Singer/songwriter and guitarist John Mayer has a popular song called "Your Body Is A Wonderland."
And if you want love, we'll make it...
Swim in a deep sea of blankets,
Take all your big plans and break 'em.
This is bound to be a while...
Your body is a wonderland.
The sexual connotations of the song are so very obvious that I hesitate here to go into any depth. Here is a video of him performing the song live:
Like a kind of modern-day Song of Songs, Mayer's celebration of sexual love and the body of his beloved appeals to young people––men and women alike––I suspect, for its uninhibited expression of romantic sexuality, its ability to connect with their own desire for sexual love, and of course... it has a nice sound.
While at first one might be scandalized that a friar would mention such a song, I hope that we can recognize the value of its expression of sexual union.1 In one sense, it could be said that it is the kind of sentiment experienced especially during one's honeymoon, and hopefully, long afterwards. Nevertheless, sexuality extends even before the marital promise, and it is certainly no secret that those who are not yet married (even those who have not yet promised to marry) can and do find pleasure in the body of their beloved.2
I'd like to consider what I think really is missing from the song. There's no lie, sexual love and desire between spouses is essential to their relationship while also changing and developing over time. The issue with the song, I think, is not so much that it promotes immorality (maybe it does..., maybe it doesn't...) but that it lacks one thing. Indeed, the body of one's beloved is a wonderland. Of course, the body of any human being should be a wonderland to others. Creation itself is a world of wonders, and the human body is no exception. The body reveals a great deal about the person... but the body also conceals a great deal about the person. The body can be, certainly, in the right context, a world of delight! But the body is not, in and of itself, a wonderland. If, after all, John Mayer only had a woman's 'body' to delight in, and no person, he would not be extolling its praises––unless, of course, he had some kind of psychological mania.3 Without the person whom it expresses, the body is not a wonderland... it's quite boring. It is, in fact, dead.
So what is missing? The next song Mayer could have written would be "Your Soul Is A Wonderland." Those married, those unmarried, all those who are considering or preparing for marriage, should recognize this important aspect of any relationship (especially ones involving sexual attraction): the privilege to delight in the soul––or even the whole person––of the beloved. Couples, in whatever the stage of their relationship, should especially find delight in the soul, the intellect and will of the other person––in their dreams, their talents and skills, their stories, their history, their hopes and fears, their passions and delights.
So, baby, your soul is a wonderland too.
1. We should, of course, as Christians make an important distinction: the kind of sexual expression Mayer is singing about is the kind that belongs properly to marriage (even if today it is widely practiced outside of it).
2. Yet, of course, should only do so in a virtuous manner that is appropriate to a relationship outside of marriage.
3. This, I would say, is the problem with pornography (to begin with).