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From the Editor: Does sex equal love?

Growing up as a conservative Mormon closet-case, I was taught that sex was evil. The straight kind of sex didn’t appeal to me at all,  and all the anecdotal advice about avoiding impure thoughts about women was a snap for me. I didn’t want to think about boobs in the first place, so I never once had to sing a hymn in my head to stop thinking about them. And don’t even get me started on the ‘v’-word.

The titillation I felt when posed with thoughts about guys, on the other hand, was a whole different story. But I knew that god didn’t approve of my feelings and I knew the only kind of intimacy I desired was evil. Faced with the alternative of having sex with only my wife, I developed a hatred and repulsion toward sex and sexuality. The idea of it offended me and ultimately, it warped my sense of well being.

My views on sexuality in general were confused and convoluted. I was told that heaven would exist so I could procreate with my wife(s) and populate my own planet. I couldn’t imagine a more terrible fate; I hated organizational duties and the idea of having sex with one woman, let alone with multiple, was nauseating. Running a planet whilst having enough sex to populate it with Seth Juniors sounded like pure hell.

It was with this warped sense of sexuality and morality that I ventured into the world of gayness. I started dating men and still had my own sexual and relationship hang-ups. As I looked for a partner, I thought I wanted the gay equivalent of a Mormon family and I thought monogamy was the only option.

But as I questioned everything I had been taught about love and sex from the Mormon upbringing, I had to come to the inevitable query: Does sex equal love? Could I separate the idea that two people are sexually compatible for life? Or, as gay-sex columnist and organizer of the It Gets Better Project, Dan Savage, suggested, should monogamy be a choice within a relationship?

In my desire for normalcy and societal acceptance from my friends and family, I fear the idea of forming a relationship that somehow differs in behavior from the traditionally accepted norms. But just as in other revolutions within the institution of marriage (see interracial couples, women’s liberation), could this be an acceptable change?

Go to any major pride festival around the world and tied into it, at its very core, is the idea of sexual liberation and freedom. The boys bouncing around in Speedos and the girls riding their Harleys topless aren’t just statements about homosexuality, but sexuality in a much broader sense. The denial of conventional wisdom about sex is commonplace. Especially in a conservative environment, such as Utah, where we are taught in our schools and churches that sex is bad, and that thinking about it is evil and having it is almost as bad as murder. Sexual openness and discussion is a healthy step psychologically, emotionally and is a key factor for relationships, and the openness and acceptance of sexual taboo topics are some of the most important factors for Utah Pride.

The clash between the two movements, pushing for queer rights to normalize and integrate, and to stand out and liberate, is even more impacting than the idea of two men or two women saying, ‘I do.’

Seth Bracken

Seth Bracken is the editor of QSaltLake

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