Jump to content
Sign in to follow this  
ComedyMusicHistory

Sex Positive Christianity

Recommended Posts

The sermon at my church today kind of triggered this thought. I've thought about it before, but not recently. I'm not talking about Progressive Liberal Sex Positive views, but Conservative Christian Sex Positive views. And what I am talking about with Sex Positive is where people/leaders/churches talk plenty about sex and sexuality, bring sex into topics where it isn't required or bring it in at a level that isn't required, teaching to middle school on how great marital sex is, and are obsessed with Song of Songs. I'm not talking about viewing marriage and sex (in an understated way) positively, having couples retreats, or Bible studies that touch on mature topics. 

 

What are your thoughts on this? Am I the only one that certain issues, whether major or minor, with this? Is it common or uncommon at your church? Is it ever done at your church? I'm not a fan of Sex Positive Christianity at all. For several reasons, but one in most cases it isn't necessary. Especially in corporate worship with little kids.

 

At my church we're going through a series about the Ten Commandments and today was the one about adultery. Which in itself wasn't the problem. I had before thought it would be a little awkward (with my parents being there and all). For one thing if it had been one of the two regular pastors I'm sure it would have been fine. But it was the pastor who's in his late twenties or early thirties, he teaches services in the gym aimed at the younger crowd, and he's very much the Sex Positive Young Christian type.

 

I thought they'd talk a little about physical adultery. And that it wouldn't be a lot about actual sex, but more about being faithful in marriage and building a strong marriage for those who are married. And controlling your thoughts and not taking sin lightly for everyone. But ironically there was very little about physical adultery, being faithful to marriage vows, or mental adultery. It was mostly about premarital sex. How waiting till marriage for sex is the most difficult thing anyone can do (forget about asexuals, people with low sex drives, and those who have a great deal of self control). How great marital sex is after having waited. How premarital sex negatively impacts marriages (good topic, but not for adultery). Very briefly about men not lusting in anyway (as though only men lust). And he brought in rape, abortion, and stds/HIV/AIDS. Which I could go on a rant about them bringing either rape or abortion into a sermon about sex. Neither have much to do with sex. And I could go on another even bigger rant about them being brought into a sermon that's suppose to be about adultery. What's funny is there wasn't any talk about remarriage after most divorces. That the Bible actually calls adultery. 

 

 I feel like Sex Positive Christianity makes things more sexual than they have to be. In this case, as ironic as it sounds, adultery. And there were five Bible passage readings. There are never five, there are almost always three. But of course you need more Bible readings when talking about sex. And one was from Song of Songs. In SoS I'm pretty sure "do not awaken love till it pleases" is said several times (which isn't about adultery), but they chose the one that a few verses before has the "tasting fruit" verse. Oral sex innuendo. Which I don't think was an appropriate verse to use. Especially with elementary school age kids in the service. They wouldn't get it, but that's not the point.

 

This has been me using a personal experience to talk about the issues I have with the Sex Positive Christianity school of thought. I've wanted to do thread on this before, but I didn't know exactly what to say. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Youths and teens love to talk about sex, period. Even if it's about abstinence or marriage or whatever else. So the leaders give them what they want. Then they grow up and never talk about sex in church again.

 

For good or ill, that's life.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Guest JAG

Detailed sermons about sex should be carefully given to the correct audience.  Absitence should be taught to the youth, marriage vows to the married, self control to the men (from a male pastor), and self control to women (from a female pastor).  These are just my opinions based in what I'd consider common sense.

 

Now, should elementary school children ever hear a sermon about sex?  10 years ago I would have said, 'no', but over the past year a number of elementary school children have been suspended from my mom's school for things related to carnal knowledge (ex. one guy asked a girl if she would have a 'threesome' with him).  If our culture is going to assassinate the innocence of our children, I believe the church has a responsibility to place clarity on the matter.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Detailed sermons about sex should be carefully given to the correct audience.  Absitence should be taught to the youth, marriage vows to the married, self control to the men (from a male pastor), and self control to women (from a female pastor).  These are just my opinions based in what I'd consider common sense.

 

Now, should elementary school children ever hear a sermon about sex?  10 years ago I would have said, 'no', but over the past year a number of elementary school children have been suspended from my mom's school for things related to carnal knowledge (ex. one guy asked a girl if she would have a 'threesome' with him).  If our culture is going to assassinate the innocence of our children, I believe the church has a responsibility to place clarity on the matter.

 

This.

 

Everyone (including children) is going to hear about sex. Usually, we are exposed to some sort of sexuality on a daily basis. Younger audiences are being taught and shown more and more as time passes. As much as we would like to, we cannot control that. And while I don't agree with over sexualizing everything (I find that very annoying), I feel that if we must be exposed to such things, it should be done in the right way. If we are going to talk about sex, it should be in a positive, Christian atmosphere where abstinence is promoted. Children especially should be brought up with the correct view point of sex and all that goes with it. If the church were more involved in this from the get go (age appropriate lessons, mind you) they wouldn't only gather their information from the world, which is not a very good place to learn about sex honestly.

 

Again, I don't think that sex should be the focus of church, but it should be an important part of the teachings.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Youths and teens love to talk about sex, period. Even if it's about abstinence or marriage or whatever else. So the leaders give them what they want. Then they grow up and never talk about sex in church again.

 

For good or ill, that's life.

 

But this isn't youth group. This is corporate worship. In my youth group (I haven't gone in a year and a half, because I had so little in common with anyone) we did a series on the 10 Commandments and in that adultery was actually about adultery, not premarital sex and all sorts of completely unrelated things. And I don't think I'd ever heard youth group so quiet as the night about adultery. No one hardly said anything. But in youth group it wasn't nitty gritty, sexual, sort of in your face as it was in big church. Lutherans aren't the sort of people who talk about sex a lot, whether high school age or adult.

 

 

 

I feel like a lot of this topic turned into how appropriate such a topic is for children. That wasn't my main, but I don't think elementary age kids (4-9 year olds) need to hear about sex at church. Parents tell there can tell their children what they think is appropriate.

 

But if there weren't any young kids I still don't think such a sermon was appropriate. In both youth group and confirmation we did a series on 10 Commandments and of course adultery, but both were actually about adultery and neither felt near as sexual as all this talk of everyone's intense desire, strongest desire of anything in life, to have premarital sex with someone their dating and like (talk about stereotyping people). 

 

I just found all this explicit-for-church sex talk kind of gross. Call me old fashioned. Either way I don't want to go to church to hear a sermon that is about what married couples do in their bedroom. Especially all in the name of adultery when it has very little do with adultery. 

