This Dark Age

A manual for life in the modern world.

By Daniel Schwindt

This Dark Age is now available in paperback on Amazon. The print version is MUCH cleaner than this online version, which is largely unedited and has fallen by the wayside as the project has grown. If you’ve appreciated my writing, please consider leaving a review on the relevant paperback volumes. The print edition also includes new sections (Military History, War Psychology, Dogmatic Theology).

Volume 1 | Volume 2 | Volume 3| Volume 4 | Volume 5 | Volume 6

Safe sex

“Seeking to ‘free’ sexual love from its old communal restraints, we have ‘freed’ it also from its meaning, its responsibility, and its exaltation. And we have made it more dangerous. ‘Sexual liberation’ is as much a fraud and as great a failure as the ‘peaceful atom.’ We are now living in a sexual atmosphere so polluted and embittered that women must look on virtually any man as a potential assailant, and a man must look on virtually any woman as a potential accuser…And in the midst of this acid rainfall of predation and recrimination, we presume to teach our young people that sex can be made ‘safe’…What a lie! Sex was never safe, and it is less safe now than it has ever been.”

~ Wendell Berry

There is no such thing as “safe sex.” The very phrase is not only a fiction but a contradiction in terms. It was a heinous crime to put that phrase into our heads. There is no such thing and there never was.

Some human things just aren’t “clean.” Some things are dangerous—both emotionally and physically—and often they cannot be cleansed without destroying the humanity of the thing itself. Sex is one act of that type; war is another. Making life and taking life cannot be sterilized without turning the whole affair into a monstrosity.

Look at war: the further our predecessors tried to remove man from the battlefield, from the invention of guns to the atom bomb, the more men died in each new battle. Comparatively few people died when men killed each other face to face, sword in hand; very few indeed, compared to those who died in their homes at Hiroshima, or those who died in their offices on 9/11. In every modern battle men die from bullets fired by men they never even saw. Men die by the millions, all because our predecessors sought to remove man from the battle and make battle sterile. They pretended that by taking away the sword they had made war more “humane,” but it is more monstrous than ever.

They did the same thing with sex. They tried to make it sterile and neutral but they only succeeded in making it inhuman.

That is the concept of sex that we’ve inherited. They tried to tell us that it could be made “safe,” and that we could control the transaction (and that’s how it was taught to us, as a transaction within the context of a relationship). We were shown how it could be done carefully so that no negative consequences would follow. But sterilization means the destruction of all life. When you sterilize something you don’t just kill the harmful bacteria that was in it, you kill all the life that was in it. When we were given “safe sex,” we were indoctrinated into a truncated sexuality, halted at the biological level before we fully understood even that elementary process.

We can now have safe sex. The success of our education is our curse. We can now “hook up” and complete the transaction without any repercussions, even the good ones. We avoid pregnancy, but also avoid the bond that comes from the self-giving part of coitus. We learned to get around self-giving and retain only the pleasure-getting.

The capacity to have sex and then walk away un-phased represents, in and of itself, a loss of feeling, a desensitization, and an impoverishment. The pain our educators thought they were teaching us to avoid was only one side of a coin; the other side was the apex of human communion. The man who can’t feel the pain associated with sexuality—the man who can have “safe sex”—is the man for whom sex has lost the only thing that made it worthwhile. He has lost the fruit and is left holding only the rind.

Sex reduced to a process ensures that men and women will struggle to understand each other. Liberated sex, the sex of equality and neutrality, hides from us the fact that men and women always come to sex with different expectations and for different reasons. Thus, even when we do seek true communion we must fight to discard our blinders. We have to exert an immense effort just to see clearly again that we are different and that sex is not a clean affair. Further, and this might be the hardest part, we’ll have to acknowledge again that men and women are different, even if they are only different as the right and left hand are different. The right and left hand need each other if they are going to accomplish any meaningful work, and if they are going to make any beautiful music. Right now we don’t know anything about right or left hands, and so we only get to hear the dull and awkward silence of one-hand clapping.

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