What is Sexual Integrity?
The term “Sexual Integrity” sounds good, noble and upright. But many psychologists, often thinking in fuzzy terms, equate integrity only with individualistic values and honesty. They’ll tell you that you have sexual integrity as long as you’re being honest about your sexual likes and dislikes. Really? Is that all it means?
in·teg·ri·ty (From the Merriam-Webster dictionary)
1. The quality of being honest and having strong moral principles; moral uprightness.
synonyms: honesty, probity, rectitude, honor, good character, principle(s), ethics, morals, righteousness, morality, virtue, decency, fairness, scrupulousness, sincerity, truthfulness, trustworthiness.
2. The state of being whole and undivided.
synonyms: unity, unification, coherence, cohesion, togetherness, solidarity
Sexual integrity is the definition of integrity applied to sexual choices and actions.
Reduction of Values Based on Individualism
In the western world, “my personal truths” have replaced values, morals and ethics. In other words, what’s true for you may not be true for me. Although relative truth has its place in the universe, it doesn’t negate absolute truth. Absolute truth is what created the universe and what holds it together. Without absolutes, integrity doesn’t exist.
We may have differences in our likes and dislikes, or our opinions and experiences, but those are all changeable or temporal things. Your thoughts and feelings can change from moment to moment based on new information or a new experience. Furthermore, your emotional and mental state may change if you’re in pain, if it’s a sunny day, if you’re on medication, if you’re with a friend, or whether you eat healthy and exercise or not. So, to base the idea of integrity on your personal experience or preferences makes no sense at all.
Unfortunately, we live in a culture that constantly entices you to think about yourself. Over-stimulation of your 5 senses happens every time you go online, into a store, or drive down the street. The pressure to survive, accomplish and succeed has you aching for comfort and satisfaction. But choosing immediate gratification of your desires will only keep you trapped in the self-destructive cycle of personal relativism. Whatever works for me in the moment—we’ll call that non-integrity.
Values Based on Absolute Principles
Now think about these values that are synonyms for integrity:
All of the values above imply a relationship. Regardless of whether the relationship is between your own mind and body, or with another person, these values apply. Hence, relationship is the basis for all values. That’s because unity based on mutually beneficial relationships centered on a higher purpose is the core truth of the universe. That’s why the second definition of integrity has to do with wholeness or unification.
The Disintegration of Relationships
What we see in human relationships today goes against the absolute values of the universe. People use each other based on self-serving interests. Liars and cheaters behave dishonorably to protect themselves. People are insincere, unfair and untrustworthy because their values are self-centered. Relationships break down when one or more parties act in a self-serving way.
We see this breakdown in our homes, our communities, and in the world; but nowhere is it more painful than in the bedroom. If a couple doesn’t have integrity the relationship won’t last. If we individually don’t have sexual integrity it means we can’t love our partner. Love is not a concept or a feeling or a state of bliss, it’s an action that incorporates all that integrity is. The good feelings and joy we experience in relationships are the results of love. Essentially, love is living a life of integrity and compassion.
Sexual Integrity Can Save the World
To live with integrity means to live honoring the sacred oneness of the universe. It means to live knowing that everything exists in relationship, therefore everything I do affects another. Additionally, it means that my individual truths are honored as much as they respect the value of others.
Sexual integrity is an even deeper application of the meaning of integrity, because it suggests that I have integrity at the most vulnerable level. It means that in the place of my greatest need and potential (to be loved, and to love) I will honor others—my spouse, my descendants, my ancestors, the world.
Imagine how many lives can be changed if we live with sexual integrity. Human history has changed because of great teachers like Jesus, Gandhi and others who taught about integrity. Imagine how the world can change if we help others learn to live with sexual integrity.