Edited by ComedyMusicHistory

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Guest JAG

But this isn't youth group. This is corporate worship. In my youth group (I haven't gone in a year and a half, because I had so little in common with anyone) we did a series on the 10 Commandments and in that adultery was actually about adultery, not premarital sex and all sorts of completely unrelated things. And I don't think I'd ever heard youth group so quiet as the night about adultery. No one hardly said anything. But in youth group it wasn't nitty gritty, sexual, sort of in your face as it was in big church. Lutherans aren't the sort of people who talk about sex a lot, whether high school age or adult.

 

 

 

I feel like a lot of this topic turned into how appropriate such a topic is for children. That wasn't my main, but I don't think elementary age kids (4-9 year olds) need to hear about sex at church. Parents tell there can tell their children what they think is appropriate.

 

But if there weren't any young kids I still don't think such a sermon was appropriate. In both youth group and confirmation we did a series on 10 Commandments and of course adultery, but both were actually about adultery and neither felt near as sexual as all this talk of everyone's intense desire, strongest desire of anything in life, to have premarital sex with someone their dating and like (talk about stereotyping people). 

 

I just found all this explicit-for-church sex talk kind of gross. Call me old fashioned. Either way I don't want to go to church to hear a sermon that is about what married couples do in their bedroom. Especially all in the name of adultery when it has very little do with adultery. 

 

You gotta correct and combat the culture.  That's pretty much all Paul did in his letters of reproof.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

It's interesting you're talking about this because my pastor just kicked off a new series on the 10 commandments (we're calling it 'barriers or boundaries?'). 

 

I feel like the church in general has been very _under_represented when it comes to talking about real sex in the church. The secular society has taken sex to a whole new level when it comes to 'in your face' and 'public' discussions. So much so that the movements of late have been for churches to try to kind of join in and add their own views with the same sort of "we're going to be really blunt." type of messaging. That's a tactic I rather sort of agree with.

 

The secular world of tv, media, movies, etc.. Is so blatant and straightforward about it and often times even for Christians we don't give it a second thought. So for a church or pastor to try to craft a message about it and being just as up front and nothing-held-back to me is actually a step in the right direction. 

 

That said, I understand your 'complaint' that it has less to do with adultery and more to do with premarital sex. But, let's be honest. Which happens more? Adultery, or pre-marital 'young people' sex? We know it's the second option. There are far less instances of a couple struggling with one or both members being unfaithful in a marriage than the problem that we have with premarital sex. I'm going to go ahead and guess that this is the reasoning why it went down that particular rabbit trail.

 

So you're right, there's a difference between premarital sex and adultery. But the fact of the matter is that when it comes to trying to educate our young adults and teens, adultery is really a far less important issue than trying to encourage true committed relationships. 

Edited by Pointer

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

How do we know that there are fewer problems with one or both members of a couple struggling to be unfaithful? First of all, we are younger members of our church and probably less perceptive of the older married couples and whether or not they may be having affairs. Second of all, we are younger members of our church and probably MORE perceptive of those around us having premarital sex. Lastly, it is incredibly likely for any affairs to be incredibly hush-hush and private, and it's no wonder why; when they DO come out, there is an overwhelmingly negative and judgmental response by the church (due to its being sin) instead of a response of "let's help." Teens having premarital sex are more likely to "get caught" by someone who has authority over them, and teens are more likely to spread tons of rumors. So, ultimately, I'm NOT going to make any sort of statement as to whether premarital sex or adultery is more common in the church today. I don't think it is possible to know, because even if we were to take a survey, the self-reporting problem is impossible to counteract especially when there are so many social and emotional consequences to admission of cheating or being cheated on. 

 

Now on to the topic at hand. I, personally, am in favor of "sex positive Christianity" in the way that it was described (for the most part). Why is this? Because I think the consequences of sex-negativity have longer-lasting and more negative effects than the possible effects of sex-positivity. Here are, by my personal opinion, the effects of sex-positivity compared to the current situation. Feel free to challenge any of them, since I'm going to be speaking from my own experience, but I don't know if there are any scientific studies about this stuff, and if they are, a study coming from a secular point of view may not convince anyone anyway (unless you agree with it in the first place... /s) 

 

So, on to my comparison:

 

Current Situation:

 

Potential Pros:

  • Children and Teens do not hear church-based information about sex until it is traditionally appropriate.
  • Adults don't have to explain complicated questions to younger children. 
  • It's supposed to keep teens from having premarital sex, in particular babies out of wedlock. 
 
Potential Cons:
  • Children and Teens are exposed to sexualized media simply by walking out of the house, and have no influence from within the church as to what it means or how they should interact (see: walking through any shopping area). Given the prevalent amount of sex that increasingly young children are being exposed to, avoiding talking about it in church only gives them the feeling that it's something they need to hide. 
  • C and T are exposed to sexuality by their peers, even at Christian schools (my boyfriend's friends showed him porn in around 6th grade) and have little knowledge of what its effects are, why it is wrong, or how they should relate to it.
  • Sexual desire and lust are conflated, leading to everybody feeling guilty for a natural function of their body, instead of realizing that it's what they choose to do with physical and visual stimuli that can be sinful, not whether or not their body naturally responds to it.
  • (Similarly, women are blamed for the majority of this, leading to girls not only feeling guilty for having sexual desires, but also feeling guilty for wearing comfortable clothing in hot weather or having naturally large breasts. Girls become increasingly uncomfortable with their bodies. I have heard some women say that they could not bring themselves to touch their own breasts while measuring themselves for a bra due to the emotional discomfort.)
  • "Taboo" topics TEND to cause more curiosity about them than talking openly does. They also tend to cause more misconceptions.
  • Not to mention, failing to talk about "safe" sex (yes, I know it's not truly safe) means that the teens who do make bad choices, make catastrophically bad choices. If my teen makes a bad choice, I'd like them to at least make a bad choice that has a smaller chance of screwing over the rest of their life. 
  • Christian schools with very strict no-dating or no-hand-holding policies (ahem, the second one was my school) teach students to hide their relationships with the opposite sex and fail to teach students how to have actually healthy relationships with the opposite sex, in particular with regards to boundaries. Instead of being taught how to hold healthy boundaries for themselves, couples are held to a physical boundary that is ridiculous for even middle-school relationships, which forces them into hiding a very positive aspect of life. In other words, people are taught to feel shame for any physical contact with the opposite sex. This has a profound effect on relationships later in life.
  • The "mental (and physical) block" upon entering marriage. I don't know if you've heard of this, but there's a disorder called vaginismus which can disproportionately affect women coming from conservative backgrounds due to its links to psychology. If neither partner has knowledge of this disorder (which, if you've grown up not discussing sex very much, it is unlikely -- I didn't until I started educating myself about sexuality through the internet) it is easy to assume (by the guy) that the woman does not love him or does not want sex, and (by the woman) that all sex is painful, or that there is something incredibly wrong with her. This disorder does not go away simply by having sex more. In fact, it can be made worse due to the emotional pressure and stress. It must be specifically treated and can take months to years to overcome. 
  • People grow up not knowing how their body works, how birth control works, etc. You don't magically learn these things by getting married, and you don't magically learn these things through premarital counseling because pastors are not scientists
  • Not only does talking about sex to authority figures feel terrifying (and you avoid it in social situations), talking to sex with your boyfriend and/or girlfriend is a daunting task. You need to know how to communicate what it is you do and do not want to do, and say why or why not something makes you uncomfortable. When you transition into engagement, you SHOULD be comfortable enough with each other to start talking about sex. I know that for me, admitting any sexual desire at all turns into an immense feeling of guilt and shame. I know that's true for a lot of us here because I see the masturbation threads and the way people beat themselves up for WANTING sex with their long-time boyfriends or girlfriends. 
  • This leads into a hard time talking about sex with your husband or wife. How do you communicate about it? Do you just expect to be quiet and the other person knows what you want? How comfortable are you with certain things in the bedroom? Your spouse? What happens when something they do is unpleasant but they really like it? How do you communicate how often you want it? Can you talk about these things without dancing around the subject? Do you feel like it's something that you CAN discuss? 
  • Avoiding questions and discussion, giving trite answers to deep questions, and marginalizing those who have made mistakes, is an incredibly easy way to drive young people out of the church, particularly the thinking ones. 
 
