Seven Deadly Topics #3 — Sexual Orientation: Celibate

Feast of Ss. Soter and Caius, Bishops and Martyrs.

So, I’ve got a lot of things I should be doing, but instead I’m going to throw down here in the Blogosphere. Because I am very, very angry.

Why, in the name of all the saints in heaven and on earth, is it so wrong for a person in this society to NOT be having sex? Yes, I’m asking this in all seriousness.

We’ve got these giant battles going on in our Church today about the ‘sexual orientation’ of our leaders. Quite frankly, in my mind, what people who aren’t me are doing with their clothes off is none of my damn business, and honest to God, I really don’t want to make it any of my damn business. I’ve got more important things to worry about (like, oh, the Vestry minutes I’m two weeks late with typing up, and my laundry, and finding a teaching gig for next year…)

However, have you noticed something about all this ‘sexual orientation’ talk? It has an underlying assumption that I think this culture has buried so deep that it’s now our collective subconcious.

By claiming a sexual orientation, the assumption is that you’re having sex.

No, really. Think about it. The best example is the Roman Catholics, who, in theory, have that other option that people rarely talk about, celibacy. Their priests are all supposed to be celibate, no sex at all, at all. But now they’re dividing them into two camps: homo-sexual and hetero-sexual.

Waitaminute, if you’re never, no never, no never going to have sex ’cause you promised your bishop, your mother, and your God that you wouldn’t, what, in the Name of all that’s Good and Holy, does it matter if someone says you’re hetero-sexual or homo-sexual?

(And don’t you be thinking that if, by some wild and completely random chance I ever come into the presence of the Pope, I’m not going to open with that. If he’s really lucky, I might say “Hello, Your Holiness” first.)

So, we’ve outlined the playing field: hetero-sexual or homo-sexual. That’s the extent of the spectrum in our dualistic society; any freak who says they’re somewhere between the black and the white (bi-sexual) is just a slut.

These options suck.

And the fact that I don’t spend a good portion of my time 1) searching for someone to have sex with and/or 2) whining because I’m not having sex, that makes me the freak of nature! Because, dear God, we can’t imagine a human being out there who isn’t an unbridled lustmonkey acting out on their hormones. That’s umpossible! The teevee and the novels and the glossy magazines that do nothing but talk about the sex lives of famous people tell us so!

But please, please, please, for the love of God, can we try to imagine this person, who isn’t ruled by hormones and the media? And not imagine them as someone who’s so afraid of an Angry God what’s got a lightning bolt with their name on it that they can’t let themselves enjoy life, even a little? Can we imagine this person, this example, and use them to explain to the children growing up in a society where sex is used to sell chewing gum and lettuce that there is another option?

Can we, for once, admit that yeah, sex is nice, but it’s not the only thing in this wide, wonderful world of ours?

Pretty please?
With sugar on top?



Filed under Seven Deadly Blog Topics

2 responses to “Seven Deadly Topics #3 — Sexual Orientation: Celibate

  1. The fact that the hangup happens here also generally allows us to reduce same-sex couples to sex. We get sexualized in ways opposite-sex couples do not. In doing taht, the quality of the relationship, growth in Christ, fruits of the spirit get lost. As if sex is the only thing that binds my partner and I. As with any relationship sex ebbs and flows, but love and promises bind us. We even from time to time practice abstinence as a spiritual discipline. I bet that’d shock some both in Church and society who are sex obsessed.

    I encountered someone who mused in a rather nasty way recently about what is a monogomous bisexual person? How could such exist? By promises and love, of course.

    The media contributes but so does much of the Church talk around sexuality, which is polar and binary and is unable to deal with sexuality in healthy ways. Frankly, much of the RC talk around celibacy as I’ve experienced it among young men is unhealthy set in binaries that seek to weed out sexuality rather than integrate it. Celibate does not mean without sexuality, and that is the mistake so many people make. Sexuality is deeply a part of our capacity to connect and that can be expressed both in sexual and non-sexual ways.

    I empathize. The options as present suck. I recommend Elizabeth Stuart’s “Gay and Lesbian Theologies” which addresses this in her closing chapters from a rather orthodox place.

  2. THANK YOU!!!!!!

    This was my thought with the whole “We can’t have gays in the seminary” thing. If they’re not supposed to be having sex anyway ….

    And, I’ve also gotten very annoyed how that’s the automatic fixation with entering religious life — “You mean you’re not gonna have sex!?!!??!?”

    Glad I’m not the only one ….