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So, Russell Wilson and Ciara Aren’t Having Sex…

July 8, 2015
This is a Ciara album cover. It really has nothing to do with anything. I'm just hoping that using it is fair use....

This is a Ciara album cover. It really has nothing to do with anything. I’m just hoping that using it is fair use….

Okay, so, Russell Wilson isn’t having sex with his girlfriend, who happens to be Ciara. As unlikely as that seems to me, I can absolutely applaud that. I am 100% down with not having sex if you don’t want to. Maybe 1,000,000,000% down with that. If it’s because YOU don’t want to.

But if it’s because “god” told you to, I’m gonna raise an eyebrow. And if you think you need to lead ANYONE else to do it your way – as opposed to two people on the same path finding each other – then I’m gonna raise a finger to my raised eyebrow and say, “now hold up a minute.”

“Someone else told me to” is NOT a reason to do, or not do, anything sexual. We call that coercion. Even if you believe that someone was “god.” (Spoiler alert, it wasn’t.) And if you think that you need to convince someone else to do it your way, because “god” told you to, well….. That line of thinking has proverbially screwed us all, hard.

That line of thinking is what has led people to boycott the very concept of gayness. To ignore the reality of trans lives. To condemn people who have anal sex, sex before marriage, polyamorous relationships, sex with toys… You name it. “God said so” has been the basis of so much fear, hate, shame and outright war for generations. And that fear, hate and shame has manifested in violence, legislation and self-hate for far too long. It has been behind the kind of shame that has led to an alarming rate of suicide – and violence – in the LGBTQ community for too long.

So ya, if Russell Wilson doesn’t want to have premarital sex, good for him. I hope that no one pressures him to do so if it feels wrong to him. But the moment he starts saying that “god” told him not to, and converting others, it’s a problem. And the moment that a major celebrity like him continues to spread the idea that sex is shameful and wrong and bad, because “god” said so, it’s a problem.

So let’s get one thing straight right here, right now: The only person who gets to decide the right way for you to have sex is YOU. You get to decide that based on what feels good to you for your body and your soul. No one, not god, not your minister, teacher, coach, parents and even your lover gets to tell you otherwise. For that matter, if you and your lover have very different ideas of what feels good to each of you, you probably shouldn’t be lovers. Find someone whose needs and desires align with yours. (Is that hard? Yes. Some of the best things in life are hard.)

Lest you think I’m bashing the idea of “god” and religion, let me tell you, nothing could be further from the truth. I will fight for your religious freedom as hard as I will fight for your sexual agency. I believe, amongst other things, that for many people, belief in a higher power provides people with a personified language that allows them to give voice to their deepest emotions. It can provide a lens through which to focus the chaotic world around them.

I’ve used that language and framework in raising my own daughter. It’s just that instead of “god,” we taught her to listen to her “belly voice.” That tingling sensation in your gut that says “this feels wrong for me” or “this feels good to me.”

When Russell Wilson said that he had a conversation with god, I hope that’s what he meant. I’m certainly willing to believe it is.

If so, it’s because we, as a society, have put far too high a premium on getting laid. We’ve put too much stock – that we both buy and sell – in the idea of being “hot” and “sexy” and “going all the way.” As if anything less is tantamount to failure. That makes me sad. And given that societal pressure, I can see the temptation to use an imaginary friend as a scapegoat.

“My imaginary friend made me not do it.”

The reality is that sex can be – and it’s certainly how I personally enjoy it – such a deep and intimate experience that it plumbs the depths of your being in a way that can be, well, scary. There is, for many, no more vulnerable position that splayed out and naked. It makes sense to wait until you feel totally safe with someone before doing that.

And that takes a different amount of time for all of us.

But because we’ve put so much stock in being sexy, (just look at every single magazine cover on the newsstand) people are sometimes pushed into it before they’re ready.

That’s also coercion. It’s the opposite of your imaginary friend telling you not to, but it’s the same external idea telling you what you should do with your body. Just as problematic. It just substitutes the religion of pop-culture for some other religion. It’s still arbitrary guidelines created by imaginary people to manipulate the behavior of the masses and tell them what they should and shouldn’t be doing in bed. Same shit, glossier pictures.

As someone who has spent most of my adult life helping people have the kind of sex they want to have, despite what society and church tells them, this is just a sore spot for me.