Sex Positivity
I'm not going to spend as much time on this one because it's getting late, for one, and for two, I've probably covered most of the "pros" of this through using the "cons" of the previous one. 
 
Pros
  • Children and teens have a positive example of healthy sexuality that they can look up to and emulate
  • Children and teens learn to discuss sex in a mature manner and learn how to treat their bodies and others' bodies respectfully through example
  • People understand what challenges and rewards their sexual choices can bring them, and realize their significance. 
  • Teens who would originally not have had premarital sex, still probably won't, usually imo because their parents brought them up with a strong sense of morality and "doing what's right." This part of someone's character is independent of whether or not you know about what sex is. Teens who would have had premarital sex (due to curiosity, desire, or disregard for rules) will at the very least have a better chance of not getting pregnant, and at best gain a stronger appreciation for sexuality in the marriage and choose to wait due to an educated stance, not due to legalism. This is a better reason to avoid sex than for the majority of those who were simply taught "don't do it." 

Cons:

  • Teens might be given a venue to think about sex more frequently, and thus might want it more.
  • Children will learn about what their parts do before they fully understand, and if not properly instructed, may try to imitate. 

Sooo yeah, there's my novel about this subject.... hope you enjoy it? 

 
 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I was sexless and shameless. And proud. 

Sexual purity became my idol. 


Sexual purity fueled my pride.

 

I feel shame because there is no reason that I can make sense of as to why I would have such severe sexual anxiety, besides the reality that I have spent most of my life clinching tight to my sexual purity and have found my worth in this very virtue.

 

^^^This strikes me as the core problem for that essay. I'm for abstinence about sex prior to marriage. I believe anything less is both unwise--in that it will tend towards bad consequences--and sinful, in that it disrupts one's relationship with God.

 

But conformity with Christian law is neither a cause for pride nor the basis of one's fundamental worth. As Paul writes in Galatians 6:

 

 

12 It is those who want to make a good showing in the flesh that try to compel you to be circumcised—only that they may not be persecuted for the cross of Christ. 13 Even the circumcised do not themselves obey the law, but they want you to be circumcised so that they may boast about your flesh. 14 May I never boast of anything except the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by which[c] the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world. 15 For[d] neither circumcision nor uncircumcision is anything; but a new creation is everything!

 

It's not mere conformity to duty--what's demanded of strict obedience to the law--that gives a person worth. Rather, it's what Christ makes of that person through the participation of that person with grace, through the baptism of the spirit. It's true that abstinence is what would result through that grace (I think); but abstinence without faith and grace, in the context of a greater renewal and on the basis of a deep commitment to Christ, is worthless.

 

I know it sounds technical and not overly… humane, but I really think investing one's self-worth into self-righteousness like this is liable to be destructive like the article describes. It's just another form of pride.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Yves, I agree with your assessment of her pride as the source of her pain. But that is what we are currently doing to our youth: by denigrating sex, we tell those that choose not to have sex that it is good to be prideful about it. These are the people I talk about who would already choose not to have sex because it's "the right thing." Right now, until we have better education, the choice not to have sex until you're married tends to be a strongly legalistic one. Even the "reasons" we give are easy to simply memorize, incorporate, repeat, without actual meaning behind them because there is no true understanding. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

You gotta correct and combat the culture.  That's pretty much all Paul did in his letters of reproof.

 

There are appropriate and inappropriate ways to go about it.

 

 

It's interesting you're talking about this because my pastor just kicked off a new series on the 10 commandments (we're calling it 'barriers or boundaries?'). 

 

I feel like the church in general has been very _under_represented when it comes to talking about real sex in the church. The secular society has taken sex to a whole new level when it comes to 'in your face' and 'public' discussions. So much so that the movements of late have been for churches to try to kind of join in and add their own views with the same sort of "we're going to be really blunt." type of messaging. That's a tactic I rather sort of agree with.

 

The secular world of tv, media, movies, etc.. Is so blatant and straightforward about it and often times even for Christians we don't give it a second thought. So for a church or pastor to try to craft a message about it and being just as up front and nothing-held-back to me is actually a step in the right direction. 

 

 

I don't have cable. So anything I watch is either on DVD, YouTube, or VHS. I only watch commercial TV every two years and that's when the Olympics are on. So if I don't like the content in something I'm watching on YouTube I can turn it off or fast forward easily. And also the music I listen to and books I read are appropriate. Most of the TV shows I watch are from the 1950s, 1960s, and 1970s. Only a few of the movies my family watches every six months or year are rated PG-13 (none are rated PG-13 for violence). And most of those are just barely PG-13. I'm used to having a lot of control over my entertainment and it being pretty appropriate. I'm not used to being made to watch or listen to something I'm uncomfortable with (whether sexual or nothing even remotely sexual).

 

 

That said, I understand your 'complaint' that it has less to do with adultery and more to do with premarital sex. But, let's be honest. Which happens more? Adultery, or pre-marital 'young people' sex? We know it's the second option. There are far less instances of a couple struggling with one or both members being unfaithful in a marriage than the problem that we have with premarital sex. I'm going to go ahead and guess that this is the reasoning why it went down that particular rabbit trail.

 

So you're right, there's a difference between premarital sex and adultery. But the fact of the matter is that when it comes to trying to educate our young adults and teens, adultery is really a far less important issue than trying to encourage true committed relationships. 

 

For one thing this is a church service, it's not just teens and young adults. In that particular church service it's a lot of parents with small children and middle aged adults. 

 

I would agree premarital sex happens more than adultery, but as opalecent said adultery is a much more hush-hush topic. But I read somewhere, I'm not sure if it's true, that like 20% or 15% of married people when surveyed admitted to having had an extramarital relationship or extramarital sex. But either way if it's about the adultery Commandment keep it about adultery.

