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Over at Reality Sandwich, my friend Conner Habib has just launched a new series of essays named The Sex Radicals: Seven Thinkers Who Can Revolutionize Sex in Our Cultures, intended to highlight intelectual figures whose philosophy changed his own perspective about sexuality, and whose teachings he thinks could prove intrumental in reshaping the Western attitude about this truly vital aspect of the human experience.

Because let’s face it: Even though we seem to think we’re experiencing the most sexually liberated age in history, there are still many puritanical taboos plaguing our society’s attitude toward Sex and Eroticism –the fact that in an American office complimenting a co-worker of the opposite gender for their looks can be perceived as sexual harassment, prostitution is still illegal in most countries of the world, breastfeeding in public freaks the crap out of many people, and we still stubbornly cling to the delusion that children are asexual beings, is proof enough that as high-minded as we pretend we are, from the waist-down we’re still pretty much stuck on the Dark Ages…

But why bringing this up to the attention of the Grail community, you may ask? As Conner himself is quick to point out in the introduction to the series, several of those radicals he is intending to “invite to the orgy” were also riding on the fringes of Science, Spirituality and the Occult; to the point that a few of them, like the (in)famous Wilhelm Reich, are still relegated to the ‘cooky cupboard’ by the mainstream.

[Their craziness] in fact, is a large part of what makes them important. To come up with new possibilities for the world, you have to hang out in the impossible and the imagined quite a bit. You have to say outlandish things to see if they’re true. To stand outside the depressing weight of our reality requires deep and intense encounters with your own imagination and seeing things that others don’t see.

Some members of the list will already be familiar to you, like Reich (whom I’ve just mentioned) and Aleister Crowley –whose name either rhymes with ‘holy’ or ‘fouly’, depending of what you think of him– but others you might have never heard of before. Take for example Ida Craddock (1857-1902) with whom the #SexRadicals series gets started: Aside from being a XIXth century feminist and crusader against the sexual repression of her era –this was after all, the time when boys were given Medieval-like contraptions intended to prevent them from ‘suffering’ wet dreams at night— she also claimed to have had sexual intercourse with an angel named Soph:

After some loving correspondence with Soph, Craddock did, and reported her ecstatic sexual experiences with him in a language that strongly resembles the language of objectum sexuals, who fall in love with and make love to objects and landmarks. It’s a moving language of ecstasy – an encounter with a partner whose being-ness others can’t understand. The invisible breath of the angel so in love with you, that you’re the only one who can see him.

Alas, poor Ida paid dearly for the hot angelingus action, and other terrible ‘perversions’ she committed in the eyes of her many enemies –her own mother included, who was totally scandalized by her daughter’s claim that sexual pleasure was a sacred gift every human had the right to claim, and that moral conventions forbidding us to do so was the real serpent we needed to cast out of Paradise.

Make no mistake about it, my fellow Grailers: When it comes to Sex, Spirituality, paranormal phenomena, and many of the things we outsiders value in life, Transgression *is* the scarlet letter stamped on the forehead of those who dare to step out of line of what the Status Quo considers ‘respectful’ or ‘credible’; and yet it is by the cumulative power of those transgressions how our society is forced to drag forward one inch at a century, until the deviancy is grudgingly adopted and becomes part of the ruling paradigm –which eventually signals the need for a new revolution to kick us out of our prudish complacency, and make things interesting for the younger generations…

Enjoy Conner’s Sex Radicals series –and bring lots of lube, to grease the hinges of the Doors of Perception.
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