I’m not even trying to be funny with the title for this article–more is the pity, really, because it means this has to be discussed en sincera, which is a black stain on the intellectual rigor of our entire species. However, in the last week or so–since the Navy pilot drew a penis in the sky with the conntrails of his jet–the word “immoral” has been thrown around a lot. To be clear, the word “immoral” generally gets thrown around a lot anyway, usually at things that have nothing at all to do with morality (like homosexuality, transsexuality, etc.), but seeing it tossed with reckless abandon at someone having drawn a part of the human anatomy in the sky is among the most bizarre things I’ve ever seen, and seems most likely to be a remnant of a culture that once viewed sex as unclean.
#RiseOfTheMillennials, I like to say, because it’s true. That’s the kind of thing a millennial would do. The better question, at least for me, isn’t “Why is that immoral?” but “Why would someone do that?”
The answer should be obvious–to subversively attack the old school mentality that sex is unclean and that genitalia must be hidden at all costs. This is a mindset that millennials, for the most part, simply don’t have. Yet it is one shared by our grandparents and parents, usually. Without overly romanticizing what has happened (because there was indisputably an element of “Let’s troll people” involved), this was done primarily a gesture to say exactly that: “This is our world–or it will be soon.”
Honestly, there probably aren’t too many better symbols that represent the rise of the millennials than the penis. People thought the hippies were sexually liberated? The hippies wish they could be this sexually liberated. We’re talking about a generation for whom “gay” almost has no meaning–a generation that sees absolutely nothing gay about giving your friend a blowjob. This isn’t to say that every millennial would engage in that, but it is to say that even something like that would not make a person “gay” in the millennial paradigm. It’s hard to explain. “Gay” is just this word… Do you have relationships with men? Then you’re gay. Do you have sex, but not relationships, with men? You can still be straight. I’m neither condoning nor rejecting these definitions; I’m just pointing them out. These hard delineations of past generations are received by millennials with eye-rolling scoffs.
So what is the penis, in this context? Because it’s so much more than the male anatomy–but it is the male anatomy, too. The cartoon-ish, simplistic genital–the two circles attached to a rounded-end cylinder–caused people to flip out. Most millennials are not nudists–in this sense, future generations will be vastly more liberated than the average millennial, and make no mistake, widespread nudism is coming within a few generations–but also are not bothered in the least by depictions of penises. The millennial mindset is that having a penis is nothing to be ashamed of, and neither are penises things that must be hidden, whispered about, and mentioned only in quiet darkness. Say it with me now: Penis.
Our parents were notoriously uncomfortable talking about sex. My own “sex talk” with my father consisted of twelve seconds of conversation, with my father making the classic “index finger going into the other hand’s ring” gesture, and that was it. We’re a generation that was raised on porn and Cosmopolitan. Where our parents failed horrifically to provide any useful information about sex, the Internet and magazines picked up the slack, and, as a result, the average millennial probably knows more about sex than the preceding generations combined. Compare the porn of today to the porn of the 1960s, when our own parents would have been gleaning what information they could from porn because their own parents had taken them to watch cows have sex to give them “the talk.” To say the least, porn today is “liberated” compared to porn fifty years ago. You couldn’t find Japanese women doing bukkake fifty years ago. Today it’s just a 0.003 second search away. Past generations may have gotten a naked woman tastefully posed so as not to be too revealing.
Of course, porn should not be a primary source of sex education, but it has worked out that it is. I’d wager that, for 95% of people, their first encounter with sex was through pornography. It may even be 100%. I was in the fifth grade the first time I saw a woman spread eagle in a magazine. I didn’t know why it was so great, but I knew that I liked it. It wasn’t until the eighth grade that my father said a word to me about it–long after the stirrings of puberty had raised my interest in sex, and long after my initial exposures to sex. But porn is about masturbation–“Wam, Bam, Thank you, ma’am,” as they say. Porn is kinda contrary to the whole principle of sex education, because it’s not about showing boys and girls–and there’s no need to be coy, because let’s not pretend like it’s not 11 year olds and twelve year olds watching porn as their introductions to sex–how to properly have sex, how to seduce, how to be romantic, and, above all, how to give the female sexual pleasure. These are topics not typically covered in Lord of the G-Strings and Bang Brothers’ shorts.