 

The thing is I thought it would probably be a lot about mental adultery. I mean that's applicable to anyone. And the other sermons where about mental murder and non-physical stealing (stealing time, good reputation, careless with property).

Edited by ComedyMusicHistory

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

 

Potential Cons:
  • Children and Teens are exposed to sexualized media simply by walking out of the house, and have no influence from within the church as to what it means or how they should interact (see: walking through any shopping area). Given the prevalent amount of sex that increasingly young children are being exposed to, avoiding talking about it in church only gives them the feeling that it's something they need to hide. 
  • C and T are exposed to sexuality by their peers, even at Christian schools (my boyfriend's friends showed him porn in around 6th grade) and have little knowledge of what its effects are, why it is wrong, or how they should relate to it.
  • Sexual desire and lust are conflated, leading to everybody feeling guilty for a natural function of their body, instead of realizing that it's what they choose to do with physical and visual stimuli that can be sinful, not whether or not their body naturally responds to it.
  • (Similarly, women are blamed for the majority of this, leading to girls not only feeling guilty for having sexual desires, but also feeling guilty for wearing comfortable clothing in hot weather or having naturally large breasts. Girls become increasingly uncomfortable with their bodies. I have heard some women say that they could not bring themselves to touch their own breasts while measuring themselves for a bra due to the emotional discomfort.)
  • "Taboo" topics TEND to cause more curiosity about them than talking openly does. They also tend to cause more misconceptions.
  • Not to mention, failing to talk about "safe" sex (yes, I know it's not truly safe) means that the teens who do make bad choices, make catastrophically bad choices. If my teen makes a bad choice, I'd like them to at least make a bad choice that has a smaller chance of screwing over the rest of their life. 
  • Christian schools with very strict no-dating or no-hand-holding policies (ahem, the second one was my school) teach students to hide their relationships with the opposite sex and fail to teach students how to have actually healthy relationships with the opposite sex, in particular with regards to boundaries. Instead of being taught how to hold healthy boundaries for themselves, couples are held to a physical boundary that is ridiculous for even middle-school relationships, which forces them into hiding a very positive aspect of life. In other words, people are taught to feel shame for any physical contact with the opposite sex. This has a profound effect on relationships later in life.

 

In my opinion there's a difference between a scantily clad model and pretty explicit discussions about sex.

 

I feel it's the parents place to discuss pornography with early middle school age (5th and 6th grade) preteens. Once they get in 7th and 8th grade then it could be brought up a little. But not in a big way until high school. Parents have the responsibility to tell their kids certain things.

 

I haven't witness the two ever get conflated much. I think in Sex Positivism they confuse the two a lot more. Or at least they make it sound like keeping attraction from becoming lust the hardest you'll ever do (some down right say it).

 

I'll be the first to agree that "modesty culture" has a ton of problems. But they go much deeper than making some women/girls feel guilty. "Modesty culture" is built on assumptions and stereotypes. And some Sex Positive Christianity does try to change the blame game part, but it doesn't challenge the assumptions and stereotypes.

 

Not explicitly talking about sex and sexual topics in church doesn't equal not knowing about them. At least in my book.

 

Parents should be able to decide if they tell their adolescent kids about contraception usage. And if they do at what age they feel it's appropriate. My mom never told me such a thing as contraception existed, because I think they assumed I'd figure out what it was before I was too old. Anyway if a teen was going to have sex you'd think they'd research to find out ways to reduce the chance of getting an STD. And you'd certainly think if a teenager was going to have heterosexual sex they'd at least be smart enough to research how to reduce the chances of getting pregnant. But I know people who've made really irresponsible sexual choices. They didn't get pregnant though.

 

Most of the high schoolers in my youth group (that I haven't gone to in over year) go to Lutheran school. They certainly weren't the type of people who wouldn't hug someone of the opposite sex or lightly kiss their boyfriend or girlfriend in an appropriate place. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I don't have cable. So anything I watch is either on DVD, YouTube, or VHS. I only watch commercial TV every two years and that's when the Olympics are on. So if I don't like the content in something I'm watching on YouTube I can turn it off or fast forward easily. And also the music I listen to and books I read are appropriate. Most of the TV shows I watch are from the 1950s, 1960s, and 1970s. Only a few of the movies my family watches every six months or year are rated PG-13 (none are rated PG-13 for violence). And most of those are just barely PG-13. I'm used to having a lot of control over my entertainment and it being pretty appropriate. I'm not used to being made to watch or listen to something I'm uncomfortable with (whether sexual or nothing even remotely sexual).

 

Based off this and your reply to my post, it seems like you're assuming that other Christian teens are like you. Many are, but many are not. Additionally, you're assuming that parents are responsible and respectful with their children when talking about sex the way yours are. My mom is as conservative as all get out when it comes to sex, but she NEVER talked to me about it, *not one conversation* save for a few awkwardly-worded allusions that I never "got." I have friends whose parents were abusive, some even sexually abusive. Did they have somewhere they felt they could talk about it? No, sex was too shameful. When a friend of mine came out as abused by her prominent-in-the-church stepfather (NSFW description: he had torn her ****** to shreds via pinching) SHE was the one scorned and shamed in the church. She lost friends because she had been sexually abused. Other girls who have been raped have boyfriends leaving them for being "impure." Women who are raped are said to have been "asking for it" by being dressed provocatively. This definition of "provocative" depends on who's doing the judging; you could be wearing a knee-length skirt and it wouldn't be long enough for some people judging you for having been raped. If we as a culture talked more about sex, we might know that men don't rape because of attraction, they rape because of power. We might know that most people who are raped, are raped because they were manipulated into it by a so-called friend who they thought they could trust, not because they wanted it or intended for it to happen or "led him on." (Leading a guy on is NO reason for him to rape you.)

 

These consequences are too large to leave solely to parents. We don't leave most education to parents because we don't expect parents to know everything or be able to explain everything as well as schools can. Teachers are trained in knowledge and technique as to how to portray information to children. There is no prerequisite to becoming a parent (even parents in a church can be terrible parents), but parents don't always trust schools with sexual education because it doesn't always follow the teachings of the church. Therefore we as a church need to be educating children about sex in a way that is consistent with the teachings of the church, and yet also preparing them for the struggles and temptations that the world brings. 

 

And, from what I've seen, "Sex Positive Christianity" *does* challenge the assumptions and stereotypes of "Modesty culture," I'm not sure what you mean when you say it doesn't. By default any culture that says that women do not have to feel guilty for being attractive, challenges the assumptions and stereotypes that it is women's fault that men lust, among other things. 

