Celebrities relationships sex sex and sexuality
Ciara Should Be the Only Person Talking About Her Sex Life7/20/2015
by Leah C.K. Lewis Last week, Black people collectively went “D’awww…” when Seattle Seahawks Super...
by Leah C.K. Lewis
Last week, Black people collectively went “D’awww…” when Seattle Seahawks Super Bowl winning quarterback Russell Wilson opened up about his romance with superstar singer Ciara, confessing that both had agreed to abstain from sex in their relationship. This week, Ciara’s “baby daddy” and ex-fiancé Future indicated that Ciara did not make him wait. (Thank you, Captain Obvious.) However, what many people are missing is that it is rather unfortunate that two men spoke about their current or ex-girlfriend’s sex life. By doing so, they negated Ciara’s sexual agency, while also reinforcing age-old stereotypes about men and women’s virtue.
Consensual sex, in its proper context, is a thoroughly sacred encounter. From the Kama Sutra to Song of Solomon in the Old Testament, revered texts honor sex as a holy, beautiful, and healthy experience. Sex, then, like our romantic relationships, is best considered a private, precious matter. One that if disclosed should be done by mutual consent and with both parties present and accounted for.
Interestingly, Ciara was absent from each public revelation about her sex life. Casting a public gaze on Ciara’s sex life without her presence, permission, and participation is highly problematic.
Wilson, her current love interest, made the initial reveal during an interview conducted by former San Diego Charger and founding pastor of The Rock Church Miles McPherson. Pastor McPherson asked, “How’s your relationship going?” With that, Wilson freely, without prompting, offered that he and Ciara had agreed to abstain from sex. McPherson eyebrows seemed to rise (although McPherson and Wilson may very well have discussed this talking point prior to the interview). He then probed Wilson seeking clarification because Wilson was rather cryptic in his remarks. To which Wilson specified that he was talking about “sex.”
Did Wilson have Ciara’s permission to discuss their agreement? If not, her absence and his failure to gain mutual consent made void her sexual agency. In essence, she was objectified—Ciara become a voiceless absent entity, albeit one perceived as vaulted, pretty, and desirable.
In church parlance, Wilson positioned himself as a Christian “witness” offering a “testimony” as to God’s involvement in their relationship. In so many words, he asserted that God had spoken to him with an instruction that he, Russell, was to “lead her.” This came across as very patriarchal. Apparently, in Russell’s conception, God has appointed him to lead Ciara down the path of righteousness. I had the audacity to think that in the Christian faith, only the Holy Spirit and Jesus could do that. Could others play a role? Yes, but the substantive work of transformation is between the Divine and the individual. Russell went on to say that God had anointed both he and Ciara with talent, a call, and their huge platforms, in part, to show others the way to live a virtuous, Christian life as an unmarried couple.
Days later on HuffPost Live, Marc Lamont Hill, Ph.D., interviewed hip-hop artist Future. Inevitably, Hill, in his role as celebrity journalist (not as a scholar) turned their conversation to Ciara, Future ex-fiancé, and mother of one of his children. Initially, Future’s comments regarding Ciara were respectful, exemplary, and affirming. He spoke with a measure of openness and vulnerability as a man who affirmed Ciara as the mother of his young child, his former lover, and best friend. Future noted at least twice that Ciara was discrete in her handling of the end of their engagement. What he revealed was that their relationship ended, not because of his alleged infidelity, but due to incompatible values and visions for their wedding and marriage.
Building up to seeming barbershop talk, Hill’s demeanor shifted to that of silly, giggling teenage boy as he posed a question from a viewer: “Did Ciara make you wait the way she is making Russell Wilson wait?” (Now, remember, according to Wilson, he was prompted by God to broach the subject of abstinence—not Ciara.) Future seemed completely taken aback, caught unawares, and even questioned Wilson motivation for making such a statement. Clearly, Future is not scrolling or trolling for Ciara. The man seems focused on his music, his babies, and his grind.
Even so, Future took Hill’s bait. Adamant that God did not tell him to wait, Future then revealed an intimate detail that the world could have done without. Apparently, Ciara had asked Future to pray with her after sex. Future actually evoked that her request made an indelible impression on him. He noted that no woman had ever asked him to pray after sexual intercourse and that it moved him into a deeper relationship with her.
Both Wilson’s unprompted reveal and Future’s surprising remarks muddy what could be otherwise healthy emotional and relational dynamics with Ciara by reinforcing age-old stereotypes. Sex, and even its alternative, abstinence, with a woman both men purported to respect were made tawdry, salacious, and a public spectacle; as opposed to sacred, pristine, and private. Ciara’s sexuality, without her apparent permission and participation was laid bare at the altar of men’s prying (Hill's), need for adoration (Wilson's), and virility (Future's).
These two public conversations about Ciara’s sexuality actually say more about the men involved than about her. Yes, she was objectified—in irony, the vocalist was made voiceless. But, the men were the actors in these two cases. The men were inappropriate, indiscrete, casually relaying intimate details best kept confidential. Ciara ought not bear the burdens of these demonstrations of machismo and immature maleness like we women tend to do. We must lay blame and responsibility properly. It is my hope that she promptly conversed with both men to rectify proper, firm boundaries around her sexuality. Women, individually and collectively, must do the same, and hold and articulate self-determined acceptable standards.
Wilson’s behavior is particularly troubling. As a man currently involved in what appears to be an otherwise adoring relationship with Ciara, who seeks to be the epitome of virtue, he seemingly fails to understand that “virtue” involves integrity, dignity, rectitude and honor. Instead of upholding Ciara’s virtue, he actually violated it. Rectitude, or morally correct behavior, under the pertinent circumstance required Wilson’s silence on the matter of Ciara’s sexuality. In the words of Flagstaff, the knight from Shakespeare’s Henry the Fourth, “The better part of valor is discretion.”
Leah C.K. Lewis, J.D., M.Div., D.Min. (ABD), a frequent contributor to ForHarriet.com recently completed her dissertation on sex and sexuality in the African American Baptist Church. Follow her @HumanStriving, SoundCloud.com/Reverend-Leah-CK-Lewis, and http:www.facebook.com/The.Reverend.Leah.CK.Lewis. Check out her personal blog at http://humanstriving.blogspot.com.