July 7, 2015

"I said to her – and she completely agreed – 'Can we love each other without that?'"

"If you can love somebody without that, then you can really love somebody."

Said Russell Wilson, the Seattle Seahawks quarterback, in an interview with the pastor of Rock Church, referring to his relationship with Ciara.

The link goes to People, which reads that quote as  "news that the couple is abstaining from sex for religious reasons." But the quote does not say that. Let's talk about what the words mean, and let's assume that Wilson: 1. doesn't lie, and 2. chooses his words accurately.

First, Wilson is telling us about a conversation in which he posed the question whether it's possible to love without having sex. The woman agreed with the proposition embedded in his question: Yes, it is. There's a second level to the proposition: Refraining from having sex is a test of love. If you have the capacity to love without having sex, then your capacity for love is truly great. At the time of the conversation, the couple expressed a shared belief in this proposition.

That's lovely and quite appropriate for an interview in a church, but if privacy-invading probing questions were in order, I'd ask: After agreeing about the possibility of love without sex, did there come a time when you, in fact, had sex? I'm only pointing out the gap between the quote and the People paraphrase. Wilson didn't state that the couple is — People's word — "abstaining."

Second, Wilson didn't state that the couple is abstaining — as People put it — for religious reasons. One might seek a sex-free relationship with a person of the opposite sex for reasons other than religion. Maybe that's the only reason People can think of or maybe People is influenced by the church setting or maybe People is pandering to the tastes of its readers, but religion is not a necessary foundation for Wilson's statement. It could be philosophy (as in Plato's "Symposium"). And it could be sexual preference. I would not infer from a woman's beauty that a particular man feels sexual desire for her.

They're a beautiful couple, and I wish them happiness. My motivation here is to reveal the soppiness and the sloppiness of People Magazine.


Jim in St Louis said...

Yeah well, it’s a People magazine for Pete’s sake. , I guess that it is about time someone held their journalistic feet to the fire. What’s next Althouse? - fisking that fortune cookie from last night?

‘ I must point out that not ALL journeys are of a distance of a thousand miles and it is disingenuous to suggest that shorter journeys could not also begin with a single step, I also found the saying discriminatory against people in wheelchairs.'

In good humor- but really-- c'mon.

Michael K said...

Why would you question the sloppiness of "People ?" We know it is written for idiots.

Mary Beth said...

...referring to his relationship with Ciala.

She's Ciara. Ciala was a great typo because it sounds like Cialis.

MayBee said...

Well, I"m happy for the article. He's handsome and cool, and it's nice to get this message out there. There's too much "everyone is having sex!" in our popular culture.

virgil xenophon said...

In earlier times--say, the 30s--this used to be known as "the music of the spheres." Alas, those utilizing the English language today are hardly so naively romantic..

mccullough said...

Good to see he's recovered from throwing that interception in the end zone on the last play in the Super Bowl.

Curious George said...

He's hitting it.

paminwi said...

People Mag: has JFK on it's July 4th edition celebrating at Hyannisport with Jackie. Will we ever be done with the Kennedys?

William said...

Ciala is the singular of cialis.

Unknown said...

"One might seek a sex-free relationship with a person of the opposite sex for reasons other than religion" is missing the point. The Bible records God's desire for mankind not because God is a capricious god who is jealous in the same sense that we might be jealous; God designed us to follow His "rules" (maybe principles is a better word). We are individually happier, more fulfilled, and less conflicted when following the precepts of the Bible because we are made in the image of God, and living otherwise creates tension. Following your religious nature IS for reasons other than religion, it's self-fulfillment and harmony.

1 Corinthians 2:14, The person without the Spirit does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God but considers them foolishness, and cannot understand them because they are discerned only through the Spirit.

Laslo Spatula said...

Unlike Tom Brady, Russell Wilson is not deflating HIS balls.

I am Laslo.

Rob said...

Love without boner pills--that's the dream, all right.

Laslo Spatula said...

Russell Wilson's Center has just gotten a bit nervous.

Because he bends over in front of Russell.

Over and over.

As part of his job.

And Russell has unrequited needs.

Touching the Center's taint is NOT part of the Game.

Because the Center's taint is right there, and Russell's hands are right THERE.

Maybe the Center should consider baggier pants.

I am Laslo.

EMD said...

Don't most married men already go through this?

phantommut said...

My motivation here is to reveal the soppiness and the sloppiness of People Magazine.

As aspirations go, this one is modest, to say the most.

Bob Boyd said...

I going to assume the decision to abstain isn't related to vaginal odor.
Or the misuse of a fish.

Curious George said...

"EMD said...
Don't most married men already go through this?"

Abstain from sex with Ciala? No.

Laslo Spatula said...

