So Dr. Simon wrote Bringing Sex into Focus: The Quest for Sexual Integrity, a new book by IVP Academic (copyright 2012) that she describes as an “extended essay” on the topic.
Six ways, she says, that people tend to understand sexuality today include:
- The Covenantal View :: Sex forges a permanent bond between two people. It is a life-uniting act that should occur only within marriage.
- The Procreative View :: The purpose of sex is to produce offspring. Thus sex must be heterosexual, genital, and “embrace the hope of fruitfulness.”
- The Romantic View :: Sex should be reserved for those who are deeply in love. Loveless sex is not appropriate. People should be sexually faithful as long as love lasts.
- The Plain Sex View :: Cultural constructs linking love and sex are outmoded. Sexuality is best seen as a desire for intensely pleasurable physical activity. It should be based on mutual consent so “no one gets hurt.”
- The Power View :: The desire is to possess another while avoiding being objectified by another. Power dynamics are at the root of the link between sex and violence.
- The Expressive View :: Sexuality is central to human flourishing. Sexual restraint is unnatural but sexuality should be used without hampering the empowerment of others.
Dr. Simon is frank in her espousal of the validity of the covenantal view.
“Yet the six sexual lenses can be more than mutually exclusive rivals. The perspectives converge when the covenantal lens is taken as the central organizing lens. This brings sexuality into focus, allowing the covenantal view to be enriched by what these other lenses reveal.”
“Many times people’s sexual behavior causes problems for them and pain for others. Much of this damage is neither malicious nor intentional. People often simply don’t foresee consequences or understand the effect they are having on others. Lack of sexual integrity will fog our moral vision about sex.”
Bringing Sex into Focus features chapters on marital sexuality, virginity and chastity, flirtation and seduction, homosexuality, casual sex and sex as a commodity.
Caroline J. Simon is author of several books, including The Disciplined Heart: Love, Destiny, and Imagination.