Despite the porn, I’m terribly naive about why our society has conniption fits when it comes to talking about sex and drugs. Both are very taboo and subject to numerous pieces of legislation and come with deep currents of conscious and unconscious stigma.
Trying to develop a career as a “professional” in either field is a tenuous path. Semantics mark the difference between the suit and coat crowd and the plebeians or worse yet the crackpots. Those who aspire to join the suit and coat crowd can be spotted at their industry’s events with marked civility to the crackpots by their subtle but very nearly ritualistic social performances best described by Roland Barthes and an avian behavior graduate student sharing drinks at happy hour.
In the drug world, the people talking about sex are regarded as the way to ruin the legitimacy of things. The ones who don’t get “the bigger picture.” In the sex world, those who talk about drugs can also ruin the legitimacy of things. Legality is a major issue. Drugs could blow the whole house down.
When you already have to speak in sotte voce about a very fundamental reality, the introduction of another pretty much leaves you to the fragments and the faintest lines of symbols creating galaxies of the inferred. This is the blend of religion, and of disease. The orbit is farther out with a much more tenuous grasp on gravity. The stakes are closer to death and not because of something inherent to them so much as their relationship to codified law that has a very class distinct application on the masses. Having “made it” is so often defined by the cocaine of an appealing ass. It’s not the Benz, it’s the room for a buzz that never ends and never has consequences.
Class is marked by the consequences you face for your own humanity.
Sexuality has been my trade but I keep my personal cards kept more keenly to myself. I do think ones pleasure practices are as sacred (for whatever that word means) as ones spiritual practices. I don’t think I really get a say over how any given individual choose to guide their perception of the world by chemical, religious, technological, biological, material, or what-have-you-tools so long as there aren’t material world consequences on other non-consenting people. You can’t just steal some shit. You can’t just instantly use someone as a tool of your experience. The fact that we imprison people for getting high is, in effect, a thought crime.
The images of our prison system in the US horrifies me. I’m horrified by its size, color, and feeding system. I’m horrified by the for-profit industry that surrounds and supports these rates of incarceration. I cannot uphold a law on semantics and legal arithmetic when the practice of it is absolutely based around race and class. Prop 35 passed in California and Nevada is looking at similar legislation. I see in that what I see in drug trafficking legislation. It makes labor trafficking at large seem more conspicuously absent. People think rescue laws turn into movie police with blankets, teddy bears, and hot cocoa when an illegal and underage brothel is raided. It’s just a vice wagon, it’s just holding, it’s always in practice an immigration detention center regardless of the wording. You are never handing people over for incarceration for their own good.
Really the moral rights and wrongs of sex and drugs are a distraction although they are the language of our social language on these issues. Much like a spiritual practice, it’s really no one’s business and some people do benefit by congregating and attempting a group consciousness activity like a sport, chant, rave, dance, meal, orgy, movie, or church and that works if they aren’t out hurting people, even if it’s something weird.
I think it’s interesting how coded the language of sex and drugs are as mutually exclusive topics and how that seems to totally implode when you combine them unless you are stringently harm reduction, non-pleasure oriented, backed with a huge insurance plan, lawyer on call, lots of letters after your names from academic institutions with pristine reputations, and other really subjective forms of assessment like your hair and relative number of tattoos and piercings.
It’s really difficult for me to separate conversations about sex and drugs and for me the cornerstone for both is that people are being incarcerated for both right now and that creating a societal perception of worthless facilitates this process. And, since all people deserve access to known information about the human experience I think it should be provided freely in the spirit of informed consent and safer practices. The cognitive experience of pleasure cannot be absent from the information. Whether someone wants to know how an anti-depressant will impact their sex drive or find out some of the biological reasons why methamphetamines can create the experience of amplified pleasure during a sexual encounter, information cannot be made illegal or off limits to select portions of society.
No information about the human experience can be censored because censorship is always a futile endeavor and has demonstratively negative impacts on every society it is imparted upon because benevolent censorship does not exist.
I think it’s also key to investigate how the laws of sex and drugs are Trojan Horses of foreign hostility and have severe global consequences. There are civil wars in the wake of American drug policy. There are mass epidemics and denied resources behind conditional AIDS funding. Offering care, concern, and support to someone is not the same as criminalizing a way of being. It’s a logical fallacy to equate decriminalization of sex and drugs as an endorsement of a ‘hedonistic life.’ It’s not an endorsement one way or another as that would be a meaningless gesture from me. I don’t believe that people should be subject to criminal penalties denied care, or deprived of informative resources.
There’s no one kind of sex I think is the best, there’s no one chosen world view I can espouse for the diversity of experiences there are on earth. I’m also kind of a shitty sex educator because it’s hard for me to advocate individual recipes. How do you give a blowjob. A blowjob? Have you ever had a time when it was a hot day and you were slurping mango slices off a cock?
That’s probably not what someone was looking for and there are great personal sex trainers out there who can give tailored advice from their body of knowledge and learning about your individual experiences. Sometimes it really is just a few 90 degree angles that can totally change your whole sex life. The answer might also be to quit your job, liquidate your assets, and travel the globe for a year or so. Maybe both at the same time.
Both lenses offer incredible insight to what consciousness is as do the whole host of weird tools that humans use. We are constantly making and animating tools and sometimes forging entire realities around them. For some its crystals, for others it might be cars or computers. Beanie Babies. I’ve met the car culture people who have live and breathe in cars and a chosen aesthetic to honor them. The same is easily said of computers. It’s easier to congregate and speak openly about things that aren’t illegal, though. It’s hard to really open up honest conversation if the cops can come through the door when you’re about to have some major breakthroughs. Man.
What we certainly can say about sex and drugs is that they are exceptionally efficient mood changers. They work fast. They create quantifiable physical effects we can observe and document but do not fully understand. There is still so much unknown about these two topics of timeless fascination and they do say that we’re most afraid of the unknown.
I’m interested in how sex and drugs always bubble to the surface of human articulation in our knee jerk pejoratives crude graffiti, and finest art in the Vatican. Engaging in them is to alter one’s consciousness but so is intentional abstention from one or both.
It’s already tenuous to host a conference on sex or drugs. Both have some potential repercussions for mere attendance let alone being an organizer. To host a conference on sex and drugs is received with only a few aesthetic differences from your average gathering of witches. Self-described witch conventions actually have a lot of room. It’s when you put up a banner for a conference on getting high and getting off that you can pretty reasonably suspect that local law enforcement will be paying you a visit on more or less polite terms.
While I’ve written predominantly about sex, I want to express more of my ideas and opinions about drugs and drug legislation as well as its impact on social justice. Pleasure is a barometer of social justice and one that I am interested in studying. In many ways it’s because I’m not really concerned with being a crack pot. It’s a little late in that regard, for better or for worse as the case may be.