Victorianism, n. The death knell to sexual purity in Western culture.
Victorianism held sexual purity to be extremely important. All well
and good, but it did not stop there. Victorianism believed sexual
purity to be best approached via a Pharisaic guard around the Law.
And, like every other guard around the Law, it did a trememdous amount
of damage to numerous other things before destroying the very object
it was meant to preserve.
Touch and community are vital elements of human health. This is
witnessed in Scriptures that tell of John reclining in Jesus's bosom
and in the hands quickly extended to pets, one of the few situations
where our society will allow an innocent touch to be an innocent
touch. An infant who is not held will wither and die, and
psychologists have a bluntly accurate term for the failure of parents
to hold and cuddle their children a great deal: abuse. And of course
the special kind of community that exists between a husband and wife
is given a special kind of touch.
Victorianism looked at sex and did not quite see something which is
fundamentally good within a certain context. It saw something which
was essentially evil (but tolerable at best within a certain context).
And, in progressively widening circles, encompassing different forms
of touch further and further from what is necessarily foreplay, saw
that there exists at least some possibility for that touch to be
sexual (at least from the perspective of the younger monk), and placed
on each one a label of "This is dirty. Avoid it." Word such as "Greet
one another with a kiss of love." cease to be acknowledged as a divine
command which was given for human good, and instead look like, um, an
odd cultural thing which, um, shows, um, um, um...
The aim, it appears, was to end up with nothing that was sexual. The
result was to make everything sexual, and create a major unanticipated
God created people with certain needs, and when those needs are not
met, Satan comes in with counterfeit substitutes. These things are
hard enough to resist to someone whose needs are met with the genuine
article; when there is an immense sucking vacuum coming from unmet
needs, pushing away the counterfeits acquires a difficulty which is
unbelieveable. A little girl who is deprived of a father's hugs and
kisses will grow into a young woman who has a tremendously difficult
time avoiding sexual promiscuity, unsuccessfully searching in a series
of abusive boyfriends' embraces for enough love to fill the emptiness
Fortunately, most of Victorianism did not quite leave a stain that
dark and deep, but there is still a major problem with a culture that
refuses to wholeheartedly say, "It's OK. You may enjoy an innocent
touch as an innocent touch." There is still a failure to meet a need
that God created people to have filled, and still an uphill battle to
fight off the counterfeit substitutes.
In this century, Victorianism has crumbled, but, like every other
evil, it fails to crumble in the ways that a sane person would want it
to crumble. What disappeared was not the prohibition on friendly
touch, but the belief that sexual sin is a deadly poison which should
be fought tooth and nail. What appeared and took the place meant to be
filled by innocent touch is something which is not innocent. Thus,
Victorianism did a perfect job of making room and clearing the way for
a great deal of lewdness.
Current Western culture is saturated with sexual sin, not despite, but
because of the fact that it is the continuation of Victorian culture.
- -- Hayward's Unabridged Dictionary