Sex is positive. It’s beautiful. Without it, we can’t carry on in future generations of our kind. It’s the closest interpersonal bond we can experience. But we humans still find a way to screw it up, and in the worst imaginable ways. Sex in the wrong context, without the proper ingredients, has led to some of the most despicable crimes in our dark history. Even where possible, getting over some sexual trauma takes years, sometimes lifetimes.
With all the talk about sexual conduct in our culture these days, there are a few sides who want their voices heard. Facebook becomes a battleground with a sprinkle of vulnerability and a whole heap of aggression. And it’s mostly worthless, as are most arguments on the internet. Even in Christian circles, the lack of unity on sexual morality can leave us feeling disillusioned and anxious. People are quick to tweet condemnation, but not many are facilitating discussion. And the ones who are, I find to be pretty uninspiring.
So I want to separate myself from the mob by limiting my pushiness to one concept: “What is the common ground we all share regarding sexuality?” Instead of drawing all our lines to exclude people, let’s start from a place we can all agree on and work outward. That’ll be my version of ground rules. I want to set the stage for discussions, and if there’s no common ground we won’t have much productive debate. This is the post on the homepage that I’ll link to to read before anything else. Normally I aim to frame my thoughts closer to questions, and you’ll see that later, but you gotta earn it. If you can get on board with these initial observations and be respectful to others, your comments, questions, and insights are welcome. If not, you’ll have to find another blog to confirm your dumb ideas about sex.
Because no one else seems to be doing it, I want to start out by outlining the most widely accepted setting for sex. We talk a lot about which things are right and wrong in our society, but not why. What I will outline below is not a rulebook or law. I’m not asking you to agree that everyone should limit themselves to this list. I’m putting forth an “ideal” setting for sex so that we have an example to compare to.
Without further ado, I present to you my thesis statement: The most-accepted context for sexual congress is one where an adult male has a life-long and consensual marriage (or marriage-like commitment) to an unrelated adult female. That’s it! You could add, “and they’re both hot”, but that’s just what People Magazine wants you to think. Throw some kids into the mix too, and wham! You got yourself a nuclear family, and the government has itself some new future taxpayers!
In case you blinked, I’ll break it down for you. These are my trademarked “Accepted Tenets of Wholesome Sexuality”(, or “Facets of the Nasty”):
- Consent – Both parties are willing
- Two people – Not one, not three. Two people
- Not (closely) related – Incest is a taboo
- Adults – Both of proper age to make informed decisions about their own sexuality
- Lifelong commitment – Till death do us part
- Different sexes – Male and female
Now there are some other items that crop up as sexual taboos, even if the above list applies entirely. I think it would behoove us to touch on some of them:
- Similar ages: Sometimes even if both parties are legal adults, extreme age gaps are disconcerting to some. (I have thoughts on why this is, but it’s more speculative, so I’ll get into that in another post)
- Childrearing: Some people do believe that the sole function of sex is to reproduce. However, I would venture to say that even they would accept a couple who is unable to have children going ahead and having sex anyway…
- Contentment/happiness: There may be an argument against married couples staying together despite being unhappy together. But again, if such a couple were to have sex (with each other), I’d think it would seem odd to most to forbid it.
- Interracial marriage: This was at one time looked down upon as indecent, and I’m sure there are segments of society who still do. Those people are ignorant and/or evil. This is the one exception I will make to the “no passing judgment” rule in this post. Skin color nor any other genetic trait has any bearing on this conversation.
- Cross-cultural marriage: Often confused as identical to interracial marriage, cross-cultural marriage actually does have an effect on marriage. This is because cultural upbringing changes values, roles, and expectations within a marriage relationship. It can make a marriage quite a bit harder. BUT, I see no reason why this should result in an ethical problem, so it’s not on the list.
I think it’s important at this juncture to point out that this list does not indicate that anyone who deviates from these rules is bad or gross. I don’t want to get a bunch of comments about me pushing my patriarchal beliefs down your throat. Whether or not you think Christians are crazy for denouncing homosexuality is irrelevant as it pertains to this list. If you believe heterosexuality is immoral, on the other hand, then you’re in an extreme minority regardless of why you would believe that. In other words, I’m not saying that sex outside of this is necessarily bad, but that sex inside of it is necessarily good.
I’m all about increasing the quality of our questions, so let’s ask it as a question: If there is an adult man, consensually married to an unrelated, adult female, is it ok for them to have sex? If you believe that the answer is “yes”, and agree that most people probably would also answer “yes”, then we’re on the same page. The idea is that there should be a million questions sprouting from this being the common ideal. Should this be the common ideal? What about these things makes this sort of relationship just seem ok? Is this sort of relationship better, worse, or the same as others that don’t line up with it? There are many answers to these questions, and some will have more merit than others. But we need to at least start by asking the same questions. Then, with the trust that our “opponents” care about human flourishing just as much as we do, we can begin to learn. Some things will never be agreed upon, but we can react with hatred and moral positioning, or we can react with tolerance and wisdom, and perhaps even grow our understanding of the world.
There you have it: the cornerstone of the blog. It is my sincere hope that, despite my logical progressions and whether or not you agree with them, we can find commonality here. We’re the most important part of our government, you and I (if you’re an American; moreso if you’re Nebraskan). So at the very least, we MUST work together to create law that serves every one of us. Outside of that, we can agree to disagree and still live peaceably. And you don’t have to read my blog.