My youth group kids didn’t want to talk about sex.
They had a speaker that came in the year before I showed up, and her sex talk was mostly littered with phrases like ‘true love waits’ and reminders that abstinence was the only sure way to avoid sexually transmitted diseases & teen pregnancy.
I now understand why, when I asked if they wanted me to give a message about human sexuality, they froze up & shook their heads in dismay like kids on a playground staring at the big, sweaty, and freckled school bully as he approached.
It’s pretty obvious that sex is a powerful thing, but we’re all divided on what it is & why it is.
I read an article in GQ magazine a while ago talking about the gentleman’s guide to a one-night stand from a pseudonymous woman’s perspective.  In one sentence, it talked about how it’s just a no-strings-attached transaction: both people want sex and that’s just it.
It said later that you shouldn’t leave at 2 a.m. because if you bailed minutes after sex, it’d make the woman feel like a big pile of garbage. That was always curious to me because she just said sex was a transaction and I never feel obligated to hang out with the Domino’s delivery guy after I exchange $15.82 for two medium two topping pizzas.
I’ve always had this hunch that sex is more than just a transaction. I think you do, too.
My ecclesiology professor says that the Hebrews thought that relationships were living, breathing things. That means for every two groups in the relationship, there’s a third thing called “us.” Your life and mine are made up of these relationships. They’re always growing or dying, never static. It’s always shaping reality both for the two groups and the stuff around it.
So if I say something stupid to my fiancée Kasey, that doesn’t just hurt her. I’m punching the living, breathing “us” in the gut & knocking the wind out of it. Then our “us” relationship angrily bumps into other relationships around it & makes some ugly things happen in the process. We’re doing this all the time. Trust me, I just did it ten minutes ago.
It seems like there’s no place where that’s truer than in sex.
I can’t speak from experience, but what makes sexuality so powerful is that it takes things like “you” and “me” and makes them into “us” in a way that no other expression of relationship does. Feel free to disagree, but I’d even argue that sexuality might be the most creative power there is, for both good & bad.
Think about it: from the tributaries of human sexuality, civil rights movements are launched, marketing companies expend billions of dollars, music artists are forced to skimp clothing, babies are born, families are formed, marriages are founded while mistakes fracture them, intimacy is cultivated, humanity is upheld, and systemic injustices are perpetuated.
It makes me wonder if, when kasey & I engage with these cliché premarital questions about sexuality & our sex life in the future, what we’re really being asked is what kind of world we want to make.
I wonder what it’ll look like for us to grow & nurture “us” through our sexuality. I wonder if we’ll see the world we’ll want—one of knowing, safety, love, laughter, & delight in others—and try to see that our sexuality doesn’t exist for some private transaction of physical pleasure but an opportunity to create that world in some mysterious & ordinary way.
And I wonder if we’ll really believe that the colors we make in that world—whether they’re love or lust, conflict or compassion, transaction or trust, intimacy or alienation—will bleed out into the rest of the world, just like sexuality has, is, and always will do.