Sex-Positive Christianity?

In the context of my work at Multifaith Works, sexuality is a common topic of discussion in a variety of venues, and I've recently been exposed there to the term "sex-positive". (If I had taken Theology, Sociology and Philosophy courses at a venue other than a conservative Christian college, apparently this would have been a term with which I would have been long acquainted...) Reading up on the sex-positive movement, it strikes me that what I've been trying to do on the ol' blog in hashing out an Anglican theology of sexuality is to come up with something that is of the same spirit, but from an Anglican Christian perspective.

To steal a quote from Wikipedia, in Real Live Nude Girl: Chronicles of Sex-Positive Culture, Carol Queen defines Sex-Positivity as such:

"Sex-positive, a term that's coming into cultural awareness, isn't a dippy love-child celebration of orgone – it's a simple yet radical affirmation that we each grow our own passions on a different medium, that instead of having two or three or even half a dozen sexual orientations, we should be thinking in terms of millions. "Sex-positive" respects each of our unique sexual profiles, even as we acknowledge that some of us have been damaged by a culture that tries to eradicate sexual difference and possibility." (full article)

Sex-positivity is a prototypically "tolerant" idea--embracing human sexuality in all of it's forms--so the initial concern about it, at least as defined in the Wikipedia article, would be that it points towards the apathetic and non-committal airy-fairy-ness that can be the worst quality of liberalism. Then again, that's the concern with any so called liberal or indeed, post-modern idea. It's also a concern that one usually gets over when one reads the serious proponents of these ideas (rather than just the Wikipedia versions), and when one reflects on the fact that reality is complex enough that it's probably a good thing to be non-committal from time to time. Whatever my own reservations, in spirit I think they're getting at something important, which is that in the post-birth control, post-patriarchal, diverse, post-modern world, sexuality is something that has to be rethought and redefined from a moral perspective as well as a pragmatic one. I'm with them on the idea that in recent years sexuality has generally been viewed through a narrow, rigid/scientific lens, though I'm not sure that I would define the traditional/modernist Western vision of sex as "sex-negative" in any universal sense. For me, re-imagining sexuality has to mean a widening of our vision, a reaffirmation of the conception that sexuality is a good thing, and from an Anglican perspective, a redefinition of sexuality within the context of a sacramental, panentheistic worldview. I think I'm a Christian and sex-positive. (Maybe this doesn't make sense. Christians, of course, are generally given the blame for the setting up our stuffy sexual climate in the first place. Then again, Christians are also blamed for the environmental crisis and most of history's wars.)

One of the more interesting things I've come across in my little perusal today of the Wikipedian articles is how much my recent ideas on pornography have in common with some strands of thought in the sex-positive feminist movement. (One of my last points on the second of those posts was that women don't want to talk to men about these issues. Maybe it would have been better to say that the women that I want to talk to don't want to talk to men about these issues, because apparently lots of women do. Scary women. SEXUAL women!!) It's nice to be reminded that my thought always jibes so well with cultural trends, and that I'm impeccably unoriginal--30 years behind the times even. It's also nice to know though that it's not just me and a bunch of perverted old men who affirm that porno might not be universally birthed from the Satanic Lakes of Fire.

(For a final fun fact, a term that's been birthed by the sex-positive movement is "pomosexual", a combination of "postmodern" and "sexual" which can be used by anyone who doesn't want to identify with traditional sexual definitions-Homo, Hetero, Bi, whatever. I love it, in the ironic way that I love The Creation Museum in Kentucky and my friend Blaire's self-identification as a Jewpiscopalian.)


Sure, but why don't they allow firearms at the Creation Museum?
Unknown said…
I don't know. Is that a loaded question?
Anonymous said…
I bet you'd love The Creation Museum at Waikouaiti even more. It's infested with mice.
Jen said…
Hey, I want to read your porn post, but it didn't link to it! :(
Andy said…
Panentheism ignores that God cursed the ground.

Sex outside of God's ideal is part of the fall of humanity.