The Guardian Puts The Case Against “No-Strings Sex” – Do They Have A Point?

In today’s Guardian newspaper, religious author Theo Hobson puts the case against the idea of “no-strings sex” that George Michael is so in favour of. Does Theo have a point? Read on to find out!

Cruising repels Theo Hobson. He says.

The pursuit of anonymous sex denies that sex and love are joined. It denies that the proper use of sexuality is in the expression of emotional intimacy, the sealing of the strongest of all chosen human bonds… We must be more culturally careful if we want our children to know how to fall in love… I want a culture that is more honest about the threat to its moral ecology, that frowns on anonymous sex, that dares to say that promiscuity is the death of love.

Does Theo have a point? Ultimately, I don’t believe he does. You see, Theo asserts that sex and love are joined, and that if you encourage people to have no-strings sex, then they will lose the ability to love. I think he’s just plain wrong.

Both sex-drive and the need to love/be loved are deep, fundamental parts of human beings. It’s incredibly difficult to stamp either of these forces out. For Theo, and for many people, these two things go hand in hand; but they really don’t go hand in hand for everyone. Theo’s problem appears to be that he confuses his opinion with fact. He asserts,

We must learn to tell the complex truth: that the celebration of anonymous sex, and of pornography, is a threat to the precious tradition of sexual love.

The “complex truth”? Hardly. It’s merely a statement of simple beliefs. Where’s the evidence to suggest he’s right? There isn’t any. In reality, Theo is just worried that if lots of people see others having no-strings sex, everyone will want to do it, and he doesn’t think that would be good.

Theo wants a world filled with couples that are never unfaithful to each other. That world doesn’t exist; it never has; and it never will. Human beings are animals. Their instincts will always out.

22 thoughts on “The Guardian Puts The Case Against “No-Strings Sex” – Do They Have A Point?

  1. ”That world doesn’t exist; it never has; it never will. Human beings are animals. Their instincts will always out”. Five phrases, five assertions of opinion you are trying to pass as fact…non?

  2. Well, you do have a point Melissa! Perhaps I didn’t construct the argument quite as well as I should have. So let’s be clear on some undeniable facts:

    1. Throughout the history of mankind, people in relationships, even supposedly monogamous ones, have been unfaithful to each other

    2. Throughout the history of mankind, people have engaged in “no-strings” sex

    3. Pornography has been popular in almost all civilisations, both ancient and modern

    4. Human beings are animals

    5. Animals have sex not because of “sexual love” or “emotional intimacy”, but because their genes drive them to have sex

    6. Human beings that engage in anonymous sex and/or use pornography are still capable of love

    Do you agree with me that the above are facts? And further, that these facts, taken together, negate Theo’s arguments?

  3. Look all this person is doing is feeding back to us the same rhetoric that the bible thumpers have been shoving down our throats for centuries. He may be wrapping it up in a pretty intellectual bow but it is still the same jargon.

    Personally his argument holds no water with me.

  4. I totally agree with you remarkable!!!
    To me, religion has always been a way of trying to control the crowd, by the men in power / rulers!
    Sorry, I have no intention to offend anybody, this is just my opinion.

  5. OK, Remarkable, let’s see…In points 1, 2, 3, you seem to suggest that ALL people throughout history have behaved that way. Can you prove that? I think not. 😉 Therefore these are not undeniable facts.

    Now point 4…human beings are animals according to whom? Maybe according to your definition of both humans and animals. But are those definitions facts?

    Point 5, I don’t speak their language therefore I can’t interview them😉. But even if I did, it would still be impossible for me to know the reasons why EVERY animal on the face of this earth(throughout history) has/had sex. Maybe there are some hopeless romantics in the animal kingdom as well.

    As for point 6, I would have to agree with you. Still, I believe promiscuity and the use of pornography undermines our ability to stay faithful/experience fully the bliss of monogamy. But maybe I say this because I ‘m a romantic, meaning I ‘d rather share my life romantically with one person. Do I believe it’s even possible? Absolutely, otherwise I would have jumped out of that balcony along time ago.😉

  6. Didn’t realize those smilies would appear so bouncy! Wouldn’t have used them if I knew. LOL

  7. Now back to Theo…He makes many valid points. Still, I find instances of confusion in his thinking. He talks about ”the necessity of repression”. That to me sounds masochistic to say the least. If we need to resort to repression to stay faithful to our partners, then what’s the point? No way. I believe it all comes down to what one really wants out of life, out of a relationship. Like if you want to experience completion with one person and one person only, then, as I mentioned above, it seems to me posssible to achieve that. I feel if the desire is strong enough, it would lead a person to draw on their higher instincts(ideals) automatically.

    He also argues ”lust is natural”. According to whom, I ‘d like to ask? Yogis and spiritual masters of all traditions certify it is possible to live fully without the need for sex. They don’t repress, they just trascend. When I was practising yoga and meditation daily many years ago, I too went through periods of time without the need to have sex, nor masturbate. So I ‘d say lust is normal in the sense most people experience it as an essential part of their lives. That does not make it natural i.e a prerequisite to being a healthy human.

  8. @Melissa

    Re: Points 1,2 and 3. Not *all* people. *Some* people.

    Re: Point 4. According to whom? Well, I do accept that some people should be classified as vegetables; but, really, Homo sapiens sapiens is animal by any reasonable definition you care to choose.

