Theology of the Body Thursday #35: What is a relationship?


“We started out just hooking up but then it got serious and that was weird so we stopped dating for awhile, but then we realized it’s OK so we started dating again and now it’s great. I hope that doesn’t sound bad. That sounded bad. I mean, it was the correct information but I presented it in the wrong way. This is weird. I look like a dick. Ask him a question now.”  – The young woman in the above picture

This quote gave me pause when I saw it on my news feed the other day. She’s obviously uncomfortable talking about her relationship. She’s embarrassed to be talking about something so private. She’s confused and she’s not sure how to even appropriately talk about it. Maybe she knows who Humans of New York is and she’s worried about having her face and quote plastered across the internet. But enough speculating, let’s just take the quote at face value.

For those of you unfamiliar with the lingo, more often than not, “hooking up” means having sex with “no strings attached.” So to translate the first sentence, they were having sex, but then it got serious, so they stopped. Do we really look down on sex, on our own bodies, that much? We can have sex without it being serious?

And then, serious just seems weird? I’m not sure how to even contemplate that. Maybe it is weird because we are all so naturally stuck in ourselves and then someone else comes on the scene and takes our affections. Maybe it is weird because change is weird.

As flawed as this quote is about sex, it says even more about womanhood. In a society so saturated with sex, women’s bodies being used to sell everything from cars to cheeseburgers to cable TV, this woman and many like her don’t feel comfortable talking publicly about their sex lives. She thinks she “looks like a dick” for telling the truth of her experience while he just sheepishly smiles.

Is this what we have come down to? Women ashamed of admitting their sexuality while their sexuality is used and abused. “Relationships” being so without rules, without strings, that no one can define them, even the people involved. As I’ve said before, in placing sex outside of marriage we have thrown the baby out with the bathwater and left future generations hurt, confused, and feeling just “weird.”

Here is the sexual revolution, summed up in a Humans of New York picture and quote.