In my last post, I asked the question, “What is sex?”
My thoughts on the standard positions, in short, “You have been weighed. You have been measured. And you have been found wanting.”
It’s time for a new position on Sex, one that appreciates the whole of the person and elevates sex without idolizing it.
Most often the discussion focuses on the physical, comprised only of our sexual organs and other body parts that can be stimulated to feel pain or pleasure. When culture discusses risk associated with sexual activity, it’s focuses only on what a condom can cover, or fails to fix, such as sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) or pregnancy.
But that is only part of the picture. Appreciating the whole of you also means embracing a less tangible aspect, the emotional. As humans, you and I have the ability to think, to reason, and to weigh the possible outcomes of our actions. We dream, we feel, we are thrilled by beauty, and we have been known to sacrifice greatly for the good of others. We experience intangibles, such as guilt, regret, anger, joy, happiness, or compassion, that play out differently through our actions.
Studies of the human brain can show us what it looks like chemically to experience these emotions, and how our brain reacts to certain stimulus, but they cannot accurately explain why we feel love, remorse, shame, happiness, or sympathy.
I believe each of us are a body and a soul, with the soul as the root of our emotions.
We were made for more than this moment, and that we bear the blueprint of something greater than what we can see and feel in this present life.
For this reason, our physical desires and cravings take on a higher purpose and will impact us on a deeper level. The choices we make in the body can have a profound effect on our souls, on the part of us that cannot be quantified.
When I refer to the “whole person” I therefore mean the physical, emotional and the spiritual.
We need to elevate sex out of the gutter, where it has been slumming as a physical desire with no more significance than buying a new pair of shoes or going to the bathroom.
Stripping sex of any deeper meaning or reverence mocks those who have ever felt joy, regret, guilt, happiness, or fulfillment through the experience.
By reducing sex to a purely physical act, with only bodily consequences, we deny the existence of the emotional, mental, and spiritual aspects of sex, and by extension, of each individual.
It’s not prudish, it’s not backwards, and it’s not conservative to say that sex affects us on an intimate level. Ask the 65% girls and 57% boys who have had sex and yet wish they had waited. Ask any woman who has been ravaged by rape. Or the young man who struggles with his wife’s infidelity.
Sex matters, often more than we care to admit. But it is not the holy grail of relationships, or the ultimate end of life. Sex is not the answer to our relational problems, our loneliness, or our identity.
Your sexuality is a part of who you are, but it is not the whole.
In properly appreciating sex, we must be careful to not build it up with unrealistic expectations that will only leave us frustrated and unsatisfied. I’ve seen too many young adults diligently wait to have sex and then find themselves disappointed when it didn’t go as they expected or live up to the “hype” that it was somehow going to be the most mind-blowing, glorious experience of their lives every single time.
We cannot expect sex to be more than it is, but neither should we flippantly underestimate the power of two bodies coming together in naked vulnerability.
At its best, sex IS amazing.
That is what I want for you. I want you to have great sex.
Sex where you don’t have to turn off your heart, even as your body is being turned on.
Sex where you are able to freely and completely bring the whole of you -the physical, the emotional, and the spiritual- without the threat of disease, of abandonment, of caring too much when they care too little, of uncertain commitment. Sex without any risk. Imagine.
When you are free to be all of you, then you’ll be free to enjoy the best sex.
See you next week when we talk about how you can actually experience great sex. Click here to get it straight in your Inbox.
Photo courtesy of Ashtyn Renee via flickr