WARNING! There is a lot of sex in this post! Read at your own discretion. If sex upsets you, stay away from this post, nasty comments will simply be deleted, as this is my blog.
There is an often very vague difference between ignorance and innocence in our daily use of the terms. Reading the “innocence” and other recent posts has reinforced for me the fact that (as usual) English has meanings extremely subtle in tone and context.
From Wikipedia, some interesting views on the terms:
Innocence is a term used to indicate a general lack of guilt, with respect to any kind of crime, sin, or wrongdoing. In a legal context, innocence refers to the lack of legal guilt of an individual, with respect to a crime.
In contrast to ignorance, it is generally viewed as a positive term, connoting an optimistic view of the world, in particular one where the lack of knowledge stems from a lack of wrongdoing, whereas greater knowledge comes from doing wrong. This connotation may be connected with a popular false etymology explaining “innocent” as meaning “not knowing” (Latin noscere). The actual etymology is from general negation prefix in- and the Latin nocere, “evil” or “guilty”.
Ignorance is a state of being uninformed (lack of knowledge). The word “ignorant” is an adjective describing a person in the state of being unaware and is often used as an insult.
The most common area where we intermingle knowledge (removing ignorance) and innocence (lack of guilt) is of course the sexual arena.
I know I’m probably walking on a nice bed of hot coals here and this could get the mother grundies all hot under the collar (as of course they have no bodily parts between the collar and knees).
Too often sex is regarded as something to be guilty about. As a natural activity sex is something that should not carry guilt with it any more than eating, drinking, urinating and defecating should. However many humans believe that some activities are ‘private’ and from this base seems to come more and more myths and beliefs. These are true for the person believing them, but may not be a universal belief or understanding.
I remember reading somewhere of one or other religious sect where the husbands may have sex with his wife only through a hole in some cloth, he may not see her naked. For these people ‘normal’ sex in a western context which involves both partners being to some or other degree naked and enjoying this, that would be a ‘perversion’. They never described how a woman could enjoy sex, I guess she wasn’t supposed to.
The practice of female circumcision is regarded as essential in some countries, as if a women is aroused and enjoys sex, for them that is a ‘perversion’.
For others only sex that is NOT between consenting adults is a perversion. For others, it seems that almost anything goes.
It all depends on you and your beliefs.
Social norms and laws make some forms of sex something to which guilt is attached. In some eras any form of sex has been regarded as wrong, evil etc. Hence the idea that children are innocent until they have knowledge.
The acquisition of sexual knowledge is often regarded as losing innocence. We all know that sex can complicate our lives to a degree unimaginable as a child. So there is that aspect to it. We ‘mourn’ the days when we were unaware of sex and the complications it brings. We describe it as a loss of innocence.
I was struck some years back by a comment in a conversation with my cousin. Referring to our younger years and sex; she said “I was innocent, but not ignorant”. That can be true in most things.
I am aware of many sexual “perversions” such as bestiality, biastophilia, erotic asphyxiation, necrophilia etc. yet I am innocent of having participated in them.
After all this rambling on and on, I think I can only see that lack of knowledge is dangerous, and informed decisions about your own behaviour can keep one ‘innocent’ in whatever way you want to be free of guilt. Recently I have read a few blogs and comments about young women becoming pregnant because they did not have any of the facts about sex, just vague innuendos and hints. They lost their “innocence” but maybe not their ignorance; to me a most dangerous state for a human being.