If we take this understanding of our natural state seriously, we have to rethink what sexuality is. For many, sexuality is simply what happens between two people involving physical pleasure. But that’s only a small percentage of what sexuality is. Our sexuality is all of the ways we strive to reconnect with our world, with each other, and with God.
A friend of mine has given his life to standing with those who have been forgotten and oppressed the most. He’s in his early thirties, he’s single, and he talks openly about his celibacy. What makes his life so powerful is that he’s a very sexual person, but he has focused his sexuality, his “energies for connection”, on a specific group of people.
Some of the most sexual people I know are celibate.
The sleep alone.
They have chosen to give themselves to lots of people, to serve and give and connect their lives with beautiful worthy causes. These friends help me understand why the Red Light District in Amsterdam is so sexually repressed. If you’ve ever walked through this part of the city, where prostitution is legal, you know that it can be a bit jarring to have the women in the windows gesturing to you, inviting you to come in and have “sex” with them.
What is so striking is how unsexual the whole section of the city is. There are lots of people “having sex” night and day, but that’s all it is. There’s no connection. That’s, actually, the only way it works. They agree to a certain fee for certain acts performed, she [sic] performs them, he [sic] pays her, and then they part ways. The only way they would ever see each other again is on the slim probability that he would return and they would repeat this transaction. There’s no connection whatsoever. If she for a moment connected with him in any other way than the strictly physical, it would put her job, and therefore her financial security, in jeopardy.
And so int he Red Light District there’s lots of physical interaction and no connection. There are lots of people having lots of physical sex – for some it’s their job – and yet it’s not a very sexual place at all.
There’s even a phrase that people use with a straight face – “casual sex”. The rationale is often, “It’s just sex.”
Exactly. When it’s just sex, then that’s all it is. It leaves the person deeply unconnected.
You can have sex with many, and yet you’re alone. And the more sex you have, the more alone you are.
And it’s possible to be sleeping alone, and celibate, and to be very sexual. Connected with many.
It’s also possible to be married to somebody and sharing the same bed and be very disconnected. It’s possible to be married to somebody and sharing the same bed and having sex regularly and still be profoundly disconnected.
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