When I was a teenager, sex happened when a gentleman managed to persuade a lady to let him put his penis in her vagina. Anything else was either petting or heavy petting depending on what number you had got up to. You were a virgin until you experienced sex as I have just described. What is useful about this adolescent definition of sex is that it restricts sex to just one quantifiable act. Foreplay and intercourse were two different activities and only (vaginal) intercourse was considered "proper" sex.  Furthermore, any erotic activity other than vaginal intercourse was not considered to be consummation of a marriage and adultery had to include vaginal intercourse for it to be an indisputable grounds for divorce.

That was all well and good until the other day when the House of Lords said "yes" to the government's proposed same gender marriage legislation. You see, the bishops of the Church of England have just discovered a problem - only women have vaginas and only men have penises. Therefore, there has to be a new and exact definition of "sex", a definition that does not have to include vaginal intercourse (in fact, does not have to include any type of intercourse) so that gay people, men and women, can commit adultery, get divorced and have their marriages annulled for reasons of non-consummation, just like heterosexuals have been doing for millennia.

I wish them and all involved in the small print of this historical legislation luck with their task. But I do have a question. How come, if the bishops don't know what sex is in respect of same gender couples, have they been insisting for the passed decade or so, that, as sex outside of marriage is morally wrong, and that same gender couples can't get married, then gay people should be celibate if they want a job in the church? It appears obvious to me that this dogma (known around these parts as the "Rowan Williams Avoidance"), is completely bogus. If a gay priest had been asked by his bishop if he was having sex with a same gender partner and had, in reply, asked the bishop to define exactly what he meant by "sex," the bishop could only offer his own opinion and not fact. Not even "fact" as agreed by the House of Bishops, which is often at odds with fact as defined by the rest of the world's inhabitants.

Any priest who has been sacked from his or her post for getting his or her rocks off with a person of the same gender is innocent of any known offence and should be reinstated and compensated immediately. At the moment they are like motorists fined for speeding in an area where the authorities have never decided what the speed limit should be. In the secular world there is no way the police would get away with such injustice. The reason why the bishops have been able to get away with sacking priests for an offence that has never been defined by any authority is that they are exempt from human rights legislation. Until such time as all religious institutions are made to adhere to all the human rights legislation of the land, bishops will continue to dole out injustice on a whim and the priesthood will remain cowered and afraid to speak out, or even just be who God made them, under an an authority that has been absolutely corrupted by unchecked power.

In the Old Testament it says somewhere that a man should not lie with a man as he would lie with a woman. If we accept that "lie with" means "have sex with" then what is the problem?! It is absolutely impossible for a man to have sex with a man as he would have sex with a woman (or a woman have sex with a woman as she would with a man) as the bishops have just publicly acknowledged by stating that they are having to come up with a definition of sex that can apply to both same gender couples and straight couples. Same gender couples don't have and cannot have sex with each other in the same way that opposite gender couples do. In fact, at this moment in time it would appear that same gender couples in England have never had sex with each other. What is more, they are going to have to sit there, crossed legged, until the bishops decide on their behalf what sex is going to entail for them. Then they will be able to go at it like rabbits. Rabbits of the same gender, of course. And the rest of us will know, because we will have been told, what it is exactly that we are supposed to be condemning.


WHAT IS SEX? — 17 Comments

    • Thanks, Jay. Although I was tweaking it while you was reading it. Hopefully I have now got rid of the ambiguities in the essay.

  1. The Church’s current dilemma is the product of the Roman interpretation of Matthew 16:18 (“You are Peter and upon this rock I will build my Church…”)

    It boils down to this: The Bible means what I say it means and I can say that because that’s what the Bible says.

    The CofE just doesn’t have the guts to stonewall like Rome has.

    • Well, I think betraying trust is morally wrong so Clinton’s defence doesn’t hold water whatever you call what he was doing with Monica L. But our LGBT priests are not being sacked or denied promotion because they are betraying trust. Quite the oposite in fact.

    • Bill Clinton’s “crime” was not having a blow job but betraying his wife and, in doing so, showing that he could not be trusted. In England he would have been forced to resign before it even got to any hearing or even debate. I hate to say this about one of own, but he behaved like a cad and a bounder and didn’t even have the strength of character to own up what he had done.

      And, yes, when the bishops said the other day that they would no longer oppose the bill in parliament they added that they would concentrate their efforts on defining “adulterous sex” so that it did not just apply to vaginal intercourse and making sure that ministers of religion and schoolteachers could continue to be as homophobic as they liked with impunity.

  2. “What is more, they are going to have to sit there, crossed legged, until the bishops decide on their behalf what sex is going to entail for them.”
    This statement sounded very funny to me. Will the bishop decide gay and lesbian sex involves what is between the legs?

    • I think the only option will be to broaden the definition of sex to include anything that involves the deliberate touching of the genitalia of either sex. This would have to apply to heterosexual couples as well. If they were to decide on such a definition I am going to have to get used to the idea that I lost my virginity quite a few years before I have always assumed I had.

    • So how much deliberation do you suppose would be required?

      There are occasions when some of us hardly deliberate at all.

  3. Damn Puritans didn’t all come to the New World, did they? Way too much interest in what people do in private. They have to delineate every possible unapproved action? Weird.

  4. “When I was a teenager, sex happened when a gentleman managed to persuade a lady to let him put his penis in her vagina.”

    *snort*, I was just thinking about this re last night’s Mad Men.

    [Thar Be Spoilers Below]

    When his daughter Sally catches him boning the neighbor lady, Sylvia, Our Cad&Bounder [love those terms, MP] Don tells Sally, “Sylvia was very upset [re her son’s draft status, in 1968], and I was comforting her.”

    Yeah, comforting her with your penis, Don. Oy Vey!

  5. Gay people don’t ‘have sex’ in the sense that heterosexuals do. They commit unnatural acts. That’s the difference.

  6. “Unnatural” to whom? And by what definition? Same gender sexual activity by people attracted and aroused by the same gender is not “unnatural” to them. In fact, if they engaged in heterosexual activity it would be “unnatural”.