Sex and spirituality – they have traded places in the modern vernacular.
It wasn’t so long ago that sex had a certain taboo around it, certainly not appropriate dinner conversation and children were blissfully ignorant until the brink of adulthood.
These days the same could be said of a person’s spirituality – their relationship with God is a strange and embarrassing topic. Drop the God bomb into dinner party chatter and watch the awkward glances and the efforts to move conversation elsewhere.
Sex is open slather. We see pornography normalised and the average age when kids experience their first sexual activity plummeting (I think it’s around 13 now). Once considered an intimate act reserved for the bedroom, now let loose in every sense of the word.
Bringing sex out from the dark was a worthy pursuit. It succeeded in getting rid of old-fashioned taboos. People cringe now at the term “bastard”, girls aren’t sent away to Aunt Whatsit in the country to hide an unwanted pregnancy, we are tolerant of people of different sexual orientations and there’s a greater awareness of contraception and STDs.
We certainly don’t want to undo that progress.
But I can’t help thinking that in the backflip of social attitudes towards sex, we have missed the point a little.
Sex is a spiritual act.
And while we talk about sex a lot, I’d say most of those conversations lack sincerity, perhaps even maturity. I mean, do we talk about the wonderful connectedness that sex brings on a physical and emotional level? Nah! We chuckle at sexual innuendo, wink knowingly and comment on size and performance.
In her book The G Spot, sexpert Beverly Whipple’s experiments confirmed that sexual stimulation activated 12 regions of the brain including the amygdala (emotional) and the temporal lobe (spiritual). Granted, that book was printed a few decades back, but I don’t think we’ve evolved since then.
The Bible is another book that backs up the theory. It says that man and woman become “one flesh” (Genesis 2:24) and that the body is a temple of the Lord (1 Corinthians 6:19). Have a little read through Song of Solomon and you’ll quickly discover that enjoying our sexuality is part of God’s plan.
Last week the Tasmanian state government released its sexual education strategy, the program for which will come into effect in public schools next year. We’re yet to see the nitty gritty of that strategy; just how it’s going to be executed.
But I really hope that some consideration is given to current attitudes towards sex.
Maybe, just maybe, if kids were educated on the spiritual connection established through sex, the harmful repercussions of sharing sexual intimacy with more than their life partner, and that sex is something beautiful and valuable – not a pleasure commodity – maybe we would see a relationship revolution in Tassie. Less teen pregnancies, a lowered divorce rate, even less instances of sexual abuse.
We wait with bated breath for this sex ed. strategy and hope it delivers more than merely what-bit-goes-where.
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As printed in The Examiner Newspaper for Keeping the Faith column, Monday October 10.