Tantra is a well established philosophical and religious tradition.

The Museum Of Erotic Art

I had my reservations about visiting the Museum of Erotic Art in Paris, mainly because of where it is - close to the Moulin Rouge and surrounded by porn shops. Guilt by association might suggest it would be tacky, seedy even. It was a pleasant surprise. The museum grew from a private collection. What I hoped was that it was a reasonably comprehensive collection from around the world. It was. The lower levels are dedicated to the erotic art from cultures around the world, Africa, South America, etc, with particular attention paid to India, China and Japan. The upper floors [...]

Sex Negative – Sex Positive

I've been meaning to explore the concepts of sex negative and sex positive (sex positive movement) in greater detail because I see considerable confusion amongst those who say they are sex positive yet who still retain some sex negative attitudes. The sex positive person views sex as natural and good. The sex negative person views sex as somehow especially problematic. Obviously there are degrees. It is not black and white. The term sex positive has been attributed to Wilhelm Reich, but whilst Reich might have coined the term, it arose out of the findings of anthropology, especially the work [...]

Indian Classical Dance And Temple Prostitutes (bharatanatyam And The Devidasi Tradition)

I want to begin this post with a video of an Indian classical dancer performing ananda tandavam with a move called urdhva tandav, in which she lifts her leg to side of her head. It is not the best example because she is a little unsteady, but its still a good example (you only need to watch the first 45 secs).http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n69BvdimSbMAs with most things in India, there are several variations on the story of this dance. It is always associated with Shiva as nataraj, the lord of the dance, but it's origin is the indigenous goddess traditions. The pose is [...]

Clive Hamilton (3): Meaningful Sex

When the sexual revolution began to breach the wall of sexual repression it came first as a trickle then as a torrent, with no sign of surcease 40 years on, so that sex talk and erotic imagery pervade books, media, advertising, the internet and public discussion with a fascination that seems limitless. This is a constant theme of the moral conservatives – regret over the excesses of the sexual revolution. The problem is that they do not understand what the sexual revolution is actually about, at least, as defined the people who first used the term. The critical names here [...]

Clive Hamilton (4): Women And Essentialism

Okay, last post on Clive Hamilton. This one is prompted by an opinion piece that appeared in The Age whilst I was writing my other comments. I think it perfectly summarises his conservatism. It's called Feminism's front-line killer blow and it reveals what really motivates him, a long discredited idealist philosophy, or, in more modern terms: essentialism. Turns out Clive has some obnoxious essentialist views about women, and men. If women have their own history, we should celebrate the uniquely female rather than bury it under the demand for equality. Women's morality differs from that of men. Feminist philosopher Carol [...]

Clive Hamilton (2): Aesthetics And Porn

There is no better example of Clive's elitism than his sophisticated argument about aesthetics, which I do have considerable sympathy for. Following his general argument, art can contribute to a pleasant life, a good life or a meaningful life. In other words, ordinary art is aesthetically pleasant, but great art is aesthetically meaningful. I have sympathy with his argument because of my understanding of Indian aesthetics, which is based on precisely how art can be meaningful. Indeed, according to the great Indian aesthetician, Abhinavagupta, great art does precisely what Clive would want it to do, reveal the numinous. The intention [...]

Clive Hamilton: The Progressive Moral Conservative

Melinda Tankard Reist has succeeded in bringing together a motley group of anti-porn moralisers, each with their own quite disparate agendas. Melinda dislikes porn because it ‘offends’ her conservative Christian values, yet she has gathered support from feminists who dislike porn because it ‘offends’ their view of the good feminist. And then there’s Clive Hamilton, public intellectual, former head of the Australia Institute and current Professor of Public Ethics at Charles Sturt University. His website  Clive’s entry into this debate was a surprise to me. I used to be a fan, especially of his books Affluenza and Growth Fetish. I [...]

Orgasmic Birth

Writing about young Chloe helping to deliver her baby brother reminded me about the orgasmic birth movement. In my novel Wild Child, the main character's mother has an orgasm during her birth; part of the reason she is called Bliss. Of course the Judeo-Christian tradition curses women with a painful birth; God punishes Eve by saying: I will greatly increase your pains in childbearing; with pain you will give birth to children. Genesis 3:16 Tragically this has conditioned many Western women to believe that birth must be painful. Not so. The Indian traditions of yoga and tantra have taught modern [...]

A Post-porn Society?

My new FB friends are an intriguing bunch. Someone asked me to comment on this statement by Canadian writer Robert Masters: We can condemn pornography, we can tolerate it, we can indulge it, or we can outgrow it.

Is There Religious Freedom In Australia?

Many like to think of Australia as a secular country. It isn't. Despite section 116 of the Australian Constitution which clearly states: The Commonwealth shall not make any law for establishing any religion, or for imposing any religious observance, or for prohibiting the free exercise of any religion, and no religious test shall be required as a qualification for any office or public trust under the Commonwealth.