I'm not seeing where he says he is abstaining from all sex, only sex with her.

She might want to smell his cock from time to time for signs of other women.

If I recall, the signs come in five categories.

I am Laslo.

EDH said...

"So, how long is this not going to be a problem for me?

...I'm like a sexual camel."

chillblaine said...

Althouse tweets! About People Magazine making an inference about Russell Wilson's intention to try to abstain from extra-marital sex? The posting says a lot about Althouse's contempt for religion intruding into the public sphere.

A insightful cultural critique might have juxtaposed Wilson's appearance at Rock Church with last night's episode of the Bachelorette. Wilson spoke in a house of worship about how he is powerless over his urges, and asks for prayers. Kaitlyn visited a Catholic Church and asserted that she is mistress of her libido, and engages in extra-marital sex with a man she contends is husband material.

One of these stories illustrates man's attempt to thwart cultural entropy and assert his pre-eminence over his animal urges. He might get his girl. The other story shows how young people without the ability to delay gratification eventually have their dreams shattered.

Roy Jacobsen said...

"My motivation here is to reveal the soppiness and the sloppiness of People Magazine."

As if the soppiness and the sloppiness of People Magazine was hidden?

Laslo Spatula said...

For Russell there is no "soppiness and the sloppiness" at the present time.

I am Laslo.

YoungHegelian said...

Well, jeez, if they're both believing Christians, I can see why they might want to abstain from fornication.

I know that we as a culture don't get too bent out of shape about such things now, but maybe this couple just likes things the old-fashioned way. It's their business.

rhhardin said...

Don't do one-night stands because it makes a mess and is overrated, not because of religious reasons.

What you want is somebody who laughs at your jokes, and that goes on for a while.

Also, could I add, having seen several hundred romcom DVDs now, that they always get the sex scene wrong. Tearing off each other clothes is not what happens.

rhhardin said...

An advantage of premarital sex is that you get the disappointment out of the way before the wedding night.

Anonymous said...

What happened to Wilson's first marriage?

rhhardin said...

About Time (2013)

I've got an important announcement to make.

We've decided, after a little bit of thought, to get married.

The wedding will be quite soon because we're having a baby, too.

Ann Althouse said...

"She's Ciara. Ciala was a great typo because it sounds like Cialis."

Typo fixed.

I made the Cialis connection when I read the article so that didn't even come from my unconscious mind.

Is this woman a celebrity? I assume so, because of the one-name name.

Ann Althouse said...

"I know that we as a culture don't get too bent out of shape about such things now, but maybe this couple just likes things the old-fashioned way. It's their business."

1. If it's their business, why make a public display of it and get in the news? Why is it in the news that somebody's possibly not having sex? They made it other people's business (either to look good or to help others or both).

2. Wilson lost his first marriage to divorce, so the "old fashioned" template doesn't fit.

Voile Falushe said...

These people are not white. Asking such questions about them is in poor taste.

Sam L. said...

The magazine's soppiness has been obvious for years.

Otto said...

"2. Wilson lost his first marriage to divorce, so the "old fashioned" template doesn't fit."
Do you know why he got divorced? Maybe it was for an "old fashion" reason.
Being old fashion is soppiness?
I guess you are modern, hip and up-to-date.You go girl. No "old fashion" mores for you, a true Marcuse disciple.
Code: Christian bashing.

Oclarki said...

What happened to Wilson's first marriage?

The rumor is that his wife cheated on him with team mate Golden Tate.

daskol said...

This should clear things up, on the whether they're celibate front and on whether it's religious.


Static Ping said...

Ann, if the partner in the marriage commits adultery that is considered a Biblically sound grounds for divorce. Actually, in the New Testament that is more or less the only grounds, but then again death was the other way to end a marriage and a whole lot of crimes carried the death penalty. I suppose you could say that if something were to result in the spouse's execution back then, that would also be valid grounds. The Roman Catholic Church does have a rather long list of causes of an annulment.

Ciara's first musical album, released 2004, went triple platinum and generated a #1 US Pop hit and two #2s. Next two albums (2006 and 2008) also went platinum, but since then her musical career has been rather modest. She also does some acting and modeling. Amusingly, her #1 hit is called "Goodies" which is more or less Ciara telling her suitors that's she's a virgin and is going to stay that way. Ironically, she is no longer a virgin having had a child with rapper Future in 2014. They were engaged to be married, probably at the uh-oh moment, but it didn't work out.

Wilbur said...

I believe a large number of men would agree, at least for them, that sexual desire and love for another person are two separate and distinct things.

PWS said...

I read it as only abstention from "sex for religious reasons"; not all sex. There's sex for sex or enjoyment or any reason and then there's "sex for religious reasons."