “Only have sex if you want to”.

OK losing the thread a bit. Started this article then went for a cup of coffee with a former fellow student who has just graduated. 3 pints of coffee, er lager, later………..

Don’t get me wrong, At the end of the day, my approach is pragmatic. If a monogamous relationship is loving I am all for it and against anyone disturbing it. Do what you like in bed, but don’t do it in the streets where it might frighten the horses!

Likesay. Explained to said other participant that I was at least in theory multi-amorous (poly=many well I wish!) she said something along the lines of cool! “I have polyamorous friends they are great, no pressure to have sex”. I wish I was so accepted and indeed, acceptance is not enough, I wish, and indeed have a need to be, appreciated. Wish I had some polyamorous friends. Wish I had some friends but there you go.

Must confess that currently when chatting on msn or okCupid or whatever, or indeed if I were to be out on the pull (sorry haven’t the energy, the clubbing scene in Leeds at least is ear drum splitting), I do tend to ask when chatting up eligible young ladies: (or whatever) “are you a card carrying member of The Cult of Monogamy?” After all, to enter a monogamous relationship would disturb an existing open relationship (howsoever theoretical) and funnily enough I thought that the basis of morality, including that of my mono friends was not disturbing an existing relationship or somesuch.

Don’t get me wrong. Have just looked up the definition of a Cult on the CIC website. But like I wrote on my blog:-

“I wouldn’t want to lose my mono friends but I think they know where I stand by
now, viz monogamy is sort of ok between consenting couples in private if well
not really. “Do what you like in bed but don’t do it in the street where it
might frighten the horses!”
“I was in the Old Bar at a gathering of folks from the LUU website message
boards and when chatting to one chap there, he said that he believed in monogamy
but was not prepared to discuss it. Absolutely fine, discussion of sex and
relationships is not compulsory. But hey, isn’t it characteristic of cults that
you don’t really question the cult?

“Funny, but when a cult has some non
orthodox sexual practice, they are condemned for it (the only examples that
spring to mind being The Family and the Rajneeshis) , whereas I suspect that
most cults are into monogamy (examples being Harry Krishna, The Moonies, The
Mormops, The Hubbardists, Jesus Army, Opus Dei, the Jobos and we could go on an
on here……..).

I tell you these monos are part of a cult!
 ”

(posted on my blog Sunday 6th March 2005

Anyway, funny how my email signature for years has been “IN AND THROUGH TRUE COMMUNITY LIES THE SALVATION OF THE WORLD” which hopefully some participants at Horn Farm will be familiar with, being found somewhere in “The Different Drum – Community Building and Peace” by M Scott Peck.

If anyone has ever read my email signature, no one ever commented. Whatever. Perhaps this is significant. But also on all but my yahoo signature I have included:-

"’I think the most dangerous parts of the current cultural trance are pretty obvious: male domination, materialism, and the absence of spirit. Monogamy is another one in there. These are cultural styles which, if not overcome, will probably contribute to our ever more rapid acceleration toward, if not extinction, at least a profound brutalisation of life.’ attributed, by Merrick, to Terrence McKenna.

Again, no comment not even something hostile.

Funny, somewhere in writings of M Scott Peck Scotty seems to say, “Hold up Free Love as an Ideal but under no circumstances practice it”. Again. What other people do in bed and with whom is none of my business so long as it is fully consensual and does not involve children or animals. Yes I am a card carrying Liberal. I do have issues however with people holding up Monogamy as an ideal. Why hold up monogamy as an ideal? Don’t get me wrong. If everyone was

As it turns out I am in theory multi-amorous if very celibate in practice. Such is life. The “New Man” was never top of the pops in the sexual attraction stakes.

Ok, at the risk of all this being a bit stream of consciousness think I will post and head home. Maybe we will have some vigorous debate at Horn Farm maybe not, maybe a further lurch into superficiality and monogamous assumptions.

See you all at Horn Farm.

Love and liberation

Bluebell Eikonoklastes


Some ranters. Ranting I presume....

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