Thursday, August 5, 2010

Thou shalt not shag

by Ashley Lister

I remember hearing a priest on the radio condemning nudists. His words were, “If the good Lord had intended us to go around naked, we would have been born that way.”

It’s impossible to argue against logic like that. It’s impossible to argue against religion.

Personally I’m not much of a believer. I have a difficult enough time keeping track of fictional worlds, real worlds and royal payments. Trying to focus on another realm of consciousness will seriously impede my opportunities for watching Dexter, 24 and anything else good that appears on the TV.

Perhaps the 10 Commandments could be rewritten to take into account modern issues?

Thou shalt not smoke.
Thou shalt not binge drink.
Thou shalt not shout ‘wanker’ at another driver who cuts you off.

It would mean trimming some of the other commandments, but a lot of them are redundant anyway. We can certainly lose the tenth commandment.

Thou shalt not covet your neighbour’s ass (etc).

Without coveting, capitalism would be in a pretty piss-poor state. Coveting is what’s made this world successful for corporate businesses. If I didn’t covet laptops, cars, DVD sets and book collections whole industries would collapse. I really don’t think it’s wise to dissuade humanity from coveting.

9, 8, 7 and 6 are the important ones. These are the commandments that cover lying, stealing, murder and adultery.

I sometimes wonder about those four commandments, and what it says about God’s lack of faith in his creation. Do religious followers really need a rule that tells them not to murder? The rest of us treat this as a given.

I’m a member of a poetry society. We have some rules to ensure events are orderly, and help things run smoothly. No adult material in the family-friendly first half of the event. Try to limit your performance to one poem if possible. That sort of thing.

We haven’t yet told members that they’re not supposed to kill each other. I didn’t think this needed writing down. It’s the same story with lying, stealing and screwing around. We haven’t told members not to do these things. Fortunately, there aren’t many religious types in the group so murder, lying, stealing and adultery haven’t become issues yet.

I could go on. But I have a sneaking suspicion George Carlin has covered this territory before me.

I certainly think we need one new commandment that clarifies the religious position on sex. Something that says, ‘Thou shalt not shag.’ Admittedly, it’s not as erudite as the originals. But it gets the point across and applies to all sexualities, except for celibates, who are already obeying this one. (Celibates will look on this commandment the way the rest of us non-religious types look on the commandment Thou shalt not murder. Celibates will look at the commandment and think, “Well, I wasn’t going to do that anyway!”)

Sex is a sin. It’s fun and it gives pleasure to people. How on earth could an organised religion condone such heresy? I can almost hear that radio priest rephrasing his lines to make the message appropriate for this subject. “If the good Lord had intended us to enjoy sex, he would have made it pleasurable.

And how can you argue with wise words like those?


  1. “If the good Lord had intended us to go around naked, we would have been born that way.”

    I'm really glad I wasn't drinking my coffee when I read that. I just bought a nice new monitor, and I'd hate to have to replace it.

  2. Craig,

    When I first heard the guy saying that on the radio, I was thinking, 'I can understand what he's saying, but I'm sure there's a flaw in the logic somewhere.' He said the words with such conviction and authority that I assumed it made perfect sense. It must have taken me twenty minutes to work out what was so wrong with the idea.

    Glad your monitor is OK.


  3. Dear Ash,

    I think you've cut to the heart of the matter here...

    Fortunately water isn't as destructive (quite) as coffee to keyboards!

    And then you've just brought in yet another one of those lovely British-isms that I was praising in my review of Once Bitten. "Shag"! How marvelously evocative! Sounds a good deal more fun the than F-word, doesn't it?

    Hilarious yet undeniably rational post!


  4. Lisabet,

    I still keep reading that review and grinning. Thank you again ;-)

    I blame Austin Powers for the popularity of the word 'shag.' In fact, I think I might go away now and write a poem in homage to that word!



  5. LOL I can just see it now ... 'An Ode to the Shag', subtitled 'Repent By Day, Shag By Night'

    Certainly things people manage to say with a straight face and full conviction still make me giggle.

    As for sex being pleasurable, I think they might have something there. Just remember the quote from Dr. Cameron on season 1 of House: "Sex *could* kill you. Do you know what the human body goes through when you have sex? Pupils dilate, arteries constrict, core temperature rises, heart races, blood pressure skyrockets, respiration becomes rapid and shallow, the brain fires bursts of electrical impulses from nowhere to nowhere, and secretions spit out of every gland, and the muscles tense and spasm like you're lifting three times your body weight. It's violent. It's ugly. And it's messy. And if God hadn't made it *unbelievably* fun, the human race would have died out eons ago."

    Oh yeah ... gotta love a geeky hot chick who knows her stuff.

  6. Michelle,

    I am going to have to watch House. There are so many quality shows on DVD it's finding time to fit them all in.

    I'll send you a copy of the poem when it's finished.


  7. Ash - Having seen my neighbor's ass (covered by jeans except for the expanse revealed when he bent over to pick up a wrench) I don't think I'll be coveting it.

    It's good to know poets are the murderous types. They strike me more as the orgy in the woods types. Could you verify that and get back to me?

  8. Kathleen,

    We've got a poetry event coming up a week from tomorrow. Sadly, we're holding it in a town centre cafe so there won't be any woods.

    However, and this is a spooky coincidence, I've written a duologue for the event that relies heavily on a woodland scenario.

    If that has the influence you're suggesting, I'll report back to you with a full account.


  9. I meant "aren't the murderous type." But you knew that

  10. Hi Ash;

    Or he might have said "If the good lord had intended us to enjoy sex, He/She would have made it universal."

    Human beings are the only creatures that have such complicated attitudes towards shagging. Maybe that's what makes us divine. Maybe.


  11. Kathleen,

    Yes :-) I figured you meant poets 'arent' the murderous type.' That's pretty convenient considering some of the stuff I write.



  12. Garce,

    The complicatedness of human beings is the thing that makes them so interesting to write about. Especially in erotica.

    I sincerely believe that we're all products of our societies and environments, responsible only to ourselves and our loved ones.

    I'm not sure I could make myself answerable to a higher presence.



  13. Hey Ashley,

    As always you get to the heart of the matter with great humor! And I heartily agree with you that true spirituality involves responsibility to ourselves and our loves ones and community by our own definition of good behavior (sociopaths and psychopaths excepted).

    However, as your poetry society grows, I suspect you made need some more rules. Poets really are the randiest artists when it comes down to it, all that shocking metaphor and loose way with meter ;-).

  14. Donna,

    You seem to have hit the nail on the head with regards to our poetry group. It's all shocking metaphor there and poetic innuendo.

    Personally, I prefer to keep my meter fixed and rigid. But there are pills that help with that :-)




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