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  • Reverend James Squire

Sex Matters

Updated: May 24, 2021

Sex Matters

Depending how you interpret the title of this blog, it could mean that sex is important or the fact that we will cover content related to understanding the behavior and ethics of human sexuality. We will do both.

We need to have an understanding of what brought the most famous rich person, Bill Gates, to the eventual breakdown of his marriage. How could this happen? Why did he have an affair 20 years ago? Were their other affairs? Was that the reason that he had to step down from the board of Microsoft? He’s a smart guy! He is the embodiment of reason. It doesn’t make sense. I will go over the content of issues of sexuality, but you, the reader, will have to come to your own conclusions as whether you agree or disagree with the points that I will cover. We covered every topic including human sexuality in my Ethics class. Once trust is established in the classroom, you get the most honest dialogue and perceptions of the “matters” in a clear way.

First, it is not easy for an adult to enter the world of the adolescent to discuss this topic with young people. I will give you two examples of how awkward it can become. Years ago, I was part of a committee to form an April Day Alternate Learning experience. For one day we had a listing of subjects that students could cover that were not part of the curriculum. One of the topics was “Sex Education.” As you would expect, the class was packed. Since no faculty would volunteer to be in the room with our visiting lecturer and students, I became the default choice. The sex educator began by writing every slang term for male and female genitalia on the blackboard as she called them out as she was writing. The kids were up in arms and protested mightily that she couldn’t say those things in front of Reverend Squire. Her goal was to get the unspoken out to enable the discussion. “Nothing else will shock you,” she replied.

I usually began the sexual ethics unit by asking the students if they could think of movies that they would be uncomfortable viewing with their parents. A torrent of titles was forth coming. One student described the worst two hours of his life by taking a flight during Spring break with his mother, a psychiatrist, and watching the only movie available on the plane. It was “Something About Mary.” It was pretty graphic. He thought he was going to die!

Here is what the students would say about sex matters and what the research indicates. The reader has to make his or her own conclusions for you can get studies to support any point of view. We will assume a heterosexual model as the context for discussion.

Can you have a friend who is a member of the opposite sex? The students felt strongly that you could. In fact, they had such friends. Research supports the student view but also says you can’t as you are always will have a hidden agenda of being attracted to the member of the opposite sex. The students felt that a member of the opposite sex could give them objective information about a boyfriend or girlfriend.

For a long period of time, it was thought that males think about sex every 7 seconds. That would mean about 8000 times a day. Most studies indicate that females think about sex half as much as males. You can choose the number for you. Thinking about sex is also linked to thinking about food and sleep. I didn’t allow students to discuss this as it would have been too revelatory about their own sexuality, but there were a lot of heads nodding as this matter was presented in terms of the number of times the topic of sex was thought about by girls and guys.

Sexuality has three basic functions. One is that it is needed for procreation which means that it is biological in nature and needs to be taken more seriously since it has the function of the procreation of humankind. The second function is the creation of intimacy. The third function is communication of feelings and pleasure. Each religious or secular ethic ranks these three functions differently. The most obvious example is the Roman Catholic Ethic which does not permit sex outside of marriage, and the first function is procreation based in its natural law component where nothing should interfere with the natural continuum. That means no birth control as well during marriage.

There are matters of human sexuality that get us quickly into the “danger zone.”

First, date rape is something that we did discussed in Ethics’ class. I had Katie Koestner come to EA in the early 90(s) to speak to the community. Katie was the first person to be public about her date rape. She was controversial at the time as people were first coming to terms with this issue. I had her come back later as well as she became the face of the issue and was on the cover of “Time Magazine.” She had invited her rapist to come back to her room and was criticized for a lack of social/emotional intelligence. This occurred when she was a student at William and Mary. She received little support from the school or friends. The student who raped her indicated that he had heard Katie say “No” 12 times. The rapist did not receive a significant punishment.

What the students learned is whether you are a guy or a girl be very aware of expectations, yours and another’s. “No” means no. There is an undisputed study about date rape. Alcohol is usually involved. “Approximately 90 percent of rapes perpetuated by an acquaintance of the victim involve alcohol. 43% of sexual assault events involve alcohol use by the victim. 69% percent involve alcohol use of the perpetrator.” ( sexual assault college campus) Men and women students need to have heightened awareness of these facts. My experience in counseling people is that !00% of the time alcohol is involved by both the boy the and girl.

Back to Bill Gates. C. S. Lewis, Christian apologist, offers the best explanation for Gates’ behavior in his book describing the four loves in the Greek and specifically the Greek understanding of Eros. Certainly, a difference of power can be present as was true for Gates, but there is something more critical. Lewis explains that sex is a passion. When passion enters a relationship, reason leaves. That is the answer to the question, “How could he do this?” Think of something that you and I are passionate about. Let’s take running for me. I will do anything to get out on the highway. If an injury occurs, I will continue to rehab, but I will be out on the highway as soon as possible. Injuries, illness, and weather have never stopped me. My family thinks that I have taken the issue too far. What’s your passion that clouds your reason?

We can see passion a lot more clearly with students. Once a student falls in love, some faculty, parents, and friends think they have lost their minds, and in a way they have. They always want to be with the person. They become forgetful of everything but the “other.” You cannot reason with them! Sex Matters! Even to the Bill Gates of the world, it matters to the most reasonable.

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