The Politics of Same Sex Marriage

The Random House Unabridged Dictionary defines marriage as “the social institution under which a man and woman establish their decision to live as husband and wife by legal commitments, religious ceremonies, etc.” This definition reflects the current predominating political and moral consensus regarding the state of marriage; particularly that marriage is an institution reserved for opposite-sex couples and that the marriage contract cannot, by definition, be entered into by same-sex couples.

The debate surrounding same sex marriage has raged for more than three decades and has been based largely on the desire of same sex couples to be permitted the same legal conventions provided by marriage as their opposite-sex counterparts enjoy; namely that they be legally permitted to share insurance coverage, property ownership, and other legal conventions in the same manner as any other couple which has chosen to make a lifetime commitment.

Interestingly, as the issue of same sex marriage has landed in the nation’s courts, the courts have struggled to define marriage in a legal sense. Tradition has indeed dictated that marriage take place between a man and a woman. This tradition is largely based on the fact that marriage, even though it contains elements of a legal contract, is generally surrounded by religious aspects, i.e., the marriage ceremony. This religious component of the marriage contract is perhaps the stumbling block to same sex marriage acceptance. Traditions are notoriously difficult to change.

As the courts of the nation struggle to define marriage in a legal sense, devoid of its religiousness, the nation’s politicians are not required to follow the same path. In fact, the majority of American politicians have publicly stated that marriage is a state that is, in their interpretation, to be entered into between a man and a woman. Where then, does this leave same sex couples?

It was the courts of Hawaii, Massachusetts and Vermont that brought the issue to the forefront when they elected to recognize same-sex couples’ right to enter into a legal marriage contract. Since that time, proponents and opponents have struggled not only to gain control of state courts and lawmakers, but they have taken their battle to the top by asking that the office of the president as well as the nation’s Supreme Court acknowledge one side or another. This fight for legitimization has been the hallmark of the struggle as one side prays for legal rights, regardless of the morality of their situation, and the other seeks to uphold their moral interpretation of the institution of marriage.

Ideally, same sex couples would prefer to have their relationships recognized in more than just a legal sense. This struggle has been identified by some as the “gay agenda”. Opponents assert that same sex couples are attempting to redefine marriage which will subsequently change the value system of the nation. Proponents argue that their struggle is hindered by the nation’s predominating sense of homophobia. Others insist that the courts have no business ruling on the issue at all. With this mishmash of opinions, it stands to reason that the debate will likely rage on for years.

Some courts have elected to define marriage as that which occurs between a man and a woman based on the fact that same sex couples cannot reproduce. This stance however, has inherent problems. Namely that if marriage and parenthood are based on reproduction, then infertile couples could not be considered married. Other courts have traditionally stood on the grounds of their states’ anti-sodomy laws. However, as these laws are stricken from the books, the state’s basis for restricting marriage disappears. It is partially on the stance of antiquated laws that same-sex partners have based their arguments. Certainly, there have been many laws that are based more on morality than on any real legal argument. As these, somewhat ridiculous, laws leave the books, same-sex couples may find their case increases in merit. This is not to say that a victory for same-sex marriage is imminent. Just because such old-fashioned laws are rendered impotent does not mean that the sense of convention that originally drove them into existence has disappeared. It should be interesting to watch the issue heat up anew as the 2008 election grows nearer.

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Therapy for Sex Addiction: Dealing With Intimacy

Any definition, discussion or exploration of compulsive sexuality begins thusly:

“Sex addiction is an intimacy disorder characterized by” blah, blah, blah.

Then it goes on to name the symptoms: pre-occupation with thoughts sexual; persistent, unrelenting urges to sexually act out; continued use despite adverse consequences, loss of control and so forth.

Such definitions are frustratingly vague. While emphasis is given to the symptoms of sex addiction, the idea of it being “an intimacy disorder” never seems to be addressed. This is unfortunate, indeed. I think a “disordered” pattern of intimate relations is at the core and foundation of this debilitating syndrome.

Vanilla sex addiction, fetishism, exhibitionism/voyeurism, BDSM, and all the other various and moribund kinds of sexual perversions are fueled by the very basic (and healthy) motivation to connect.

Sadly, somehow or other, the urge to connect is misfired. Rather than seeking a real relationship with a real person who might, in fact, satisfy some of one’s real relational needs, the sexually compulsive tries to connect with the “unreal” in fantasy. It is a solo act. Sex, for a person who has a perversion or addiction, is always a narcissistic, self-centered endeavor. It is not related sex. The endorphin rush of the sexual high is so dear to them that it precludes any idea of sharing sexual pleasure with a cherished one in the service of enhancing a bond.

What is intimacy?

Let’s look at the word “intimacy”. From the dictionary: the word is derived from the Latin intima, meaning “inner” or “inner-most.” The definition suggests that to be intimate, you need to know your real self. This ability to be in touch with our inner core is a requisite to being intimate.

Our intima holds the innermost part of ourselves, our most profound feelings, our enduring motivations, our values, our sense of right and wrong and our most embedded convictions about life. Importantly, our intima also includes that which enables us to express these innermost aspects of our person to “the other”.

So, to be in relationship, and to know yourself/your partner sexually, you need to know and respect your intima. The intima is also the way in which we value and esteem ourselves and determines how we are with being with others. To put it simply, if don’t value yourself, you can’t value another. If you’re not aware of needs and wants, or are shamed by them, then sex becomes no more than a fuck.