 

And, for my last point, I'm going to be bluntly honest. Keeping attraction from becoming lust is INSANELY hard when it comes to being in a long-term relationship. I don't know how long you've been in a relationship, if you've been in one for long, but I can speak from experience here. I've been dating the same man for nearly 4.5 years now (I'm almost 22). For about 3.5 of those, I have been sure that this is the man I'm going to marry. My attraction to him grows steadily. Now, traditional Christian values, combined with the way we're currently trying to follow secular culture, ends up saying BOTH "it's bad to have sex before you're married," AND "it's bad to get married until you're out of college." And most grown-ups tell this to us without considering situations, and without considering maturity of the couple. Considering the fact that I'm taking 5 years to get out of college, as is my boyfriend who's a year behind me, and you'll get the awful result of us being together 7 years before we get married (much less have sex) if we follow what the "adults" in our life tell us right now. Emotionally it puts a huge strain on our relationship. Both of us want to go farther than we can, because we know we'll get married in a couple years. But we can't and we won't. The other strain is this: we've gone farther than we originally intended to (but still not "too far" according to what we believe) and once you break a boundary once, it becomes easier to break again. And breaking that boundary once is so easy. I don't know why you feel like acknowledging the fact that maintaining sexual purity is difficult, is a bad thing? To me, it's a comfort. I don't feel as alone. It's a reminder that Christ is with us through temptation. If I hadn't been told maintaining sexual purity was hard, I would have thought that there was something wrong with me, when in fact the entire reason it is hard is due to human nature. If the church were more open about sexuality than it currently is, I might even feel comfortable sharing my struggles somewhere not online. I might be able to talk about it with an older person I trust and ask for suggestions about what they did to handle temptation when it got so strong. Currently, I can't do that because of the taboo surrounding that sort of conversation and the fact that my mom is insufferably judgmental and paranoid about me. She's FREAKED OUT that I MIGHT be having sex (guess what, I'm NOT) so much so that when my boyfriend and I were discussing our philosophies on birth control, and how we would go about implementing it once we did get married, she ASSUMED that meant that we were having sex right then and sat me down for a three-hour freak-out-"talk" where she just rambled on about how my aunt had sex before she was married, and she doesn't trust my aunt, and she never had kids therefore she's got something wrong with her. That's not a healthy way to address that conversation WITH YOUR TWENTY YEAR OLD DAUGHTER. 

 

(uhh, sorry for the rant.)

Edit: Why are we censoring anatomical terms in the 16+ section?

Edited by opalecent

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Yves, I agree with your assessment of her pride as the source of her pain. But that is what we are currently doing to our youth: by denigrating sex, we tell those that choose not to have sex that it is good to be prideful about it. These are the people I talk about who would already choose not to have sex because it's "the right thing." Right now, until we have better education, the choice not to have sex until you're married tends to be a strongly legalistic one. Even the "reasons" we give are easy to simply memorize, incorporate, repeat, without actual meaning behind them because there is no true understanding.

 

I suspect I agree with you, but I'm a little unclear. What's the "wrong way" to teach sex, and what's the "right way?"

 

That said, my suspicion is that the problem is bigger than the particular teaching that's going on. It seems like it's more of an issue of a culture that wants to regulate sex pressing up against a culture that wants to be permissive about sex. Both sides react to and become radicalized by the other, and people in the middle are confronted with problems and attitudes that would have been alien fifty years ago.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

At the moment, a lot of the "examples" Christian teens are exposed to don't involve the teens making mistakes. I remember one Christian book I read about a girl going to high school, and the point of the book was LITERALLY how she didn't make any of the mistakes her friends did because she was a holy Christian girl and the other girls, even though they SAID they were Christian, totally weren't because they made mistakes like (GASP) wearing their shirt with the top button undone. (.. I'm not even joking, the main character looked judgmentally at her friend for having her top button undone on her shirt.)

Currently it seems like we teach teens that sex is terribly awful and catastrophic. We ignore the fact that there ARE many teens that are going to do it / already doing it. We just tell them that they shouldn't, it is sinful, and they will get STD's / get pregnant if they do. Clearly not all teens get STD's/get pregnant, and even if a lot did, we KNOW that at that age the "It's not going to hurt me" mentality kicks in. I'm pretty sure that for the teens who were already inclined to be willing to have sex, telling them what we currently tell them, turns on the "yeah right" response. And those who DO tend to buy in to what those in authority tell them, are just going to internalize a sort of self-righteous asexuality where they do "flee" from sexual sin, but also from any knowledge of their own sexuality or sex, which can make them so uncomfortable with the idea of sex that it's harmful to their relationships later. Of course some fall in the middle ground, but I doubt they will be swayed via the scare tactics we currently use.

IMO, we SHOULD teach it like this: Sex between two individuals deeply in love can connect them strongly. Some people who are not in love choose to have sex anyway, because it is pleasurable. There is physical pleasure to sex, but the pleasure of emotional intimacy is deeper and more difficult to develop. Many people find that after they have had casual sex, it is more difficult to allow themselves to feel that intimacy. It is designed as something to bind us together for a lifetime. This doesn't mean that if you choose to have sex, you're immediately going to feel like you're attached for life; it doesn't work like that, but it does strengthen how close you feel. Introducing sex into a relationship too soon can cause emotional challenges and disconnects in how each person views how close they are afterwards. In particular it is a key factor (though not the only factor) in keeping many people in abusive or subpar relationships. The feelings of sex can blind you from a bad relationship and keep you from making good decisions about your future. All of this is because God created sex as something beautiful  to keep you close once you've formed a lifetime bond. And stuff about STD's, etc, with prevention, but the point is to make it less about YOU WILL GO TO HELL and more about "This is amazingly special." We need to teach the stuff about God's desires for us as well, but I have never felt like the whole "Sinners in the hands of an angry God" approach actually got people into a good relationship with Him, or others, and those relationships are what it's all about. 

 

Edit: and I also think it is important for us to include somewhat casual mention of sex in sermons, church groups, and the like, to give young people examples of healthy sexual relationships. I've often heard that the way you learn to identify counterfeit bills is by intently studying the correct dollar bill. You don't learn to identify counterfeits by looking at bad examples, you learn to identify counterfeits by looking at good examples. They won't know what a healthy relationship looks like unless we show them.

Edited by opalecent

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

 

Based off this and your reply to my post, it seems like you're assuming that other Christian teens are like you. Many are, but many are not. Additionally, you're assuming that parents are responsible and respectful with their children when talking about sex the way yours are. My mom is as conservative as all get out when it comes to sex, but she NEVER talked to me about it, *not one conversation* save for a few awkwardly-worded allusions that I never "got." I have friends whose parents were abusive, some even sexually abusive. Did they have somewhere they felt they could talk about it? No, sex was too shameful. When a friend of mine came out as abused by her prominent-in-the-church stepfather (NSFW description: he had torn her ****** to shreds via pinching) SHE was the one scorned and shamed in the church. She lost friends because she had been sexually abused. Other girls who have been raped have boyfriends leaving them for being "impure." Women who are raped are said to have been "asking for it" by being dressed provocatively. This definition of "provocative" depends on who's doing the judging; you could be wearing a knee-length skirt and it wouldn't be long enough for some people judging you for having been raped. If we as a culture talked more about sex, we might know that men don't rape because of attraction, they rape because of power. We might know that most people who are raped, are raped because they were manipulated into it by a so-called friend who they thought they could trust, not because they wanted it or intended for it to happen or "led him on." (Leading a guy on is NO reason for him to rape you.)

