Humane sexuality
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Date: June 2003

Photo: SCM Press
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'She asks if we should be thinking of ourselves as "'visualsexual', 'audiosexual', 'cerebralsexual' or 'tits'n'bums- sexual''

Memories of Bliss: God, Sex and Us
Jo Ind
SCM Press, 192pp
£9.99, paperback

Reviewed by Charlotte Haines

During my early single days I was fed a diet of Joyce (don't) Hugget, which helped imbue a sense of disgust at the slightest tingly feeling "down there". How refreshing it is then to read an enjoyably candid book about sexuality, especially that of a fellow thirty-something woman.

Whereas her forebears concentrated on "how far can you go?" Ind discards moralising and instead explores what sexuality means.

She graphically portrays how we are turned on by the world - a cute bum, a flash of inspiration or beautiful music - describing such incidents as "more of an all over kind of 'randyness', a feeling of wanting to sit astride the cosmos."

Arguing that our sexuality is related to what turns us on, she asks if we should be thinking of ourselves as ""visualsexual," "audiosexual", "cerebralsexual" or "tits'n'bumssexual."", rather than worrying about homo and hetero sexualities.

Having provided a compelling account of sexuality, she asks "what should we do with it?" Her answer in short is to grow love.

Ind rightly acknowledges that The Bible does not contain a prohibition against sex outside of marriage but then says that she personally views vaginal sex as something to be saved for a life long partner, as aside from avoiding unwanted pregnancies, it enables us to use the body to say "Only for you."

However, if we follow this logic, we could engage in any sex act with anybody as long as we save one for that special person, whether vaginal, oral or anal sex. It is not sex that endows uniqueness on a coupling but the relationship within.

It would be churlish to focus on this criticism because Ind has made an intelligent swipe at the remnants of guilty cobwebs whilst encouraging us to be fully awake sexual beings.

As she establishes that "the reaching out and holding things [is] the erotic stuff of God", sexuality is firmly recognised as vital and good and liberated from the marital bed.

Ind brings a whole new meaning to the axiom "God is love."

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