Demand v. Desire — Continuing the Dialogue

Stop the Demand!, the post I wrote a couple days ago generated some incredible discussion about men's perspectives on how to stop the exploitation of human beings, especially surrounding the sex trade. I want to continue the discussion because we've barely scratched the surface. We have some good feedback to start with, but still the dialogue surrounding demand lags behind the dialogue around victims and support networking. When it comes to the hydra of slavery, all dialogues must be fairly squared out into the open for the hydra to come tumbling down, no?

One commentor (Jason) mentioned that:

"The demand for sex is ubiquitous to all humans who are not celibate. The problem, therefore, is not the demand for sex per se. Sex occurs in myriad contexts that are not harmful or exploitative. It follows, then, that harm and exploitation are not caused by demand for sex.

When people who demand sex exploit or abuse others in order to obtain sex, this must be abhorred and condemned as any harmful treatment of people should. But blaming harm of people on the demand for sex or treating harmful behavior differently when sex is involved confuses the issue.

Harmful behavior must be opposed everywhere and under all circumstances, but the demand and desire for sex is not inherently harmful. Your struggle, therefore, should be against exploitation and abuse rather than against sex or the demand for sex."

What say you, men and women? (and Jason too!) Just to clarify, this is most certainly not a personal attack against the commentor. His thoughts simply intrigued me to think and question further which is a good thing. They are intelligent and respectfully written comments that I would like to explore further.

I agree with Jason that harmful exploitation must be stood against everywhere. However, do we as a culture confuse the 'demand' for sex with 'desire'? To me, the very word demand denotes some form of inequality, exploitation or some form of harmful behviour. If someone is demanding sexual services (or payment in receipt thereof), this is exploitation. Desire, however, occurs in many contexts that does not include a demanding aspect. It's healthier perspective suggests a humanity that is not present in demand.

Now… personally, my belief is that sexual desire is meant for one context — a monogamous relationship under God for life. Call me stodgy, but this is what I believe and I stand by it. To have desire in multiple contexts, to me, suggests lust rather than desire. Lust is one of those hydra heads that can suddenly turn vicious into demand.

While sex is needed to procreate our species, the fact of the matter is: no one has ever died because they never have had sex. Suppressing sexual natures without the expressed calling of God (note that I insist on the "calling of GOD", and not the calling of any church institution) turns ugly, and we've all seen the disasters and violence that have come from that. Yet choosing to refrain from sexual behaviour, whether for religious reasons, self-control reasons (prior sexual addictions or sexual violence), or health reasons are not to be "poo-pooed". In fact, there ought to be support and noble admiration.

What say you, men and women? Have we confused demand and desire? And where either is present, is celibacy a viable choice to reduce the explotation of men, women and children?

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