Sex is normally an activity between two human beings, usually in private, and usually between consenting parties that are of legal age. Money is not allowed to be exchanged for these activities as a quid pro quo except in those states where prostitution is legal.
As to what constitutes these activities remains a matter of some discussion. But legally, if penetration has not been part of the activity it is not considered a completed act of sexual congress, as repeatedly told to us by a former US President, “I did not have sex with that woman!” What part of the anatomy is transgressed also plays into the question, as some parts are considered not appropriate and go under names like sodomy, which is not legal in some venues.
Also, what constitutes a quid pro quo exchange is a grey area. Money is considered off limits. You can’t give someone $20.00 or more and expect to get any activity that has a “happy ending” and not be charged with soliciting prostitution. On the other hand, a dinner at a restaurant would most often get you at least a kiss, and if you are lucky maybe even a French kiss. The more expensive the restaurant is could procure ever increasing levels of sexual activity. Ultimately the most expensive quid pro quo has to be marriage, an exchange of sex for shelter and food at its most basic level, as has been documented by sociologists in a variety of cultures.
The male of the species is usually the more interested and the aggressor. Although that is not necessarily so. Take, for example, the situation of the older female teacher who seduces the sixteen-year-old high school boys. The strip joints are usually frequented by men ogling young females disrobing and undulating to the standard disrobing music heard in those places- lots of base rhythm at a tempo reminiscent of intercourse. But then there are lots of Chippendales around as well, attended by giddily screaming women.
Dancing is clearly a thinly veiled metaphor for sex. This is well understood by Baptists who do not allow dancing. This reminds me of the joke of a young man getting pre-marital counseling from his Baptist minister. The young man asks the question about the Bible’s teaching of approved sexual positions. The wise minister explains that, of course, all positions are approved. As the Good Book says, “Go forth and multiply.” The young man asks, “What about standing up?” “That is forbidden!” the minister says, “God might think you were dancing!”
Depending what style of music is playing defines the number of veils that are hiding the truth. Richard Strauss’s “Dance of the Seven Veils” performed by Salome to entice John the Baptist obviously has seven. Some of the dancing done by Beyoncé or Lady Gaga barely has even one veil hiding the obvious. Classic dancing is not exempt. Although the Vienna Waltz seems very remote from suggestive body movements, classic ballet was “the porn” at the court of Luis the XIV at Versailles and at the Hermitage in St. Petersburg. Almost all music from Country to Opera has a sexual theme.
There are so many mixed messages that lure the male and then hook him when he bites. It is difficult to negotiate all the treacherous traps that exist in this slimy business. When I was the Chief Resident during my surgery training, there was a very attractive operating room secretary that posted the next day’s surgery schedule on a board at the entrance to the OR suite. She usually wore a partially open white blouse tied just below her breasts that were obviously not contained by a bra, and very tight, cut off blue jean short shorts with the obligatory fringe. Every evening all the residents (in that era all male) would meet in that space to assign the next day’s cases, at the time she was posting them on the board with the side benefit of watching her. One morning I came in to start the days cases only to find that my best resident had been led out of the hospital in handcuffs for attempted rape of the OR secretary. That ended his career. He failed the cardinal rule, “You can look but you cannot touch!” She on the other hand eventually married a successful surgeon who was gay (something that could detract from his success at that time) and he needed a shill to hide his sexual orientation. Obviously, a better financial deal for her than a poor resident who had no assets. Everything has its price.
Much of women’s efforts in appearance, dress, style, coiffure, and manners are motivated by their desire to attract the attention of the male animal. The percentage of skin exposed is a measure of the sexiness of a dress. The tattoo has made a comeback and gives the message of some flaunting of the old Victorian prudishness, especially if located on certain parts of the body such as just above the gluteal cleft.
On the other side are the hormonal and brain chemical reactions that make it difficult to do the right thing at the right time. Sex researchers tell us that male sexuality peaks at age eighteen, while female sexuality peaks in the late twenties. That accounts for all those unfortunate teachers that get lured into relationships with teenage boys. Yet society blames the hapless woman who is just following her instincts, and not at all the eighteen-year-old male who is just exploding with testosterone. He is seen as the victim.
Speaking of brain chemistry, sex has been around a long time. Our planet came into existence about four billion years ago and life started just 500,000,000 years later. At first it was just one celled plants called cyanobacteria. Millions of them left their skeletons to form a rock like structure called a Stromatolite. These plants were able to take Carbon Dioxide, which was a lot more plentiful in the past, then it is now, and make pure Oxygen. Sexual reproduction didn’t waste any time to become the way plants and later animals procreated. All of you that like Avocados should realize it takes a male Avocado flower to fertilize the female Avocado flower to make the delicious fruit.
The need and desire to procreate is universal. It is, however, in the light of day a crude and primitive activity. If observed in a detached, scientific manner it is not only crude, but comical. Just recently a You Tube video of one of the more sexually oriented presidents of the US was seen laughing at the depiction of two elephants mating. How can sophisticated humans that have been to the moon, that write poetry, listen to Mozart, discuss Nietzsche, and create the Mona Lisa make such a lower reptilian brain activity so important in the hierarchy of what we do? Yet it is the most sought after feeling we as humans crave.
The societal rules and regulations and the biologic reality are not well matched and thus create the discordant behaviors we see. We all agree that adults should not engage in this activity with children. But what is a child. If you consider that the female of our species can bear children often starting at age 11. The founder of the second largest religion, Islam, Muhammad married his favorite wife when she was 6. Thank God that he did not consummate the marriage until she was 9.
