NOW THAT we have dealt with sidelining the moral passions of the modern age, or the three great follies of the revolution, we should speak of other topics that are far more uncomfortable and that no conservative religious person will ever dare speak of. To speak of these topics would either be proof of being reactionary or being a monastic (and therefore free to be ridiculed for having truly extreme views.)
SEX IS a topic you will hear a lot about - but not really. Most of what we would speak of regarding human sexual relations is either enforcement of taboo or exhortation towards chastity. Now, I have no interest in removing taboos or undermining chastity. Far from it, instead, I intend to relate some very extreme words about such things, which will hopefully illuminate, 'darkly', the subject matter.
HUMAN SEX is a biological fact - even any idea of an axis of 'sexedness' or 'genderedness' presupposes a binary male and female for its fundamental categories. Such efforts are merely an attempt to confuse sex and sexuality with the various levels of 'gender' or what might be called 'genderedness'. As I recall, BTAF once tried to theorize a third sex, but that's stuff I read in college when I was interested in prurient literature.
ARISTOPHENES has a strange theory of gender and sex, perhaps the strangest. His belief was that humans were originally joined in pairs, and that three pairings existed: male/male, female/female and male/female. At some point, the gods broke them up, but they still feel drawn to either their original 'mate' or one similar to them. This is the first time I can think of in history of there being a 'general theory of sexual orientation' and all general theories of sexual orientation that follow it are just about as credible.
ON THE PURELY SEXUAL LEVEL, there is only male/female sexuality. This is because any use of the term 'sexual' to not refer to the relationship between the opposite sexes is metaphorical; so homosexuality is not in the same class of terms as sexuality and heterosexuality is redundant. Sexedness is about the configuration of the same part of human biology into a complementary pair - the 'genitals' whose purpose is unification. If you consider other sexed things - like plugs - you'll recognize that plugs are more properly referred to being 'sexual' than a homosexual couple.
THE REASON FOR THIS CONFUSION is simple; since same-sex couplings involve the same parts used in actual sexuality, and many of the same actions associated with real couplings, they are metaphorically granted the term 'sexuality'. The same confusion has extended to marriage, love, and soon virginity. This homo-sex is rightly condemned as a perversion, as it involves purposeful misuse of the functions (such as the orgasm) of real sexuality. All virtue involves pleasure, for sure, but fornication is - if anything in deeper truth - the attachment of the pleasure of virtue to vice.
CHASTITY ALSO has a deeper meaning, that of abstaining from to prevent the incidence of fornication. Chastity's role is to prevent the miswiring of pleasure. Granted, chastity alone is not enough, since it is merely a negation. Negations leave a vacuum which as we understand, our nature abhors. The utility of chastity is thus to prevent the filling of the space with disorder.
SEXUALITY is just physical, however. We begin to think and understand 'genderedness' with words (it seems) - words describing sexed beings start by picking up the attitude of that sex. But, 'genderedness' is not a general category outside of language. To pair masculinity and femininity on a higher level as 'gender' makes it appear that they are properties ascribed-to but not inherent-to a substance; a 'ship' being feminine in gender doesn't make it female. Its femininity thus can be dismissed as a fancy (after all, some other group of people make all ships masculine!)
THE IMPORTANCE OF SEXUALITY on the spiritual level is that it maps theology into anthropology. We as Orthodox understand the cross (sacrifice) and the unity in the church to be imaged by the nuptial (sexual) union of male and female and thus connected to the type of love the Greeks called 'eros'. This is a difficulty for materialists, who assume that the physical is primary adn thus we must be thinking of bumping uglies. Rather, it's the copulation we do (or do wrongly) that is an image of something metaphysical, which is revealed in the Cross and in the union of God and Man in the Church.
MALE AND FEMALE are two differing but same substances - inherently different in an unbridgeable way (we think differently, we work differently, we even move differently) but joined by the human nature. In the same way, the godman is inherently different from us in that he is God, but is also inherently the same as he is Man. There really isn't anything else that needs to be said about the subject -- and since eros is a love that involves jealousy, it's obvious why God is jealous -- and why idols are adultery. It is of course not possible for there to be a real nuptial union between God and Man until the incarnation. And if there is no incarnation (as some believe) then there can be no union of God and Man and no real access to the Divine through man.
IT FOLLOWS FROM THIS that there is no 'copulation' in heaven. None at all. Christ affirms this to the materialist Jews who think to refute the resurrection by pointing out the absurdity of nuptial union with seven men when monogamy is the rule. So if you want to 'have sex' get it over with before the next world, though you may find that outside of its proper purpose it merely drags the mind down to earth. It's funny that way. The pleasure from it is the pleasure of virtue, but a greater virtue awaits beyond since our human coitus is but a shadow of real union.
THUS WE ORTHODOX affirm that the purpose of marriage is not simply to bear children, but to unify man and wife. Man does not control whether the womb is opened or not; but he does control whether he joins himself to his wife. For marriage actually is just this - the copulation of the man and woman together. Our ages of ceremony are to protect and direct this act whose pleasure is almost greater than any other. And for good reason, as we explained the central aim of man is his prolongation and his physical prolongation is through children. It's also notable that his psychosomatic prolongation is through another kind of union - making 'sexuality' the most dangerous and sacred aspect of human life, perhaps.
