What is Natural?

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20 Nov 2013
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23 Nov 2013

Feet and bootsSome buttons of mine were pushed when a friend gave the reason for not fully accepting the idea of homosexuality, anal or oral sex as them being unnatural. I’ve nothing against the preferences of people. If you don’t enjoy oral sex, that’s fine but it bothers me when it is called out as not natural by somebody who is comfortably sitting, covered in cloth, on a leather couch inside a dwelling of brick and mortar constructed by machinery said person probably wouldn’t be able to operate.

What is natural? Is there really a sliding scale of natural-ness? Sleep under the stars, that’s natural. Live in a way that’s harmonious with nature, that’s natural. If you’re doing either of these activities while wearing synthetic fabric, however, is it still natural?

Rabbit does the shoe

“Oh yeah! Just do it!”

The definition of natural is “existing in or derived from nature; not made or caused by humankind“. Homosexual behaviour may be considered unnatural and human-derived because it isn’t an activity that leads to procreation of a species, something considered against the way of nature. Except that there are various mammals that don’t care who they bonk, not whether the bonkie is of the same gender or nor even of the same species, and sometimes it doesn’t even have to be breathing altogether.

And, if we’re really going to reject sexual behaviour based on non-human activity, one may consider that the general consensus is that love is not a requirement for mating. Nor is marriage ceremony. And most non-human animals have sex for recreational purposes only. They also tend to not shop in a convenience store, purposefully travel by motorised means nor live in highrises. There are so many activities that we regularly engage in that can be considered “unnatural”.

The truth is there is no clear cut black-and-white distinction between humans and other animals. There are creatures who do build their own homes, some of them who form communities, and some do actually have sex for pleasure. We wouldn’t say a bird’s nest or a dolphin pod’s occasional orgies are unnatural. Yet our own creations and desires for pleasure are labeled as such. The word is thrown around foolishly in my opinion.

I love nature in the sense of trees and fauna and things not-created-by-humankind but I don’t accept using the term “natural” as an excuse to reject something, whether that is a type of food, activity, way of life or sexual preference. It feels like a cop-out. If something offends you, explore the reasons why it offends you. Just saying it isn’t natural doesn’t mean much when, essentially, you’re accepting a myriad of other things that are just as “unnatural”.