Wednesday, August 09, 2006

sex and the city

So, I've been thinking about sex. That's right. I said it. And it's not only because Angela keeps mentioning the joys of married life, or that my best friends are either enjoying or planning to enjoy said rights, or that I've seen far too much lingerie in the past month, or that I have an incredible (and hot) boyfriend, or that I'm currently listening to Barry White sing "I'm Gonna Love You Just a Little More, Baby", but ALSO because I'm halfway through reading a book entitled "Real Sex" by Lauren F. Winner. It's a book on chastity.

I found it uncomfortable to read on public transit as the original cover jacket has a huge picture of a blossoming magnolia on it and REAL SEX printed in red hot lettering, so I took the cover off. Still, I had a guy chatting me up the other day, asking me what I was reading.

Me: "A book called 'Real Sex'."
Him: [eyes widen]
Me: "It's a book on chastity."
Him: "What?"
Me: "Chastity."
Him: "What's that?"
Me: "Not having sex."
Him: [eyes narrow]

In the book, Winner addresses sex and how far culture has come in providing a healthy, balanced view of sex. She starts by outlining sex in its rightful, spiritual, Biblical and marital context:

It is a law that invites into the created order of marital sex; a law that rightly orders our created desires for sexual pleasure and sexual connectedness; a law, in short, that cares for us and protects us, written by a Lawgiver who understands that life outside of God's created intent destroys us. By contrast, life lived inside the contours of God's law humanizes us and makes us beautiful. It makes us creatures living well in the created order. It gives us the opportunity to become who we are meant to be. (p. 42)

And talks about the social responsibilities that married couples have to their community, and their community to them:

...When we realize that sexual love is a primary force in constructing a household, and that households are primary components of constructing community, it begins to appear, indeed, that sexuality is something that should have a public, communal face...Sexuality is an integral part of human mutual dependence. Sex, then, is a communal topic. We Christians - whose primary idioms are not individualistic, but communal, the Body of God and the church - are to see in sexuality the bonds of community. (p. 58)
In thomas Cranmer's sixteenth-century language, brides and grooms vow that "with my body, I thee worship." Not a private affair between to atomized adults who contract to live together, Christian weddings are essentially communal. The bride and groom are surrounded by their community, and one of the most important moments of the ceremony is when the minister asks the congregation whether it will do all in its power to uphold the bride and groom intheir covenant of marriage. The congregation answers, "We will." (p.58-59)

I always liked that part of a wedding. I liked the feeling of hearing my own voice chorus with everyone else's, pledging to support the marriage, and have always looked forward to the day when I will hear a chours of voices pledging to support my own.

It's made me think of how open our culture is to discuss, analyse, dissect, scrutinize, detail, categorize, exaggerate, rate, and portray sex but how far from the marriage bed the subject has wandered. How every nuance and variety of sex is open for discussion except for married sex. It's like the only taboo sex these days is sex after marriage.

There was a commercial I remember seeing a few years ago that showed a couple furiously making out while crashing through the door of a hotel and falling on to a bed. The tag line was, "The best sex I ever had was with my wife."

If anyone can remember the advertising campaign, client, or product, let me know. I'd like to express my gratitude.


Paul Graham said...

I believe the commercial you're looking for is an old Carlsberg beer ad. Part of the "welcome to your carlsberg years" campaign. I wasn't able to find it on the internet, or any more info... perhaps someone at the TVB could help. I liked that ad, and am looking forward to my "carlsberg years".

Kate said...

I'm looking forward to his Carlsberg Years too. Er, I mean...

Sarah, lend me that book when you're finished.

andrew said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
andrew said...

Yeah. It was part of the Carlsberg campaign. 58 days until those years begin. Hot Damn.

I'd definitely recommend that book. A whole lot more balanced, than, say...Eldredge.

Kate said...

Oh yeah, I forgot about your disdain towards Eldredge. Alright Sarah, you recommended Captivating, now, balance me out.

A.J. said...

Just to put it out there I LOVE talking about sex, married sex that is ... and... I don't plan to stop!

You should read Rob and Dawn Critchley's book on sex called "Save Sex" it rocks!

Ericka said...

wow, Sarah!!! you found my all time favourite sex book (no doubt to be soon replaced by other favourite sex books...the one's about actually having it). anyway, how did you find it?!?!! it's very very wonderful. i'd love to discuss it with you...or even, hey, maybe after a month or two when a bunch of people have read it we can all sit down together and chat. yes, no?

Kate said...

I'm going to count to three and you better make that book appear in my hands.

1... 2...

Just to clarify: this is a book to be read by those of us non-participants, right?

Angela said...

Did I mention that we bought a new car?

I think we'll go to the drive-in tonight.


andrew said...

well here's the thing. and it's one of the things that winner addresses in her book:

it's probably not a bad idea to talk and think about sex, as well as its place in both private and community life, well before marriage.

modern protestant culture seems to push aside the topic until marriage is imminent or has already happened, and for healthy discussion (and practice) to occur, it seems better that there be more openness on the matter.

so. yeah. kate. read the book (you know, as soon as sarah finally gives it to you).

Andrew G said...

all i have to say is: thank God for cold showers

Kate said...



littlehoudini said...

Man, you people amuse me. Your newly married friends are obviously enjoying themselves, and the rest of you virgins are obviously struggling with NOT enjoying yourselves. Why must being religious always be about denial? If you're in love with your partner, how does a simple ceremony change things?

Yours is clearly a vengeful god, that would give you urges and then tell you to deny them.