One of the most common condemnations of non-standard sex — from homosexuality to masturbation — is “that’s not what those body parts were meant for.” Genitals and sexual desire were supposedly designed for reproduction, and reproduction alone: by God (as the argument most commonly goes), or by evolution (as the argument occasionally gets made). To use these parts/ desires for any other purpose is dangerous at best and sinful at worst.
Okay. Let’s set aside for a moment the question of whether there even is a God, much less one who purposely designed the human body to fulfill his divine plan. The most common counter to this accusation is that it doesn’t get applied consistently. Not even by people who do believe in a God who created our bodies. As Dan Savage once pointed out: Our noses weren’t “designed” for us to rest our glasses on — and nobody gets their knickers in a twist over that. Off-label uses of our bodies are ridiculously common. I could come up with them all day. Our feet weren’t “meant” for us to operate the pedals of a car. Our mouths weren’t “meant” for us to play the harmonica. Our heads weren’t “meant” for us to display giant novelty foam-rubber cheese wedges and other oversized signals of allegiance to sports teams. Our hands weren’t “meant” for us to type on computer keyboards. (Boy howdy, were they ever not. My recent tendinitis flare-up is evidence enough of that.) And that doesn’t stop anyone from doing these things.
So why should sex be an exception? No, our mouths and assholes weren’t “designed” for sex, by God or by evolution. So what? We use our bodies in lots of ways and for lots of purposes that they weren’t “designed” for… and nobody considers that immoral. Computers and harmonicas and giant novelty cheese wedges are seen as acceptable and even positively neat. Why is anal sex somehow a perversion of the natural order?
A good argument. And one I frequently make myself.
But today, I’m going to take it a step further.
Off-label uses of body parts and biological functions aren’t just acceptable and morally neutral. They are some of the most beautiful, honorable, and deeply treasured parts of the human experience.
Thus begins my new piece on the Blowfish Blog, Sex and the Off-Label Use of Our Bodies. To read more — and to find out why I think off-label uses of our bodies isn’t just morally neutral but a positive and valuable good thing, read the rest of the piece. (And if you’re inspired to comment here, please consider cross-posting your comment to the Blowfish Blog — they like comments there, too.) Enjoy!