I went to a Hozier concert last Wednesday evening, and amongst the glitter and roar of the crowd, “Take Me to Church” began blaring, a torpedo of intense choruses rising in volume. Hozier, while singing the chorus with an unseen depth of emotion, placed the lesbian and bisexual flags on the stage to tumultuous applause. The song is powerful, evidenced by the intensity of emotions I could feel reverberating in the Wang Theater. After all, it is a dialogue on how religion has fueled homophobia, the religious hypocrisy in shaming individuals for what the church perceives as sin, and how God can be found in acts of intimate love. Hozier, through his passionate voice, has only touched the surface of calling out the world for an essential and misguided problem that reeks with logical fallacies: the glorification of sexual purity.
Sexual purity, innocence, virginity—call it what you want—is misguidedly illogical. The hypocrisy of the logic stems from its roots in religion, where the act of sex is regarded as being reserved for married individuals, and between man and woman. I honestly have never understood the logic of this doctrine. How can a piece of paper, a document that binds individuals in the societal construct of marriage, be the green light to engage in sex? I find the concept of abstinence extraordinary; is the body suddenly changed after marriage? Can the reproductive organs suddenly only work on a person’s wedding night? Truly, even though I respect the sexual decisions one makes, I will never completely comprehend the rationales behind some of them.
Marriage, after all, is nothing more than a paper declaring two individuals have committed their fidelity to each other. The entire institution is a societal construct, and I wouldn’t have a problem with it if the perceptions of this construct weren’t inherently discriminatory. I speak of homophobia. The institution of marriage is universally perceived as being only for the union between a man and woman, highlighting its discriminatory nature. It’s also quite ironically illogical. You’re really going to tell me that marriage, a societal construct that was engineered by humans to represent commitment, a piece of paper, is barred from certain sexual orientations, which is scientific and is an element of a person’s identity they have absolutely no control over? I find it even more illogical to use homophobia as a confirmation bias to defend the discriminatory institution of marriage. Such individuals are basically saying two individuals who are the same gender can’t have a piece of paper saying they have committed to each other, revealing their inherently ironic, misguided, and illogical thinking.
I also find the idea of sexual purity absurd. Sex is an innately human act, and we’ve drenched sex in sour adornments, attaching the idea of being “pure” by not engaging in it. We’ve saturated sex to be blasphemously sinful and have made it into a convoluted mess of societal sentiments. It’s simple, honestly. So simple. Sex is intrinsically human, where every glorious element of being human is involved, from emotions to physical intimacy. It is a diverse spectrum of expression, from love to attraction. It is human. And I honestly believe that shaming individuals for being human while espousing the societal construct of “purity” is doing us all a disservice.
I’m asking you to reconsider why people, especially women, are expected to be drenched in innocence. I’m asking you to wonder at the absurdity of why unmarried individuals should be cloaked in purity. I’m asking you to determine why acts that are purely human in nature are considered to be sinful and unclean. I’m asking you to look in the mirror if you are more bothered by two men kissing than the emotional violence society inflicts on those who choose to love the same sex. I’m asking you to stop shaming those who have simply engaged in the gloriously physical expression of being human. I’m asking you to consider that maybe, just maybe, the ideal place of worship is the bedroom itself.