Hey, this is Alayna. Tobias has exhausted pretty much all of his brain energy on studying for his upcoming entrance exams so as a result you all are stuck with me for today. The truth is I actually volunteered to write for today when he mentioned he didn’t have any mental energy left for a blog post. That was of course without taking into account pregnancy brain (for which I am a textbook example), so this might not be an improvement at all. He said he was in the middle of a series on theology in fiction and asked me to consider that from the perspective of books or TV I have watched recently. I’m going to detour a little from that (while still technically complying) and focus on the differences between God’s perspective on sexuality and what is seen in media and even in real life.
America in general is obsessed with sex. Whether it’s in illicit gratification (including pornography, non-marital sex, or graphic nonconsensual sexual acts displayed on TV), what one might call ‘normal marital sex’, as well as an obsession with avoiding, condemning, or in all other ways pretending that sex does not exist. Unfortunately, for how much attention the topic is given, God’s commands are nearly completely forgotten, or worse, mocked by the majority of Americans. This is seen by people who say that sex stops after marriage (a fairly popular idea on Rules of Engagement), who joke about pornography or one night stands, and even the seemingly harmless connotation of anything sexual being ‘dirty’. Just yesterday, while Tobias was booking a hotel room for us (after mentioning it was for him and his wife), the first question the other person asked was ‘how many beds?’ I get it’s part of his job and I don’t hold him responsible for what our society has become but is that really what God meant when He said that the marriage bed was to be ‘honored’? Was it something to be considered sinful or inappropriate and only to be mentioned when absolutely necessary and even then in the broadest and vaguest of terms? Or something to be used and thrown away at a whim? The same culture that idolizes sex and sexuality also encourages people to use that same sexuality by pimping out their bodies as a way to somehow advance their own agendas (and is then shocked when such actions do not lead to lasting happiness). Dare I even mention the woman in England who married her dog back in 2014 (and is apparently only one of a long list on google of people who have married their pets)?
Is it possible that in our efforts to expand sex education in the schools to the extent that we force detailed anatomical lessons or subjects like birth control and abortion on young children, that we’ve completely lost sight of what human sexuality is supposed to be? If neither removing all the stops when it comes to sex, nor treating it as taboo are appropriate, how can we best express our God-given sexuality? In a world that is all set to add more names to the list of failed sex education recipients, how can we best view our sexuality and pass that on to our children?
I think that many of the problems in our culture stem from the way we’ve handled sex and the family. The family is the core unit of any functioning society, and while it may look somewhat different in different societies (i.e. polygamous societies for instance) it still retains all of its functional parts. However, in American society we have accepted a view of sex that renounces any need of a real family structure, and then we have glorified that view of sex and the broken families that come with it. In fact, research has shown time and again that children who grow up in a stable family with a loving, active male parent and a loving, active female parent are prone to more successful, happier, and more satisfying lives. Literally, they consistently report more life satisfaction overall. Simply having two active parents of different genders greatly enhances a child’s quality of life over the course of his/her entire life, even after those parents die. Yet, we continue to fill the airwaves with television and radio shows that actively attack this idea. We print novels that promote a family destroying view of sexuality. Ultimately, we almost seem bent on our own destruction as a people and as a nation.
While I realize that a lot more goes into this than simply fiction writers, I also believe that there is a lot that fiction writers (both television/movie writers and authors of the printed word) can do to influence the societal view of sex. I would love to see more television families and views of sexuality like those found on Everyone Loves Raymond or Family Ties. Tobias would probably add some examples like the early seasons of Seventh Heaven or the FBI agent and his wife from White Collar. These aren’t boring shows or even boring characters, but they are shows and characters that give us a better example of what our lives could look like than most of what we see in the media today.