Are we made for sex?

The more I ponder the topic of celibacy, the more clear it becomes.  The fundamental question is, Are we made for sex?  Put differently, but getting at the same issue:  Is our most basic nature sexual?

In the book that got me started on this whole little trip in my brain, there’s an interesting claim.  That claim is that monks and nuns are quite unique in the world.  Because they are open and honest about the fact that they are sublimating their sexuality to other purposes.

Sublimation, as you may know, is a Freudian concept.  The idea is that we might turn a certain type of desire into another type of desire.  In this case, the idea is that monks and nuns take sexuality and convert it to spirituality.

But there’s a certain ammount of question-begging going on here.

Freud was open about the fact that he began with the assumption that sexuality is at the core of our beings.  The world is a little more subtle about this implication but no less staunch for all that.  Built into the very fiber of our being is our sexual nature.

What was striking to me about the two quotes from proponents of celibacy that I posted previously, was their idea that what they are doing is in fact much more in keeping with the way that we are constructred.

I think that it should be taken into account that with out sex none of us would have been born.   However, the views of these monks and nuns is worth wrestling with…

What if it is we who are sublimating… converting a certain type of energy into something it wasn’t supposed to be?

I think that scripture ought to be the final authority… Paul, in particular,  has got some interesting things to say on the subject.   Until I get there… what are you thinking about the topic?


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The stories that speak to our soul begin at a home where things are good. Cinderella is happy with her father. The three little pigs have grown up and are ready to move on. Bilbo Baggins knows his shire. Adam and Eve walk with God in the garden. My story isn’t much different. There was a time and a place where it was so good. There was a community for me. And there was joy. We were filled with a sincere desire to do what God wanted us to do. We possessed explanations and understandings that went a certain distance. We offered security and tradition and laughter. For a lot of years, that was enough. I have this sense that it was also necessary. I have this surety, now, that it certainly wasn’t everything. There were some things that became increasingly problematic as time went by. There was a desire to package things up so very neatly. Sunday morning services were efficient and strategic. Responses to differences of opinion were premeditated. Formula began to feel more important than being real. A real desire for everybody to be one of us, but also a real sense that there is an us, and there is a them. They carried a regret that it has to be this way, but deeper than this regret was a surety that this is how it is. I began to recognize that there was a cost of admission to that group. There were people who sat at the door, collecting it. Those people wished they didn’t have to. But I guess they felt like they did have to. They let some people in, and they left others out. There was a provisional membership. My friends did possess a desire to accommodate people that are different… But it would be best for everyone concerned if they were only a little bit different. I did make many steps forward in this place. Before I went there, there were lies that I believed. Some of the things that I learned there, I still hold on to. But that place is not my home anymore. Those people are not my community anymore. There were times it was hard. I am engaged in a different community now. And I am working hard at finding a place in many different places now, embracing many different kind of families. I don’t always get it right. I am trying and I am learning and I am moving foreward. I have this sense that I am not alone in these experiences. I believe that we are tribe and we are growing. We are pilgrims, looking for a new holy land. Perhaps we won’t settle on the same spot of land. But if you’ve read this far, I am thinking that we are probably headed in the same general direction. I have begun this blog to talk about where my journey is taking me. In every space, we find people who help us along. And maybe we can get to know each other, here. We embrace ideas that provide a structure for the things we believe, and perhaps we can share these too. Maybe we can form a group, a tribe, a community, if we can figure out a way to work through the shadow of these kinds of groups, if we can bigger than the us-and-them ideas that have caused so much trouble in the past. As important as they are, I think the very nature of online interactions will lend itself to something equally powerful. I am stumbling onto these practices that my grandfathers and great grandfathers in the faith engaged in. I am learning about these attitudes and intuitions are so different than the kinds of things we call doctrine today. I don’t know about you, but I am running out of patience, and even interest, in conversations about doctrine. I hope that maybe you’ll share a little something about where your journey is taking you, and maybe our common joys and challenges might help each other along, and we might lift each other up. Thanks for doing this journey with me.

2 thoughts on “Are we made for sex?”

  1. I think we are made to glorify God and to enjoy authentic community both with man and God. God created sex to be more than physical and it’s nearly impossible to separate the physical from the immaterial (emotions, spiritual, feelings). Perhaps sex is an illustration of that need, a way to connect to an “authentic community” in the most basic primal way. Authentic community with God brings spiritual life and sex brings life as well.


  2. Those are some excellent points.
    Like so many other good things, it seems like keeping sex in perspective is crucial… Will it be our idol or will it be something that helps us remember what an awesome creator we have?


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