Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Sex, Lies, and You - Part I of III

Sex, lies, and you, Part I of III

This series of posts is in direct response to this blog post and the related discussion below.  (What?  It takes me a while to get my thoughts in order sometimes.)  As much fun as comment whack-a-mole is, it does get time-consuming and exhausting.  So I decided to organize my thoughts and put them all in one place.  This will read like a series of lies and my responses, based on observation and experience.  You know, like, facts.  Not baseless assertions, not insults, not condescension.    

Anyway, here we go -

“Sex is just an animalistic act.”
See also: “Sex is the deepest giving of yourself.”
See also: “Women are hard-wired to bond deeply during sex.”
See also: “Men are hard-wired to not commit and use women for sex.”

No.  Well, yes.  Sometimes. 

Sex seems to mean whatever your relationship with the other person means.  It’s that type of “sex has inherent value” thinking that leads to rape and sexual assault victims feeling ashamed and “ruined” (see Elizabeth Smart).

So, yeah – people are absolutely correct when they say that “everyone should decide for themselves.”  Because everyone’s situation is different.  Two spouses who love each other will experience the deepest giving of self during sex.  Two virtual strangers who have a one-night stand merely perform an animalistic act.

Here’s a clue: recognizing that context matters doesn’t mean moral relativity.

Regarding the disparity in wiring between men and women – how can you say this and then turn around and say, “Oh, sex within marriage is the deepest giving of self.”  Do you not see how this undermines the concept of sex being a bonding experience within marriage?  How can anyone possibly bond with such a gross disparity supposedly “hardwired” in?  Further, this nonsense all but excuses the way some men treat women like objects: “It’s in their nature.”

 “God’s law says that only sex within marriage is okay.”

Awesome.  Let’s have that discussion.  Totally separate from slut-shaming, putting virginity on a pedestal, broad pronouncements about “universals” of experience that don’t exist, and all that other crap.  Principles of interpersonal relationships appear to exist independently of what laws God and the Church have in place.  That’s why it doesn’t follow that, for example, “People who have sex before marriage and don’t regret it have inherently dysfunctional relationships.”  It doesn’t work that way.  And when you lie to people, it will only work until they figure out they are being lied to.  Then see if they ever trust you again.

“If you have sex before marriage, you will regret it.”

Maybe.  I’ve noticed among reading many testimonials and meeting many individuals that if you have sex because of other people you will probably regret it.  “Because of other people” means a variety of things, including being pressured into it, seeking love or acceptance, or feeling like you “should” for whatever reason.

On the other hand, simply holding sex up on a pedestal sets you up for disappointment, either in yourself because you didn’t wait as long as you wanted (and now you’re “ruined”), or in sex itself when you finally get married and realize that it’s not anything like the movies.  It’s better than the movies in a lot of ways, but you have to be open to appreciating sex for what it IS, not what you WANT IT TO BE based on books, movies, or porn.

However, if you have sex because you want to, with symmetrical feelings and expectations, those are the people with no regrets, because they had sex for the right reasons.  This is why sex within marriage usually goes so well – if two people love each other enough to get married, it’s pretty clear at that point that their relationship is symmetrical with regard to emotion and commitment.  On the other extreme end of the spectrum we have the one-night stand, another event with two people with symmetrical feelings and expectations (i.e. virtually none).  This is why one-night stands also tend to go well.

Where you run into trouble is either a friends-with-benefits arrangement or a dating relationship.  There is an EXTREMELY high risk of asymmetry, meaning one person has more feelings than the other one.  It’s when there’s a disparity in feelings and expectations that the trouble begins.  Issues are compounded by the fact that these two individuals tend to be immature enough to not SAY anything to each other, or ACT prudently on what they know to be true, so they suffer / assume in silence, while the problem grows.  “Well it wouldn’t be an issue if they weren’t having sex!”  Baloney.  Asymmetry in relationships is ALWAYS a risk in relationships.  Stories abound of unrequited love between friends, or of couples who are dating or even engaged where one person is more in love than the other, as well as the classic left-at-the-altar story where someone’s heart gets broken and there is NO sex involved.  Sex is not the issue; the disparity in expectations is.

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