This is a rather amazing piece of popular television dialogue. You will clearly note that Tim Gunn does not take a moral position about sexual practice in his comments. So, at least for a moment, please leave the moral questions off the table. Watch this short clip for what it says and how the speaker actually says it, as well as the context in which he says it. His words clearly challenge the regnant modern Western idea that sexual experience is as necessary (almost) as food, clothing and shelter. If you are a sexual person, and all of us are created as sexual persons, then the argument generally made by our culture is that you should either be having sex or preparing and planning on having sex sooner than later. Why? Sexual expression is normal and human. It is argued that it is thus a part of who you are and without experiencing it you cannot express yourself in serious relationships. If you choose to remain celebrate then you are abnormal, or so much of the culture seems to say in our modern debates about this issue. It is this thesis that I believe we should profoundly and patiently challenge, regardless of our moral perspective. We need to seek common ground where we can find it and this is genuinely a place to start a serious conversation. We might disagree about some verses of Scripture (as serious Christians do) but the question remains: "Must normal adults with strong sexual inclinations be sexually active in order to be healthy people with great friendships and full lives?" The dominant answer is clear! But should we listen to the Tim Gunn's narrative and consider seeing this question differently?
You will note that Tim Gunn is still a homosexual by his own definition yet he has not had an active sexual relationship for 29 years. Watch the response of the panel and see how they are "silenced" by the clarity and integrity of Tim's simple narrative and earnest response. I wonder if they thought to themselves, "This guy is really strange!" (I'm not taking a shot at the persons on this program but their body-language, and what one says just before Tim tells his own story, is rather clear.) I wonder if the hosts of this show, and many viewers, were stunned to actually realize that a person can be a healthy and normal human person (in this case a homosexual person) without having sex? I would love to have seen this question discussed openly. I hope we can inject this type of discussion into the sexual narrative that we communicate in our culture.
I suggest that this entire debate (whether about homosexuality or heterosexuality) needs to move toward the discussion Tim Gunn's narrative creates if we are to get away from the perspective that we have so widely accepted as completely normal.