Sex in America: A Conversation with Suzy Spencer on Sex, Religion, Honesty, and Connection
So how does that tie in to my book and the people I lovingly refer to as my sex freaks? Well, after hearing their stories, I'm not sure that I believe that sleeping with many people is good for the spirit. After all, so many of my sex freaks are desperately lonely and seeking that one connection. But at the same time, I don't think God is going to toss one into hell just because one is desperately seeking. (Despite using the phrase "desperately seeking," I'm sure there are many of my sex freaks who would argue that they are not desperately seeking. They're just having fun. But many of those same people told me they miss the emotional touch/emotional connection of sex.)
Even for me, I'm still not sure that I want and can handle marriage and monogamy. But does that mean I'm not a Christian? No. Absolutely not. I am a Christian. Does it mean I'm a sinner? Perhaps. But I think God is more concerned about my heart and my motives than my sex life, as long as I'm not hurting someone, though I'm sure there are many people who will disagree. That's their prerogative. My prerogative is to concern myself with my relationship with Jesus—that it's one of integrity. And that's what I strive for . . . as well as to represent His love, grace, and mercy to those who feel unacceptable, particularly unacceptable to the traditional church.
You mention the people who are sure to disagree with you. How are you going to handle the disapproval that almost certainly will come from people besides Jesus who don't know and love you? Is the book and what you've learned worth the potential negatives?
I can't predict whether there will be disapproval. And in fact, I don't even want to think about that. If there is disapproval, I know I'll hurt. I won't be surprised if I'm devastated. But, again, I pray that I am strong enough to handle it. If not, please come visit me at the psych ward.
Seriously, though, I have been stunned at the number of acquaintance friends—you know, people who you know but you don't stay in touch with, who you just run into on occasion—who have written me so many beautiful words of comfort, grace, and support.
As one of my sex sources said, perhaps if I opened my mind and closed off what other people thought of me, maybe I'd find that side of me that I'd lost. And I think he may be right.
So, yes, to know that I'm not dead inside, to know that I have it within me to have a sexual relationship with someone, and especially to know that my family loves me and accepts me no matter what, yes, it's worth it.
But most of all, it's worth it for the readers of Secret Sex Lives who have already written me and thanked me for the book, thanking me for letting them know that they aren't alone, that someone cares, and that they are accepted . . . as well as those who are thanking me for the book because it's helping them better communicate their needs to their partner, as well as express their love to their partner.
Is there another book in the material you've gathered? (Or do you have to write it to know?)
I hope there is another book. I know I want to write one. The story isn't complete, as of now. There's a whole other half to write. Regarding takeaway ideas from it, you're right, I'll have to write it. What God places on my heart today may be different from what He places on it tomorrow. Today, it's about love, grace, and mercy. It's about love, honesty, and mercy. It's about revealing the secrets so that we can move past them and in doing so, we can release the pain, find the joy, find the life . . . because it is out there. In truth, there are no secrets.
Greg Garrett is (according to BBC Radio) one of America's leading voices on religion and culture. He is the author or co-author of over twenty books of fiction, theology, cultural criticism, and spiritual autobiography. His most recent books are The Prodigal, written with the legendary Brennan Manning, Entertaining Judgment: The Afterlife in Popular Imagination, and My Church Is Not Dying: Episcopalians in the 21st Century. A contributor to Patheos since 2010, Greg also writes for the Huffington Post, Salon.com, OnFaith, The Tablet, Reform, and other web and print publications in the US and UK.