Freedom. It's what's for dinner.

Let's have a little poll and see at what point you start to disagree with the following predicates:

  1. Freedom means doing what you want.

  2. Freedom means being allowed to do what you want, as long as you deal with the consequences of those actions.

  3. Freedom means being allowed to do what you want, as long as you do not inconvenience others by those actions.

  4. Freedom means being allowed to do what you want, as long as those things aren't harmful to others.

  5. Freedom means being allowed to do what you want, as long as those things aren't what people agree on harmful means.

  6. Freedom means being allowed to do what you want, as long as those things aren't confronting or harmful to others.

  7. Freedom means being allowed to do what you want, as long as those things aren't what people agree on confronting means.

  8. Freedom means being allowed to do what you want, as long as those things aren't what people agree on is bad.

  9. Freedom means being allowed to do what you want, as long as those things aren't what people agree on is improper.

  10. Freedom means being allowed to do what you want, as long as it's things everyone agree on is proper.

  11. Freedom means being allowed to do what you want, as long as you're not doing what other people think you shouldn't be doing.

Particularly the last one is paradoxically delicious. Doing what other people think you shouldn't be doing is not freedom, right? Well, unless you lived in Stalinist Russia, then that was in fact the very definition of freedom.

Freedom is not "one thing". There is, strictly speaking, no correct definition of freedom other than "the degree in which others curb what you are allowed to do". Yeah, freedom is a graduated concept. Like brightness. You can look at something and think it's very bright, and the person next to you can think it's actually not that bright at all. It’s the same with freedom. You can look at a situation and claim someone's liberties are being curbed, while someone else might look at the situation and see something they could only dream of give the example of freedom it is.

Now, if you think I'm going to tell you which to pick, you're sorely mistaken. Instead I'm going to advocate freedom instead: whatever your upbringing and whatever your choices, you better figure out what you think freedom means, and why you've chosen that particular definition. Personally, I'm a number 2-er. I believe people should do whatever the hell they want, as long as they own up to the fact that if their actions screw over others, others will exercise their own freedom to counteract. Some will raise the argument that you cannot base a society on that idea, because without laws, crimes would fall under those freedoms.

Sadly for you, crimes already fall under that freedom. The law does not prevent people from committing crimes; it merely outlines the consequences they'll have to deal with. If this is the first time you heard that argument, take a moment to read it again, but it's the fundamental essence of the judicial system. You are perfectly free to commit crimes, as long as you face the consequences that breaking the laws pertaining to your crimes come with.

But leaving that for a moment, let's take a look at the most interesting topic on the American market right now. No, not the economy, I said interesting, not depressing.

Sex.

Yeah, I said it. Sexual development is to a large degree determined by your upbringing. Freedom in sex can range from "you will have sex after marriage, and then only with a specific single member of the opposite gender" to "you're free to have sex with whoever you want". It can also range from "sex is for reproduction only" to "sex is mostly a pastime activity".

By nature, humans are pretty much capable of loving anything when they're born. If you don't abuse the hell out of them (and make sure they don't get abused outside the household), they'll love mum, dad, and all the little siblings in the pack. But they won't love outsiders. Pack behaviour is pretty much rote for humans, until you start teaching them rational thought, and sadly that never fully sticks for most people. We only use 10% of our brains on average, I conject this is because most people aren't busy analysing their own opinions for validity at each and every step (which is a shame, really, but hey, to quote Bender Rodríguez: "Freedom.")

Sex is one of those marvellous things that mostly gets fucked up (in terms of freedom) by bad parenting and society at large. Take a moment to ask yourself "what is it that makes each the following options objectionable, if I find them objectionable":

- having sex with someone of roughly the same age, of the opposite gender
- having sex with someone of roughly the same age, of the same gender
- having sex with someone of roughly the same age, of the either gender (but not at the same time)

Still with me? What about the following:

- having sex with more than one person of the opposite gender, roughly the same age, at the same time
- having sex with more than one person of the same gender, roughly the same age, at the same time
- having sex with more than one person of either gender, roughly the same age, at the same time

Okay so that covers threesomes and up, gangbangs and orgies. What about these?

- being in a relationship, and having sex with someone who isn't your partner, of the same gender as your partner
- being in a relationship, and having sex with someone who isn't your partner, of the opposite gender as your partner
- being in a relationship, and having sex with someone who isn't your partner, of either gender (but not at the same time)

That should cover cheating, extramarital relations, as well as experimenting with your sexual orientation. Of course the options don't stop there:

- being in a relationship, and having sex with more than one person, of your partner's gender, at the same time, without your partner there
- being in a relationship, and having sex with more than one person, of the opposite gender, at the same time, without your partner there
- being in a relationship, and having sex with more than one person, of either gender, at the same time, without your partner there
- being in a relationship, and having sex with more than one person, of your partner's gender, at the same time, with partner there
- being in a relationship, and having sex with more than one person, of the opposite gender, at the same time, with your partner there
- being in a relationship, and having sex with more than one person, of either gender, at the same time, with your partner there

Alrighty, now we've covered cheating with group sex, as well as couple swapping and swinging in general.

