“There will probably always be some tension between sexual repression and sexual expression.”
~J.K. & J.O. Balswick
When we imagine a safe society we might picture the ability to use public space without thought for assault. Further, that public space would be a sexually safe place. There wouldn’t be the fear there is today for the risk of being harassed, or worse, raped, especially where that risk presents at obvious times like at night or in less visible spaces.
The imagined society, or area of community, would feature the tenet of Shalom.
When humanity can dwell at peace within all its relationships—with God, self, its fellows, and nature—Shalom, even if only for a moment, has been achieved.
From the sexual standpoint there would be the balancing of sexual repression with sexual expression, such that sexuality could be safely expressed for the consequences of replete holistic peace. The most mature of societies is one where expression of sexuality is balanced in accord with Shalom—where sex is viewed in the broader context of everyone’s good.
Where even one person is transgressed, Shalom vanishes.
Toward A Safer Model Of Sexuality
Sexuality is at the very heart of so many crimes. And all crimes have something in common—the lack of Shalom. Wherever there is the disregard of any one party’s needs—where anyone or anything is abused or neglected, no matter how big or small—the objective of reaching Shalom has failed.
A safer model of sexuality encompasses the principle of Shalom. It calls for the unlimited expression of sexuality within the context of Shalom. Before men get too excited, such a result can only be achieved where no one is hurt—where nobody is offended, violated, unconsidered, or exposed in their vulnerability.
A safer model of sexuality is about the broader communal good. Where love is achieved, and there are no offences against love, sexuality has free reign.
Our Challenges Today
Both men and women are challenged regarding sexuality. Broadly speaking men are promiscuous, and women, choosy. Our biology has wired us these ways. Therefore, our challenges are different.
Men, especially Christian men, can do a lot to advance the safer model of sexuality. Viewed as leaders, men have the opportunity to find expression in their sexuality in ways that would do no harm, and would always consider the universal consequences of sexual action before they act. Men must listen to their women.
Women, especially Christian women, have a role in understanding their men’s sexual needs, and yet, by exploring evidence for a safer sexuality, they encourage a safer sexuality in their relationships by talking about it. Women must communicate honestly with their men.
A safer sexuality means a safer relationship. How could love, trust, and respect be communicated better than via the care and attention given and received in the sexual act? When the principle of Shalom is harnessed in a relationship sexually, a relationship’s most intimate act, the relationship reaches its God-appointed potential.
The safest relationships exist under the banner of Sexual Shalom. Nobody is hurt, violated, unconsidered, or exposed in their vulnerability. Trust and respect are givens. Such a state of peace permeates harmoniously and male and female, both, enjoy each other as God first intended.
© 2012 S. J. Wickham.
Acknowledgement: J.K. & J.O. Balswick, Authentic Human Sexuality: An Integrated Christian Approach (Downers Grove, Illinois: Inter-Varsity Press, 2008), pp. 321-24.