When I address tabletop sexuality in seminars some people blush, assuming I am referring to the variety of sexual positions or places in the house that a couple can experiment with. Don’t panic. Tabletop sexuality is a word picture I use to help women better understand the meaning of sexual integrity. Just as a table has four legs that support it, four distinct components comprise our sexuality. If one of the legs is missing or broken, it’s out of balance, and the table becomes a slide.
Some friends of mine discovered this concept at their wedding reception. Following the ceremony, Kevin and Ruth proceeded to the reception hall where a long, lace-covered banquet table displayed the beautiful multitiered wedding cake, the crystal punch bowl and cups, sterling silverware, and frou-frou monogrammed napkins. The only problem was that whoever set up the table had forgotten to fasten the latch on one of the folding legs. As soon as the red punch was poured into the crystal punch bowl, the leg buckled and everything slid down to the end of the table and onto the floor with a clatter! The cake toppled amid the pool of red punch and the napkins were soaked. Everyone looked to the bride and groom, expecting shock and horror. To everyone’s delight, however, Kevin and Ruth broke out into hysterical laughter!
But it’s no laughing matter when one of the “legs” of our sexuality buckles, because then our lives can become a slippery slope leading to discontentment, sexual compromise, self-loathing, and emotional brokenness. When this happens, the blessing that God intended to bring richness and pleasure to our lives feels more like a curse that brings great pain and despair.
As I mentioned, our sexuality is comprised of four distinct aspects: the physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual dimensions of our being. These four parts combine to form the unique individual that God designed you to be. Most people make the mistake of assuming that our sexuality is limited to the physical, that we are “sexual” only when we are having sex. Nothing could be further from the truth. God designed all humans as sexual beings, whether they ever have sex or not. You were sexual the day you were conceived. You were sexual when you dressed your Barbie dolls and when you cried over your first broken heart. You are even being sexual right now as you are reading this.
By definition, our sexuality isn’t what we do. Even people who are committed to celibacy are sexual beings. Our sexuality is who we are, and we were made with a body, mind, heart, and spirit, not just a body. Therefore, sexual integrity is not just about physical chastity. It is about purity in all four aspects of our being (body, mind, heart, and spirit). When all four aspects line up perfectly, our “tabletop” (our life) reflects balance and integrity.