Church’s view on homosexuality
November 21, 2017

Good sex inspires me. Did your imagination run wild at that statement? Have you become hot with embarrassment, or anger? Did you shudder with shame? Did you wonder that I do not shudder with shame? Does it confirm everything that you have thought about me? Are you, even now, gathering a stream of righteous indignation? How dare I – a priest, a black woman, a mother, an African – put pen to paper to craf the sentence? Good sex inspires me. It’s funny;

We are very willing to talk about bad sex. We rail against rape culture. We wring our hands at paedophilia. We avert our eyes from the ‘ladies of the night’ – we act as though the men who buy sex from prostitutes do not exist. Te trade, it seems, is one-sided. Even though we know that prostitutes can only sell what people are willing to buy. And we know that the women stand outside, night after night, because night after night men come to buy the women’s bodies for a moment or a night. And the men who go to prostitutes are not aliens from outer space. The men who go to prostitutes have homes and some of them have wives and families. We preach ad nauseam against sex before marriage and extra-marital sex. We even speak out against the euphemistically named “blessers” and “blessees”. We don’t mind if every headline screams about bad sex. Gang rape, mutilation and murder are fine subjects for our front pages. But good sex is not a subject for fine company.

How will we ever banish bad sex to the outer darkness, where it belongs, unless we are willing to define good sex and allow good sex its appropriate place in the light? There is no need to worry. I will not describe the mechanics of good sex. I am not offering a user’s manual. I will leave that to those with the expertise for the task. What I will describe is what I, a priest, a woman, a mother, an African, am uniquely qualified to describe. I will define good sex. Good sex is characterised by mutuality, mutual self-offering. Good sex cannot be coerced. Good sex is never an entitlement. Good sex requires that each partner has agency. I pass on to every person the advice I was offered by a friend, “Don’t lose your virginity.

It is not a coin that you mislay and can return later to retrieve. Don’t lose your virginity. Give it away. Make a deliberate and considered choice as to who deserves this precious gif that is only yours to offer once.” Giving your virginity away is an action that can be taken only in the context of good sex. Giving away your virginity necessitates that you have agency. It requires that you experience and express your right to bodily integrity. It calls for the absence of coercion and the presence of mutual respect. Te double standard that confines every female into one of three sexual identities,“virgin, mother or whore”, does a disservice to every woman and to any sexual partner she chooses. In this conception only the mother has any possibility of good sex and then only when she offers herself with the intention to procreate. Sexual pleasure solely for the sake of loving self-expression is forbidden her.

The male in this paradigm is either a sexless prince, or conqueror. He never has a sexual partner, only a string of conquests. Neither male nor female is offered the possibility of good sex. The paradigm shift offered by same sex partnerships can be enlightening for heterosexual unions. Homosexual pairings strip away the archetype “virgin, mother, whore, prince and conqueror” and replace them with the real possibility of lovers, sexual beings, offering themselves to each other with love. Good sex inspires me because good sex is the wish that I have as a mother for my children. It is the hope that I have as a priest for my congregation.

It is the desire that I have as a woman for myself. It is the prayer that I have as an African for every person on our continent. I hope my daughters have good sex. I hope that they are never raped, threatened or coerced into granting sexual favours. I pray that my congregation has good sex. I pray that their sexual encounters are characterised by mutual joy. I want to have good sex. I want to have agency in my sexual encounters. I want to choose my partner in love. I wish that every person on our continent experiences good sex. Good sex is an expression of profound respect and deep love. Good sex sees and honours the full humanity of each partner. Good sex is shaped by peace, not fear; by love, not hate; by freedom and bodily integrity, not oppression and coercion. Good sex inspires me.