When someone climbs up on their high horse and declares in a sanctimonious tone that “It’s not all about sex,” I laugh. What single act brought every living human into existence? (Excluding artificial insemination, of course.) Even Mary had a steamy encounter with the Holy Ghost. If sex were not the strongest driving factor, our species would have died out when food was scarce and it would have been easier for a man to preserve his own life rather than go hungry to feed his pregnant wife. It’s hardwired through millions of years of evolutionary success.
Sex is dirty. No! Sex is NOT dirty. It’s not innately naughty, either. It may be imprudent. It may be irresponsible. It may add a lot of responsibility. It may feel wrong. It may even be wrong. As a small child, I never believed that the sin of Adam and Eve was eating fruit. I also never believed that it was sin. In the Judeo-Christian tradition, if the first couple hadn’t copulated, none of us spoiled brats would even exist to criticize them. Just as sex may represent a commitment, it may also represent a betrayal of a commitment made to someone else. It can be selfish, but it can also be selfless. It can be disappointing, but it can also be transcendent. It is the chief human sacrament. To me, it is the holy of holies. Nonconsensual sex is a violation of something sacred. Sex is many things, but it is not dirty. It is beautiful.
Gender labels are the most significant. He is a boy. She is a woman. It’s the first thing we notice about someone and it affects every aspect of our interaction. Some say that gender labels are meaningless, hurtful, or conditioned, or _______. (Fill in the blank. There’s a new theory coming shortly from gender studies majors. I can feel it.) Nevertheless, a fight against gender is still about gender, isn’t it? “The lady doth protest too much, methinks.” Male, female, trans, intersexual, asexual, abstinent, straight, gay, etc. (including all others arising on almost a daily basis these days)—these are labels about sexual identification or orientation and they are the most significant ways we identify ourselves and others.
Gender is only the surface of this issue, however. Love is the deep matter. Friends love each other. Followers love leaders and leaders love followers. Believers love God and God certainly loves us all. Beyond those relationships, however, there is a love that lights the soul on fire, that burns in the chest, that fills the mind with dreams. It’s a love that makes it difficult to eat or to concentrate when the object our affection is nowhere to be seen. It keeps us up at nights and fills our soul with grief when it’s lost or unrequited. Some people would call this infatuation, Hollywood love, or some other pejorative. Perhaps these people have never truly loved. Regardless of what you call it, it drives us crazy, but it drives us. Oh, how it drives us! And it’s directed at someone whom we consider a sexual mate, not a friend, not a leader, not a god. It makes us gods!
Someone told me that JACK is about sex. Of course JACK is about sex! Everything is. Don’t expect an erotic novel, however. Going to work is about sex, taking our offspring to an amusement park, … Well, I think you get the idea. Both the exciting and the mundane aspects of our lives all lead to one thing, ensuring that our species leaves behind healthy boys and healthy girls. I’m not referring to people who can’t have children or to people who choose not to. Sometimes these people are more vigilant than parents at protecting our species’ progeny. Whatever destroys that is evil. Suddenly I realize that not everything is about sex. Some things are simply evil, instead.
Image credit Wagner Cesar Munhoz (here).