Book Review: Sex and the iWorld by Dale S. Kuehne

tWorld – Traditional:   Marriage and the extended family were the relational foundation of the tWorld. It was constructed on a matrix of relationships of mutual obligations and responsibilities. Rich in relational fulfillment. Sexuality was not seen as a means fulfillment. Not to say all was wonderful. There was abuse and all sorts of relational hurt and alienation (35, 40).

iWorld – Individualism:   Relationships of obligation have been changed to relationships of choice. Sex is disconnected from marriage and procreation. Its value is romantic pleasure. It is appropriate if there is mutual consent (44, 74). “In an iWorld relationship it is up to each person to ensure that they are getting what they want, and if they are not, it is their responsibility to find it” (167).

rWorld – Relationship:   “Whereas the iWorld is a place in which freedom of the individual reigns, the rWorld is based on the belief that humans are made for relationship and that we find our deepest fulfillment not when seeking self-fulfillment but when living and engaging in the full constellation of healthy human relationships” (95).

“We are created to relate to God and one another, and our personal fulfillment and happiness depend on the health of those two relationships” (112).

Life is more than the physical and emotional. “To reclaim the totality of relational fullness we need to rediscover the . . . spiritual dimension of relationship”  (168).

Reflecting on this book, Kathleen Chavoor Bergen wrote:

As a first generation Armenian American who was truly raised in both the tWorld and the iWorld reading this book validated my frustration of both dichotomies. I took an honest look at how some of the bounded and oppressive ideals of the traditional world had moved me into a fuzzy or individual world. Through much introspection I have been confronted with the fact that both worlds are unsatisfying. The concept of an rWorld, especially in regards to sexuality has forced me to evaluate the purpose of sexuality. Kuehne states on page 150, “… humans are made for relationship and we crave love and intimacy more than anything else. The problem with sex is not that it is bad but that it alone cannot deliver fulfillment for which we yearn.” This is contrary to the belief of the iWorld.  The iWorld advocates for fulfilling your immediate physical needs outside of the realm of deep and true authentic relationships. I would like to advocate for the continual evaluation of what true rWorld relationships look like in ways that move away from bounded ideals. To me, they can easily become intertwined, especially in the realm of what is appropriate sexually. (From her book review for Discipleship and Ethics, Spring, 2015, used with permission.)

Posted on July 5, 2016 and filed under book reviews.