This is a post that's been on my mind for a long time and I still don't really know how to approach it. The thing is, I have my own convictions and they apply to what feels right for me. I certainly don't expect anyone else to have the same beliefs, and I would never dream of trying to convince someone else that the way I feel is better. This respect of everyone's personal beliefs is fundamental for me.
I guess in the same way that I don't believe there is a one-size-fits-all kind of relationship, I believe everyone should be free to seek and explore whatever it is they need to fill their spirituality or their internal space.
However the one part I have difficulty reconciling with this view is where religion intersects with sexuality.
It's just not right that people live their entire life with the huge weight of the repression of their sexuality or the shame of their sexual desires. If there are two things in life that are transcendent, it is love and sex. They are the two gigantic poles of light that make us human. They affect everything we do, they have the power to ease our pain, they can give direction to our endeavours. This is how we so often describe love, and why not sex? Why fear it?
I have always deeply believed that love and sex are equivalent in their importance. In the same way that I love my wife, I lust for her, and when I give her an orgasm with my mouth, it is no less meaningful than when I seal our love with a kiss. Each day of our life is propelled by the little bursts of care and affection and energy and mutuality. At the end of the day, whether those bursts fed your heart or your orgasms, you are still more alive for them.
I'm Canadian and I constantly feel like that is a defining factor in how I feel about sex. Especially because living right next to the United States is a constant reminder that things are not the same everywhere. The intersection of sex and religion is so prevalent there. Not only that, sex seems to be mixed with so many different things in the U.S., from politics to geography to parenting. It's as though all these separate things have a say in how sexuality is perceived and experienced. I just don't think that's right. One source can only feed so many different outlets before it becomes fragile, or simply impossible, lest it dries up.
It's hard enough in Canada to grow into a healthy adult when it comes to sexuality, I can't imagine what it's like for many people I know who live in the southern United States. It seems that every day I read a tweet or an article about the very serious dichotomy that exists between the conservatives and the liberals. And yet, people somehow find a way to have a sex life. I asked one blogger friend who lives in South Carolina what it's like, and her response was that people can do whatever they want behind closed doors. But to me it's not a question of finding a private location to do whatever it is you're into. Rather, it's about the challenge of finding the head space and the emotional strength—the conviction maybe—to allow yourself the expression of those sexual desires. How do you push all the negativity and the guilt out of your mind, so that you can have sex and feel good about it?
Sex is the aspect of being human that is the most affected by all the other human traits. Think about it, gender, education, beliefs, culture. There are so many ways that human sexuality can be slowed down, impaired, repressed. It's no wonder that we're in 2013, we can communicate instantly with anyone in the world and we can send probes to Mars, yet we are still struggling with one of the most basic human experiences, that of having sex with another person.
This isn't trivial. If someone told you they feel guilt for loving someone, you would probably wonder how that can be possible. Why is it a readily accepted feeling for sex? If someone told you they feel guilt for having sexual desires, I bet you would tell me that this is common. But you'd be wrong, because in all likelihood, nobody would ever tell you they feel guilty about sex. By and large, people don't talk about it!
Love and sex are both so important. They are the two poles that make our lives meaningful. They can be enjoyed together or separately. Some people like to have sex without love, and some people like to love without sex. Interestingly, or sadly, the more I learn about sex, the more I find that experiencing love and sex at the same time seems to be the exception rather than the rule.