Not just US presidents but other world leaders have been caught in flagrante delicto, more than once. The Clinton / Lewinsky affair led the way. Former Italian Prime Minister, Silvio Berlusconi, followed with his indictment for conducting orgies with under-age prostitutes. A contender for the French presidency, Dominique Gaston Andre Strauss-Kahn, was recently arrested for forcing himself on a hotel maid. Even the Sunday school teacher and the 39th President, Jimmy Carter admitted to lusting in his heart. And what about all the recent revelations starting with Harvey Weinstein, Bill Cosby, Kevin Spacey, Ben Affleck, George H.W. Bush, Mark Halperin, Al Franken, Charlie Rose, Alfred Hitchcock, Dustin Hoffman, Roy Moore, Sylvester Stallone, Donald Trump, Bill O’Reilly, John Conyers, and now even Mat Lauer, etc. Why do these men (and woman at times) do this? First of all, it is risky not only in terms of losing social approval and your job, but also in contracting a variety of diseases some of which are lethal. Additionally, an unexpected pregnancy that could result, carries with it a lifelong responsibility that is not easily disposed of legally or morally, as Arnold Schwarzenegger found out. It is also unethical for a person who is in a leadership position to make sexual demands on a subordinate such as in a doctor-patient relationship or a teacher-student situation.
On the other hand, we have had numerous examples of the gods coming down from Mount Olympus to have sex with mortals, including the current most popular all seeing, all powerful, all knowing Creator of the Universe who impregnated a mere mortal, not exactly a good role model for us to follow even if it was immaculate. All of them have done it because they can! And furthermore, will continue to do it because we, the people, let them and often even participate as enablers in this devil’s deal.
It is assumed this is primarily a wanton act of disgraceful, immoral, and unwanted attention of men against women. But I am here to tell you men also get hit upon inappropriately. When I was a lot younger (and a lot better looking) I too suffered from this assault upon my person on several occasions. The price was too high for me (most of the time). It did not damage my self-image and I have no intentions of accusing these evil lechers decades later. I dare say that most of us have, at one time or other, been hit upon by a person whose attentions were not wanted. The majority of us survived without damage to our person. It was not a big deal. It did not cause permanent lifelong trauma. It most certainly does not require any retribution or future financial compensation to right any monumental wrong. In many (not all) instances I think these recent accusations are efforts by societal leeches to gain attention for nefarious or monetary motivations. As a society we need to entertain the possibility that much of the noise is self-serving.
What can we, the simple folk, do to avoid entrapment by this most confusing societal booby trap?
First, I believe this issue needs a great deal of wisdom, understanding, and further societal input. And new laws and rules will not solve the issues. Nor will counseling and new mandated sensitivity training change anything. But they will be foisted upon us anyway, because that is the usual solution of the bureaucracy to any societal problem.
I believe that the rules have not been clearly spelled out. The most sensitive person and sometimes the craziest in the group sets the standard and makes the rules. It should not be so. Consensus, wisdom, and common sense needs to rule. We are far from consensus and wisdom, but there is plenty of hysteria, moralizing, and stupidity floating around. Every advance or attempt at a sexual liaison does not constitute harassment. If it did, I dare say the population would shrink dramatically.
Both men and women have a very powerful drive within us, and it is not to write poetry or knit. Most men and women assess each other constantly regarding the potential level of possible relationships. The categories are: yes, no, and maybe. The category in which we place people has multiple factors such as age, marital status, prior relationships, compatibility, physical chemistry, mental chemistry, genetic relationship, location (such as a deserted island with little chance of rescue) and a whole host of other elements too numerous to mention. “No” means “No” but not always. Sometimes “No” becomes a “Yes” after the second, third, or fourth time it is asked, just like most negotiations. The message is that “No” really means “Maybe” depending on the circumstances and the timing of the question. Clearly forcing the issue verbally, if clearly rebuffed is not appropriate. But it must be clearly rebuffed. A “No” accompanied by bedroom eyes translates into a “Yes”. The “Me Too Movement” and the “Pink Pussycat Knitted Caps” are clever public relation tools, but are not entirely honest. Men from time immemorial have and will continue to test women, and many women respond to the the trial balloons men send up, especially if that man is powerful. To later (as late as 30 years) retract or re-interpret what happened is just not fair. I predict that all this noise will not have the effect that many women want it to have, and the story will not end as intended. I now hesitate telling every joke as this may be interpreted as harassment. Even a complement on the physical appearance is potentially dangerous. I stringently avoid any situation where I am alone with any woman other than my wife. I now realize that I cannot treat a woman on the same basis as a man (it has become the next separate but equal euphemism).
If the force is physical, that constitutes a crime. Using your position to force the issue is also not appropriate. Yet that is a little trickier, and has another side that needs to be addressed. The whole casting couch scenario has been around ever since Hollywood came into existence. If a drug dealer sells and the user buys, who is the guilty party? The law assigns guilt to both. If a John is picked up by a hooker, who is arrested? The law tags both as criminals. If a star-seeking, budding actress gets nailed on the casting couch, who is to blame? Later the budding actress, by now a star, gets to cry about the horrors of having been violated. The items traded are different but the moral equivalency of all these acts are the same. My simpleton answer is “Just say NO!” and walk out. If you comply you bare the guilt as well.