Relationships in a World of Individualism

  • rWorld

    The rWorld is about more than Dale Kuehne's book Sex and the iWorld.
    The rWorld is a New England based, non-profit (in formation), that is composed of a growing number of people and organizations from many faith and ideological backgrounds worldwide. We believe that much of the fulfillment for which women and men are looking can be found by enhancing the quality of our relationships. While the individual freedom we enjoy in the West is a gift, the love and intimacy for which humans yearn will not be found in self-serving materialism or hedonism, but in a variety of healthy relationships.

    Contact us if you'd like get involved:

  • Dale Kuehne

    Sex & the iWorld

    Professor of Politics and The Richard L. Bready Chair for Ethics, Economics, and the Common Good at Saint Anselm College, Manchester, NH.

    In this blog I'm highlighting signposts of the world in which we presently reside as a means of helping promote a civil, and meaningful dialogue about what kind of world in which we wish to live. I am particularly interested in exploring how might we reconcile the individual good and the common good, and where reconciliation isn’t possible, which should take precedence and why.

    I also blog at

    [Content Caution]

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Outside the Box

Posted by Dale Kuehne on June 8, 2010

A celebate, lesbian, conservative, Catholic who finds what she is looking for in friendship.

St. Alered (the Patron Saint of Integrity), On Intimate Friendship

“It is no small consolation in this life to have someone you can unite with you in an intimate affection and the embrace of a holy love, someone in whom your spirit can rest, to whom you can pour out your soul, to whose pleasant exchanges, as to soothing songs, you can fly in sorrow… with whose spiritual kisses, as with remedial salves, you may draw out all the weariness of your restless anxieties. A man who can shed tears with you in your worries, be happy with you when things go well, search out with you the answers to your problems, whom with the ties of charity you can lead into the depths of your heart; . . . where the sweetness of the Spirit flows between you, where you so join yourself and cleave to him that soul mingles with soul and two become one.” (citation in NY Times article)

Maybe. contrary to When Harry Met Sally, men and women can be friends without sex.


One Response to “Outside the Box”

  1. Lauren Fithian said

    Eve Tushnet sounds like an amazing person who is content and happy in her life . That’s something I would wish for every one of us. It also seems like most of her contentment and feeling of stability come from her religion and living her life in a way that conforms to the limitations placed on her by the church. There are others who choose celibacy for the same or other reasons. Tushnet has reconciled herself with a religious ideology that is not accepting of her full humanity. I’m surprised, however, that a person of her apparent intellect is unable/unwilling to acknowledge that for many other gay and lesbian Catholics denying the sexual/sex part of their humanity is exactly the same as denying the sexual/sex part of heterosexuals’ humanity. Recognition of the sexual component and range of sexual needs of humans would not in any way prevent Tushnet from living her life exactly as she does now. It would only recognize that hers is one mode, celibacy, in a range of ways of living our sexual lives. To cease denying the validity and humanness of active sex lives of gays and lesbians would not make Tushnet’s choice any less beautiful and valid (or would it?).

    This situation reminds me of the hetero couples who claim that gay marriage would have an adverse effect on their own marriages. Does this mean that the “specialness” of their marriages is contingent upon others’ not being allowed the same right? Are we straight people only NOT abominations because the Catholic church tells us that another group ARE abominations? Are our own marriages not based on their own content of love and commitment? If marriage is special and sacred and based on love and commitment and a way of providing additional family stability, wouldn’t it be better to open it up to all the couples whose relationships celebrate those very qualities and, being comprised of full human beings, are no less deserving of the societal, civil and spiritual benefits of recognized marriage?

    I was at a “gay rights” rally recently in support of my gay/lesbian fellow humans. I was handed a flyer from a gay rights group that was AGAINST gay marriage. I eagerly read the flyer to find out why because I was somewhat shocked. It had not occurred to me that at a gay rights event I would encounter such a group. The gist of the pamphlet was that they advocated what they called a “queer” lifestyle and wanted nothing to do with anything that was traditionally heterosexual. I have no problem with their “queer” lifestyle and whatever that means to them. But I have a big problem with saying that gays should be denied end-of-life involvement with their life-long partners because we don’t allow them to be married. Or that they cannot enjoy the same tax benefits as hetero married couples (To name just two of many injustices.) But beyond such inequalities–which we can potentially remedy with civil law–it astounds me that anyone would choose to deny to so many people the chance to engage in the emotional and physical joys of monogamous marriage. Just as I do not understand why anyone’s heterosexual marriage is somehow threatened by any other marriage, straight or gay, I do not understand why the “queer” lifestyle group could not advocate for the full range of choices for gays and lesbians. They can still choose to remain completely out of the “straight” lifestyle.

    I think we all need to figure out what stake we have in separating out various groups of humans and reserving full recognition for only some. What is our stake in continuing to deny the full humanity and rights of gays? Are we so insecure that we seek to bolster our own positions by presenting others as lower or less worthy instead of relying on the content of our own lives and relationships? I’m happy for Eve Tushnet. But she is willing to live with unjust limitations because life works for her that way. Others cannot live their lives that way and should not have to.

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