Points of Sexual Ethics as they apply to Homosexuals, Heterosexuals, Christians, and Pagans

From a discussion on ISCA.

Sep 19, 1995 09:43 from FtC
I need some advice!

I have a really good friend (we’ve been friends for almost 20 years!) and he is gay, or at least he thinks he may be. The reason he thinks he may be is that he has fantasized about relationships with men, but he has never acted on these fantasies. He asked me a couple of perplexing questions, and I was hoping you may have an answer. First of all, he doesn’t want to be gay, but he says he “just can’t shake these feelings,” and second, he has had sex with a woman, but “it was empty sex – there were no real feelings there.” His questions I couldn’t answer were this:

  1. Why would God make me homosexual or allow the devil to have this power over me?
  2. Since I don’t know if I am homosexual for sure [he’s never had sex with a man], should I try it to destroy these fantasies I’m having?

The first question I had no answer for. The second one, I initially said “no,” not only because of it being a homosexual relationship, but he would also be having sex outside of marriage. When I realized that he had already had sex with a woman, I found that it was the idea of it being a homosexual relationship that bothered me.

If anyone has any advice that I could pass on, we would both really appreciate it!! Thanks for your time with this long post!

[Spiritual Forum> msg #32810

Sep 19, 1995 11:12 from Rose

The question of “Why would God make me homosexual, or allow the devil to have this power over me” is one of the reasons that I left Christianity and turned (eventually) to Wicca.

When analyzed thoughtfully, the question really is:
How does one incorporated respect for one’s self and for others into one’s sexual practices? How does one create and maintain integrity within them? How does one insure that love is a primary portion within them?
(questionS ARE, apparently)

The mere fact that the object of one’s sexual desire is of one’s own gender does not invalidate any of these questions; nor the fact that the object of one’s desire is of the opposite gender.

Obviously (to me, anyway), having sex with a person merely to establish one’s own “normality” or as a therapeutic measure in order to become “normal”

  • is disrespectful to the other person (which is just plain wrong);
  • is disrespectful to one’s self (which is self-destructive);
  • destroys integrity, because one has lied, either verbally or physically;
  • and circumvents love completely, which, again, is wrong.

Your friend has several choices to make. I would urge that he choose the path of integrity, which would include never again having sex with a woman for purposes other than to physically demonstrate love for that particular woman.

He may choose to become celibate. For some who hold to a strict, english-based interpretation of the Bible, this is the only viable option. Remind him that dreams or fantasies which do not focus on real people do not count as sins.

He may choose to study the analyses of scripture which suggest that what was being banned was the disrespectful use of other people, primarily within a situation of prostitution. […] This would permit him to court a male lover and to establish a long-term relationship with him; the mere fact that such marriages are not legally sanctioned does not need to be a barrier to their existing anyway. I am a member of such a marriage.

He may choose to enter a cycle of sinning and seeking forgiveness. This is very rough on a person, and generally ends in their losing their self-respect, their religion, or both. NOT something that I recommend.

He may choose to leave Christianity, and enter a different paradigm of philosophy, which does NOT hold that homosexuality is Of The Devil. Many people choose this; it works well only when there are other points of disagreement with Christianity than that single one.

Your friend must analyse his own spiritual life and needs closely, before making any of these choices. There are a large number of Christian churches which welcome gay members; the Metropolitan Church is one that was founded specifically to serve gay Christians. Let him know about these; they may help to moderate the self-loathing which he is demonstrably undergoing at the moment.

Above all, let him know that you will stand his friend and not abandon him as he goes through his process. Be plain that you do not share this orientation – sometimes people coming to grip with their homosexuality fall desperately in love with the few friends who stand by them. This is normal, and he will get over it (if it, indeed, does turn toward you.) Let him know that you are praying for his mental health: this is entirely proper, as it does not necessarily mean, or fail to mean, that you pray that his orientation changes. Don’t pray for that: pray that he gains mental health. Your God will sort out the proper alignment of it. Let him know, that, whatever he finally chooses, you will not condemn him, and will maintain contact with him. Remember that Jesus never condemned sinners, only those who believed that they were not sinners.

I wish him, and you, well.
[Spiritual Forum> msg #32814

Sep 19, 1995 14:17 from Faunus
Rose: Just out of curiosity, who said that the only way to have sex “with integrity” is to use sex to express love for another person? Sounds like a pretty assumption-laden statement to me. Of course, it depends on how you define “love.” Defining “love” in the most all-encompassing manner, one could say that for any act, sexual or otherwise, to be righteous, it ought to be at least an implicit expression of love.

But, from your point of view, would having sex for some reason other than love be wrong? How about from pure appetite?
[Spiritual Forum> msg #32819

Sep 19, 1995 15:45 from Rose
Sure, Faunus, I’ll discuss sexual ethics with you.

In “The Charge of the Goddess,” the Lady says “All acts of love and pleasure are my rituals.”

What FtC said was that his friend had had sex with a woman, but that there was no … hm. I disremember. I think he said that there was no emotional content. The strenuous implication there was that the friend had had sex against his normal-for-him desires, that is to say without physical desire; and also without emotional desire.

So there was no love; and there was also no pleasure. As a Wiccan, I find this blasphemous; I understand that the same reaction is not one that a Christian would necessarily have.

And yes, I would define “love” in the most all-encompassing way possible, but I think that, to be applied, “love” needs to be defined by the person getting ready to have sex. It can be a joyous celebration of the flesh between enthusiastically consenting strangers, who will never see each other again; it can be the most solemn culmination of the courtship of virgins, who will never touch another person in a sexual fashion. It depends on the emotional and spiritual needs of the people involved.

