Ghulam Nabi Azad and Natural Sex

Union health Minister Mr.  Ghulam Nabi Azad stirred a hornet's nest when he made the very politically incorrect statement (or is this the new politically correct position in India?) that homosexuality is a disease and is unnatural. Of course there is nothing original about this brilliant finding. There are many lesser mortals who believe in this and there are many rabble-rousers who were convinced of this position. Hundreds of years back this was the dominant view and even in recent past there were psychologists and medical practitioners who believed that homosexuality is a disease of the body and the mind. Many religious Leaders called it an offence or rather blasphemy which is bound to be punished by God. Sodom and Gomora are familiar in Biblical literature.

Desmond Morris, the famous British zoologist probably shares this view and suggested that even animals in captivity show unnatural sexual behaviours like masturbation and homosexuality (In his book ‘Human Zoo). His argument is that human being is now in a zoo and homosexuality is a deviant behaviour brought about by the zoo like condition. Here the zoo is the civilisation and the resultant overcrowded society.

I am neither a gay activist nor a detractor of homosexuality. However if you consider homosexuality is unnatural, several other equally strange sexual behaviours need to be brought under the umbrella of being unnatural.

What is natural? What is the natural character of mankind and what is natural in sexual behaviour? Is it the basic biological urges or is it the responses brought about by higher order mental processes? Is fantasizing about sex natural? Are romantic relationships natural? What about masturbation and what about erotic literature or art? When MF Hussain represented women in nude, is this natural or is the covered body natural?

Human being is basically an animal and the biological urges motivate him to have sex. Is it only the biological aspect of sex that is natural which is meant by nature primarily for procreation? Animals engage in only procreational sex. Is recreational sex then natural? It is recreational sex that binds and keeps a couple together in family life. Extending Azad’s argument, sex except for procreation needs to be considered as unnatural. In fact there are religious groups who take this extreme view.

Now what about somebody who abstains from sex? Human beings are naturally motivated to engage in sex and artificial abstinence from sex obviously is unnatural. The religious orders and spiritual movements that suggest abstinence from sex must be considered as promoting an unnatural act. 

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