Sex. That pleasant but troublesome three letter word which has the entire world in a frenzy. There is a very powerful scientific reason we all enjoy talking about sex, and enjoy having it even more, a simple yet powerful reason. Sex is vitally linked to our most powerful instinct, the instinct to survive. We need to procreate in order for the species to survive. Additionally, if like me you believe in the Genesis account of creation, then the act of love was God’s precious gift to humanity on the sixth day of creation, when the first couple became ‘one flesh’. God Himself performed that first wedding ceremony. And the first couple were naked and not ashamed. We have come a long way, baby.
Since I write from the perspective of the Judeo-Christian tradition, then I stand on the pillar that marriage was designed by the Creator as the foundation for building a loving home and raising a family. When you stand to give a wedding toast you are joining with the eternal universe to celebrate all that is good and lovely in creation.
Most experts would agree that the wedding toast should be brief, sincere, light-hearted, make a reference to the subject of the toast, and end with a punch line which includes the actual toast. A wedding is also a family occasion, or so I have been brought up to believe. Public speakers have a responsibility to maintain the dignified atmosphere and joy of a wedding ceremony. So persons proposing toast have no business reducing the occasion to an x-rated display of indelicate words.
It is most undignified to verbally undress the couple as is so fashionable nowadays. Let them discover each other in the nuptial chambers. Come on people! Please put some dignity back into the wedding toasts. Wish them health, wealth, long life, children, everything good; but stop giving explicit lectures on sex.
Wait! Before you run off thinking I’m an unrealistic and hypocritical prude, I readily concede that there is a place in the wedding toast for tactful reference to the act of love. So if you must refer to sex here are five suggestions:
1) Explicit language should refer to kisses and caresses; not penetration and intercourse. See the Song of Solomon. In this song of songs we find immortal lines such as: “Let him kiss me with the kisses of his mouth.” “Honey and milk are under thy tongue.”
2) State your suggestions for a happy sex life, if you must, in gentle language and subtle ambiguities. Mature adults will connect the dots. Talk whimsically about fighting and making up in the bedroom.
3) So you are notoriously indelicate and insist on getting into descriptions! Leave out the clinical details. Use sex stories from the animal kingdom. This way you avoid shocking and embarrassing your audience. After all, our pets reproduce, and farm animals are fair game for discussion.
4) Avoid reference to the premarital sexual behavior of the bride or groom, unless you are commending virtue.
5) Masters of ceremony, please stop the sex manual training as small talk. Premarital counselling has been invented. I suppose it will always be in vogue to tell the young groom to be gentle and attentive.
Yes, speakers, sex is very important, but there is a time and place for everything. I long to attend a wedding where the toasts celebrate love and marriage without indelicate reference to the act of marriage.