Tuesday, August 3, 2010

TOB: II. Theology on Tap (Newspaper Article)

This is an article written as part of the "Theology on Tap" series. We contacted Jennifer Parks of "The Edmonton Sun", and she agreed to interview me for a piece on her racy syndicated series, "The Sex Files". I will reprint the article that was published in "The Edmonton Sun" on Thursday, March 15, 2007. The name of the article was "Just Say No?" I will save the story of the interview for another time. Here goes:

Celibacy - holding out for your "one and only" can be quite fulfilling if that is your cup of tea

The best sex advice I've received lately came from a virgin.

When Wade St. Onge first contacted me wanting to share his message I was hesitant.

What could a 29-year-old Catholic man who'd never experienced the pleasures and passions of sexuality -- let alone a single kiss -- have to teach the rest of us on the topic?

Besides, the "no sex before marriage" custom of some devout Christians doesn't have the hip and spicy mass appeal of your typical advice dispensed by sexperts.

Wouldn't telling readers to "hold out" for "the one" just alienate the majority of us who consider sex a perfectly natural and exciting part of the journey to finding a life mate?

Plenty of folks have wished they'd waited. You just don't hear of people anguishing over not having had sex sooner. But 20/20 hindsight, regret and social problems like crime, poverty and abuse, which are often statistically linked to unwanted pregnancy, just aren't enough to sell me on the celibacy option.

Sex can be fun, empowering, intimate, stress-busting, fat-burning, imaginative and an extremely bonding experience. It's a natural expression of our physical and emotional desires. It can be purely carnal one moment and cosmically eternal the next. Why deny ourselves this boundless, mysterious and undeniably exciting mode of human communication?

Still, I heard him out and I'm glad I did.

St. Onge's message is one we can all learn and grow from, whether or not we choose to have an active sex life.

The former seminary student, who's working on his masters in theology, is running a local affiliate of the international program Theology on Tap in Edmonton. His current topic: Sex and Love.

"People get into sexual relationships very quickly these days. They put the cart before the horse," says St. Onge, during an interview at a local pub.

"We listen to our urges rather than to what's the best thing for us.

"The sexual act is designed to be an expression of love for a person. When sex is an authentic expression of true love it's best." The rest, he maintains, is anticlimactic.

If you've ever felt cheap, used or empty after a one-night stand, or hurt and rejected by someone who worships your bodily temple in the bedroom then checks out emotionally afterward, then part of what St. Onge is saying may resonate with you.

If the sex you're having doesn't serve you -- making you feel safe and empowered in your self and your relationship -- then it may leave you feeling empty, needy or with a diminished respect for yourself and your body.

It's hard to move from a place of personal strength in this world without our identities and self-esteem intact.

So, should you say "no" to sex? I can't tell you that. Only you can. But I do know that when you're crushing on someone, turned on, in love or just intoxicated at 2 a.m. and your date casually asks, "your place or mine?" it can be hard to resist. Sexual chemistry and emotional need are powerful aphrodisiacs -- with or without the booze.

We need to stop, check in, and ask ourselves what's best for us overall, not just in the heat of the moment.

Whatever you do, don't fool yourself that sex is just a casual recreational activity -- it joins two people in the most intimate way. Will you still be whole when the fireworks subside? Who deserves a piece of you?

The poet and author Georg Feuerstein reveals the true nature of sexual love: "The rhythmic slamming of bodies drowns out the gentle melody that is forever pulsing at the heart. The heart delights in motionless silence. It closes its petals at the sight of blindly grasping hands that knead only flesh but feel not the Spirit's crystal texture."

Don't fall for the illusion of intimacy. Hold out for the real deal, whether or not you have a ring on your finger, a religious mandate or simply self respect.

I have admiration for people like St. Onge who live their beliefs so passionately.

He just wants others to experience the grace and virtue of authentic living. Some call it God, some call it love. Whatever it is, honour it.

Says St. Onge: "I want to give my wife every kiss."

[Please do not reprint this article out of respect for copyright laws].


  1. That's a nice article, and a beautiful sentiment at the end!

    When I was in my early teens, a woman that I knew told me about her experience of courtship and marriage. She had never really dated, and never kissed anyone until she was 27 years old, at which time she began to date the man that she married two years later. I was thirteen, and had probably been watching too many romantically-focused teen movies, and could not imagine not dating once I was in high school, and not kissing the boys that I would date.

    In fact, that is exactly what I ended up doing. I didn't "date" anyone in the sense that the word is usually used (I did go to the movies or grab a bite with a couple of boys, but considered them just friends), until I met the man that I have now been married to for three years. My husband has every kiss, and it is very satisfying to be able to say that.

    Keep up your resolution. My wait was not as long as yours (I married at 22), but I can tell you that it was totally worth it.

  2. Thanks, Jane! And thank you for sharing your beautiful story. No one regrets waiting, but many have regretted not waiting.