Some people who have been in my classes have heard me advance the thesis that most of history’s problems have a root in a misunderstanding of the place of sexuality in the Divine Image. I know I’m not alone in this line of thought; thinkers have advanced it since the earliest days of Christianity. I also realize that this cannot be understood too simply, as if to say, “sex” is the root of all human error. I think anyone who knows me knows that I am hardly so puritanical!
Yet if there is anything at all to my thesis (and I really think there is), I could ask for no better demonstration of this thesis than the ludicrous statement made this week by NHL player Brooks Laich.
One of my goals this year is to really explore like, learning about sexuality…People think that sexuality is just the act of sex, of just having sex and there’s so much more to it. Here’s a question. This is an honest question for everybody in this room, and every single person listening: Are you fully 100 percent fully expressed in your true sexuality? With your partner? With everything? You could not imagine having a better sex life? Are you truly there?…I’m not either. So that’s what one of my goals this year is to really dive into. So then we’re all essentially, that’s a state of suffering.
Laich is married to Julianne Hough. If you care about such things, there are rumors that their marriage is struggling. Seriously: is there any reasonable person who needs to ask why?
Laich’s statement specifically says that when we are not 100% fully satisfied with our sexual experience (I’m not sure how one is supposed to know when they’ve unlocked that particular achievement), we are in a state of suffering. And, of course, modern humanity must avoid suffering at all costs.
Instead, just imagine how many souls Laich could save from purgatory if he merely endured his evidently mediocre sexual experience! (I’m kidding.)
Laich is not just trying to end his suffering, but he’s also advocating an approach to life that prioritizes “pleasure as the absolute most important thing.” Laich says that when you live by a “pleasure first” principle:
You are more loving, more kind, more patient, you have more gratitude for everything, everybody’s awesome, things are funnier.
This is telling in a different way. In this, Laich is actually on to something: the human desire for happiness, which should motivate the whole moral life. The problem is that he has mistaken pleasure for happiness. Pleasure in good things is indeed good – but pleasure alone cannot satisfy our deepest longings. Here’s hoping he’ll figure that out while he’s living out his own personal re-enactment of “The Devil in Miss Jones.”
I mock this situation so I can save myself from being outraged by the audacity and stupidity of it. But I’d love to hear from others: am I right in thinking this situation is so ridiculous that any person should be embarrassed to have even thought it, let alone express it in an interview? Or have we come so far in our cultural dysfunction that sexual satisfaction – however one defines it – becomes a necessary ingredient for 21st century happiness?
Our selfishness cast us from the garden of Paradise and once again we demonstrate we haven’t learned a damn thing.