I can’t remember where I found the link, but this article about an elephant raping a car got me to thinking about morality.

elephantautoeroticism.JPG

Sorry if I misstated the facts a bit. Perhaps what happened should not have been called “rape.” This is not to say that the car consented, for cars are incapable of consent. So are mannequins.

Morally as well as legally, animals cannot and do not commit rape. While we humans can commit rape against humans, human on animal sex is not considered rape because only humans can commit rape or be raped. Obviously, that means that it is not possible for a human being to “rape” an inanimate object.

But would it be correct even to call such behavior sex?

There are all sorts of variations (or “perversions” for those who are into the term) in the world of humans, and it is certainly feasible for a human to become sexually aroused by a car. Many people have described cars as sexy, and a lot of people think the bulbous streamlined cars of the 1950s were voluptuous. So it isn’t beyond the realm of possibility that the right car might be capable of making the right man achieve an orgasm. 

How perverted would that be, though? Is arousal by car the sort of thing normally associated with sexual immorality? And suppose we broke that down into its component parts. I think a lot of people might think the idea of a guy actually mounting a car would be perverted, but suppose he was riding inside the car, and got turned on by the vibrations? Vibration eroticism is quite common; even women have been known to get turned on by vibrations, and not just by devices intended to cause sexual stimulation. Some are known to be turned on by riding on a motorcyle. Now, why is that less perverted that actually being attracted to the machine itself? How about getting sexually turned on by pictures of cars? Auto pornography, anyone? (I didn’t spend much time researching this, although I did find a disappointing piece with the exciting title of The Automobile as Erotic Bride.)

Who decides where these lines are drawn? The People Who Care The Most? Who would they be? Why should people who care more have a monopoly over people who don’t care as much? That sounds like environmentalism, animal rights, or any host of isms. The people who care the most have the most power and the people who care the least and want to be left alone have little or no say in the matter. Environmentalists are a tiny minority of the population, yet their word is law where it comes to the environment (and the environment is almost anything they want it to be). Why? Because they are said to be the most protective of it? So why not put people who are most “protective” of cars in charge of protecting them? So where does that leave the people who are turned on by cars?

But this is a very bad example of sexual immorality, for it may not be sexual immorality at all. I’m also thinking that very few people would be annoyed enough by sex with cars to care about protecting cars from guys with car fetishes (or guys with car fetishes from their own proclivities). It might be considered very odd or eccentric, but it simply isn’t shocking, and it would never be made illegal. 

Why? Because it isn’t sexual? Car sex doesn’t touch on humans, so we don’t see it as threatening in the moral sense? How about sex with robots, then? I think people would get a lot more exercised about that, because like fetishes involving human items of clothing (or even a bicycle seat fetish) sex with robots comes a lot closer to human sex, as the robots resemble humans. However, if the “robot” were simply a booth like the Orgasmatron, it would not be likely to trigger the same “that’s immoral!” reaction. Let’s face it; screwing a woman’s shoe is immoral and perverted in a way that screwing an inner tube or hub cap is not. This touches on the objection many people have to pornography. If a man is turned on by a magazine, people are offended because of the human image the magazine contains. It’s tough to imagine a physical attraction to non-pornographic printed material (like finding erotic sensation in a magazine with no pictures), but if that did happen, few if any moralists would be screaming. 

Likewise, few worried about cultural decay when a man was alleged to have been found screwing a pumpkin. Yes, it turned out to be an urban legend, but I did find simulated pumpkin sex on YouTube as well as a written account by a man who claims to have sexually penetrated a pumpkin. So it might as well have happened. I am not counting Boulder’s Naked Pumpkin Run, though because even though the kids put pumpkins on their heads and ran around naked, there’s no indication they did so for purposes of sexual gratification.

However, I suspect that there’s a slippery slope in there somewhere.

Perhaps I’m looking for immorality in all the wrong places.

Maybe the rule is that for a sex act to be immoral, it has to be in, er, the right place.