"It seems like, to me, a vagina -- as a man -- would be more desirable than a man's anus." - Phil Robertson, of Duck Dynasty
Now, on one hand, Phil Robertson is just plain easy pickings for critique. At the same time, I find it quite helpful when people say such honest things as this line. It makes having substantive conversations about the real issues much easier.
Here is what I mean: Phil offers us his perspective on why homosexual sex does not make sense to him. Vaginas are seemingly more attractive or desirable than anuses are. What Phil's comment tells us about him, and perhaps more heterosexual men than we would like to know about, is that sex is something he does to a woman. While I am sure that he loves his wife, his comment tells us that sex is more about himself than about it being a thing shared, or that connects two people. The way he puts it, however off the cuff that comment was, it is about the end result for him.
Robertson's comment points to what so many people focus on in this conversation about gay and lesbian sex. The focus tends to be on the plumbing, if you will, and the procreative outcome. The focus is all too often on the body parts that are involved instead of on what happens within a person when he or she is attracted to another person. The focus is on the sex act itself and whether or not it can lead to producing a child. If we are honest and can take a step back, we can see that just because the two people involved happen to be a man and woman does not mean that the intercourse will be: beautiful, consensual, pleasurable for both, or even lead to procreation. It seems to me that it is time for us to get honest about sex and who "can" have it and why or why not.
This brings us to the realm of the Bible. What biblical stories do say about this topic and what many people assume that they say are usually not the same thing, at all. Since Robertson is a proclaimed "Bible thumper," and most people who label homosexual sex as a "sin" do so based on what they have been told the Bible or their sacred book says, it is well worth our time to familiarize ourselves with what is in the Bible on this issue.
Since the significant points on this topic are enough to fill much more than an editorial on this topic (there is an entire chapter on sex in my forthcoming book, Permission Granted), I will try to summarize the main points worth your consideration, for now. The first point to consider is that within the culture that produced the Bible, women were passed from father to a husband, and were treated quite literally like property in this exchange -- money changed hands. Women's roles in biblical stories are predominantly about their procreative abilities. Any of the stories that go beyond this realm for women (such as Esther), are usually still focused on how the woman is functioning for men's benefit and power. Regardless, just the reality that women were property ought to cause us to pause. Something that is property may legitimately be treated however the owner sees fit. "Owner" and "property" ... all of a sudden, I cannot tell if I am talking about an object or a person.
Another issue to consider in this conversation is the matter of procreation. The command, in Genesis 1:28, to "be fruitful and multiply," was said to a very small group of people who needed to grow in numbers. They had a promise from their God that they would be numerous, would inhabit a large swath of land, and would be established enough as a nation to be able to help other nations. All of these promises require that they get busy producing children. In the year 2013, we are facing overwhelming overpopulation issues, and they are only getting worse. The command to "be fruitful and multiply" does not apply to us today. Thus, the focus on procreation as the reason, ultimately, to have sex is off the table.
This brings us back around to ideas such as connecting with another person, giving each other pleasure, and showing the person that you love how much you do love him or her. These are things that do not require any particular "plumbing," the last time that I checked.