Roland Dürre
Saturday October 26th, 2013

Another Absurd Type of Morals – Sexual Morals

Currently, I think a lot about morals and ethics. And it seems to me that “sexual morals” are an example that deserves particular attention.

Calzedonia1On a daily basis, we see totally opposing morals when it comes to sexuality. At the bus stop, I notice the poster of a lady in the nude wearing a lascivious pair of tights. On the bank, an Islamic lady is sitting, totally veiled.  And not far away, there used to be a huge poster wall until recently with the invitation to carry on as colourfully and as often as possible, but only using “rubbers”. The motto was “do not give Aids a chance”. It was probably sponsored by the association of condom producers.

calzedonia2In Germany, too, the sexual morals changed significantly during the last 50 years (and, of course, before that, as well). What a scandal it caused in the 1960ies if a high-school student became pregnant! I still remember quite well how we students at Jakob-Fugger-Gymnasium organized a demonstration for a girl at Maria-Theresia-Gymnasium who was to be evicted from school because she was pregnant – and I also remember the rather unpleasant consequences said demonstration had for us.

There is a good example for diverging moral standards in France and Germany that happened only recently. Probably a little more than a hundred years ago, a young woman who, for instance, got pregnant in France where she was serving a family, was most strictly forbidden to tell anybody the name of the father! After all, it was the woman who was to blame, because she had seduced the man. And the man was the victim in need of protection. If, in her desperation, she told the father’s name, the understanding knew no borders and there was a total outrage! First she seduced the father of the family, then she got pregnant and, to top it all, she had the impudence to name the father! That was how people thought at the time.

At the same time, there was a totally different rule in the probably a little more modern Germany on the other side of the river Rhine. Young women in this situation had an obligation to tell the father’s name! One of the reasons was that the authorities wanted to make him responsible for the care of the child.

Perhaps these “differences in moral standards” were also one of the reasons why the two countries were still natural enemies at the time. Another example for the problem with morals is the topic “homosexuality”. How much were people with a heightened homophile tendency socially ostracized? How much unhappiness were they suffering?

All these things happened because of morals that simply took for granted that the hetero-sexual tendency is the only acceptable one! Because everything else is against nature or worse? How people lied and cheated, suffered and, of course, also reacted perversely. Not to mention instances where this kind of situation was made worse by applying allegedly particularly honourable principles, such as the celibate?

Or think of abortion. The range of moral judgements is still between the extremes of calling abortion a crime to the contraceptive almost taken for granted, similar to the “pill after”. In the 1960ies and 1970ies, German women were part of an unappetizing abortion tourism to England, Holland and Yugoslavia, supported by the differences in moral standards throughout Europe.

Prostitution, too, is viewed very diversely world-wide, regardless of the fact that it exists everywhere. You can find all varieties, from criminal and secret business to the socially accepted variant of another kind of service.

In China, for instance, prostitution is officially strictly prohibited. The legislation puts it under draconian penalty. However, if I am standing around on any highly frequented place in one of the big Chinese cities waiting for someone, I do not have to wait long before getting rather explicit offers (“do you want a baby?”). In Wikipedia, you can read that, regardless of the prohibition, prostitution in China is a mass phenomenon. Communal and state organizations even support it in order to fill the national coffers.

Mind you, I do not wish to judge or moralize! All I want is to point out that morals as such are a very difficult topic. The famous “we do not do this”… depends very much on time and place and can differ or even be at opposing ends. And that “we do not do this” will again and again seem very random and can actually be questioned. Which is also why we can voices our doubts.
(Translated by EG)

As to the pictures: they are all snapshots by smart phone S4.

1 Kommentar zu “Another Absurd Type of Morals – Sexual Morals”

  1. Chris Wood (Sunday October 27th, 2013)

    “Nicht petzen” is an interesting case. This rule seems to develop automatically in various communities, such as schoolchildren or jailbirds, although the authorities, (teachers, parents, police,etc.), are usually against it.

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