Ironically, both responses fall prey, it seems, to the dominant culture’s misconception that human sexuality is fundamentally a physical affair. In other words, both responses essentially accept a purely physical understanding of human sexuality, but respond in vastly different ways. The first response adopts the dominant view and sees sex purely in physical and materialistic terms. For example, what comes to mind when you hear the word “sexy” or the phrase “sexual attraction”? Without a doubt, the mental image invoked by this word and phrase are physical (i.e. physical qualities or attributes) and likely framed in images supplied by either advertisements or TV and movies. Likewise, the second response functionally adopts the dominant cultural understanding of sexuality as essentially physical, but relegates it to the level of “necessary evil.” This response concedes to the dominant cultural understanding of sexuality, but reacts usually by means of retreat from culture. This response will be marked by a general fear and absence of public talk concerning sexuality, which ironically may lead young people who are seeking to understand sexuality to the dominant cultural view because many times it is the only voice. Ultimately, both responses seem to operate under a false division between the “physical” and “spiritual”/“emotional.” The effects of such a division can be devastating.
In the next post, I want to pursue some of the effects of a purely physical view of sexuality as it relates to the two responses above.