But if it does not involve celebrating one’s partner(s), either for themselves as people or for their membership in humanity, then it commits what Heinlein spoke of as the only sexual sin: to be joyless. Worse, it reaches for a coercive relationship, which is only semantically removed from rape, and I think you know my thoughts on that.

Having sex for some reason other than love? Pure desire? I have strong and positive feelings on the subject of lust, but, yes, I would say that if one fails to celebrate the humanity of the object of one’s lust/desire, then that is, in fact, wrong.

How about just to procreate? Whoo: I would say it’s even more wrong there. If one is engaging in procreative sex with someone who can not even arouse kindly thoughts, then one would do far, far better to choose an entirely different partner — or to request that they do so, as the case may be.

As to who said so: why, I did, lovey. And, just as thou art God, so I am Goddess. πŸ˜‰
[Spiritual Forum> msg #32825

Sep 19, 1995 16:00 from Faunus

I think that if any act is devoid of both pleasure and love in the most encompassing sense, it’s wrong. You added “pleasure” to the equation, Rose, and that changed things. πŸ™‚

We’re dealing in a more abstract realm than I’m comfortable making statements; you came off looking as if “love” in the romantic sense were a prerequisite for moral sex; I think that that is merely an excellent and ideal situation for it and not a moral prerequisite. You cleared up your position considerably in your next message, and while I still think there are points of it which I might quibble with, on the whole I have no beef with it.

By the way, in Christian terms, ANY act which lacks love in the BROADEST sense, and is not even pleasurable, is at least totally inane, if not wrong. Lewis once said that for a Christian there are only two valid reasons to do anything: Because you ought to (=love; including acts of love which are not accompanied by loving emotions), and because you want to. Not because people would admire you if you do it, not because everyone is doing it, not because “it’s always been done this way,” not because you’re afraid to do otherwise, not for any other reason.

Because you ought to, and because you want to.

[Spiritual Forum> msg #32828

Sep 19, 1995 16:56 from Rose
Faunus, that (coming off like I thought romantic love was important) was because I was describing acts of integrity for the friend.

Men who are homosexual (as opposed to bisexual) will rarely, if ever, experience desire toward a woman.

However, there are cases where men who are homosexual find themselves filled with love for a particular female friend. In this case, and should it be appropriate for both people, the fact that a sexual relationship between them would be unnatural would NOT, in fact, make it wrong. Kinky; a trifle tricky; but not wrong. That’s what I was trying to convey.
[Spiritual Forum> msg #32831

Sep 19, 1995 18:43 from Bodhi Dharma
Rose> I don’t know how relevant this is to your argument, so if it isn’t please ignore, but, at least from the perspective of psychology, we all have homosexual and heterosexual tendencies (and if I’m wrong about that feel free to correct). That means we are all bisexual to some extent. In our rigid society it is possible for someone who comes into contact with his/her homosexuality to begin thinking that that is all that defines his/her sexuality. In that case, later running into a member of the opposite sex whom he/she feels sexually attracted to, he/she may become confused. Now, before I get flamed by people on either side of the homo/hetero fence, let me add that in some people one of these two forces is felt far more strongly than the other. If you are one of these people, it is possible that the tendency you feel least powerfully you may not even run into contact with or it may be only a very mild sexual attraction.
[Spiritual Forum> msg #32832

Sep 20, 1995 09:06 from Rose
Bodhi Dharma:
The observations I have made indicate that, where dissolution of the psyche is threatened, the personality holds tightly to a single identity, defending that against all attacks or efforts to prove that the personality might be “slightly” different, intuiting that acceptance of this ploy will be used to argue that the personality can then just as well express itself through that slight difference.

I.e., bisexuals really have no need to act on homosexual impulse at all, as they can function perfectly well with members of the opposite sex; everyone is slightly bisexual; therefore no one needs to act on homosexual impulse. This is A Real Problem, AND (dragging the topic back to Spiritual Forum) it is an argument which is used by reasonably, but not perfectly, educated clergy to counsel their troubled members to get married and have a family.

If the mind of the person accepts the argument but the slug-mind does not, then the marriage which ensues will be just slightly wrong, as its members perceive it; the truly het partner will not understand where the problem lies, and may well blame hirself; the tension to attempt to replicate “normal” behavior will have the gay partner under intolerable stress, which can be released in any number of pathological ways; the children (if any) will truly be puzzled (there’s nothing stranger than a parent whose body language and verbal language don’t match); AND, when the whole thing blows up in their collective face, the gay partner has that many more years of guilt to deal with, the het partner is enraged by the lie that s/he has been told, the children (if any) tend also to be angry, and afraid that they might “catch” it – either the homosexuality or the social stigma from it (which is much more likely), and ALSO then experience all the trauma of a divorce.

Therefore, this argument (that most everyone is slightly bisexual) is one that must — MUST, I say — be dealt with only after the person is secure within their dominant sexuality, has accepted it, and feels no need to act to prove one thing or another about it.

To introduce it too early, and bring on a situation such as I described above, is (to my mind) Morally Wrong.
[Spiritual Forum> msg #32835

Sep 20, 1995 09:58 from Bodhi Dharma
Rose> I can see your point. I think though that the problem arises from one’s attempt to conform to “normality”. That is, it arises from one’s social environment, not one’s psyche (although it certainly intrudes into the psyche once it has originated in the environment). Other than that, I accept your position. Sometimes, I get hung up on either “theory” or “practice” and forget the other. And, yes, since this topic is way off the intention of the forum, we can drop it now.
[Spiritual Forum> msg #32836

Tuppence in the change bowl.

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