 

These consequences are too large to leave solely to parents. We don't leave most education to parents because we don't expect parents to know everything or be able to explain everything as well as schools can. Teachers are trained in knowledge and technique as to how to portray information to children. There is no prerequisite to becoming a parent (even parents in a church can be terrible parents), but parents don't always trust schools with sexual education because it doesn't always follow the teachings of the church. Therefore we as a church need to be educating children about sex in a way that is consistent with the teachings of the church, and yet also preparing them for the struggles and temptations that the world brings. 

 

And, from what I've seen, "Sex Positive Christianity" *does* challenge the assumptions and stereotypes of "Modesty culture," I'm not sure what you mean when you say it doesn't. By default any culture that says that women do not have to feel guilty for being attractive, challenges the assumptions and stereotypes that it is women's fault that men lust, among other things. 

 

And, for my last point, I'm going to be bluntly honest. Keeping attraction from becoming lust is INSANELY hard when it comes to being in a long-term relationship. I don't know how long you've been in a relationship, if you've been in one for long, but I can speak from experience here. I've been dating the same man for nearly 4.5 years now (I'm almost 22). For about 3.5 of those, I have been sure that this is the man I'm going to marry. My attraction to him grows steadily. Now, traditional Christian values, combined with the way we're currently trying to follow secular culture, ends up saying BOTH "it's bad to have sex before you're married," AND "it's bad to get married until you're out of college." And most grown-ups tell this to us without considering situations, and without considering maturity of the couple. Considering the fact that I'm taking 5 years to get out of college, as is my boyfriend who's a year behind me, and you'll get the awful result of us being together 7 years before we get married (much less have sex) if we follow what the "adults" in our life tell us right now. Emotionally it puts a huge strain on our relationship. Both of us want to go farther than we can, because we know we'll get married in a couple years. But we can't and we won't. The other strain is this: we've gone farther than we originally intended to (but still not "too far" according to what we believe) and once you break a boundary once, it becomes easier to break again. And breaking that boundary once is so easy. I don't know why you feel like acknowledging the fact that maintaining sexual purity is difficult, is a bad thing? To me, it's a comfort. I don't feel as alone. It's a reminder that Christ is with us through temptation. If I hadn't been told maintaining sexual purity was hard, I would have thought that there was something wrong with me, when in fact the entire reason it is hard is due to human nature. If the church were more open about sexuality than it currently is, I might even feel comfortable sharing my struggles somewhere not online. I might be able to talk about it with an older person I trust and ask for suggestions about what they did to handle temptation when it got so strong. Currently, I can't do that because of the taboo surrounding that sort of conversation and the fact that my mom is insufferably judgmental and paranoid about me. She's FREAKED OUT that I MIGHT be having sex (guess what, I'm NOT) so much so that when my boyfriend and I were discussing our philosophies on birth control, and how we would go about implementing it once we did get married, she ASSUMED that meant that we were having sex right then and sat me down for a three-hour freak-out-"talk" where she just rambled on about how my aunt had sex before she was married, and she doesn't trust my aunt, and she never had kids therefore she's got something wrong with her. That's not a healthy way to address that conversation WITH YOUR TWENTY YEAR OLD DAUGHTER. 

 

(uhh, sorry for the rant.)

Edit: Why are we censoring anatomical terms in the 16+ section?

 

My mom read a book to me when I was ten that was about sexual intercourse and how babies are made. That's the only conversation I ever had with my mom (or dad) about anything sexual and I'm completely okay with it. My friends told me when I was nine how babies are made, but I didn't believe them. 

 

Talking about rape in a sexual discussion is a thing I have major, major problems with. That's a lot of the reason why this adultery sermon ticked me off. Rape is not sex. I don't want to start a debate about this "radical" view. I've gotten in a debate on this on CTF before. But after knowing a few people who've been raped I see rape as a non-sexual, violent thing. If you disagree with me that's fine, but I came to this view after having personal experience with those who have been raped. Before that calling rape forced sex wasn't completely appalling to me.

 

You seem be saying that just because I don't want to hear the "juicy" details about other people's sex lives it means I'm blaming rape victims? I'm not saying you mean that, but that's how it comes across. Of course I'm disturbed about rape survivors/victims being blamed. I could go on a whole rant about it. About 31 states allowing convicted male rapists to get parental rights to children that are result of them a attacking a woman or girl, about female rape victims being blamed for how they dressed, being too drunk, or flirting, about rapists raping because of sexual desire, etc. But something else that really annoys me about rape talk is it's all about female victims. When more men are raped than women in the United States. Because of all the male inmates who have been raped in prison. And this a documented fact, not speculation. But no one talks about that because they're afraid of rocking the boat. Liberals like to see women as the victims to everything. And Conservatives like to see men as being strong and unable to be vulnerable. And the majority programs aimed at rape survivors from wars and conflicts are almost exclusively for and about women. When they should be gender-less. For instance programs counseling victims of violence in the Democratic Republic of Congo report that six out of ten women report being raped while nearly ten out of ten men report being raped. We need to make rape a violence against humans issue, not a violence against women issue. And while the majority of rapists are male, there are I'm sure more female rapists (raping men, because female-female rape is very rare) then we as a society are willing to talk about and accept. I as a (young) woman am not going to see men as these inherently more violent creatures than women or women as these always more victimized creatures then men. I'm not saying there aren't violent men and women who have been victims of violence, but it isn't a gender thing. And this has gotten off track.

 

I'm homeschooled so I'm used to learning all my school from my mom. I don't have big problems with optional Sex Positive Bible studies/events. But in Sex Positivism it always has to be a significant part of whatever it's with (church, youth group, Sunday school, etc.) I'd like to be able to go to a church service without having to listen and think about other people's sex life. I really don't have problems with honest discussions (not sermons) about sex and sex related topics in church (not that I'd personally feel comfortable being part of it). But I could do without having to hear who great and pleasurable marital sex is. That's what I really think of Sex Positivism as.

 

Yes, it does still have assumptions and stereotypes. Stereotypes that men lust more than women, that women don't lust as much, that men are more visual, that women are less visual, etc. I'm not sure if there's no truth in them or a very small amount of truth, but stereotypes have no place in this sort of discussion. And the assumption that everyone's the same. When there are a minority of guys/men who could care less what kind of clothing girls/women is wearing. And a minority of girls/women who aren't going to mentally put up with believing that they're causing guys/men to lust by every little thing.

