Trying to understand sex and sexuality

Ballet Dancers
Le danse éternel d’amour!

In this post I am going to try to talk about something that I have greatly struggled with for a very, very, long time!

In the media as I write this, something that continues to be prominent is the case of Harvey Weinstein, and the seemingly countless accusations against him, ranging from sexual harassment to pretty much every non-consensual sexual misdemeanour possible against grown women, including rape, as awful as that is. I’m still thinking through and wondering what conclusion or what wisdom if any, can be drawn from this case.  However this and similar cases in part illustrates what I am trying to talk about today.  This is not just about male aggressors and female victims. 

I guess, to summarise it, my struggle has been over how much my sexuality actually belongs to me and is my own to assert – I will try to explain what I mean. Many of us will have sexual urges of varying strengths. To the extent that I feel a sexual urge or yearning, that is my sexuality.  And it wants to be expressed. It wants to be asserted!  That is the whole point of sexuality, surely?!  However here is the complication.  I cannot express it by myself! Well obviously I can but the fullest expression comes when there are two of us expressing this thing together. So here is the complication that my mind has been tangled up in for so long – sexuality almost insists on being asserted, but if you release yourself to simply assert your sexuality over your sexual partner, then you end up with behaviour that is like Harvey Weinstein’s alleged behaviour, even if you are only talking about one established sexual partner rather than multiple (unwilling) ones, as in his case. As I say, I am not just talking about “horrible” men and their helpless wives or partners.  After all I’m a woman and I’ve been struggling to understand how it will all work without falling into the default position of wanting to assert something within me that yearns to be asserted!

Does any of this make sense?! Sometimes on typing out these posts I am paranoid that they do not make sense.  However on re-reading them I am usually assured that I at least can understand what I was trying to say. 

Or this is another way of putting it. When it does so happen that my mind is taken over by sexual fantasies and I either don’t want to, or I cannot find the self control to cast aside the thought, I sometimes (that is, way too often) let the thought run to its full conclusion. Sexual fantasies are extremely impure thoughts, so I don’t like just releasing my mind to them any old how.  But sometimes I do, and I let myself take gratification from these thoughts, and it is definitely not of Christ, and I half-heartedly struggle against it… Still not managing to express what I would like to express!
So thinking of sexual yearning as a kind of hunger, when I do release myself to a fantasy, then the whole point of that fantasy is to see that hunger satisfied.  So in terms of the fantasy the hunger will always find a way of being emphatically satisfied. However this is a hunger that needs someone else to be involved to be satisfied, so if in real life I was to insist on that hunger being satisfied, that would amount to asserting my sexuality over someone else which would equate to behaving like Harvey Weinstein. 

I have previously admitted (and it really is a matter of admitting) to reading erotic or extremely explicit writings – literature is really not the word. Recently in an “explosion” of frustration and more frustration and sexual impatience and yearning to finally understand and of course sheer disobedience to God I released myself to what amounts to very dark sin, and reading pretty much all the rubbish I could get my hands on. These writings are often expressions of other people’s fantasies. And this is invariably what they boil down to:  that one of the parties will be blazing with this sexual passion, and somehow they will trick, coerce, seduce, manipulate, blackmail or simply force the other party to gratify their sexual desires. And the greater the initial reluctance of the other party or the inappropriateness of the liaison, the greater the sense of gratification when the sexual goal has been attained. This is not of God.  Even as I was reading it I of course knew that this was deeply, deeply perverted and simply could not work in real life.  But that did not stop me from reading it. And if you allow yourself to fixate sufficiently on those kinds of fantasies, then inevitably it will seep over into your behaviour in real life.  The consumption of pornography is a huge factor in sexual crimes, even increasingly when children attack other children.

I believe I now understand the only thing the only way to think about our sexuality that can reliably work in real life. I’m sure that many other people might have an instinctive understanding of this, or may have worked this out in practice with their partners. However, I have never grasped it until now. 

It is simply this:  when you marry someone, you give them control over your own sexuality, and vice versa. Before you get married, then that control and authority is with God. Actually the Bible says this, but I never understood it until now. So my sexuality is never “mine” to assert, but it is completely up to my husband what expression he will allow me to give to that sexuality. And vice versa hopefully.  

So here is yet another reason to make sure you marry carefully. How profound is this, that when you marry someone, you are giving them the responsibility of looking after and nurturing your own sexuality – for life?! So the hope is that you will marry someone who is considerate and generous and will nurture your sexuality and will satisfy your sexual hunger.  The satisfaction of your sexuality will depend entirely on your spouse. If they choose to feed you adequately and generously then obviously that would be amazing.  However if they starve you, then starve you must!  

So when you are thinking of getting married, please look at your would-be spouse very very carefully!  You are not sharing your sexuality with this person, rather you are giving them complete control over the expression of your sexuality, forever! Sexuality means a lot to everyone, regardless of the strength of our libido.  Do you trust this person with such a precious gift that is so central to who you are?!

You have to hand over control to your spouse, then not try to claim it back.  Trying to claim back authority over your sexuality to assert it forcefully over your spouse equals rape.  The most you can do is ask, (and pray desperately) but no means no, even in marriage, even where the wife is the one requesting, and the husband is saying no.

Here is something else that complicates this matter.  That is, that his sexuality will not be the same as mine! Movies and perhaps TV programmes seem to peddle this absolute lie, that if we are “truly in love” that our sexuality and our sexual yearnings will always be perfectly aligned, that we will always want it at the same time, with the same intensity of yearning – actually, that we will both want it all the time, any time, that our sexuality is always ready and willing to spring into action, that this is what it means to be soulmates. 

But the idea that we are responsible for and in control of each other’s sexuality only really comes into effect where this is not true, where there is possibly a huge imbalance between our respective sexualities.  So one spouse might want it a lot more than the other or I guess there are lots of other ways that spouses could differ sexually.  So then it could become a matter of mutual sacrifice where each party in some way chooses to give up their natural inclinations to satisfy their spouse.  For me I think that it would work better if I consciously thought of myself as satisfying his needs and then asked him to satisfy my own. 

Something else that occurred to me is this:  the sexual interaction that occurs between a newly wed couple, or soon to be married couple is not representative of the marriage itself. At that point, if you are Christians and you’ve both been waiting, then the likelihood is that you will both be starving sexually. So at that point, when this person can barely keep their hands off you, then if you were to project forward into the marriage, you might assume that this is what the marriage will always look like. So if you were to ask yourself then before marriage, or during the honeymoon:  “Will this person always feed me, nurture me sexually etc etc?”, then you might be tempted to think “Of course they will!”  However, people who have been married for much longer often tell a very different story. Related to this, or a different way of putting it, the sexual intimacy that you enjoy as a sexually ravenous, newly wed couple, starved up until recently, is not normal or is not representative of what your married life will look like.  But people think and behave as if it is normal, and as if it sets the standard for what the rest of your marriage should look like.  So people talk about putting the spice “back” into your marriage. But we were utterly starving then, we had never touched one another before, we can never simulate or replicate that kind of  sexual hunger again. What will be might be indicative of the sexual intimacy that we will share will be the level of commitment and communication between us, our mutual commitment to seeing our marriage work.

Related Posts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.