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sex health

Design Your Life

Sex and the Nature of the Beast


World Sex Report 1971

Some people just can’t help it – sex, no matter how casual, means something to them, and they feel some attachment. Others seem to be able to do it, put their clothes back on, and walk away without so much as a second thought. Often, those who tend toward a large variety of sexual partners use the excuse that it’s not natural for humans to practice monogamy, and that because we are, at our base, animals, it’s perfectly acceptable to behave like animals.

What’s interesting is that what goes on in the brain of any human does not vary according to how they feel about monogamy and sex. Either way, the process begins in the brain stem, which is responsible for our lowest nature, but it then continues on up through the mammalian brain, where it encounters a bridge between thoughts and actions, and finally it ends up in the neocortex, which is where the thoughts get processed into decisions, according to desires, beliefs, or influence from our conscience.

So that means that as much as some people try to tell themselves that their behavior is not their fault, that’s complete nonsense. The thing that separates humans from animals is this more complex cognitive process, which gives us the ability to override our base nature any time we choose to. If this weren’t the case, you wouldn’t be reading this right now at all – you’d be grunting and trying to decide whether the computer is something you could eat or something you could hump.

Nonetheless, a staggering amount of us try to pull the “it’s the nature of the beast” card when excusing the hurtful and careless behavior of others or ourselves. How many times have you heard women (or even the men themselves) justify promiscuity by saying, only half-joking, “it’s not his fault, his penis has a mind of its own”? This sort of cop-out has nothing to do with a penis (or indeed a vagina) actually leading anyone around, but rather it is the way our egos rationalize the things we probably shouldn’t be proud of. All our egos want is more and more pleasure more and more of the time, and the easiest way to get around the hurt this can cause others is to blame nature instead of taking responsibility.

If you’re skeptical that we actually have the power to choose a higher nature rather than just reacting to a lower one, think about the way we eat versus the way a “natural” human would eat. When was the last time you saw a guy in a suit chasing squirrels in the park, catching one and biting off the head for lunch? Not too recently? Because we have accepted that we can choose the higher path of buying food at the grocery store, no one feels like they “must” give in to the natural tendency to hunt.

The same goes with many aspects of our sexual practice. Most of us understand that we cannot just mount people randomly in the street whenever we feel like it – we must gain consent, find a suitable place, and so forth. So clearly we can accept the higher consciousness option when we feel like it, and yet when it comes to some abhorrent behavior we want to justify, we try to get out of the guilt by saying we can’t help it, it’s just who we are.

So maybe it’s time that we all look inward and inquire about the true meaning of claiming that something is in our nature, because when we don’t examine that concept and simply act as if it were fact, the results can be truly devastating. It is an insult to our intelligence to cop out and say that we couldn’t be expected to behave any better, but choosing to change that attitude is a fantastic way to create greater understanding and respect between people. At the very least, you can enjoy the freedom that comes with being completely honest about your thoughts on sex and monogamy!