Illustration by Samantha Stewart
Staff, students explore meaning of sex
Varying perspectives on campus on role of sex in relationships
Sydney Hack, a sophomore integrated studies major at Seattle Pacific University, recalls her parents giving her the classic “birds and the bees” talk, explaining that sex is an act of romance.
Hack shared that although she understands sex is an act of love, she feels it does not have to be strictly amorous.
“It [sex] is to show that you care about someone, but it doesn’t have to mean that either. Everyone makes their own decisions and that’s okay. It’s healthy for you, too, in more ways than one. Emotionally and physically,” Hack said.
Older generations often explain that sexual relationships are solely romantic, according to Hack. Meanwhile, Hack and many young people disagree and believe that sex is a casual activity people engage in for pleasure.
Sex can exist in many different capacities — as something casual, as something biological, as a point of connection — the list goes on.
“A lot of people say that having sex is making love … you’re giving yourself to someone and it’s important to share [this intimate experience] with someone that is important to you,” Cleobelle Ramos, a sophomore pre-nursing student said.
Ramos agrees that sex should exist in the context of serious romantic relationships. She also recognizes that some students on campus disagree and view sex in a more casual way. She explained that she sees modern sex culture as being very casual, especially among young people.
From another perspective, Bob Drovdhal, professor of educational ministry at SPU, shared what he believes is the theological significance of sex.
“To call it sex education reduces it to just a biological event. What happens between two people is more than just a biological exchange,” he said.
Drovdhal also explained that it is important to teach people about the emotional connection they can experience after having sex.
“It is a fundamental part of our bodily existence so I think the Bible views it as good,” he said.
Drovdhal added that sex can teach people about the purest form of God’s love, explaining that when people engage in these activities, they are surrendering to one another.
Although many view sex as an important and emotional act, there are some who view sex as a non-essential factor in their relationships.
Reyna Camerena, a sophomore integrated studies major, shared this opinion.
“I always learned that the purpose of sex is to increase the population,” she said.
Camerena added that she understands from a cultural perspective, sex can be viewed as a romantic activity but she never saw the reasoning behind that argument.
Other students, like Hack, see sex as a significant factor in relationships whether or not they themselves decide to partake in sexual activity.
“I think choosing to have sex or not varies from person to person. I think sex is important to a certain degree. In some relationships, both parties might not find it as necessary, but I think it’s usually inevitable that it becomes part of a relationship,” Hack said.
Ramos agreed, adding that while she does not consider it essential, others might and that is their own decision.
She also stressed frustration with the societal pressure to have sex.
“Sometimes, it can feel like you’re behind if you’re not having sex. Seeing other people with their partners makes you curious about what’s so great about it,” Ramos said.
“Also, society makes you think that if you haven’t done anything around this age then you’re weird.”
Camerena echoed Ramos’ irritation, sharing that she often feels pressured by her friends.
“All of my friends back home have had their experiences and are always nagging me to get a boyfriend. Sex is not the only reason I want to be in a relationship,” Camerena said.
“It bothers me but I don’t let it get to me because they can’t force me to do something I’m not ready to do.”
Camerena added that it is easy for some people to be comfortable with having sex at this age and that is up to them, but society’s expectations should not be a deciding factor when people choose to have sex.
Ramos agreed, explaining that everyone has their own interpretation of the meaning of sex, and that partaking in or abstaining from sexual activities should be their own decision.
“If you have strong feelings for someone and the feeling is mutual, there is nothing wrong with having sex but don’t do it just because others are doing it,” Ramos said.
There are many varying opinions on the meaning of sex and they should be considered with an open mind.
“People can be very judgemental about other people’s personal decisions and it shouldn’t be that way,” Hack said. “Everyone can do what they want with their bodies and people should be respectful of each other.”