By: Shane James O’Neill
3-4 min. read
Raquel Welch — the sex icon of the 60’s and 70’s and ranked at no. 2 on the “Hottest Women of all Time” list — referred to our current historical moment as the “era of porn”.
Welch is one of the few actresses who has starred in films that only had 1 or 2 lines, yet she is remembered while those films are only remembered because of her body shots in the movie. That is to say, her body in those films have long outlasted the films themselves.
Raquel Welch is a sex icon, and she has been for a long time. When I look at her life I can’t help ask the question, how has being a sex icon impacted her as a person? Thankfully, she tells us.
Is a Sex-Icon a Human?
Believe it or not, a sex icon is still a person. Raquel Welch has endeavored to share her humanity, which is clearly illustrated in the title of her book, Beyond the Cleavage. Being a sex icon often just means being treated as less human. Raquel has uniquely experienced the value our culture places upon sex and she laments the way we’ve handled sex.
In an interview with Men’s Health, Raquel says: “I think we’ve gotten to the point in our culture where we’re all sex addicts, literally. We have equated happiness in life with as many orgasms as you can possibly pack in…”
Raquel Welch and Freud…
For the nerds among us, Welch is (likely, unintentionally) identifying the impact Freud has had upon western culture. Freud argued that human’s only have one real concern: sex. And everything we see — relationships, culture, society — exists as a way to cope with our sexual desires and longings. In other words, living out our sexual identities is our true humanity and orgasms do equal happiness.
In reference to sex as our cultural currency, she says: “It’s just dehumanizing. And I have to honestly say, I think this era of porn is at least partially responsible for it. Where is the anticipation and the personalization? It’s all pre-fab (prefabrication) now. You have these images coming at you unannounced and unsolicited. It just gets to be so plastic and phony to me. Maybe men respond to that. But is it really better than an experience with a real life girl that he cares about?”
In researching for this article, I was blown away by Raquel Welch’s thoughts about our humanity. The “sex sells” marketing of our era is all over our mall, our internet YouTube adds, and our streaming platforms. Most of us have grown up in such a way that we don’t even think it’s a problem; it’s just “normal.” I would expect Welch to have that same attitude, yet she’s able to see that the way we treat sex is actually robbing our humanity, not liberating it.
What is Sex For??
Our prioritization of sex doesn’t show how much we value it; it shows how much we disregard it. Using something a lot doesn’t emphasize its importance; rather, it waters down its value. Everything has a place — beds for sleeping, hammers for nails, laughter for humor, and bathrooms for… well that stuff. Using something for everything doesn’t mean we think highly of it. It actually means we have thought very little about it.
Using sex as a catch all for loneliness, depression, anxiety, happiness, and pleasure teaches us to use sex as a drug, not as a gift. And that’s how we use it. We watch porn before we go to bed to tuck us in at night, and we use it in the mornings to start our day. We use it when we’re sad, and we use it when we’re stimulated. Dating apps operate the same way — as a means to “get laid,” instead of a way to know someone else and be known by them.
The challenge from all this is a simple one: When do you run to porn and sex? Perhaps even journal out the answer to that question. What would your humanity (you actually being you) look like if you filled in those moments with vulnerability, relationships, and prayer? Maybe consider trying and finding out.
We’re all living into a lesser version of ourselves. There’s more to you and there’s more to me, but we can’t ever discover that “more” until we stop drugging our boredom, our pain, and our loneliness with porn and shallow sex.
Reach out to us if you need help and continue to track with us! This isn’t just “your” struggle. It’s our struggle. And it isn’t just your journey. It’s our journey.
Grace and peace, Reader.
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Shane James O’Neill is the Editorial Director for Proven Men Ministries. He is currently working on a graduate degree in apologetics at Liberty University’s Rawling School of Divinity.