Today at church, after the regular worship service, I attended a group discussion on faith and sexuality. Some of the questions offered for consideration were: How does one have a faithful sexual experience? What does it mean to be a sexually active Christian? If my sexuality is God given, how can I express it in a way that is healthy and worshipful and in a way that I believe would be aligned with God's will?
These are great questions and it was a decidedly interesting discussion. I feel very fortunate to have found a church community that would host such discussions when most religious institutions would certainly not encourage the topic of healthy sexual expression in a Sunday afternoon group.
There were married people and single people, straight people, gay people, lay-people and clergy.
I 'd like to further explore this idea of a sacred expression of one's sexuality. I think it's something that too few people give much thought to. The further we got into the discussion, however, the more I became aware of the fact that I don't have a healthy sexual outlet. I don't even know how to date someone let alone have a partner that I could feel safe enough to reach some kind of worshipful experience with.
Now, this is not a new topic for me. If you've read this blog you'll have noticed several older posts about my frustration on this very subject. Today, however, my frustration burrowed it's way to an even deeper and sadder place in my consciousness. Being in a room of young, attractive, articulate church folk I felt somehow, older, dirtier, more used up, as if I had less of a chance of what we were talking about than the others in the room.
Downward spiraling thoughts came steady and fast: "These people don't know about my past, my poor choices, my health status, they're so young and clean and full of promise, I have nothing in common with these people, they don't understand me, I'm so different, I have no business being here..."
I realize that these thoughts and feelings are the darker, flip-side of self-centered grandiosity but, still, my mind easily snaps into self-sabotaging behavior when I begin to feel vulnerable. My emotional experience, real or imagined, often becomes my reality. I fell back into a familiar, disconsolate and lonely place. Not just lonely. Loneliness is one thing but a loneliness accompanied by a sexual urgency. It's an all-too-familiar feeling that can become paramount to all other interests, driving, overwhelming. How can one hope for a healthy, spiritual, sexual life if driven by self pity and sexual urgency?
I somehow managed to pull myself out of the mental quicksand I was sinking into before I got caught too deep. Luckily, I've been spending a lot of time lately dealing with other people's problems and that's great as it keeps me from diving headfirst into my own pool of romantic obsession and sexual self pity. But I can't be busy with other people's business all the time so I've been asking for strength and guidance, patience and kindness and a reprieve from my difficulties so that I might be useful to others. I don't necessarily get what I want but, like it or not, I know I always get what I need.