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Sex In The Chapel (Yes, you read that right)

February 12, 2012

Guess who’s coming to town:  Terry Nelson-Johnson!  This fantastic man came to DU last year and knocked us out with his comedic, yet honest approach to sexuality and relationships.  This Wednesday, February 15, Terry will be presenting another great talk at 7:00pm in Rosary Chapel.  Sex in the Chapel Part 2: Intimacy and Truth Telling and Relationships is the title.  Perhaps you’ve seen the bold, purple posters with “SEX in the Chapel” printed in large letters…perhaps that made you laugh (you should come, you’ll love Terry’s humor), or perhaps that made you uncomfortable (you should come too, you’ll learn a lot about being comfortable with sexuality), or perhaps you haven’t noticed them (in which case you may be red-blue colorblind and may want to get your vision checked –just kidding, you should come too).

I remember having long, late night discussions last year about Terry’s talk with a couple of friends whose ideas of intimacy were turned upside down by Terry’s theological ideas.  His main idea, that we are all sexual beings who are constantly having intimate interactions, is really cool and kind of unsettling at the same time.  One doesn’t need to be a prude to think that constant sexual interaction seems a little risqué.  But if we’re being real here, meaning we like giving hugs, shaking hands, smiling, and pounding fist-rocks, we’re being intimate.

Yet clearly something is astray in the general idea of intimacy.  We like speaking in metaphors and code words.  Does the standard “first base…home run” thing ring a bell for anyone?  Or is that a little too “middle school” for us adults?   I suppose the simile-soaked language of sex loans itself to music, which helps draw out the emotions of relationships through melody, harmony, dissonance, and all the wonderful nuances.  Though it’s a little 2009, Baby Kiss Me Thru the Phone still rubs me the wrong way since I never know if Soulja Boy actually misses the person he’s singing to or just wants a little somethin’ somethin’.  On the other hand, I think Lady Gaga gives us a unique view of intimacy in her song Marry the Night and many of her other songs and videos.  I’m not a Gaga analyst, but I realize that some of the romantic partners she has in these videos are in fact, herself, thus creating an interesting question about what it means to be intimate or in relationship with yourself.   What does Rhianna mean when she moans “I’ll take care of you”?   Look at Enrique Iglesias’ transition from “I can be your hero, baby/I can kiss away the pain” to “tonight I’m ‘loving’ you.”   Comparatively, consider Mumford & Sons Blank White Page in which they sing “can you lie next to her and give her your heart as well as your body?”  Adele pounds the keys with beautifully musical man-hating music while J. Biebs keeps it cute and T. Swift keeps it country (though some would argue she’s more of a pop star… I won’t go there).  Anyway, love is still the #1 topic of music on today’s radio.  What does all of this mean for us?  Do we delineate our definitions of intimacy based on the music we like or is there a better way to form our relationships?

Sex in the Chapel:  Intimacy and Truth-Telling and Relationships… It’s sponsored by Dominican University so of course the search for truth is going to be in there somewhere!  I hope you can join us as we explore these questions and ideas with the help and humor of Terry Nelson-Johnson.

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