Sexuality And Its Discontents

Sex is a problem. Not for me, of course, since I stopped doing it. But it’s certainly a source of troubles for some people who are not me – and since I got some free time and apparently think I’m some kinda well of wisdom, I’m gonna put forth some ideas about the subject.

First, just to get it outta the way:

No sex = no problem. How fuggin’ simple is that? Quit the game completely and all the icky issues just cease to be relevant.

Moving on, there really is no easy way to eliminate all the sex-related problems that people might have. Any solution must needs require a radical shift in the way the subject is thought of – this because the society we live in is destroying itself in every possible way and any route to a positive sex life means rejecting the popular notions. There simply is no way any individual can buy into the models of sexuality offered by mainstream American culture and enjoy a happy and healthy sex life, and this is so because American culture is based on capitalism which is based on the idea that happiness can be bought. Mainstream American culture creates problems and sells solutions. Everyone who has absorbed any form of advertising in America has been exposed to toxic ideas about sex and that shit has to be rejected before any progress can be made. Unfortunately, there’s a lotta shit there. All of us who grew up in the US of A have been brainwashed by advertising since the cradle and purging all that toxicity is gonna take time and effort – and as much as we’d all like to think that accepting Jesus Christ as our Lord and Risen Savior is gonna change everything about us completely and totally, it don’t always work that way. We’re justified by faith, but still stuck in our bodies, for a bit longer, and the brain is part of the body. Long-held ideas don’t disappear any easier than do tattoos.

The first step in eliminating old ideas about sex – or anything else – is realizing that it can be done. We think the way we think because we were taught to think that way. The way we think about any subject can change – and we can direct our thinking to that end. Fr’instance, I came to the conclusion that my life would be less troublesome if I didn’t want to have sex about fifteen years ago. At that time, I was getting over a break-up, starting to dabble in the dating scene, not yet a Christian, and very much not ready to actually embrace chastity. But the idea was there – and even though I continued to engage in sexual activities, I knew that not engaging was an option. The idea grew and became more and more appealing as I continued to engage in sex until I didn’t want to engage in sex. Not that it was entirely easy – it wasn’t. I stopped being sexually active the same way I stopped drinking – I tried and tried and continued to try even though it was blatantly not working out well and then finally let go of the ridiculous idea that I was gonna figure it out. But I was right – my life is better without. The point here is that I had an idea – one that my friends thought was absolutely bonkers because sex is great and everybody wants to have sex and they were not willing to allow the possibility that anyone could want anything other than what the popular culture said that everyone should want.

So the first thing is knowing that what we think is not set in stone. Ideas can change. It is a lot easier to change one’s ways of thinking if one enlists Divine help – but the whole therapy industry exists and has some success largely without recourse to prayer, so it can be done without Divine help. If that works for ya, whatever. I’m gonna endorse prayer because I’ve found it to work. And I’m gonna say that the thing to pray for is that God’s intention be revealed. Chances are, anybody who’s been living in the thick of American culture has a lotta fuct up ideas about sex and such and is gonna be influenced by thems and is gonna aim low or pray for an easy path to conformity with the mainstream models. A gay man praying to be happily straight or to be able to happily participate in the mainstream’s model for gay men – swishy and promiscuous – would be an example. Neither of those are required. There are countless other possibilities and God knows what they are – and God knows what might actually work. And God isn’t trying to convince you to conform to a specific demographic so He can sell you products based on what the algorithm says recovering gays or twinks are buying this week. And let’s just go ahead and deal with homosexuality at this juncture.

God don’t hate fags. Or dykes or trannies or anybody. That’s just dumb. If you think God hates anybody, ya might as well quit reading now. God loves all people, regardless of anything, which I personally am not yet capable of, and no amount of twisted, perverted sex can change that. Nothing anyone can do can lessen God’s love.

Aight. The more I think about this, the more complex it seems. I’ma take it down to the bottomest level.

God made us individuals. We can infer from this that God wants us to be individuals and that He wants to have relationships with us as individuals. That means we have personal relationships with God. I, me, the person writing this, I have a relationship with God – Father/Son/Holy Spirit. I bring myself to the relationship, exactly as I am. God accepts me, exactly as I am. As our relationship progresses, I can expect to learn, change and grow. God doesn’t do those things – God is already perfect. Some general guidelines that God has issued are true for me – I should refrain from doing murder just as much as anybody else – but some things are more specific. The Lutherans who are receiving the Meal before and after me on Sunday mornings can and should take the wine, but I should not because I am a recovering alcoholic. Wine has an effect on me that it doesn’t have on non-alcoholic people. If I take wine, it would react in my brain in an alcoholic way, which would cause me to have a compulsion to drink more alcohol, which would lead to drunkenness, which would prevent me from participating in a relationship with God. The defining characteristic of sin is that it prevents us from having a relationship with God – so, for me to take wine, even as part of receiving the Meal, would be a sin, but it isn’t a sin for other people. In fact, other people are supposed to take wine. My church has grape juice for those of us who can’t have alcohol, but the Gospels agree that the purple liquid in Christ’s cup was wine. Grape juice is a reasonable facsimile, which is allowed for those who can’t have wine. Sorta like how Paul recommends celibacy, but allows marriage. In my personal relationship with God, He accepts grape juice, and He has given me the gift of celibacy, because I can’t handle the alternatives. I don’t intend to ever drink wine again, but I am open to the possibility that I could be in a sexual relationship again, if God is so pleased. But the point is, each of us can and should strive to have a personal relationship with God.

