Let’s get things out in the open. I’m about to offend many of you. I wish that weren’t the case, but for so many people, just the topic of sex is offensive. But that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t talk about it. And here’s why: Sex is essential to our survival, an important part of a healthy life, and a great pleasure. But many people feel sinful about it, reluctant to talk about it, and afraid of knowing too much.
And that’s exactly why we DO need to talk about it.
I live in Pennsylvania. What does that have to do with sex? These days, it has to do with a guy named Sandusky, who was enabled by Penn State for YEARS as he sexually abused young boys, while people like the “great” Joe Paterno and the president of the university not only looked the other way, but also seemingly rewarded those who kept it quiet. Why? Because of freaking FOOTBALL! American football, our national religion—where winning is everything and losing is not an option. So now, anyone of any age can read in my local newspapers or online the DETAILS of pedophilic sex, which, if you ask me, is the most unacceptable and most egregious form of sex imaginable.
And yet, we are not “allowed” nor especially encouraged to write about, show, teach, or report on the wonderful, healthy, respectful, and loving way we should all celebrate our sexuality.
This is nothing new. Let’s talk about another religion, this one global: We’ve been reading for years about priests who gain the trust of their religious followers so they can have access to little children who then become SCARRED FOR LIFE from being repeatedly sexually abused. And this wasn’t just a local phenomenon. It happened all around the world to innocent children who will never regain that innocence.
What is it about religion and football that enables this to occur? And how can anyone who is a fan of either American Football or Catholicism still be associated with those religions and THEN be opposed to healthy, loving marriage and consensual sex between adults of the same sex?
These facts don’t compute for me. Unfortunately, we are not a fact-based species. We are a fear-based tribal species. To step away from our tribes when they are fundamentally wrong is frightening. But it must be done if we are to become fully human.
The great news is that our digital world is exposing these crimes in ways they have never been exposed before. The question is what will we do about it? Who are we in this debate, and how will we respond? Who can we become if we allow ourselves to become fully human?
I know a lot of people who are Catholics and Penn State fans. I know they loathe what their institutions did. The question now is can we be supporters of the suppression of healthy sexual education and acceptance WITHOUT also enabling horrible crimes against children to occur? One of my favorite sayings is, “What we suppress must get expressed.” I don’t know who said it or where it came from, but I see it in life all the time.
What is the opposite of suppression? Expression. Our job is to explore and express our own sexuality in a healthy, accepting way and to teach our children to do the same. The cult of celibacy and virginity is not about love. It’s about fear and control—control of property and wealth. I’m not saying at all that celibacy and virginity are not valid spiritual or life choices…but each should be just that, a choice.
Those little children never got a choice.
I believe we need to protect our children with knowledge, not ignorance. We need to guide them with love, not fear. And we need to bring healthy, loving sexuality out into the light so that the darkness has no power over us. Where we shine the light of illumination, there needn’t be fear of the dark.