Forbidden Fruit

By | February 9, 2007

Humanity is fascinated by the forbidden. Sometimes attracted, sometimes repulsed, but always fascinated by anything that is out of reach, or denied to an individual or culture. Whether the question is “Why can’t I … ?” or “Why would I want to … ?” the fascination is still as strong.

In the area of sexuality taboos have always been used as a means of control. Some are sensible, based on good logical reasoning, take for instance the prohibition of incest in pretty much every culture that has ever existed. Avoiding close family members procreating produces a genetically more diverse population, less susceptible to disease, less prone to genetic abnormalities.

Manipulation of the genetic diversity and restriction of the gene pool has always been the province of dubious ideology. Take the common practice of close family procreation in the ancient Egyptian royal family, or the eugenics and attempted racial “purifications” of the last century. Both the product of extreme and misguided thinking, flawed science and despotic regimes.

And yet I receive spam email containing the promise of pictures of oedipal couplings, or discover stories on websites about “kissing cousins”. Why? Well some people must find it a turn-on. Unless the writer of the story is writing simply to titillate and attract a specific section of the readers on the web, the author themselves must find the subject stimulating in some way.

I’ll just say here that I’ve never seen such a story on an adult blog. They occasionally appear on sites holding “collections” of work, both free-to-view and pay sites.

If these were explorations of the psyche of the protagonists and the interplay between them, society and their family circumstances then I could see a reason for their creation and consumption, but as they are invariably written to arouse they have no discernable appeal.

This isn’t a post about the rights and wrongs of a particular narrow genre of writing though. It’s more about the concept of the attraction of that which we cannot have. Does someone else’s partner seem more attractive, just because they are with someone else? Does the though of introducing something into your sex play seem more exciting because it’s generally thought to be unconventional, or even elicit. I’d venture that it does.

Porn in general is more widely accepted for what it is, titillation, stimulation, material to awaken the sexual beast within. However when does the consumption of porn become acceptable to society at large? It varies from country to country but 18 years of age (as in the UK) is not untypical as the legally defined age where porn becomes available to the individual. OK, so let’s ignore the fact that you can have sex at 16 but not watch a sexually explicit movie until you’re 18.

What actually kicked this post off (now he gets to the point I hear you cry) is a recent news item about the high proportion of teenagers (predominantly boys) looking at online porn. Some of those being “addicted” to it. This doesn’t surprise me, though the figures quoted seemed a little hyperbolic.

What fired me up was an audio clip I heard on the radio. In it a boy said “If I didn’t have a job I’d spend all day [looking at porn on the Internet] … I enjoy it … It’s educational.”

No it bloody isn’t!

I never thought I’d be the one to say it but viewing porn on the Internet especially on commercial sites exposes you to one facet of the gloriously varied universe that is sexuality. I suppose it’s like much of the “information” that we gather from the net, of dubious provenance.

It got me wondering just how widespread that sort of thinking is; i.e. that sex is a series of airbrushed stills where all women enjoy being viewed by men and often penetrated in every orifice, simultaneously. Will we end up with a generation dehumanised by images of sex and a narrow view of what sex is?

If you read a blog you will hopefully learn something, about the author, about relationships, about sex. But even on the best written blogs that can only ever be part of the picture and only in relation to the author(s) of that blog. There’s a real world out there full of people with feelings that do not translate into what one commenter writing on this blog about certain types of pornography referred to as “suck and fuck” stories.

So if you are a teenager and have taken the time to read this piece please take away one thing. Read widely, drink deep from the well of knowledge that is the Internet, but use your intelligence and maintain a healthy scepticism. And above all, get a real life, a real partner, and when you’re really ready for it some real (safe) sex.

Tags: taboo,sexual taboo,incest,pornography,eugenics,genetic diversity,forbidden fruit