"Do you love him?" "No, we're just friends." "They were 'intimate' with each other." "During lockdown, we were only allowed to visit a person if we had an 'intimate relationship' with them." I’ve been finding that there's a lot of confusion out there about the difference between intimacy and sex. The quotes above show how we often use love/intimacy as a stand-in to describe sexual/romantic relationships as though they are basically the same thing.
In my last post I talked about the idea of cultural scripts that tell us how to live and behave: what to aspire to. Cultural scripts embody the virtues a community values most highly. But what do we do when our community doesn’t value things that ought to be valued? What do we do when the cultural script we are handed is inadequate in guiding us to a life of flourishing? I think our culture needs to re-write those scripts.
I originally wrote this about a year ago in response to a message I received from a colleague asking "How do you do the abstinence?" I'm posting that response here hoping that it might address any similar questions you might have about singleness, celibacy, and my personal religious convictions.