Sex is not an uncomfortable subject for us. In fact, we rather like it. Many millennials have “fuck buddies,” not even of the opposite sex. It’s just natural to us. And one’s older sensibilities may say it is or isn’t natural (but I think we can reject such a claim as being unfounded and taking liberties with the definition of “natural” and “unnatural”), but most millennials just don’t see what the big deal is. People like fucking. In fact, people need to fuck. We’re biologically programmed to want to fuck. Fucking is critical to our existence. Look at your family tree. At every single one of those branches? There was fucking.
Apparently, previous generations treated this like it was some great secret, and sometimes like it isn’t even true. But oh yeah. Nanna got the “old in-out, in-out.” If she hadn’t, ol’ dad wouldn’t be here. And if mom hadn’t laid on her back once or twice, I wouldn’t be here.
Does this seem crass? Crude?
Not to most millennials. It’s just a fact of life, dude.
And that’s why the penis was drawn in the sky. And, for the most part, on the pillows shown above, although it does have to be pointed out once again that there is also a heavy trolling element to it. But it’s not just trolling. Trolling for the sake of trolling is just being an asshole.
But the penis is a symbol of that liberation. So asking “Why would someone draw a penis in the sky or on pillows?” is kinda a stupid question. “Why would someone get upset about a penis?” is a more intelligent question. Your existence required a penis. The reader would literally not exist if not for the penis*. That is what people are getting worked up over, it’s worth mentioning–a natural part of the human body that nearly half the world’s population has.
But the Children!
No one has ever demonstrated how seeing a penis or a vagina harms anyone’s “innocence” or sensibilities. In fact, the problem here is the prohibition of nudity. If you take someone and start clothing them since before they’re even able to talk, and you constantly beat into their heads that nudity is wicked, wrong, sinful, and shameful, then of course they’re going to freak the hell out the first time they encounter nudity. If you told a child from the time they were born that chocolate is a deadly poison, then they’d freak the hell out the first time they saw someone eating a bar of Hershey’s Chocolate, too.
It’s not the nudity or the genitalia that is the problem there–in those instances, the person is creating the very circumstances to cause the child to be freaked out. And there is no telling what effects it really has on normal human behavior to be popped out of the womb and immediately put into clothing–clothing that is worn at all times, unless one is totally alone. Yeah, someone raised like that would probably freak out and “have their innocence ruined” by seeing someone without clothes–because, to them, clothes have become normal, and seeing someone without clothes is the least normal thing they’ll have encountered at that point in their lives. But what made clothing normal and nudity abnormal?
Clothing did. Nudity, in and of itself, isn’t normal or abnormal. We made it abnormal. And I’m not even a nudist, because I was conditioned through all of my formative years to believe that wearing clothing was normal and natural, and that one should never, ever be naked, unless one was about to bathe (or, later, have sex–hint, hint). I could get past that, if I really cared to, but I don’t particularly care to.
As a point of reference, ask yourself why men are so much more likely to be shirtless around the house than women. It’s the same answer: conditioning. We’ve been conditioned that men being shirtless is mostly okay, but it isn’t for women. This applies to all clothing–we’ve been conditioned to think that wearing clothing is okay, and not wearing clothing isn’t. So yeah, seeing the other sex’s genitals for the first time could freak someone the hell out, by violently coming into conflict with years and years of psychological programming. Stop programming human beings to be freaked out by nudity, and they’ll stop being freaked out by nudity.
If any part of this discussion deals with morality, then it would be at this juncture–the morality of programming human beings to believe things before they are able to think, speak, reason, or walk. I would contend that this is probably immoral, but not enough to actually care to defend that position. But if something has to be justified, that would be it: programming humans (because it is programming) and brainwashing humans into believing that nudity is in some way shameful or disgraceful, from practically the moment of their birth.
But the penis?
It hardly gets more natural and normal than that.
* Obviously, if penises hadn’t evolved, some other mechanism of procreation would have, but it would be facing the same absurd scrutiny.