Sunday, 17 April 2016

Objectify or Elevate.

The news today is worrying. It’s about more teenage boys paying for sex. 300 heterosexual boys aged between 16 to 19 were surveyed and 2 out of 5 of them have paid for sex. The median age is 16. They have a median number of 4.5 sexual partners, including girlfriends and casual friends they slept with. And 42% were diagnosed with an STI.

Professor Wong who led the study said, “The boys say their friends dare or urge them to go to a sex worker to initiate them into manhood.”

The report further quoted Prof Wong stating that, “while the findings cannot be generalised to represent the population of teens who are sexually active, she said they do suggest that it has become more common recently for teenage boys to pay for sex.”

What caught my attention was the words of a doctor, “I find that teens’ attitudes towards sex these days are a lot more blasé. Some are even having sex with casual friends whom they are not in a relationship with. It's like meeting up to have sex these days is almost as casual as meeting up for a game of tennis.”

Lesson? Just one. Doctors and social workers put the blame on easy access to pornography as one of the leading causes. Others blamed it on not having a girlfriend and peer pressure. Still others claimed that it is the hyper-sexualized culture or a sensory-arousal environment.

For me, I suspect online pornography and our liberal sexual culture are the main culprit. They are the breeding ground for indulging in one's sexual fantasies in the privacy of one's own room or handphone.

Nowadays, online sexual vices are everywhere There is no restriction because no public office is able to control it. And scarily, the seduction is so great that even husbands are engaging in virtual sex as a form of release. They would rather satisfy their own cravings than to fulfill the mutual needs and pleasures with their marital partners. Nurtured intimacy that lasts a lifetime is just too much work for them.

Online pornography has therefore made mind sex come alive and it has overtaken sex within marriage as an alternative to guilt-laden adulterous liaisons. The latter is just too inconvenient and humiliating. With online pornography, one designs a virtual harem of mind-boggling variety to pick and choose from at a click of a key. And a marriage of one can seldom match it in plain masturbatory pleasure.

Most unfortunately, pornography has raised a generation of young men who enter into a marriage not knowing how to satisfy their partner. All they are obsessed with is how they want to be sexually satisfied. Alas, they somehow demand their poor partner to embody all the self-centered perversions they had grown up with from online sex. The trend here is therefore more disturbing than it looks.

So, let me be old fashioned. Some values I sincerely believe are timeless. Two of them of relevance here are modesty and self-respect. And it applies to both sides of the gender.

Let me be clear, I am not putting the blame on dressing for girls here. But I am putting the blame on a shallow culture that promotes the superficial over substance, external beauty over inner beauty, and appearances over character. And the words of one of the judges for a beauty contest who once said that inner beauty is the excuse ugly people use to make themselves feel better about themselves is exactly my point.

In my view, teenage girls nowadays are losing grip with that self-respecting virtue called modesty. If I have a definition for modesty, it would be this: Drawing your sense of self-worth not from what you wear, or the appearance you put on for others to see, but from doing what is right, and allowing the beauty of it to shine through. And trust me, a good character is enduringly beautiful while what you put on to physically accentuate whatever you wish to accentuate is but transient and seasonal. It may even be self-degrading.

Teenage girls will do well to keep in mind these words from an author: “So-called sexual freedom is really just proclaiming oneself to be available for free, and therefore without value. To “choose” such freedom is tantamount to saying that one is worth nothing.” (Prof. Sarah E. Hinlicky)

Now comes the teenage boys. I too have a word for them. I have two actually: objectify or elevate. I urge them to see beyond the cleavages, curves and crudeness. Stop objectifying what is superficial and start elevating what is enduring and timeless. 
They should know that behind every woman whom they fantasize (or want to have sex with) is a face, a life, a struggle, a pain, a virtue, a hope, a dream, a potential and a narrative.

They are no different from your sister, your mother or your daughter who wants exactly what you want - to be loved, to be respected, and to be treasured. They are real human beings with emotions and aspirations and not an object to be used and abused with your unmoored thoughts, impersonal cash and ruthless cravings.

Need I remind you that the object of your sexual fantasy is the daughter, wife and mother of another. They are of deep meaning to them. And by objectifying, you are stripping them of the meaning they embody and turning them into lifeless sexual mannequins just to quench your sexual pangs.

More relevantly, you do not treat them mechanically, but relationally. It is definitely not an obsessive ritual of erection, insertion and ejaculation so as to satiate your intemperate lust. They are not empty buckets to be filled, but lives that seeks fulfillment and growth. It is not about exploitation, but dedication, devotion and protection for a lifetime of mutual growth, encouragement and joy. You see, lust is eventually empty, but love, sacrificial love, is deeply fulfilling. Choose therefore the infinitely better option by considering the road less traveled, and undoubtedly much more rewarding.

K Hepburn once said, "Nature is what we are put in this world to rise above." So guys, rise above it. Rise above the booby and booty, and look straight into their heart, soul and intelligence. And what you find, will not only surprise you, but touch, inspire and empower you.

So, guys, if you want true freedom, listen to and digest these words by Edmund Burke as I end: “Men are qualified for freedom in exact proportion to their disposition to put moral chains on their own appetites. Society cannot exists unless a controlling power on will and appetite be placed somewhere, and the less of it there is within, the more there is without. It is ordained in the external constitution of things that men of intemperate minds cannot be free.” Cheerz.

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