After church this afternoon, I was chatting with a friend of mine who is LDS, happy–and gay (or same-sex attracted if you live in a state that is not attached to an ocean). We talked some about the LDS Church’s new website, Love One Another: A Discussion on Same-Sex Attraction and how it’s great that the Mormon Church is at least trying when it comes to understanding same-sex attraction.
During our discussion, he said that as a gay–and celibate–Latter-day Saint it is often a source of great sadness to consider that he may never again experience intimacy with another person. When he said this, he really got me thinking. My friend had mentioned to me before that I’ve apparently got it easy because I’m married and heterosexual, and can therefore have sexual intimacy whenever I want.
What he didn’t know at the time was that my wife and I have been separated and are therefore not intimate for approaching one year now. In fact, given that my addiction and I have completely murdered the sexual component of my relationship with my wife, we may never again be sexually intimate. I pointed this out to him and then observed that he and I were in basically the same position regarding the law of chastity and that our sexual orientation was pretty much irrelevant. To observe the law of chastity, we both have to be completely celibate.
I realized during our discussion that he and I and probably a lot of other people have been operating under some false assumptions about sex for a long time. When I brought this up to him, he thought about it and then agreed. There is a false assumption held by many Latter-day Saints that the only way to be completely fulfilled, happy and healthy is to be having sex. We have also bought into the idea that the flip side is also true: if we are not having lots and lots of sex all the time, then we are necessarily unfulfilled, unhappy and miserably unhealthy. False! Lies!
I reject both of those ideas as complete rubbish. I will not accept them and I do not believe that anything in the Gospel of Jesus Christ requires me to accept them. To the contrary, I believe this idea that sex is the highest and most vital component of true happiness to be a lie. While sex can be one component of a happy and fulfilling marriage, I do not believe that it is required. I flatly refuse to accept that I will somehow be less than completely happy as I live the Savior’s gospel merely because I’m not having sex with someone. I don’t think my friend will either.
When I compare my happiness now (celibate and working on recovery) to what I had before (sexually active and stumbling along in the misery of my addiction), I will take the former ten times out of ten over the latter. We’ve already established that sex is not the highest form of love. I think it’s time we understood that sex really is optional, that we won’t die if we don’t have it, and that in fact we can be completely fulfilled, happy and healthy without it. Hollywood would probably disagree–and that’s how I know I’m on the right track.
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