THE HIERARCHY IMPLIED in the god/man pair is also implied in the male/female pair. It was once thought long ago that Man was fundamentally male and that females were deformed males. (These theories go quite nicely along side Aristophenes' theories of sexual orientation.) From this point it was believed that male was the better of the two. As it turns out, proto-sexed humans are all technically female (it was sort of implied that it was the reverse) which throws a huge wrench into that theory entirely.
YOU MIGHT SAY to me, well, if your theory is metaphysical, you don't care about human gestation in deciding which of the two sexes is the 'higher' in the hierarchy! This is quite untrue. Even if we regard the physical as an emanation or shadow of the metaphysical, it still follows that there ought to be a correlation that we can discern. And it is this: since the male is spiritual and active, it is sensible that his gestation involves a fundamental transformation. It is the first of many self-transformations being male entails (and has, traditionally - consider rites of passage.)
THUS IT IS NOT so much that one sex is superior but rather that the male is primarily directed to the spiritual and active, while the female to the bodily and passive. The irony here is that women are better at suffering than men, since passivity -- passion -- is their forte. And what is life if not suffering? This also relates to the degree of self-giving required by the human female in gestation - far greater than most creatures. It is even such that falsely masculinized females regard the new human (fetus) as a parasite. To them it may be said, it's not your job to be a male. It's your job to be a female. As the apostle says, "She will be saved through birthgiving."
JIM HAS WRITTEN some theories regarding homosexuality, not on the metaphysical level but the physical - which are probably more erudite than I can offer regarding biology. One thing should be said however, and that is that because the purpose of the pleasure of union is to bind together, child sexual abuse, particularly the homo-sexual kind, confuses this process of union and sets the pleasure itself outside of its best and perhaps only intended place. After this it is not surprising that other forms of pleasure are ascribed to union (those involving the muscles of the gastrointestinal tract for instance) and what unions are regarded as real are simply those which involve some kind of sexualized pleasure. It is a positive feedback loop.
THUS THE AXIS of sexuality goes from 'sexual' to 'pansexual' and everything along the way is just stops along a path leading to the sexualization of everything, and the inclusion of all forms of pleasure into sexuality. Supposed bisexuality and homosexuality have telltale signs in them, that such persons involved often ape characteristics of the other sex; so you will have two females but one is masculine (and dominant) - or the proliferation of feminized men.
WE WILL JUST ASSUME that there are a variety of pleasures - the pleasure of domination, the pleasure of submission, the pleasure of female beauty, the pleasure of male beauty, and so on, and note that a fundamental lack of direction in terms of sexuality means these concepts can be attached in different ways that produce disorder. Binding them all is the physical pleasure, almost mechanical in nature, given to the real act itself.
THUS FEMINISTS, who cannot enjoy submitting normally (due to dominant/submissive ideology hacks), find it difficult to enjoy the regular act. Indeed, the difficulty given in both sexes enjoying the act in the same way is not mysterious; it is a secondary test of the union. That is to say, can both parties involved consider the other person's pleasure their own? If they can, they likely also can consider the other person's well-being their own. For some this process is simpler than others.
BUT ALL OF THIS is moot outside of the context of the male/female union. If you believe in some degree of intelligent design (as I do) you would have to regard all of this is a very sophisticated technology for the creation of higher-level entities. Because humans die, this process is coupled to that of creating more humans, making the prolongation of man center around the nuptial act. We should also regard it as profoundly realistic that the Christian idea is to understand the union of God and man through Jesus Christ as nuptial in nature.
THERE WAS A TIME when women were encouraged to imagine themselves having nuptials WITH Christ, which is if you think about it, insanely perverse, hedonistic and materialistic. The nature of the sex drive is that of a positive feedback loop, so feeding it with anything outside of the actual thing ("do not awaken desire before its time", the proverb goes) is bound to be pornographic and lead to fornication of some kind.
ALL OF THE TABOOS around sex are also misunderstood. In a sense, people have a very Manichean view of taboo and clean/unclean. While dirt seems to be a slam-dunk for being unclean, it's also true that swallowing bleach, a CLEANER, is inherently unclean. (It makes you sick.) Cleanliness thus is not so much about keeping the good things from the bad, but rather, not mixing things out of order. In this way, people often treat anything taboo as being taboo because it is inherently unclean. So in their folly they take modesty to mean that the sexual organs and thus by extension the act itself, to be somehow 'bad'.
BUT WE AS ORTHODOX cover the cup in which the body and blood of Christ are. It is hidden not because it is bad, but because it is OTHER. The female in particular has a naturally great beauty (even so more without clothes) so to prevent the mixing of sexual activity and everything else she in particular should be modest. Overmodesty can have the opposite effect of course, since mystery motivates as much as revelation. We have already demonstrated above that sexuality can devour all forms of pleasure and activity into itself; so overexpression of male and female sex can induce a feedback loop that is not controllable.
THUS WE CAN SAY that we Europeans in particular have women cover up the way we do because we regard her beauty as sacred, not because we regard it as unclean or bad. Those involved in Liberation (LIBERTY from below) only see walls as the chains of slavery, the wall between powerful and sacred things that should not mix is something they can not learn to understand.
SEX ALSO gives us the chance to think about sacredness in general, and all of its strange and hard to justify rules that nonetheless cause havoc if not kept in some form. There is much that we do not understand about order, either on the physical or the metaphysical plane; sexuality itself is an albatross about the neck of fallen man if he does not give serious respect to such concerns.