Russell, honey, if you don’t want to have sex, you don’t have to. Seriously. But you do not have the right to “lead” anyone anywhere. You do not have the right to change anyone else’s ways. And really, if god is telling you that there is something wrong and shameful about your sexual desires, I’d love the chance to talk to you about how you can keep your relationship with god, but understand that sex is not shameful. There are MANY religious scholars who will back me up on that.

Just for the record, god didn’t say the things in the bible. A bunch of old white dudes sat around and said “this is what he told me.” It’s like a really old gossip magazine, really. In which people are all like “I heard he said this,” and “no, I heard he said that” and then made some rules by which everyone else should live, based on that gossip.

It’s like Cosmic Cosmo, really.

And anyone else out there, if someone is telling you that you should be having sex in a way that doesn’t feel right to you, they’re wrong.

Alright, rant over. “GO HAWKS.” I can’t help it, I’m a Seattle girl. But, for the record, I’m all about Richard Sherman. Always have been.

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3 Comments leave one →
  1. July 8, 2015 9:21 pm

    It’s very hard for a non-Christian to understand the tenets of the Bible because one has not studied it. There’s no point in arguing that with you because even the Bible states that only those to whom the Spirit is given understand the things of God. For those who don’t have the Spirit of God inside them, it’s all foolishness to him/her. You have taken Russ’s beliefs and have twisted them into something offensive. What’s wrong with a man leading? Men and women are equal, but have different roles. That’s the problem with today’s men! Things are out of order, and we are too deaf, dumb, and blind to see it. We need more leaders in our households. That’s why so many children are messed up today. This man loves, honors and respects the body of his girlfriend, and people have turned it into all these other things, e.g. you talked about not having sex before marriage and how it’s created fear, hate and shame. The reason people feel that way, in my opinion, and that little thing called a “conscience.” We know right from wrong, but our consciences have been seared. Our eyes and hearts blinded, so people feel condemned.

    There’s so much I want to say, but don’t have time to say it. I will commend Russell for standing up, and for takin the heat that’s been thrust his way. He’s a true man of God.

  2. Alyssa Royse permalink*
    July 9, 2015 5:47 am

    In so many ways, you make my points for me beautifully. Except that I did study the bible, and almost all the ancient texts, from an academic perspective. Extensively. More extensively than most people who believe that having been brought up in the modern interpretations by contemporary organized factions they studied them. No, most of them learned what their leaders wanted them to learn, which is quite different, though imperative in protecting the power structure that is inherent in modern organized religion, though bears little resemblance to the original teachings.But more importantly, your “only we know the right way” is precisely the problem. It is what is behind so much violence and shame against those you perceive as doing it wrong. I applaud Russell Wilson too, as I said quite clearly. If he is not having sex because it isn’t right for him, then I applaud him to the heavens and back. (Not easy to do in this day and age, and I also said quite clearly that I think that’s a shame.) But no, converting others isn’t okay. And no, men are not in charge. All humans get the same human rights, including to both teach and learn, lead and be led.

  3. July 11, 2015 5:37 pm

    Thank you for your reply. Let me state that my pastor is fluent in Hebrew, Aramaic and Greek, so I’ve learned the true interpretation of the Bible, all the while studying it myself. Each person can read the Bible and interpreted it the way they choose depending on their belief system — whether or not they are right or wrong. I honestly think that most decent people aren’t extremists. I’ve been in church most of my life, and I have the sense to read and study for myself. What’s more, when we have strong convictions about something and someone doesn’t see it our way, we oftentimes think they have it wrong, don’t we? That’s the basis of the PC movement, in my opinion.

    Many Christians share their faith, and it’s up to the volition of the listener to decide whether to accept or reject what they heard. The problem with many people is that they listen to men, whether it’s in a religious setting or whether it’s the most danger, in my opinion, entity of all: The media. ““The media’s the most powerful entity on earth. They have the power to make the innocent guilty and to make the guilty innocent, and that’s power. Because they control the minds of the masses.” – Malcolm X. The media has twisted the minds of the masses for so long — more so than any church. Just my opinion. Look at the backlash Russel got from people.

    Frankly, I’m more afraid of the media because they can reach millions of people vs. the average every-day Joe sharing his/her belief.

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