Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Making Love Visible In The World: A Response to Susie Bright

"I never thought sexual liberation was a set list, but rather the process of figuring out your own erotic philosophy and acceptance of your own body, temperament, aesthetic, desire. The other part would be having respect and compassion for others, whether that means privacy, boundaries, or tolerance" - Susie "Sexpert" Bright in response to my post On Our Backs: How Feminism Contributed to Raunch Culture.

The problem with Susie Bright's philosophy is that there are two bodies involved in the act of sex, and figuring out "your own erotic philosophy" is as helpful as trying to speak using a language only you understand.

Pope John Paul II spoke of the "language of the body". As Janet Smith writes at Catholic Education Resource Center, each act we perform with our body has a meaning beyond what we communicate verbally and we should not commit our bodies to acts that they do not mean.

As Smith writes: "Sexual union means `I find you attractive”; “I care for you”; “I will try to work for your happiness”; “I wish to have a deep bond with you.” Some who engage in sexual intercourse do not mean these things with their actions; they wish simply to use another for their own sexual pleasure. They have lied with their bodies in the same way as someone lies who says “I love you” to another simply for the purposes of obtaining some desired favor."

Susie advocates "acceptance of your own body, temperament, aesthetic, desire," but, when it comes to intentions, as Laura Garcia writes, "in practice the most noble tend to lose out to the most urgent."

The other part would be having respect and compassion for others, whether that means privacy, boundaries, or tolerance.

Susie Bright's theory of sexual revolution is focused solely on the self and leaves the other out of the equation except as an after thought. Even then Susie defines compassion as mainly leaving the other person alone, rather than being in union with them. Though she doesn't mean to, Susie espouses a sexuality that ultimately lacks in compassion because her emphasis is focused mainly on getting, not giving.

Garcia cites John Paul II's idea that God made the human body to be a body that expresses the person, as opposed to an animal's body, which cannot express anything.
If our bodies express personhood, then it would follow that our actions speak a language that is of divine origin. As Garcia writes, "The human body has a divine mission; it is meant to make love visible in the world." By sacrificing noble intentions for the urgent, we've traded in our divine inheritance for a sexuality that diminishes our humanity rather than expresses it in its fullness.