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How do you feel about gay marriage?
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Michael Scrutchin
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PostPosted: 03.29.2004 6:38 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

matt header wrote:


Certainly you're right that all of us have sexual urges towards members of the same sex - I think that's natural, and I think that anyone who denies that is involved in some serious narrowmindedness.




Not so sure about that. I've never had sexual urges towards any males, ever. Guys simply don't do anything for me in that department. I'd be happy to admit that I've had sexual urges towards members of the same sex if it were true, but.... Which brings me back to not being able to comprehend how anyone could consider sexual orientation a choice. I once had a good-looking gay guy hit on me; I was flattered, but even though he was a handsome guy, I couldn't muster up any sexual attraction to him if I tried. Of course, people who have sexual urges towards members of both sexes can choose whether or not to act upon those feelings towards either sex. But they can't choose whether or not to have those urges in the first place.



And, yeah, I hate Kissing Jessica Stein, too.
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the night watchman
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PostPosted: 03.29.2004 7:01 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I am not hedonistic, and I consider myself to be an intensely spiritual person regardless (or perhaps because of) my atheism. I don't think spirituality has necessarily anything to do with God, gods, or a mystical reality. In fact, I think spirituality comes from experiencing life, and frankly I've never understood some who believe the only way to the spiritual is by cutting oneself off from the physical. Problems arise not from indulging in urges, but from over-indulging in urges, or in a particular urge to the exclusion of all else. On the opposite end, I completely agree with Matt that repressing urges is just as dangerous, and with his statement, "Neglecting desires is denying the body the ability to experience full contentment." I think the path of toward over-indulgence, or obsession, begins in denial and repression. If fact, it seems to me that one of the main reasons the US is plagued with so many sex-related crimes comes not from "decadence," but from our nation's tendency make sex taboo. Experiencing a desire allows one to take control of it; repressing a desire secures its control over you.
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beltmann
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PostPosted: 03.29.2004 5:43 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

matt header wrote:
I disagree that acting upon those urges pushes it into the territory of sin, and that we should suppress those urges if they are strong... I think if one feels extremely strong urges for something - urges one feels irrepressibly compelled to act upon, urges that may not be condoned by society - it is a sign that that is what the person desires, craves, wants, perhaps needs... Neglecting desires is denying the body the ability to experience full contentment.


I'm playing devil's advocate when I say that not all human urges are innately normal and acceptable. For example, sometimes we have the urge to pummel a bully--would we argue that such an urge should be indulged? Some might say that pedophilia is a genetic urge, and therefore necessary for that person to experience "full contentment."



I'll add that I don't find those particular analogies valid. You and I may not lump homosexuality in with rage and pedophilia, but others clearly do.



matt header wrote:
Yeah! [Kissing Jessica Stein.] Another romantic comedy in which the freespirited, cutesy, trendy girl or boy enjoys homosexuality fully only to be rescued from their heathen queerness by the heroic hetero! Yeah! Hooray!


I see where you are coming from, but I think it's unfair. I read the movie--which I think is quite funny--as less about rescue than about tolerance of a wide variety of experience. Jessica is given the right to express her sexuality in the form that best suits her at specific times in her life. The movie is daring in the way it acknowledges that homosexuality might be, for some, an actual choice--and if so, that's perfectly okay. Is homosexuality acceptable only in genetic form? Or do we allow everyone to discover their own, personal route to "full contentment"?



I'm much more ticked by movies that relegate the homosexual characters to subservient roles--consider the "gay best friend" stereotype that plagued every other movie in the late '90s. Homosexuals were tolerated as long as they were defanged, sexless sidekicks.
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the night watchman
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PostPosted: 03.29.2004 6:06 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

beltmann wrote:
I'm playing devil's advocate when I say that not all human urges are innately normal and acceptable. For example, sometimes we have the urge to pummel a bully--would we argue that such an urge should be indulged? Some might say that pedophilia is a genetic urge, and therefore necessary for that person to experience "full contentment."




Well, an outlet for an urge may be found that doesn't require the victimization or coercion of another human being. The difference between a healthy, acceptable sexual relationship between two people and an unhealthy, unacceptable relationship is -- generally speaking, of course -- consent. Children do not have the wisdom, knowledge, or experience (or desire, it may be argued) to consent to a sexual relationship with an adult, therefore (and there are arguments to the contrary, but I don't find them convincing), if an adult enters into a sexual relationship with a child, he/she must first coerce the child into it. Such an action would rightly be deemed socially immoral.
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matt header
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PostPosted: 03.29.2004 7:50 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Of course, the urges must be safe - if they're not extremely harmful to you or to others, I condone acting them out. Pedophilia and assault are obviously extremely harmful, so they must be suppressed - they are undeniably criminal acts. I'll advocate the acting out of urges for one's own contentment only when it doesn't disrupt or damage the lives of others, or of oneself.



Your analysis of Kissing Jessica Stein is one I can see and one I've read often, but I just can't bring myself to appreciate it that way. To be fair, I thought the relationship between Jessica and her mother was done very well. But while she is given the freedom to express herself sexually at any time - certainly an indication of a tolerant viewpoint - it's questionable to me that after indulging in something that makes her completely happy, she reverts to a lifestyle more condoned by society seemingly for that very reason. The trouble in their relationship starts, after all, mainly when Helen is enraged that Jessica didn't inform her of the wedding, and the reason she didn't inform her is because she knew her family would look down upon it. Jessica's trepidation at a homosexual relationship, even though it's obvious she is enjoying herself and probably loves her, causes them to break up. Of course homosexuality is acceptable as both genetics and as a matter of choice, but when Jessica abandons that choice, it doesn't feel like she's going after her personal route to me. It feels like she had chosen to enter a homosexual relationship that had much happiness and love, but the movie forces them apart - I got the feeling that she breaks up with Helen not to pursue her personal path, but because an uptight screenplay deems it so.



