Lisa Miller’s new book: Sex and the Bible: What the Good Book Really Says argues that sex before marriage=sin isn’t as air tight as conservatives say it is. She is not the first to suggest that lines from the Song of Solomon, which stand out in naked contrast to the rest of the Bibles’ tone: Your rounded thighs are like jewels, the work of a master hand. You navel is a rounded bowl that never lacks mixed wine.Your belly is a heap of wheat, encircled with lilies.
Your two breasts are like two fawns, twins of a gazelle.
could mean just what they sound like they mean. These mystical, and some would say erotic verses from the Bible are amongst the most hotly disputed to this day. Conservatives say they refer to man’s love of God or Jesus. Yes, I suppose they could be read that way.
One thing seems sure, you wont hear many evangelists quoting them on late night any time soon. There are however some Jewish traditions that read them aloud on the Sabbath.
Does the Bible really condone pleasure? Is it selfish to savor life’s beauty? Is it greedy to enjoy sex for sex? Is it okay to totally enjoy breasts and thighs? With whom? When? And what for?
The notion that if you enjoy sex deeply, it somehow makes you ‘dirty’ hides in the dark corners of people’s intimate relationships. I think the tendrils of thousands of years of sex guilt (which makes people wonder if it’s really okay to feel pleasure) seeps deeply into every corner of society. On the surface, it makes us hesitant to touch. Go a little under the surface and it makes us armor ourselves against deep feelings. Go still deeper, and sexual repression makes you numb. Repression lurks behind all sexual perversion. Any cruel sexual behavior like the gang groping of a CBS reporter- or 37 priests charged with molesting boys- or any forced sex act is the result of severe sexual repression.
In my view, although I certainly do not profess to be an expert on Bible lore, I have heard little guidance on what one is supposed TO do with sexual energy. Other than waiting till marriage or avoiding sin, what on earth is one to do with the energy from which we were all created?
Those who use fear, repression and guilt to try and regulate sexual energy will eventually fail. In my view, what’s needed is sexual education that gives meaningful guidance on how to use the powerful energies of sex with reverence and respect.
My 6 words for Intimacy today are:
Who will cherish my wild abandon
How has sexual repression affected your relationship?
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In beauty, Amara
Sex and intimacy expert Amara Charles‘ new book The Sexual Practices of Quodoushka will be out in August. For your intimate pleasure at home, download the video: www.touchfortwo.com or come to a Live Couple’s Night 3/25/ 11 in Phoenix.