Is gay sex filthy? Only if it's done properly

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The Independent Online

I too went through an anti-gay phase once. I must have been in my late twenties - somewhat younger than the Anglican Church, but then we each age at our own speed. My problem was that all my friends had suddenly decided to come out, come clean, cross over, whatever you call it, and I was afraid of being left to stew in solitary heterosexuality. I saw my future stretching out before me: companionless in Straightsville. And loneliness can make you say terrible things.

Not that I went as far as the primates we've been hearing from in recent days. I never, for example, said "Homosexuality is just filthy," like the Most Reverend Remi Rabenirina (no doubt known to his fellow primates as Irene) of the Indian Ocean. I've always been more careful, for a start, about the way I use the word "just". If homosexuality is "just" filthy then what's the fuss about? My accusation was more temperate. I just thought homosexuality - and I blush now to recall it - was unnatural.

A woman friend - because women friends were all I had left - took me to task. "So who are you to be a champion of nature and naturalness all of the sudden?" she asked. "You don't have a natural bone in your body. You have never wanted to propagate. You have never wanted a family life. When you were presented with a child by your first wife - and you marry the way other people get on and off a bus - you ran screaming from the house the minute you saw a nappy.

"You will not go on a date with anyone who has less than three inches of makeup on her face, you invite the women you love to whisper depravities in your ear, you dress them like street prostitutes, you beg them to perform lesbian acts in your presence, you suggest sexual variations that would make a strumpet blush, to my certain knowledge you have never been against buggery between the sexes, you refuse to go to Denmark or Sweden on the grounds that Danes and Swedes consider copulation a healthy activity - natural, you! Don't make me laugh.

"If you're so in favour of nature, tell me why you never leave the house. Tell me why you're so frightened of weather. Tell me why you fumigate the lavatory every time another person has been in it. Tell me why you fumigate the lavatory every time you have been in it. Name me a park you've ever visited, Mr Nature Man, name me a tree, name me a fucking flower!"

What can you do when a woman talks to you like that, short of asking her to perform a lesbian act in your presence? You think, that's what you do. You ponder. You consider. And then you accept the justice of her every word. Thereafter I did not allowed a single reference to nature to pass my lips again.

I would humbly urge the Anglican Church - if urge is not too inflammatory a word in this context - to do likewise. Forget hetero or homo - any appeal to nature, using scripture as a guide, is hypocritical. Strip away the refinements of theology and what does religion exist to do but subdue the natural man? 2 Peter 2:12 (the only way to talk to Anglicans is in numbers): "But these, as natural brute beasts ... Shall utterly perish in their own corruption."

Nature equals brute equals beast equals unregenerate. And the unregenerate cannot receive the Spirit of God. I Corinthians 2:14: "But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness to him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned."

That from the mouth of Paul the Apostle, Paul the prime source of loathing of those who "abuse themselves with mankind". Count the ways in which homosexuality is unnatural and Paul, were he consistent, ought to have seen each of them as a positive recommendation.

But at least Paul is even-handed in his abhorrences. No one is spared, not the adulterers, not the fornicators, not the incontinent of either sex, not even the marriers. Better to marry than to burn, but best not to marry at all, for it is "good for a man not to touch a woman". In other words, Most Reverend Remi Rabenirina, it is all filth, man on woman, man on man, woman on woman, beast on beast, you name it.

This is my position: whoever has looked into the deep dark abyss which is heterosexuality cannot be bothered or surprised by what the homos do. Since it is all filth, it makes no sense to discriminate.

And please don't shy from the filth word, remembering the beauty of love, the exaltation of the feelings you have sometimes experienced in your bed of lust. Of course you have. We are an extraordinarily idealistic species and find poetry everywhere. Good for us, until the poetry fails, whereupon there follows disappointment, infidelity, heartache, violence, separation, and every other sort of calamity until we can restart the engines of idealism and find poetry in lust again.

Whether sex is even natural in the unregenerate beast sense I am not sure. Observe dogs locked in passion and you will see that they look abashed, look away, have an air of creatures doing something else altogether, as though they neither understand why they are occupied as they are, nor ever wish to repeat it. Shame and confusion, even in the animal kingdom. Shame to be driven to such filth. And dogs don't have to reconcile their actions with God.

Filth without exception, bodies entering bodies though the unlikeliest corridors and porches, putting this here and that there, unless you happen to be numbered among the subtle who put this there and that here. Poor Dr Jeffrey John, or Jennifer as I believe he's called, having to assure us he's stopped all that and is now gay only in the caring, Judy Garland sense.

Pity: a little less care and campery and a little more unapologetic sodomy would do wonders for believers and doubters alike.

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