 

I'm not saying some people don't find it hard to keep lust from becoming attraction. I'm saying that not everyone finds it hard. I've never talked about it with them, but I certainly don't think my parents found it hard. They're definitely not touchy-feely people. They don't and never did hold hands, because they think it's just weird. They are the sort of people who the main message they got from this sermon is "don't have sex when you're not married", none of all that other stuff. I think my mom would definitely say that saying no to Coke, iced tea, and chocolate is much harder than it was waiting to have sex till marriage. I'm no belittling the experience of those who found/find it hard, but Sex Positivism won't admit that not everyone finds it hard.

 

I can't speak from personal experience, because I haven't ever been in any relationship. I'm still in high school. But I'm very positive about romantic relationships can have firm boundaries. I also think Sex Positivism makes dating/romantic relationships seem negative. In someways Sex Positivism makes it seem like romantic, non-sexual relationships are a reason to be discontent. When in my opinion it's great to be able to have someone who has the same beliefs and interests as you to spend time with and do things with. I was raised to think that and certainly still do. My parents have said it's nice when you're just dating and engaged and don't have the stress of married life. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

^^^This strikes me as the core problem for that essay. I'm for abstinence about sex prior to marriage. I believe anything less is both unwise--in that it will tend towards bad consequences--and sinful, in that it disrupts one's relationship with God.

 

But conformity with Christian law is neither a cause for pride nor the basis of one's fundamental worth. As Paul writes in Galatians 6:

 

 

It's not mere conformity to duty--what's demanded of strict obedience to the law--that gives a person worth. Rather, it's what Christ makes of that person through the participation of that person with grace, through the baptism of the spirit. It's true that abstinence is what would result through that grace (I think); but abstinence without faith and grace, in the context of a greater renewal and on the basis of a deep commitment to Christ, is worthless.

 

I know it sounds technical and not overly… humane, but I really think investing one's self-worth into self-righteousness like this is liable to be destructive like the article describes. It's just another form of pride.

 

 

I suspect I agree with you, but I'm a little unclear. What's the "wrong way" to teach sex, and what's the "right way?"

 

That said, my suspicion is that the problem is bigger than the particular teaching that's going on. It seems like it's more of an issue of a culture that wants to regulate sex pressing up against a culture that wants to be permissive about sex. Both sides react to and become radicalized by the other, and people in the middle are confronted with problems and attitudes that would have been alien fifty years ago.

 

QFT!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Guest JAG

At the moment, a lot of the "examples" Christian teens are exposed to don't involve the teens making mistakes. I remember one Christian book I read about a girl going to high school, and the point of the book was LITERALLY how she didn't make any of the mistakes her friends did because she was a holy Christian girl and the other girls, even though they SAID they were Christian, totally weren't because they made mistakes like (GASP) wearing their shirt with the top button undone. (.. I'm not even joking, the main character looked judgmentally at her friend for having her top button undone on her shirt.)

Currently it seems like we teach teens that sex is terribly awful and catastrophic. We ignore the fact that there ARE many teens that are going to do it / already doing it. We just tell them that they shouldn't, it is sinful, and they will get STD's / get pregnant if they do. Clearly not all teens get STD's/get pregnant, and even if a lot did, we KNOW that at that age the "It's not going to hurt me" mentality kicks in. I'm pretty sure that for the teens who were already inclined to be willing to have sex, telling them what we currently tell them, turns on the "yeah right" response. And those who DO tend to buy in to what those in authority tell them, are just going to internalize a sort of self-righteous asexuality where they do "flee" from sexual sin, but also from any knowledge of their own sexuality or sex, which can make them so uncomfortable with the idea of sex that it's harmful to their relationships later. Of course some fall in the middle ground, but I doubt they will be swayed via the scare tactics we currently use.

IMO, we SHOULD teach it like this: Sex between two individuals deeply in love can connect them strongly. Some people who are not in love choose to have sex anyway, because it is pleasurable. There is physical pleasure to sex, but the pleasure of emotional intimacy is deeper and more difficult to develop. Many people find that after they have had casual sex, it is more difficult to allow themselves to feel that intimacy. It is designed as something to bind us together for a lifetime. This doesn't mean that if you choose to have sex, you're immediately going to feel like you're attached for life; it doesn't work like that, but it does strengthen how close you feel. Introducing sex into a relationship too soon can cause emotional challenges and disconnects in how each person views how close they are afterwards. In particular it is a key factor (though not the only factor) in keeping many people in abusive or subpar relationships. The feelings of sex can blind you from a bad relationship and keep you from making good decisions about your future. All of this is because God created sex as something beautiful  to keep you close once you've formed a lifetime bond. And stuff about STD's, etc, with prevention, but the point is to make it less about YOU WILL GO TO HELL and more about "This is amazingly special." We need to teach the stuff about God's desires for us as well, but I have never felt like the whole "Sinners in the hands of an angry God" approach actually got people into a good relationship with Him, or others, and those relationships are what it's all about. 

 

Edit: and I also think it is important for us to include somewhat casual mention of sex in sermons, church groups, and the like, to give young people examples of healthy sexual relationships. I've often heard that the way you learn to identify counterfeit bills is by intently studying the correct dollar bill. You don't learn to identify counterfeits by looking at bad examples, you learn to identify counterfeits by looking at good examples. They won't know what a healthy relationship looks like unless we show them.

 

It sounded like you were saying we shouldn't teach abstinence.  Any church that teaches teens, 'sex is pleasurable, teens are doing it, make sure you love one another first!' is hella heretical.  The only safe sex is in marriage, period.  There are far worse consequences than pregnancy and STDs when it comes to sexual immorality.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
At the moment, a lot of the "examples" Christian teens are exposed to don't involve the teens making mistakes. I remember one Christian book I read about a girl going to high school, and the point of the book was LITERALLY how she didn't make any of the mistakes her friends did because she was a holy Christian girl and the other girls, even though they SAID they were Christian, totally weren't because they made mistakes like (GASP) wearing their shirt with the top button undone. (.. I'm not even joking, the main character looked judgmentally at her friend for having her top button undone on her shirt.)

 

1. I agree that making absurd rules about modesty, and then shaming anyone who doesn't conform to those rules, is a bad idea. But I'm not sure how to come up with "good" rules of modesty, or how to enforce them. It's a cultural problem.

 

I also think, on a deeper level, that it's a mistake to say "God will make you happy if you do the right thing," as if doing the right thing is just a highly sophisticated strategy for achieving happiness. While I think behaving according to good sexual ethics tends towards a happier life in general, I don't see it as a promise. Our only guaranteed reward is the new creation in us and its eternal life.

 

2. But Premarital sex is terrible and catastrophic. It upsets your relationship with God, offends the Holy Spirit in you, and undermines your status as a moral person in relation to other people.

