Although not too many people might recognize this, the #MeToo movement is, in essence, a strong advocate for chastity. If chastity can be defined as standing before another with reverence, respect, and patience, then most everything about the #MeToo movement speaks explicitly of the non-negotiable importance of chastity and implicitly for what our sexuality is ultimately meant to do, namely, to bless others rather than to exploit them.

What #MeToo has helped expose is how sex is often used as power, power to force sexual consent, power to either allow or block someone from advancement in her life and career, and power to make someone’s workplace a place of comfort and safety or a place of discomfort and fear. This has been going on since the beginning of time and remains the sexual tool today of many people in positions of power and prestige: Hollywood directors, television personalities, university professors, famous athletes, employers, spiritual leaders, and persons of every kind who wield power and prestige. Too often, persons with power and prestige let themselves (however unconsciously) be taken over by the ancient archetype of the king, where the belief was that all the women in the land belonged to the king, and he had sexual privilege by divine right. The #MeToo movement is saying that this time in history is over and something else is being asked from persons in power, authority, and prestige. What’s being asked?

In a word, blessing. What God and nature ask of power is that it bless rather than exploit, use privilege to enhance rather than harass, and create a space of security rather than a place of fear. Imagine, for example, if in every one of those high profile instances where a Hollywood producer, a television personality, a star athlete, or a spiritual leader was indicted for harassing, exploiting, and assaulting women, those men, instead of wielding power and prestige, had used that power instead to help those women gain more access to security and success rather than (pardon the terminology) hitting on them. Imagine if they had used their power to bless those women, to simply admire their beauty and energy, make them feel safer, and help them in their careers. How different things would be today both for those women and for those men. Both would be happier, healthier, and have a deeper appreciation of sex. Why? What’s the connection between blessing and sex?

To bless a person is to do two things: First, it is to give that person the gaze of non-exploitive admiration, to admire him or her without any angle of self-interest. Next, to bless someone is to use your own power and prestige to help make that other person’s life safer and secure and help that person flourish in his or her dreams and endeavors. To bless another person is to say to him or her: I delight in your beauty and energy. Now, what can I do for you that helps you (and isn’t in my self-interest)?  To bless another in this way is the highest expression of sexuality and of chastity.  How so?

Sexuality is more than having sex and chastity is more than abstinence. Sexuality is the drive inside us for community, friendship, wholeness, family, creativity, play, transpersonal meaning, altruism, enjoyment, delight, sexual fulfilment, being immortal, and everything that takes us beyond our aloneness. But this has developmental stages. Its earlier stages focus on having sex, on emotional intimacy, and on generativity, on giving birth and nurturing. Its later stages focus on blessing, on admiration, and on giving away so that others might have more.

Dare I say this? The most mature expression of sexuality on this planet is not a couple making perfect love, wonderful and sacred though that is. Rather, it is a grandparent looking at a grandchild with a love that is purer and more selfless than any love he or she has ever experienced before, a love without any self-interest, which is only admiration, selflessness, and delight. In that moment, this person is mirroring God looking at the initial creation and exclaiming: It is good; it is very good! What follows then is that this person, like God, will try to open paths, even at the cost of death, so that another’s life may flourish.

God and nature intended sex for many purposes – intimacy, delight, generativity, community, and pleasure – but this has many modalities. Perhaps its ultimate expression is that of admiration, of someone looking at another person or at the world with the sheer gaze of admiration, with everything inside of that person somehow saying: Wow! I delight in you! Your energy enriches this world! How can I help you?  The higher integrates and cauterizes the lower. There are no temptations to violate the beauty and dignity of the other when we can give her or him the sheer gaze of admiration.

Admiration and blessing are the endgame of sexuality. Would that those in power indicted by #MeToo had admired rather than exploited.