Sexualized Saturdays: The Jedi

The Jedi Order has a strict policy regarding its members and love, that being that platonic love is acceptable but not romantic love, because attachments like that can lead a person away from the light side of the Force, or some other stupid reason to ensure that Anakin’s and Padmé’s love is forbidden. Because every story ever needs forbidden love, as opposed to a developed and believable relationship. But I digress.

Looking up the whole Jedi-celibacy issue, it seems to be a rather new thing that didn’t get mentioned until the prequels, and that before the movies Jedi were allowed to marry and love as they pleased. I don’t know much about that, since I’m going solely by the movies and animated series, but if this is true, it does strike me as something added just for the sake of having a forbidden romance.

However, the prequels present this as though it had been a part of the code since the beginning of the Jedi Order. And to be perfectly honest, though living in an environment that expects and encourages celibacy is my asexual dream, there are so many problems with this setup. First of all, I would be amiss to say that I honestly believe Anakin was the first person to ever break this rule.

Before I go into that, let’s discuss briefly how the Jedi Order handles children, sexual education, and coed classes. None of these are ever explained in the films, which seems to be a poor choice, considering what the prequels are about, so everything following is pure speculation.

Force-sensitive children are brought to the temple at an early age to begin their training. I’m not sure why once a child reaches a certain age, training is rejected. I can only assume it’s because they don’t want people who have been exposed too much to the outside world, or it could just be to cause drama with Obi-Wan taking Anakin on as a Padawan learner. The children that are brought up in the temple have to live by the Jedi code, and one thing that entails is celibacy.

This is a terrible idea. These children know only the ways of the Jedi, so that is why they’re going to follow this rule, but they’re not given a choice in it. Infants are not old enough to make these kinds of commitments. Small children are not old enough to decide these kinds of things. And if they don’t agree, where are they going to go? Back home? That place they know nothing about to live with people they know nothing about? After having all this dogma of no personal attachments shoved on them for the majority of their lives? Celibacy isn’t a choice for them. It’s not their beliefs; it’s the code’s. And they’ll be frowned upon for not following it or kicked out.

Furthermore, how do the Jedi even go about teaching them sexual education? It’s well established that a lack of education in this regard does not help prevent sex from occurring. I realize that I’m in the minority when I say that if my mother hadn’t told me about it, I would never have discovered sex existed on my own. Most children start feeling for their peers, and they don’t always start doing this around the same age. Some mature faster than others. And I’m going to go out on a limb and say that most people would realize how to sate certain urges regardless of not understanding them.

I sincerely doubt that there has never been a time when two Padawans explored each other growing up, simply because no one taught them not to. Unless of course, this is a dogma their Masters shove on them all the time, but if not explained properly it won’t do much. And that would also mean being taught about sex before hitting puberty. At that time, the thought of sex isn’t really desirable, so of course they wouldn’t want to touch each other, but I refuse to believe that having coed classes among teenagers would never create any problems.

We know they have coed get-togethers from that one scene in Attack of the Clones, but what about when they’re older? Separating them sure as hell won’t fix this problem, especially when you take into consideration the rebellious nature of teenagers.

This is why I believe Anakin cannot have been the first person to break this rule, and considering how few Sith there are by this time, it’s logical to conclude that loving someone romantically isn’t going to completely corrupt a person. But even then, I could get behind the idea of the Jedi forbidding love for fear of what the attachment might cause, but that still doesn’t explain the celibacy.

Yes, a lot of people connect sex with emotional intimacy, but a lot of people don’t. What if there was a Jedi that was simply looking for a good time? Romanticism doesn’t always accompany sex.

In the end, I think George Lucas added celibacy into the story for the sake of Anakin and Padmé, but I don’t think he really needed to. Not only could the story have gone without, it created an implausible situation. If celibacy is involved with the Jedi Order, it probably should be something that Masters pursue in order to better focus on the Force, not something forced upon every initiate.


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6 thoughts on “Sexualized Saturdays: The Jedi

  1. Here are non-researched thoughts with what knowledge I have of Star Wars.
    1. The Jedi put self-control over emotions and yes when people get emotional they can end up doing stupid things **cough** Starfire **cough** but the Sith use their emotions to fuel their power.
    2. To some people celibacy appears to be a very righteous thing.
    3. I just don’t know what went wrong — Derpy

    • I understand the emotional thing, but sex doesn’t always have to be emotional. And I always associated celibacy as something that was righteous because of religious views. I know the Jedi are religious in a way, but not in the same sense we are. I thought the Jedi enforced the celibacy because they didn’t want themselves getting emotionally attached to anyone, which again, sex doesn’t always do to a person. I don’t know what went wrong either. I hope you enjoyed my non-researched response.

