Monday, May 25, 2009

Ms Horin on sexual ethics and sex education

http://www.smh.com.au/opinion/sex-thugs-and-rotten-role-models-its-not-right-if-shes-not-enjoying-it-20090515-b606.html?page=-1

I’m getting round to this a bit late, but I thought that I’d better say something about Ms Adele Horin’s Sydney Morning Herald column of two Saturdays ago, especially since it seems to have gone unchallenged in the Herald’s letters pages of the days afterwards. In this opinion piece she discussed what she identified as the thitherto unmentioned aspect of public discourse on the N.R.L. ‘bunning’ scandal. What is that neglected dimension, you wonder? Until reading Ms Horin’s article I thought that the neglected dimension of the whole tawdry debate was sin—in particular, that in all the legalistic discussion over whether or not consent was given, little consideration was given to whether or not the act might have been intrinsically evil, evil regardless of consent (and where this possibility was raised it was usually dismissed, though Mrs. Devine had a good article from two Thursdays ago, redressing the imbalance). But it would seem that I was quite mistaken; silly me: you see, the missing dimension is actually pleasure. And so in an article containing much that was incredible (so much so that I wondered at several points whether Ms Horin was parodying her own libertarian inclinations), one reads the following particularly remarkable suggestion, which I’ve highlighted in bold type:

… if the aim of mutual sexual pleasure cannot be a legal standard, surely we can work towards making it a social norm. It's time to give pleasure its due, in our school sex education programs and in public discussion, in homes and in cheap hotels, and in whatever exotic or sleazy locale sex takes place.

Though it seems inordinately difficult for some men to get to the first hurdle and understand the concept of consent, that should not deter us for having higher expectations of men: that pleasuring a woman should also be uppermost in their mind, not simply using her.

School education programs, where they exist, generally do a good job on biology, on contraception, on disease and on relationships, and even on understanding the importance of consent. Condoms are rolled over fake penises. A terror of AIDS and STDs is drilled into young minds. But when I once asked an educator whether sexual pleasure was discussed in class, especially girls' pleasure, she looked aghast. It would be too controversial for Australia, though not, apparently for schools in Europe. But this is where a conversation about sexual pleasure has to start - in schools. Consent should not be the start and end point of a boy's sex education. This approach is selling girls short. […]
(my emphasis, and please do read the whole article in case you fear I might be taking her out of context)
So there you have it: as if parents shirking their duty (a duty which I and, if I recall correctly, Church teaching regard as virtually inalienable) to educate their own children in conjugal matters is not bad enough, Ms Horin wants to go that one step further and immerse youngsters—or should that be drown them—completely in hedonism (as if our culture hasn’t already saturated them with it by the time that they reach high school) by imparting that education from a pleasure-attentive perspective. Thus we see the last traces of a natural-law understanding of sexual ethics expunged and replaced with crude preference utilitarianism. (Unfortunately Ms Horin seems not to be sophisticated enough a preference utilitarian to recognise that the correct word for someone of her school of thought to be using is ‘preference’, not ‘pleasure’—because some people, namely sadists and masochists, prefer pain to pleasure, especially in these matters. No doubt the ‘BDSM’ crowd is deeply offended at Ms Horin’s hedonormative, algophobic bigotry!)

I see this article of Ms Horin’s as a sort of small milestone for Australian culture. I have seen this sort of thing advocated in mainstream newspaper letters pages, but until Ms Horin’s article I had never seen a mainstream media commentator advance such indecent suggestions. But that’s Ms Horin for you, ever the ‘early adopter’. What a sicko.

Reginaldvs Cantvar
Feast of St. Gregory VII, Pope, Confessor, A.D. 2009

5 comments:

Louise said...

little consideration was given to whether or not the act might have been intrinsically evilExactly, whereas, it seems perfectly plain to me that the young lady gave her consent by afterwards felt degraded, because the act was inherently degrading.

‘BDSM’ crowdIncorrect terminology, Pole. You mean the BDSM community.

Louise said...

"the young lady gave her consent BUT afterwards felt degraded"

Anonymous said...

I wonder what Madam Horin's ethnicity is?

+ Wolsey

Cardinal Pole said...

"‘BDSM’ crowdIncorrect terminology, Pole. You mean the BDSM community."

Ha ha ha, funny that you mention that Louise; after I left the computer after publishing that post the same thought occured to me--silly me, they're a community!!! (Reminds me of what Mr. David Skinner said in a comment at Mr. Muehlenberg's blog some time ago--he (Mr. Skinner) prefers to speak of a gay contingent rather than a gay community, because how can a community, properly speaking, be founded on such mutually destructive practices? Surely a common good is one of the characteristics of a community, yet how can there be any real good in common in the gay/BDSM crowd?)

York,

See this article by Ms Horin herself:

http://www.smh.com.au/news/Adele-Horin/The-godless-humanist-kids-are-all-right/2004/12/17/1102787272877.html

It seems that Ms Horin is ethnically Jewish (her mother was a practising Jewess) and apparently culturally Jewish too, but as far as beliefs are concerned, she is a secular humanist (her own description).

Anonymous said...

So she says.

Many people of Jewish extraction have agitated against Christian societies, and then claimed to be "secularists".

I would not be in the least suprised if this were no more than a smokescreen.

+ Wolsey