Tuesday, October 22, 2013

The changes, they are coming fast

Human culture has always changed and shifted.  There never were 'the good old days' where everything was perfect up until the latest generation ruined it all with their bad music, laziness, and disrespect for their elders.  However, it really does seem that the pace of change is becoming ever greater as time rolls forward.  The rate of dissemination of information continually increases as technology does and although there will always be resistance to change that resistance strikes me as being less and less.

I started thinking about this because of two articles I was randomly linked to over the past little while.  One is about a serial cheater who cannot stay faithful but who is engaged and hopes that married life will reform him.  This, of course, is idiotic as anyone who has been in a long term marriage can tell you - the desire and need for intimacy outside the relationship goes up, not down.  The second article is one about a married man who has been cut off from sex completely and so he cheats to get those needs met.  Much more defensible, certainly.  However, in both cases what I expected to read when I checked out the comments was pages of "I hate you asshole cheaters can die in a fire" and what I found instead was an awful lot of people saying "Why don't you have an open relationship?  Everybody is doing it."  Of course, there were folks spewing invective but not nearly so many as I would have thought.

Of course one of the challenges is that cheating is still recognized as a single thing by many people.  I see a world of difference between being utterly denied sex within a marriage and getting it somewhere else and just plain old cheating.  Breaking vows and lying are bad, but there are excuses I will accept.  Just like all the other little white lies we tell each other all the time like when we are falling apart emotionally and we answer "How are you?" with "Just fine" there are reasons to lie that are acceptable and reasons that are not.  "I have been told to never have sex again" is a good reason and "I was horny" is not.  Much like "You look great in that dress" is a perfectly fine lie and "I totally did not kill my auntie for the inheritance money" is a bit of an issue.  Cheating has degrees of badness and I think people are beginning to see that more now as more alternate relationship models become mainstream.

It is a strange thing to witness a substantial change in public sentiment.  Even five years ago I would not have expected to see this but it seems to pop up pretty regularly.  I have heard it said that the polyamory movement (as much as there is such a thing) is about 30 years behind the gay rights movement and that seems reasonably accurate.  If that holds true Canada will be legalizing plural marriages around the year 2034.  I figure 20 years is probably enough to sort out the crazy legal entanglements that such an endeavour would entail so it seems plausible.  In this scenario Russia will be legalizing plural marriages sometime around 2100 or so...


  1. Back when the anti-gay-marriage people were saying this is a slippery slope that will lead to polygamy, I remember thinking: "Yup." We just disagreed on whether that was a bad thing. They were probably right about incest too (this one has a huge ick factor but it's hard to think of prosecuting half-siblings who didn't even know they were related when their relationship started as a just thing to do), though I think we probably stop short on bestiality since that's actually totally different thing (unless the dolphins-are-people movement gets their way and then we'll see).

  2. I am not at all sure the government should be prosecuting incest. Obviously incest is usually a case of rape (because one of the people involved is underage or otherwise not consenting) but when it isn't should we really get the law involved because two closely related people want to have sex? It isn't a good idea but I feel about it the same way I feel about smoking crack - I don't like it but it isn't something that is solved by prison time. If it really is two consenting adults who happen to be closely related having sex then social pressure is all that is required; the cops should not be called.

  3. I think prosecuting incest (and, now that I mention it, I guess bestiality too) is very foolish at this point. Look at what happened in Bountiful B.C. You have a community that is sexually abusing children and trafficking them across the border to participate in forced marriages and they end up grand-standing about how the government in persecuting them about multiple-marriages and seriously delaying and questioning the basis of any prosecution.

    If the prosecutors had simply said, "Look, we don't think there is any reason why polygamy should be illegal so we aren't even going to bring that charge" then the criminal charges against them would have proceeded far more smoothly.

    The same thing is going to happen for other sex-crimes. If someone is raping their own child, prosecute them for rape and sexual interference, don't give them a soapbox to plead their case of their different lifestyle by charging them with a sex crime as well. Similarly, if someone is abusing animals in anyway, just charge them with that (in Canada our animal abuse laws are a joke, but that's a separate problem). I feel that sex crime laws are just liabilities for prosecutors unless the entire point of using them is to persecute someone who isn't doing anything else wrong. We seem to largely agree as a society that the government is supposed to stay out of our proverbial bedrooms, and I think we should not have or enforce laws that go against this near-consensus.