When I think about ‘sexy’ I think about a suggestive presentation, and or walking with a swagger. It also includes confidence, or even cockiness. It says “you want me” or “you wish you could have this”. At least it means I’m feeling good about myself, and might be ready to take a risk or two. Frequently when I leave the gym after an intense workout, and then a fresh shower, I am feeling sexy. Seems like a positive thing to me… However, I’ve never heard a pastor use the term ‘sexy’ as something to strive for… I’m not sure it is a term that is safe for a church setting.
Only Sing in the Shower!
Recently, I was leading a large group class of 50 children from grade 2-4 with a lesson that focused on showing others respect. I was dressed up like a pilot, with a stage and chairs set up like a plane, including sound effects, and using metaphors about situations that might take place between a flight attendant and a passenger. In this case I played multiply characters, with one being an obnoxious teenager with headphones on, sing out loud to the song. The stewardess asks him politely to stop singing, and lists reasons why it is rude and unsafe in case of an emergency. The song I choose to sing in an off-key voice was “I’m too sexy for my …”. Well the point seemed pretty clearly made…this off-key, back talking teen was not showing respect to the stewardess or the other passengers. I went on to talk about other ways we don’t show respect to parents, etc. A few days later I received a call from the church sunday school coordinator. She asked me if I was teaching the kids something about being sexy. I then recalled the little role play, where I played the stewardess and the teen. A parent of a home schooled grade 2 student came home singing “I’m too sexy for my belt, etc”. His mom asked him where he learned this, and he said ” at church… The police man taught us this song”. The kid apparently remembered the song about feeling sexy, and was oblivious to all the other signs that I had identified myself as a pilot. I wasn’t sure what to say, but apparently this parent had a sense of humour, after it was all explained to her. I wasn’t feeling too sexy at this point.
Why the Obsession with Sex?
But all this ‘sexy’ talk has me wondering why we are so obsessed with ‘sex’ in our culture. In the change room or the gym, I frequently hear guys making gestures alluding to it. In high schools where I work, it is frequently the main topic of teens, but this I get. Songs on the radio are frequently alluding to it using some metaphorical phrase, or being very direct. I will notice after watching a movie, if it didn’t have a sex scene, because it is so unusual. Websites, unfortunately, are common place that are helping people find a casual no strings attached sex partner, and of course there are thousands of porn sites out there for people to watch and fantasize about themselves having sex. I have talked to women who have asked me when my last sexual relationship was, and are shocked that it is over a year since I have had this experience.
Rob Bell writes about this in his book “Sex God”: (paraphrase) “Many people only see sex as physical pleasure. That is only a small part of sexuality. Our sexuality is all of the ways we strive to reconnect with our world, with each other, and with God. He then adds further on in his book, that you can have sex with many, and still feel alone, and the more people you have sex with the more alone you end up feeling. Some married people have sex regularly, and still feel disconnected. Yet I have heard people on talk shows say that a good sex life with your partner is a key to a healthy relationship. So what is feeling sexy? Can I feel it without having a sexual partner? In Bell’s book, he makes a pretty strong argument, that a person who sleeps alone, or chooses celibacy, can feel much sexier and connected with many people then those that have many sexual partners with really physically attractive people (like we frequently see in multi-media).
Connecting or Sexual Dysfunction?
He talks about the cycle of people hurting people in communities, and then the offended moving from there to somewhere else without resolution or forgiveness, as the root of sexual dysfunction. There seems to be a lack of connecting and committing at a level of authenticity that promotes transparency. Why are people gossiping instead of confronting? Why do I choose to avoid someone instead of talk it out? Feelings, our pride, or even humility or a fear of negative judgement can sure make me think twice about being transparent. I think that one negative experience (gossip, etc) or an embarrassing memory where one feels humiliated, or belittled, can be enough for one to run the other way. No one likes pain. Seems there is enough to go around. We try to keep the cup half full as much as we can. I need to keep reading this book.
I wonder what that parent says to their child when he/she asks them what ‘sexy’ means. One parent said this, “Sexy is when it feels good to be in your skin. Your own body feels right, it feels comfortable. Sexy is when you love being you.” Sounds like me after a good workout.