Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Adam And Eve's Unhappy Sex Life

Fellow Catholic Dads blogger, John Jansen posted this picture entitled Adam and Eve. It's a "painting that ... has [been] used in Theology of the Body presentations".

I don't know who painted it or where, but I feel compelled to re-post it. John says it speaks for itself, but I feel like it needs talking about.

It's just so potent, so visceral. I see boredom and pain. I see people trapped in a mechanical sexual relationship without pleasure. I see addiction. The half-nakedness suggests a hot summer night whose carnal activities has not brought relief from the heat outside or passion from within.

She looks old, worn out, tired; but she continues to apply make up to try to make herself alluring -- yet failing. She actually looks older than he does, suggesting some kind of cougar-love where the past-her-prime sexual aggressor actively seeks out the younger man to try to recapture her fading flower. Her vanity mirror is in front of her while she applies the makeup, but her eyes are sliding to the side, as if to see if Adam is still there, still caught in her wiles. Extending the metaphor, the classic pose of turning her head one way and her eyes another gives the viewers the impression that she is looking at us, to catch us too.

Adam looks spent, bored, and non-vital. He's either asleep, in pain, or both as his slack-jawed expression suggests. He looks post-coital, as if he's only just pulled on his pants. He grips the apple near his prominent crotch as he sits splay-legged. The apple here is a symbol of the forbidden fruit from the Garden of Eden, something that was taken in a way that was not supposed to be taken. It doesn't bring him pleasure, but he keeps hanging on to it, unable to let it go. In this picture the apple represents sex, but without love: a mechanical, even boring pursuit. He looks as if he meant to eat the apple, but fell asleep in situ before he could muster the energy.

The colors are flat: brownish and dull reds, symbolizing a lack of vitality. The browns also suggest earthiness, recalling the Garden of Eden by contrast -- in this case a barrenness, a lack of green growing things, of life. The lighting and shadows are harsh, non-flattering, as if the glare of reality is too much. The window shade is open and it's dark outside, giving the impression that it is a hot night. Since there is light on inside and darkness outside, the open window implies that anyone can see what the couple is doing from outside. The couple's half-nakedness shows a lack of modesty for their own bodies and for the sexual act. It is on display in a form of exhibitionism, but again without pleasure. In fact, Adam's base torso and passed-out pose implies they only just completed the act while the window was open the whole time.

These are just gut reactions I'm having. I'm sure others could explain it better. But I've never seen in one picture the damaging effects of sex without the proper understanding, context, and respect it demands that this picture affords.

Sex outside of marriage, contraceptive sex inside of marriage, self-gratification and selfishness: this is you -- and I've never seen you so unhappy.

1 comment:

RAnn said...

This is a post worth sharing. Thanks!


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