Dec 26, 2010
neil

A condom for the heart?

2011: The years of the No-strings fling ran the heading of the article I read at my wife’s hospital bed as we waited for thecontractions to begin and the baby to come. She had sent me off to the shop to pick up a couple of magazines so ever helpful I came back with Ideal Homes and Company.

The article was under the banner ‘The Company Report’ written by the editor of the magazine and essentially was an apologetic for freedom of sexual expression. The strap-line ran ‘One night stand, three-date rule, whatevs. Let’s stop putting a label on our sex lives. We’ll do it with who we want, when we want – and here’s why….

Now let’s be clear the editor stressed ‘We’re not saying you should rush out and grab the first guy you see for a random encounter. It’s more about being in control of your own sex life without being worried about having a negative label slapped on you afterwards.’

The feature also wanted to be extremely clear and extremely critical of ‘the Daily Mail/middle-aged mums/well-meaning friends/your gran) who believe women who enjoy no-strings sex, whether for one night, one month or one year, muast be mad, bad or simply unable to find a regular boyfriend. But we know better. The truth is, what if – shock, horror – they actually just enjoy it?

The most alarming aspect of the article was the obvious flaw in the argument that there can be such a thing as ‘no-strings sex’. After all what kind of sexual encounter has ‘no-strings’?

Condom for the heart

Lesley Garner in her super book ‘Everything I’ve ever learned about love‘ has a short chapter entitled ‘Safe Sex’ in which she simply but profoundly exposes the fallacy of ‘no-strings sex’.

‘There’s no such thing as a condom for the heart. Until there is, there will be no such thing as safe sex. You can wrap your whole body up in protective sheaths, you can fill yourself with barrier creams and spermicides, you can have sex over phone lines and in cyberspace, you can have solitary sex all alone in your own brain, but the sex that leaves your heart and mind unscathed has not yet evolved. Until it does, what’s safe?’

‘There is no such thing as safe sex because sex is an elemental power. It can be benevolent or it can be destructive, and you often don’t know in advance which way it will take you. It’s not just that you might catch something, like a disease, or that you might become pregnant when you don’t want to be. It’s that everything changes when things become sexual, and the outcome of a sexual encounter is never predictable.’

The killer blow:

Garnier’s knock-out punch is in the very nature and purpose of sex. ‘There is no kind of sex so safe that it will leave your body, heart and mind untouched. If it did, we wouldn’t want it.’

The very point is that we throw our whole-selves into sex and that means when we engage in sexual activity with someone: ‘All sex with another person is ricky, because the mind, body and emotions are one interconnected system.’

It’s the one thing they don’t, but should, teach you in schools or for that matter womens magazines. They should tell them in schools, when they show them how to roll the condom on the banana, that this isn’t the most important lesson in safe sex. What matters jsut as much in this high-risk human activity is how to protect the heart.’

Spectacularly irresponsible and incredible foolish

So here are just three questions that immediately spring to my mind( even after a sleepless night with a three-day old baby) for Victoria the editor of Company magazine.

1. Given that sex involves two people all sex with another person is risky. What makes you so sure there is any such thing as ‘no-strings sex’?

2. What makes you so sure that women can judge, in advance, how they will feel after having had a sexual-fling with a relative stranger?

You offer the advice of Dr Kerner ‘If it’s what you want to do, just enjoy yourself!’. But the whole point, as Lesly Garnier demonstrates, is that ‘sex is an elemental power. It can be benevolent or it can be destructive, and you don’t know in advance which way it will take you.’

3. How many people do you think might be hurting because of maybe just empty experiences or even traumatic sexual-encounters that they have never dared share with anyone but deeply suppressed?

The apostle Paul writes: ‘All other sins a person commits are outside the body, but whoever sins sexually, sins against their own body.’ Sex does things to you, inside and out. Things you intend and things you never intended. Things you know about and things you don’t know about. Sex is never safe it was never designed to be. It has a power to bind people together, physically, emotionally, spiritually. We abuse such a gift at our peril and Company magazine ought to know better than to promote attitudes and behaviours that have the potential to cause great harm to their readers. Shame on you for exploiting women in this way.

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