Popular American culture is ruled by Mammon. It must be rejected. That doesn’t mean we can’t watch TV or movies, but it does mean we shouldn’t let the morals of popular culture – or lack thereof – influence our morals. The fact that the popular culture embraces pornography as part of a “normal” sex life does not necessarily mean that we, as individuals who have personal relationships with God, should do so. Nor does it mean we should condemn those who do. At this moment, the popular culture seems to think that everybody who’s single should be fucking everybody they can possibly fuck because everybody wants to fuck everybody they can possibly fuck and to not fuck everybody would be self-repressive. That message is everywhere – you wanna fuck everybody right, right? Dontcha? Or watch some porn? That’s worse than bullshit – it’s insulting. There’s nothing liberating or ennobling about behaving like a deer during the rut.

Religious institutions have traditionally taken the opposite position and have promoted monogamy as the only acceptable way for a person to have any kind of sex. Traditional, heterosexual, boring sex. The idea was that if you enjoyed it as little as possible, it was okay. Probably the reason behind so much “religious” homophobia is the suspicion that the queers were actually enjoying themselves. If you’re a traditional heterosexual and you like the styles of sex that your church doesn’t actively condemn, good on ya.

Everybody else has to figure shit out. That means establishing a personal relationship with God. It also means keeping your eyes on your own work. Let’s all take a moment to read Matthew 7:1-5:

“Do not judge, so that you may not be judged.  For with the judgment you make you will be judged, and the measure you give will be the measure you get.  Why do you see the speck in your neighbor’s eye, but do not notice the log in your own eye?  Or how can you say to your neighbor, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ while the log is in your own eye?  You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your neighbor’s eye. “

What anybody else does is none of yer friggin’ beeswax. Which is another reason to reject the popular culture – because they want you to know what other people are doing so they can convince you you’re missing out on something so they can sell it to you. Or at least sell you the inside scoop on what you’re missing out on. Feh.

Establish a relationship with God in which you acknowledge that you don’t know what’s best for you. Ask God to show you what the best course of action is for you. Get to work. It really is that simple.

No one starts out at the best possible place. We’re all works in progress. We all have to grow into our relationships with God. It’s likely that most people will start off shooting for the best possible thing they can imagine and then be disappointed when they fail. That’s normal. And that’s when the popular culture steps in and says, “Psst – you really wanna fuck everybody, dontcha?” and tries to convince you that you should download a fucking app – or at least watch some porn. I’ve written about Pastor Nadia Bolz-Weber, the Lutheran version of a rock star at the moment. She’s apparently taken the position that since everybody wants to fuck everybody, or at least watch porn, the church – or her little corner of it – should have permission to watch “ethically sourced” porn, which is better than “unethically sourced” porn – but then again, what the damn is “ethically sourced” porn? And how does one know? I guess there are porn companies that advertise their product as “ethically sourced”, but do we believe that porn merchants are always on the up and up? And yes, I get her reasoning – people are gonna look at porn, so why not give ’em permission? – which is pretty fuggin’ flimsy. Watching “ethically sourced” porn might be better than some other shit, but it’s still watching porn. Which might be okay for you – how should I know? What I just did was project my own value system, which I have developed through an active, personal relationship with God, onto other people, which I oughtn’t do. So, watch all the porn ya wanna. If it is, in fact, a sin, that is, an impediment to your personal relationship with God, and you are willing to let God direct you, you’ll eventually stop enjoying it.

Nobody is gonna start out having the best possible sex life. Things will change as we grow into our individual relationships with God. One might start out behaving like a Gomorrahian and progress to “ethically sourced” porn on their way to something even better. Point I’m making is that change will occur and if we’re actually trying to grow toward God’s ideal, we’ll discover that things we thought were A-OK a few years ago are not okay now. That’s life. Things change. Being Christian means letting God direct the changes. I know homosexuals who are living with their same sex partners and who are also active Christians. I know about – but don’t personally know – Christian homosexuals who have determined that being Christian and having a sex life are incompatible, for them, and who have chosen one over the other. Usually, that means being sexually active and quitting being religious, which is unnecessary, though some people choose celibacy or try to be straight, and stay religious. I never had to deal with that complicated mess – lucky me – but if anybody asked me, I’d say be gay and go to church. Why not? It ain’t like there ain’t sinners in the pews – not that I’m saying being gay is a sin, because determining what is and/or isn’t a sin is above my pay grade, but if it is, then it is, and church is the best place for sinners to be. Oh wait – I’m a Lutheran, which means I can drop in one of Martin Luther’s lines – “Love God and sin boldly”. On the topic of homosexuality, I’m taking that to mean, be as queer as a football bat if that’s who ya are, but c’mon down to the church. Ain’t like the rest of us ain’t sinnin’ all ourselves, too. (For more and more of Herr Luther rambling on and on about sin and sinning and sinny-sinfulsins, please see his Commentary on the Epistle to the Galatians, which will also demonstrate that this here writer, who tends to meander in circles of prose, belabor the most obvious and come back around for the nth time, is well within the Lutheran writing tradition.)

So – when you try to be perfect and fail, don’t give up. If your ideal sex life is not cheating on your wife and you’re only able to cheat less often, that’s a step in the right direction. Keep working, praying and striving and eventually you’ll just be jerkin’ off to porn, at which point you can try to figure out what “ethically sourced” porn is. And keep your eyes on your own work. It doesn’t matter what other people are doing.

Everybody is sinning. That’s just the human condition. We’re also all justified by faith in Christ. Certainly, we should try to rise above the muck when we can, but our slippage is assured.

Well, that’s all I have to say on that subject. Let us never speak of it again.

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