Lying with the Body

Finding echoes of the “Theology of the Body” in an unexpected place: the notion that “lying with the body is not always easy — that the sexual activity of the body is a “language” reflecting the truth about ourselves:

There is a cable tv program, The Americans, that is an effective drama, well-acted and well-plotted, (though it overdoes the explicit sex.)

Oleg expresses sympathy for Nina, lying with her body, which is hard for the soul

It has this very unusual exchange in the dialogue: one Soviet agent, Oleg, is talking to Nina, to whom he is clearly attracted. She is another Soviet agent who has become the lover of an FBI agent (and she dislikes Oleg, who is clearly out to advance himself, using his powerful father back in Russia). He has read reports about Nina’s sexual relationship with the FBI agent, and he says this to her (Season 2, Episode 4, 39:11 – 40:13):

“I admire what you do.
We’ve all been trained to use everything we have to accomplish our mission.
Me, too, believe it or not.”
[She’s irritated and wants him to leave her alone.]
“I know how difficult it is – that’s all I’m saying.
I sympathize with you.”
[She says: “Do I seem like I need sympathy?”]
“I’m just saying our jobs are all about deception.
And maybe it’s not so hard to deceive with the eyes, the smiles, the things that we say . . .
But the body . . . those parts of the body that can love . . .
They want to tell the truth – when we train them to lie . . .
That’s hard for the soul . . .”

She says her soul is just fine. But the point of this dialogue is that, in the show, it is very clear that she has a deeply divided soul and is very unsettled about it.

It’s interesting to see this subtle truth about sex and our bodies slip out in this popular tv show: the idea that “lying with the body” is not always easy — that, for a person with any integrity, it is difficult (“hard for the soul”) to perform an act that , in its deepest meaning involves a giving of oneself to another, an opening of oneself in complete vulnerability, when, in fact, one is really holding back, refusing to open oneself, deceiving.


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