  2. Hi, I know I’m super late to the party, but I’ve just discovered these “Sexualized Saturdays” blog posts and I’m really enjoying them.
    I’d like to point out that George Lucas explicitly mentioned that Jedi are not required to be celibate (http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/entertainment/1989505.stm). They are just forbidden from forming romantic attachments. Anakin was totally free to sleep with Padme as long as he didn’t fall in love with her. While sex=/=romance, I personally think that celibacy would have made things a little less complicated for the Jedi. Then again, I’m asexual. As a teenager I was devastated when I found out that Jedi weren’t celibate; to me their perceived asexuality was one of the things that made them awesome.

    • As an asexual, their celibacy also made their lifestyle appealing to me. Yeah, you’re totally not late at all. We appreciate all all comments here. Thank you for pointing out Lucas’s statement and linking to his comment. It makes so much more sense now. Unfortunately, he didn’t really make that clear in the movies.

  3. Pingback: Sexualized Saturdays: Star Wars and Interspecies Relations | Lady Geek Girl and Friends

  4. I’m not convinced by this, for several reasons:

    1. The Jedi become apprenticed somewhere between the ages of 11 and 13, about the time when puberty begins. Then they leave the Temple and travel round the galaxy. This means that, throughout their adolescence, they are continually subjected to incredibly varied and hostile environments, and have to be continually vigilant and alert. Whilst this doesn’t mean that they have no time at all to explore their sexuality, they are naturally going to focus a lot less on it. Equally they are unlikely to spend long enough in any particular place to form romantic attachments.
    2. Equally, whilst other adolescents are exploring and learning more about their own sexuality, a Jedi is slowly growing stronger in the Force. One might well conjecture that the experience of connection to the Force is particularly exciting and engaging, and that mere sensual stimulation appears rather dull in comparison. Equally, the use of the perceptual powers of the Force could allow one to sense the release of hormones, or the physiological symptoms of sexual arousal, and interfere with and restrain them.
    3. In the Temple the Jedi would not be subjected to constantly repeated heteronormative material encouraging them to engage in romantic or sexual relationships. They could just be taught that sexual experience is merely a natural and unimportant result of having a body with a repoductive system, rather than something mystical or exciting or essential to their existence, and there would be no need to stigmatise discussing it. Moreover, monogamous romantic relationships are not a cultural absolute, and if most of the literature they are given (presumably stories of past Jedi) deals mainly with friendships, this is probably what they’ll stick with.
    4. I don’t know if regular sexual satisfaction is essential to regular human existence or can be resisted through the sort of self-discipline the Jedi pride themselves in. Perhaps it depends from person to person (or species to species?). If it is, I would expect that they would probably just have to masturbate every so often. In many cultures, this carries a stigma, but since this is because of an interest in promoting normative sexual activity for reproductive and social purposes, which the Jedi order lacks, this would probably seem to them like a resonable solution.
    5. In the Temple, there is apparently no distiction or segregation based on gender or species. It follows that the Jedi probably don’t really think about their gender or species, because they live among such varied individuals. They wouldn’t have the same rigid ideas of gender roles as we do. It’s a matter of controversy whether sexual orientation is driven by genetics or culture or something else, but the strong differences between cultures, eg. Classical Athens vs. modern America, would suggest that there is a large cultural input. This means, at least, that the Jedi would be unlikely to be just homosexual or heterosexual or even solely attracted to the same species.
    6. If they’re in apprenticeship and on their travels and they decide that they would rather live a life of sexual satisfaction or engage in romantic relationships, they can just leave the order, at least temporarily. Extended Universe matter isn’t canon, but this is what Obi-Wan does in the Jedi Apprentice series (although admittedly for different reasons) and there is no reason why this shouldn’t occur.

    I agree that a lot of the Jedi rules come from ‘what is convenient for the plot…’ but then, so does everything, pretty much, in the Star Wars films. They are fiction, after all. Equally, whilst the above seems fairly plausible and valid to me, generally the celibacy or lack of romantic relationships is ignored in the Extended Universe because writers want their characters to be understandable and essentially the same as the modern American in outlook, as well as through genre influence from superhero stories etc.

    Whether this model of bringing up Jedi is unethical is debatable. Any form of education indoctrinates its victims with the culture and outlook of the educators. It was probably easier than starting training midway through adolescence (say) and then having most of the class get too obsessed in romantic relationships and fail to focus on the Jedi way. I suppose romantic relationships have a tendency to lead to children and family life, which is problematic if you are a Jedi and spend most of your life wandering alone round the galaxy through incredible dangers. They might not lead to becoming a Sith, but they could certainly distract a student from wholehearted devotion to the study of the Force.

    Just a suggestion. Sorry it’s so long and late.

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