Sexuality Is More Than What We Do Beneath the Sheets
Or so they say. But I think “they” are wrong.
I think what they mean is that partly naked people, a hint of genitalia, and the bright (though often illusory) promise of sexual intercourse sells.
We limit sex or sexuality tragically when we talk about it only in terms of our private parts and intercourse (wonderful as they may be). Our sexuality, this most beautiful gift from God, is the very energy that allows us to be in relationship with others. Sexuality informs all aspects of being a self—social, emotional, intellectual, spiritual, and physical.
Can you relate?
From the moment of our birth we are drawn into relationships with other people. A newborn instinctually roots for food from her mother, and an infant’s first words are Mama and Dada.
As we grow we learn by imitating others. My three-year-old nephew, Nikolas, wants to be like his older brother Alex. He is learning about how to be in the world by watching what Alex does. My sister didn’t have to work as hard to teach her second child, Kayla, to say ‘please’ and ‘thank you’ because she so wanted to imitate her very polite older sister Jayda.
And if you were to ask my high school students, “What is the most important aspect of their lives?” They would answer unanimously, “Our friends.”
The economics of longing
When I first moved to New York City, I felt so alone that my long distance bill jumped like a jackrabbit. I was constantly seeking connections with the people most familiar to me. I notice that the longer I live in NYC and the more local relationships I develop, the less I am forking out to AT&T.
Recently I read in the New York Times about a program that sends volunteers to sit with those who are dying alone. Even half conscious at the end of life we want to be connected with other people.
It is natural to be in relationship, and sexuality is the energy that continuously draws us to others throughout our lifetime.
Can’t communicate? Copulate.
But I worry that the more literally erotic side of our sexuality has become a kind of default setting for American society. When we don’t have a story, when we doubt, when we don’t know how to trust one another, when we can’t communicate, when we want something, when we need to sell records or clothes or cars, or just generally when we don’t know what else to do—we turn to getting naked, those good old genitals, and (of course) sexual intercourse.
Our sexy God
The most perfect relationship for Christians is the Trinity. It is a deep mystery that is inadequately explained as “three persons in one God.” If we can begin to look at the Trinity as God, Divine Word, and Holy Spirit bound together in relationship by the energy of a kind of divine sexuality, then maybe we lift human sexuality to its proper place in all our relationships.