Saturday, April 11, 2009

The Meaning of Words

The words we use can make all the difference in influencing how we think of things. (For the pedantic, this would be the weak version of the Sapir-Wolf Hypothesis)

I find it interesting, that in Hebrew, there is no word for simply the act of sex, though debateably you could argue that 'to lie with" (שכב) fills that roll. It does occur 212 times in the Old Testament, not all in meaning sexually.

There is much of whoredoms and fornication (זנה), and defiling beds, and adultery (נאף) but to "know" someone is ( ידע ; pronounced yada) is the example we are given. It occurs 947 times in the Old Testament, not always in a sexual context though.

Rather, sex and deepest intimacy, literally to "know" a person are linguistically bound together.

It is here that Adam and Eve provide the great example of married intimacy - even before the Fall they 'knew' each other. They show us that our most primal urges are not that of the cave man, or the savannah ape-man, but a truly intimate couple; physically, emotionally,

Contrariwise, it has been suggested by some experts that in place of the term "porn addiction", we say "intimacy disorder". This is in no way meant to minimize the danger of pornography, but rather to show both the roots and the result of such action. Painting with a deliberately broad stroke, those who struggle with porn and are married, have intimacy issues or limitations, or latent developing ones. Among the single, it is primarily loneliness. Not that sheer horniness doesn't play a role, but it is second fiddle, both in cause and in effect.

Likewise, referring to it as an "intimacy disorder" reminds us of where we should start, and the dangers if we fail. For instance, I have written in chapter 2 (or 3?) about how former prostitutes and porn stars have difficulty forming and maintaining relationships.

If we want to capable of life's greatest joys and loves, it is essential we are chaste and virtuous.


  1. I like the word "to know someone" instead of just using the blatant word "sex" I feel it made all the difference in intimacy. The word "sex" has been polluted through the ages that here in a predominantly uber conservative nation, most women actually cringe everytime that word is spoken. Like it is something dirty and vile and polluted, which of course it is not. Something that I learned from this post is that "to know" also mean "sex". Now if a guy would tell me "can I know you" I would feel okay but if he would say "can I have sex with you" I would be offended of course. It's just sad how the word "sex" has been reduced to vile when it shouldn't be.

  2. Sapir-Wolf

    Kinda of like the sapphire whirl theory.

    Sapir-Whorf Hypothesis