And this is where it really get interesting. Take a genuinely important moment to ask yourself "what is it that makes each the following options objectionable, if I find them objectionable", for these fairly controversial options:

- having sex with a 20 year old, when you're 20. 30? 40? 50? 60? Keep going until you find it objectionable and ask yourself why.
- An 18 year old, when you're 18. 20? 30? 40? You get the idea.
- What about an almost 18, 17 year old
- What about almost 17, 16 year old?
- 15? 14? 13? (Yes, thirteen year old kids have sex. Welcome to the world of today. Are you for it? Would you do one yourself? Could you call it consensual? What would the consent be for?)

Not consented sex is arguably morally quite wrong, but at which point does it become impossible to tell consented sex from statutory rape? (i.e., technically consented sex, but one of the sexidoers did it because they somehow felt a kind of obligation to have sex, in addition to getting their fuck on). If an 18 year old woman has sex with a 15 year old boy, is that okay? What about the other way around? Why? what if the woman's 25 and the boy 15? What about the other way around? Again, why?

Maybe you don't want to think about these things right now. But if you never thought about them before, you really should take the time out of your busy schedule today to stop doing what you want to do instead, and force yourself to think about these questions. What's right, what's wrong, and why is it wrong? Can you justify that? (and remember, if your justification, at any point, ends at something that's a judgement call, then expecting everyone else to agree with you is hubris. Even if it sounds like a 'reasonable assumption'. I want you to think about whether your opinions are genuinely justified, or deeply rooted in some arbitrary morality).

I promise I'll stop soon, but there are just a few left to cover..

- having sex with inanimate objects

This happens. It's considered a psychological condition, but just because psychology considers it a condition, can you independently come to the same conclusion? Can you, without saying 'and psychologists agree', explain to yourself why such an activity would be overstepping one's sexual freedom? (Annoying as it is, personally, I can't. I wouldn't do it, but I have absolutely no arguments for why others shouldn't)

Okay, last one. And if you spent the article using that 10% of your brain, you might suddenly realise that things aren't as black and white as they used to be:

- having sex with family

"Oh my god, you didn't!" except yes, of course, I did. Everyone knows that incestual offspring is fucked. Literally, and figuratively (however, that only goes for direct family, many people for no reason whatsoever still believe that branch hopping to your cousins is equally detrimental: it’s not. No evidence ever supported that theory, either).

But all those people also know that since the invention of contraception, sex doesn't mean making babies in the slightest. It can happen, but if every rump in the sack gave the parties involved a baby, there wouldn't be an empty spot left on the fact of the western world. We have so much sex, it's a statistical miracle that sex and babies are causally linked. If you looked at the number of times people have sex, compared to the number of times those people have a baby or a pet, you'd be far more likely to believe that having sex means you'll have a pet at some point rather than offspring. So, what exactly is wrong with having sex with a family member? And again, the question comes down to freedom. If both parties enjoy it, there's clearly no harm done. If they talk about it, it might freak people out, but is that because of what they did, or because people expect others to behave like "the norm"? Remember that norms only exist because of inequality. If everyone acted or thought the same, there wouldn't be a norm to deviate from. That's another interesting lie: deviation from the norm. While a statistical deviation, it's not an actual deviation from anything, since the norm doesn't indicate "how things should be", just "how things on average are". (Man, those blasted statistics keep ruining everything, don't they.... well no they don't, and that’s the technical aspect of statistics people love to overlook).

So how many did you find objectionable? How many of those objections could you properly justify? And here's the bigger question, the one that's actually the point of this whole article: for those that you couldn't properly justify, did you change your opinion from "bad" to "neutral, I guess, although I certainly wouldn't do it myself"?

Because that's the main issue here. If you have preconceptions about freedoms, be they sexual or otherwise, and someone challenges you to justify them, then are you developed enough to change your opinion if you can't justify your own opinions to yourself? If you can, congratulations. Your life is more complex for it, but at least you can believe yourself. If you can't, equal congratulations. Your life is easier than for those thinkers, but you're also constantly lying to yourself.

And you know what? That's also freedom. I don't care which of the two you are, but I will only admire one of you. Because "you're free to think the way you do, but I sure as hell won't join you in it".

- Pomax out.

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