I think every person I’ve ever seen in my consulting room for sexual compulsions suffers from estrangement from his intimus. We can survive the disapproval of others. The feeling can be painful, but it’s nothing compared to the disapproval of ourselves. Your personal well being and your ability to love another cannot survive your dislike or disrespect of yourself. If you dislike yourself, you’ll never be comfortable with your sexuality.

It bears repeating… the outstanding quality of intimacy is the sense of being in touch with our real selves. When “the other” also knows and is able to express his/her real self, intimacy happens. Sexuality is both an expression of that intimacy and a bond that enhances intimacy. With this kind of personal/sexual intimacy, our growth experience as humans is energized, enhanced, and fueled. Intimacy is the most meaningful and courageous of human experiences. It’s why people long for it so.

The Perils of Intimacy

However, despite this universal longing, fear and avoidance of intimacy is a reality for many people. People fear and even dread that which they most long for. No wonder there’s such a demand for psychotherapists!

So why would people fear, avoid or sabotage this wonderful thing called intimacy and, in the process, avoid person-related sex?

Sexual compulsion is the end point, the tip of the iceberg, if you will, of a long history of developmental events that begin in early attachment difficulties with caretakes, subsequent overwhelming experiences the child is unable to assimilate, an impaired ability to regulate feelings and impaired self-development.

The capacity for bonding with others is vital for human survival and well-being. Our capacity for intimacy is formed in the crucible of the first two years of life. Mothers that are needy, narcissistic, depressed, enmeshed (over-involved), distant, too protective, controlling, chronically angry, addicted to substances, frustrated with their husbands and displace their needs onto their children… raise children who have the psychic imprint of closeness as being dangerous. They also raise children who will carry self-hatred into their adult lives unless they get good treatment.

If the child’s need for attention, soothing, stimulation, affection, touch, discipline, validation, and so on goes unmet, or is met with feedback that is punishing, invalidating or rejecting, the consequences are woven into the structure of the developing personality. Such children may turn into themselves and disconnect from others, regulating their emotions through the use of substances or process addiction, like sex. They fail to learn to utilize others to soothe or comfort themselves. This increases the child’s vulnerability to mental health problems. These people actively seek familiar environmental interaction, thereby recreating and reenacting familiar early rejections and frustrations with others. They spend their lives further cementing their original isolation.

They develop a rigid defense system (boundaries, walls, turning inward to not need others) in order to psychologically survive. But what worked for them as children doesn’t work for them as adults. For these people, the vulnerability of intimacy harkens back to a time when they were vulnerable as children and they fear re-traumatization in their current relationship.

When a person like this is loved – seen in an affirmative light and encouraged to grow and change – this rigid defensive structure is threatened, so their psychological equilibrium is disrupted. Being loved is not congruent with the negative tapes they run about themselves. They can’t allow the reality of being loved to affect their basic defensive structure. Being vulnerable and open to change feels so threatening that they eschew close relationships and mature sexuality.

Entering into a relationship without having some resolution of childhood wounds results in various kinds of fear of intimacy: fear of being found inadequate, fear of engulfment, fear of the loss of control, fear of losing autonomy, fear of attack, fear of disappointment and betrayal, fear of guilt and fear of rejection and abandonment and so forth.

For this reason, I believe that current sex addiction therapy doesn’t go far enough. Focusing on symptom change techniques, such as relapse prevention, abstinence and social skills training, is necessary, but not sufficient. Successful treatment for sexual compulsions ultimately depends on a depth-approach that can ameliorate the underlying attachment disorders and manifestations in adult intimacy. Literally, a new pattern of way of attaching needs to be “carved” into the brain – the person learns a totally different model of relating.

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Corsets, Basques and Bodices – Hottest Words in the Sexy Dictionary

Corsets and Bodices – Hot Lingerie

Corsets and Bodices – Hot Lingerie is renowned the world over as the hottest words in the sexy dictionary. If you need to feel hot then you need hot lingerie. What many people may not know is that in the lingerie list of items sold, although bras and sexy lace panties are pretty much top of the list for purchases, the bodice and the corset sometimes known as a basque is also very high on the hot list.

Corsets And Men Love

Men love corsets – Why? Maybe it has something to do with their tightness on a woman’s body or maybe it has something to do with the way they push up and accentuate a woman’s breasts and improves her cleavage area. Another reason could possibly be down to the fact that it appears their lady is all trussed up and some men find this highly sexual, erotic and a big turn on. Whatever it is, the man or men in your life, deep down would almost always veer towards this choice as their favourite in the lingerie department. Obviously, with a corset and bodice, this almost always requires an outfit completion. The outfit is not complete without the addition of a suspender belt and the sexiest of stockings to your shopping list. With this combination of the three items, corset, suspender belt and sexiest of stockings, this completes your man seduction kit.

Corsets and Women Love

Are these lingerie items a favourite with women? Some women love corsets, some are scared of them thinking that they will look like some dominatrix, whip in hand, ready to whip her lover into shape. It does not have to be like this. It is true that corsets, nowadays, do have a dominatrix stigma attached to them but this does not mean you have to assume the role of the dominatrix bitch from hell. You can leave this role for some call-girl and her clients. Your role in this usually pretty and beautifully decorated sexy piece of lingerie can be just you, whether this you is plain, upmarket, loving, sexy, sadistic, immoral, down and dirty, crazy, witch-like, bitch-like or dominatrix bitch from hell, it is entirely up to you how you play your role. However, it is true that wearing a fine corset, basque or bodice can have an amazing effect on your personality, changing you from once shy, quiet, village girl to a hot wanton sex goddess with a desire for fiery hot sex. This is just the magic of the corset. A period piece of lingerie magic that will last until the end of mankind womankind.

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