    Re: Point 5. Be reasonable! LOL!

    Re: Point 6. Yes, being promiscuous does undermine your ability to be monogamous😉 And of course, many people are monogamous and share their lives romantically with just one person. It’s just that not everyone does that. And whether you do, or you don’t, is nothing to do with your capacity to love IMHO.

  9. @ Melissa

    You said, “I too went through periods of time without the need to… masturbate. ”

    Strictly speaking, this is true of everyone – even George Michael. Although in George’s case, those periods of time might be quite short! I’m thinking minutes, rather than hours😉

  10. I partly agree with Evelyn – it’s based on religion. Everybody’s different. Personally I enjoy the relationship I’m in now…. the sex has got better over the years, not boring or routine. But the thought of outdoor sex turns me on. Casual sex never really appealed to me but I think that’s a female thing. (Sorry ladies) We’re programmed to link romance and sex together. Men shag, women fall in love. Only my opinion of course.

  11. I agree with Devils Delight (btw love your nick) that women are “programmed” differently than men, in general. As for Hobson’s article…what works for some people very well, doesn’t work at all for others. And no one should elevate their own experiences, values and ideals to facts that hold true for everyone. Life is just not that simple.
    The same goes for monogamy. It may be the rule now, in our society, but it is a cultural phenomenon, that is not universal. It also hasn’t always been the norm. So, it might work perfectly for many couples, but for others it might not. And if you look at the divorce rate, I’d say it might not even work for many straight couples.
    In short, I think there’s a reason language differentiates between “having sex” and “making love”.😉

  12. I tend to see this issue from a biological/anthropological POV. Because human babies take such a long time to reach maturity and a reasonable amount of independence (unlike, say, tiger cubs or guinea pigs), institutions such as marriage and monogamy became standard throughout most (or at least many) societies over time. There needed to be some kind of “binding” mechanism to ensure the continuation of the species, and also to ensure that not too much “seed” got spread around within a small tribal group that would lead to inbreeding (and thus weakened immune systems, etc.).

    Flash forward thousands of years to the present and all those institutions (marriage, monogamy) seem, well, increasingly unnecessary/irrelevant to an increasing number of people — namely, independent self-sufficient women and gays/lesbians. This is where I understand what George Michael means when he says he doesn’t understand marriage unless it’s for child-reading.

    Finally, I think men, gay or straight, are more hardwired to “spread their seed” whereas women are more hardwired to “select mate for progeny.” I hate to sound so black/white on this, and I absolutely abhor the whole “Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus” thing, but men and women are still different (although much less so than in the past). I think George Michael generalizes a bit too much, however, when he thinks women don’t understand gay cruising (he’s made comments like this on Oprah and recent interviews). It’s a tad sexist and out of touch with women today and especially younger women. We can be horndogs too!

  13. @Remarkable

    You say: ”And of course, many people are monogamous and share their lives romantically with just one person. It’s just that not everyone does that. And whether you do, or you don’t, is nothing to do with your capacity to love IMHO.”

    Your humble opinion is well constructed this time. *smiles*

    As for point 5, if anything I was being too reasonable, i.e able of reasoning.😉

  14. Hey, Julie…About what you said to me back in June, I don’t think there’s anything scary about me remembering your star sign. I just have a good memory. I also happen to remember which school you went to. I remember the name of the school, the city and the state. Not sure if you want me to mention it here.😉

    I ‘m almost certain I remember where & when you posted that bit of info too…must ‘ve been that obituary thread you started on Aegean in July 2004.

  15. Julie says: “Zzzzzzzz….people who try to tell other people how to live bore me.”

    …and laissez-faire people like you with you “anything goes” mentality really scare me. Sometimes we need benchmarks of what is considered right and wrong. Sometimes things are black and white. You seem to be the type of person who feels sorry for prisoners and child molesters because “other people tried to tell them how to live”…

  16. “2Funky says: Sometimes we need benchmarks of what is considered right and wrong. Sometimes things are black and white.”

    So, if that is true, who is going to decide what’s right and what’s wrong for all of us? Who’s going to set the borders? You? Me? George? The tabloids? George Bush? And if we would ever agree on who decides (which we won’t), then what’s going to happen to those who don’t feel those rules apply to them? What you’re saying is far more scary than anything I’ve read here so far.
    And this “child molesters” comparison is just totally absurd. To insinuate that people who tolerate cruising might also tolerate child molesting is obscene.

  17. “In this topsy-turvy world we live in, who’s to say what’s right or wrong?”
    — Bart Simpson

  18. 2FUNKY Says:

    …and laissez-faire people like you with you “anything goes” mentality really scare me. Sometimes we need benchmarks of what is considered right and wrong. Sometimes things are black and white. You seem to be the type of person who feels sorry for prisoners and child molesters because “other people tried to tell them how to live”…

    Your argument is silly. I wasn’t talking about someone who has committed a crime against someone else. I’m talking about consenting adults.

  19. Melissa said: “I also happen to remember which school you went to. I remember the name of the school, the city and the state.”

    I’m glad YOU remember it because I don’t! It was all a joke.😉

  20. @Julie

    Really?? I thought it was for real. I thought you were genuinely so sad about the closing of the forums you ‘d posted all that info about yourself as a way of saying ”I ‘m sorry if anything I said contributed to George’s decision, I ‘m so upset now I ‘m gonna tell you my life story”. LOL

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