As they say, sex sells.
The church has had a lot to say about sex and sexuality. It’s been on a winding path, but over time it has developed a rather comprehensive universe-view to back its positions. I like to think, even if some people vehemently disagree with the church position, or think that the church has become bland on certain doctrinal points in relationship to its past, LDS doctrines concerning the family have been consistently unique, fresh, and vitalic (even though that’s not a word, no other word sounds right to me…so hush up!)
Even when we see the church seeming to move with other groups on matters of sex and sexuality (for example, that most controversial proposition 8 issue), what becomes clear in one way or another is that many of the church reasons will be rather unique. It’s not as if most (if any) other groups who supported prop 8 had a proclamation on the family, theology on the eternal nature of true gender or of the unique role that marriage and the family play in the eternities. Some of the prop 8 allies might not even acknowledge that gender or marriage even exist in the hereafter. Oh well; politics makes strange bedfellows (and that sells nearly as well as sex, if the post-proposition fallout has been any indication).
Prop 8 obviously was a controversial issue, so this is not where this post lies. But I think it shows, to an extent, that sex and sexuality are particularly serious business for the LDS church. I’ve had some non-member friends call the church a “sex cult,” and although I’d disagree with them strongly on many accounts concerning those words (cult? sex? sex cult?! no matter how you spin those words it just doesn’t sound like the well-meaning, wholesome [or at least wholesome-seeking] group *I* grew up in), I can at least rephrase these misunderstanding and negative words to suggest that the church, which understandably has vested interests in the family, cares about what can strengthen or weaken the family and its umbrella’d functions (which includes, yes, procreation and sex).
It seems that, whether doctrinal or cultural, in this viewpoint, we’ve gotten the idea that some people “should” be celibate in this life. We (used generally) might say, “Well, it is unfortunate that people with same-sex attraction [for example] are that way, and we don’t necessarily know why it is, because science is still out on that, and we don’t necessarily condone them just getting married to a woman to “fix” it, and it might be that they don’t “fix” it in this life…but for now, we’ll just have to ask them to hold on for this short, short life without engaging in those attractions.”
And some people object: “Isn’t that horrible?!”
But we’ve got answers. “Well, it’s unfortunate, but there are those of other circumstances who will face a burden of celibacy in this life too. That’s just the way things are.” or “Well, everyone has their thorn to deal with. Some people are predisposed to alcohol, but they have to abstain too.” And we’ve got complex issues (although I suppose these aren’t set in stone) for why this is one issue that cannot change and that cannot be abided.
And so on. No need to “judge,” but I really just wanted to pose a few questions:
- Do you think lifelong celibacy is what some people (not just any groups I may have alluded to; think broadly) “should” do to keep with the gospel?
- What do you think the role of sex in a relationship is? Is it “essential” for a “good” relationship?
- What would you think of a committed, unwed opposite-sex couple who were celibate (by mutual choice) for life?
- What would you think of a committed, unwed same-sex couple who were celibate (by mutual choice) for life?
- What would you think of a committed, married couple who were celibate (by mutual choice) for life?
- (Touchy question from a silly immature no-life-having blogger; don’t need to answer publicly): If somehow, you were pressured to be celibate for an extensive period of time by outside forces (ex: your significant other wasn’t attuned to your desires; society or the church frowned upon your sexual activity, etc.,), would you “give up” the prospect of sex?
I hope this isn’t too risque for MM. If it is, I’ll just have to get a disguise and go to FMH or something.