 

We just tell them that they shouldn't, it is sinful, and they will get STD's / get pregnant if they do. Clearly not all teens get STD's/get pregnant, and even if a lot did, we KNOW that at that age the "It's not going to hurt me" mentality kicks in. I'm pretty sure that for the teens who were already inclined to be willing to have sex, telling them what we currently tell them, turns on the "yeah right" response.

 

IMO, we SHOULD teach it like this: Sex between two individuals deeply in love can connect them strongly. Some people who are not in love choose to have sex anyway, because it is pleasurable. There is physical pleasure to sex, but the pleasure of emotional intimacy is deeper and more difficult to develop. Many people find that after they have had casual sex, it is more difficult to allow themselves to feel that intimacy. It is designed as something to bind us together for a lifetime. This doesn't mean that if you choose to have sex, you're immediately going to feel like you're attached for life; it doesn't work like that, but it does strengthen how close you feel. Introducing sex into a relationship too soon can cause emotional challenges and disconnects in how each person views how close they are afterwards. In particular it is a key factor (though not the only factor) in keeping many people in abusive or subpar relationships. The feelings of sex can blind you from a bad relationship and keep you from making good decisions about your future. All of this is because God created sex as something beautiful  to keep you close once you've formed a lifetime bond. And stuff about STD's, etc, with prevention, but the point is to make it less about YOU WILL GO TO HELL and more about "This is amazingly special." We need to teach the stuff about God's desires for us as well, but I have never felt like the whole "Sinners in the hands of an angry God" approach actually got people into a good relationship with Him, or others, and those relationships are what it's all about.

 

 

3. Yeah, scare-tactics based on exaggerated claims is a bad idea.

 

4. But your ideas just seem like more scare-tactics to me, but they happen to be socially oriented instead of biologically oriented. I know plenty of people who engage in casual sex and who don't find themselves forced into awful relationships.

 

If you have premarital sex, you might be happy. You're just not being moral. In the end, people have to be able to motivate themselves, however they can self-motivate, to prioritize life in the spirit over life in the flesh. There's no one "right" set of incentives that you can use to entice people towards that. You might as well take the Pauline route and threaten Hellfire, if you're going to operate from mere prudence.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Guest JAG
"If you have premarital sex, you might be happy. You're just not being moral. In the end, people have to be able to motivate themselves, however they can self-motivate, to prioritize life in the spirit over life in the flesh. There's no one "right" set of incentives that you can use to entice people towards that. You might as well take the Pauline route and threaten Hellfire, if you're going to operate from mere prudence."

 

 

That's on the money. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Yeah, Yves, I really can't pretend that I have any good answers. I suppose that the way I want to address sex with teens boils down to "the point of sex is to enhance the marriage relationship, and it is harmful outside that context." However, instead of using "scare tactics" which to me, mean overexaggerated statements and obviously false statements, that teens with any access to the internet can debunk (seriously I've seen teens told that condoms have a 90% failure rate, FALSE...) I'd rather use information that is true, and avoid overexaggerating consequences because most teens see right through that. We need to acknowledge the reality of sex  in the marriage relationship, its true purpose, and "model" (educational term) healthy relationships instead of avoiding talking about it altogether. Part of this involves talking about it and acknowledging its pleasurableness, because if we don't, we can't be taken seriously. 

 

and JAG, contrary to how you interpreted my statement, by no means am I trying to say that we should tell teens that premarital sex is ok. I just think we can't put our heads in the sand about them doing it/being tempted to do it. I can't see any way that teaching teens about avoiding harming their bodies during sex is harming their salvation in any way. If two teens are GOING to harm their salvation by having sex (which is what I'm assuming you were talking about worse consequences), they can at least prevent their bodies from being screwed up too, so that if/when they become convicted they were wrong or have made a mistake, they have a lower chance of dealing with a catastrophically bad life too. Being emotionally wracked by guilt is punishment enough. Then again, you already think I'm a heretic for not believing the damned will be physically punished. Perhaps if I was seeing this in the light of hellfire, I would imagine that making teens suffer through the consequence of pregnancy and STD's as punishment for their sin is preferable to their spending eternity in hell.

 

Edit: and the thing is, you're right, engaging in premarital sex isn't moral. But why isn't it moral? That's what I'd like to focus on, more than just telling them it's immoral and not to do it. We don't tell that to people about any other sin. The reason for immorality isn't entirely physical harm, and it can't be entirely physical harm now because of all the ways that we have devised to protect our bodies from most of the physical harms of sex outside of marriage. So we by necessity must talk about its emotional effects and acknowledge they're less severe than older physical effects. I do know that there are lots of people who have premarital sex without screwing up their relationships.... this is such a tough topic. I just know that we are not going to succeed at bringing up teens to have healthy sexual relationships as adults if we fail to talk about sex entirely.

Edited by opalecent

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Yeah, Yves, I really can't pretend that I have any good answers. I suppose that the way I want to address sex with teens boils down to "the point of sex is to enhance the marriage relationship, and it is harmful outside that context." However, instead of using "scare tactics" which to me, mean overexaggerated statements and obviously false statements, that teens with any access to the internet can debunk (seriously I've seen teens told that condoms have a 90% failure rate, FALSE...) I'd rather use information that is true, and avoid overexaggerating consequences because most teens see right through that. We need to acknowledge the reality of sex  in the marriage relationship, its true purpose, and "model" (educational term) healthy relationships instead of avoiding talking about it altogether. Part of this involves talking about it and acknowledging its pleasurableness, because if we don't, we can't be taken seriously.

 

I think you have a point. First, and most obviously, people shouldn't lie about consequences to keep kids from doing the hanky panky.

 

Other than that, though, I think there is a real tendency in Christian tradition to treat innocent romance shamefully because it represents temptation--as if merely falling in love, merely pursuing a girl, merely enjoying attention, merely yearning to be beautiful or brave or desired were itself adultery. It's as if sex with one's wife were to be something come upon by accident, never desired ahead of time at all! But of course we would never marry at all if the sexual drive didn't come first. Of course young people should be allowed to delight in each other insofar as they can do so with innocence.

 

But... that's where culture makes things difficult. We have a situation where sexual maturity arrives a decade, if not decades before marriage is practical. We have a normative culture where "masculine" and "feminine" are embarrassing categories most "enlightened" people are trying to do away with altogether. We have a market where contraceptives are provided ubiquitously and practically free of charge--and that's to say nothing about the easy access to pornography, the loose attitudes about sex in every kind of media, the force of peer pressure, and so on and so forth. Tired is the conservative dirge about the decadence of sexual culture--but then again, it is a funeral.

 

I'm just not sure how one would responsibly initiate someone into courtship in that cultural context. I agree that conservatives overreact, but I think it's a protective urge...and I'm not sure what would work better.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
Sign in to follow this  

×