Of course, this is completely personal opinion, and of course, Kissing Jessica Stein's view may be a lot more realistic. That doesn't make it any more tolerable on my part.
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stefanieduckwitz
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PostPosted: 03.29.2004 11:48 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
matt header wrote:



Certainly you're right that all of us have sexual urges towards members of the same sex - I think that's natural, and I think that anyone who denies that is involved in some serious narrowmindedness.




I for one, have not had a sexual urge for someone of the same sex. I don't believe that makes me narrowminded ither.
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Danny Baldwin
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PostPosted: 03.29.2004 11:57 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I second that.
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beltmann
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PostPosted: 03.30.2004 12:27 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

the night watchman wrote:
Well, an outlet for an urge may be found that doesn't require the victimization or coercion of another human being. The difference between a healthy, acceptable sexual relationship between two people and an unhealthy, unacceptable relationship is -- generally speaking, of course -- consent. Children do not have the wisdom, knowledge, or experience (or desire, it may be argued) to consent to a sexual relationship with an adult, therefore (and there are arguments to the contrary, but I don't find them convincing), if an adult enters into a sexual relationship with a child, he/she must first coerce the child into it. Such an action would rightly be deemed socially immoral.


Of course I agree. But to continue playing devil's advocate: Is "mutual consent" the only factor when determining what is acceptable private behavior? You raise an interesting factor when you mention acts that are "deemed socially immoral." For example, where does prostitution fit in? It is an act of mutual consent, but also considered socially immoral. Some might claim that the argument against prostitution--its practice is detrimental to the physical and psychological health of the community entire--applies also to homosexuality. (Reminder: Merely devil's advocate!)
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beltmann
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PostPosted: 03.30.2004 12:34 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

matt header wrote:
Your analysis of Kissing Jessica Stein is one I can see and one I've read often, but I just can't bring myself to appreciate it that way. To be fair, I thought the relationship between Jessica and her mother was done very well. But while she is given the freedom to express herself sexually at any time - certainly an indication of a tolerant viewpoint - it's questionable to me that after indulging in something that makes her completely happy, she reverts to a lifestyle more condoned by society seemingly for that very reason.


I completely understand your POV, but I didn't sense that Jessica "reverts" back merely to cope with external social pressures. In fact, both times I've seen it I've never been convinced that Jessica was ever fully comfortable with homosexuality--as if she was forcing a choice that was never meant to be. What I find interesting is that the movie supports her decisions--and experimentation--without ever passing judgment. To me, it's one of the rare "gay-themed" films that espouses tolerance without kowtowing to political correctness. Still, I totally sympathize with your reading.
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matt header
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PostPosted: 03.30.2004 1:21 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
I for one, have not had a sexual urge for someone of the same sex. I don't believe that makes me narrowminded ither.




Quote:
I second that.




I think an apology is in order: I didn't mean to imply that those who haven't had sexual feelings towards folks of the same sex are narrowminded, nor that every single human being must necessarily feel such urges. I also realize that's pretty much exactly what I originally wrote. Sorry: chalk it up to me writing quickly and emotionally without logic or reasoning. Excuse me for a moment while I remove my foot from my mouth.
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beltmann
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PostPosted: 03.30.2004 1:28 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

No apology necessary, Matt. I understood what you meant.
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Tooky Cat
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PostPosted: 03.30.2004 2:51 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

On the subject of repressing feelings, I don't think there's any argument that it can't be harmful. Of course, depening on how intense the emotion being repressed is, and what a result of that is.



Jeffrey Dahmer was a gay man that repressed his sexuality. He was actually homophobic to an extent, even though he knew he was gay, and that's part of the reason why he picked his victims up at gay bars. I guess in many respects that's a terrible terrible analogy, especially considering the discussion, but the main point is that he repressed things that weren't meant to be repressed, and he suffered excessive psychological damage because of it.



I've never seen Kissing Jessica Stein, but all this talk about homosexuality being a choice still baffles me.
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beltmann
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PostPosted: 03.30.2004 4:20 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Tooky Cat wrote:
I've never seen Kissing Jessica Stein, but all this talk about homosexuality being a choice still baffles me.


Neither I--nor the movie--mean to imply that homosexuality is always a choice. The film merely acknowledges that, for a small minority, especially those with some degree of bisexual feelings, some degree of choice may occasionally be present.
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the night watchman
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PostPosted: 03.30.2004 5:01 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

beltmann wrote:
Is "mutual consent" the only factor when determining what is acceptable private behavior? You raise an interesting factor when you mention acts that are "deemed socially immoral." For example, where does prostitution fit in? It is an act of mutual consent, but also considered socially immoral. Some might claim that the argument against prostitution--its practice is detrimental to the physical and psychological health of the community entire--applies also to homosexuality. (Reminder: Merely devil's advocate!)




I think it's good you bring these things up. Like I said: "mutual consent -- generally speaking." There certainly can be practices in which victimization doesn't necessarily play a part which still may theoretically or practically be detrimental society. Prostitution, for instance, or use of "hard" drugs. But each should be assessed on its own terms; of course it's also possible that a practice may prove detrimental to a flawed society, but its inclusion may alter that society for the better.
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