Hi Elle, I have struggled to respond to this rather than react quite negatively which is why I left it a while — not because of the general drift of what you are saying which is certainly a positive and novel view, the problem I have is with the “Goddess via her proxies”.

The charity I am still an honorary fellow of (i.e. get invited to all the dos, new shop openings, founder’s birthdays etc.) and for which I spent a number of years working for as well as taking some time out from my normal vocation to work full-time for has as one of its activities outreaches to those “temple prostitutes” that are still very much alive in some Asian cultures. By the time they get to us in their late teens they are a completely emotional and psychological mess, often diseased and ejected as “unclean” (often in the name of “karma” — you are rejected by the god from their service) by their priests that often received them in lieu of a debt from their parents or the parents gave them into this “honorable” vocation at 8 or 9; plus all the lovelies of drug use and the like. They have performed all sorts of acts with men and women of less than savoury character but of great standing within the community.

Of course, this might not reflect the idealised conception I think you would like to promote but I think I will always struggle to sexualise any relationship other than with my wife. There seem some things of a friendship that you share with everyone, other things with those in your inner circle and some things only for the person closest to you and which you have made a unique commitment of faithfulness to. I fully accept the dynamics of personal and familial relationships is radically socially conditioned and perhaps marriage as we have come to understand it in the West is a long way from what the ancient world may have understood it and there could be lots to learn from them, but to me, there seems some things objective about nature and pair-bonding seems a very common one.

On a lighter note, I used to live in some remote uplands adjacent to a “clothing optional” colony, more than one not in the know tourist was seen running down the mountainside screaming “naked!” It was also “torture” last year when we were in the Algarve (Portugal) which is well known for the clothing optional conventions of most beaches (normally at the discreet end furthest from town), the only “problem” being you have to walk through them to get from the resorts into town and you have narcissistic fat, old men posing like statues on the rock outcrops…it was a motivation to me to start riding a bike into work and jogging at the weekends, I would never inflict that on my fellow human travellers!

Hope it was a good vacation! :-)

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I write engineering software for a technical website and am studying part-time for a PhD in Philosophy, https://planetmacneil.org/blog/.

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