Let’s talk about Sex.
As Christians we talk a lot about sex without ever actually talking about sex. We use words like “saving ourselves” and “guarding our hearts” and not getting into situations where “it” could happen and how God says we have to wait and how marriage is the end to all ends.
But that’s clearly not getting the message across and honestly, I think it takes away from God’s heart behind asking us to “wait”. It is all Law and no Grace.
Where is the Love? Where is the Bride of Christ? Where is the meaning behind the “Law”?
“For this is the will of God, your sanctification: that you abstain from sexual immorality; that each one of you know how to control his own body in holiness and honor, not in the passion of lust like the Gentiles who do not know God; that no one transgress and wrong his brother in this matter, because the Lord is an avenger in all these things, as we told you beforehand and solemnly warned you. For God has not called us for impurity, but in holiness. Therefore whoever disregards this, disregards not man but God, who gives his Holy Spirit to you.” 1 Thessalonians 4:3-8
His Word is clear on the matter – do not have sex outside of the commitment of marriage. But, as with all scripture, we have to ask – why? What is God’s heart behind this? If I believe that He is good and just and wants good things for me, then I have to believe this is more than just a rule. I have to believe that God has asked this of me because he believes this is good.
(Please don’t read this as if I’m up here on my pedestal sex-shaming everyone else — I need this more than most of you probably do.)
Now, I was not an overly rebellious teenager. The things I did were to fit-in, not to “rebel” against my parents. I did drink, but I never did anything over-the-top and I was responsible enough not to get caught. I did have sex with my boyfriend, which by worldly standards and those of my friends – was tame. I did not sneak out, I did not smoke, I did not do drugs, I did not skip school, all of these things to me, translated as “I was the good kid.”
By all worldly accounts, I was doing great. Yeah, I was breaking the “rules”, but not the really important rules… There was no concept of the depth and lasting impact those “minor” decisions were making on my life. To me they were just rules and there was no meaning behind them.
So as someone who has experienced three miscarriages now and given a baby up for adoption and can’t maintain a healthy relationship to save my life, I have some different ideas about what this Purity stuff really is.
WHY shouldn’t we have sex before marriage? Why is having multiple partners over the course of your life SO bad? Why is casual sex considered damaging?
Well, there’s the obvious…
Sex often leads to Pregnancy which most often, leads to a baby. (Gorgeous as he may be…)
And then there’s the health risks. I cried every day for two weeks when I found out my boyfriend had given me Chlamydia. And I was lucky. It could have been something so much worse. Do you know that Herpes is incurable? And far more prevalent than you would believe? Do you know that there are 20 million new sexually transmitted infections every year?
But those are all things that most of you already know because those are the things we are better at talking about.
What about the part that I didn’t know until I was in the thick of it? What about my heart? My spirit? My thought life? The effect on any future relationship? The hurt I would live with for the rest of my life?
It’s something that is hard to communicate because it is so experiential. But I can tell you, every man I have ever had sex with — even the drunken college nights where I don’t remember his name — I carry them with me. The insecurities, the deep seeded guilt, the low self-worth from the “I’ll call you” that would never come, comparisons from the way one mans lips felt on my neck vs the next, it’s all there at the core of every relationship from there on out.
When I find a man I want to spend my life with, I will carry ALL of this into our marriage. I will compare him to that gorgeous Saudi man I met at the bar; I will feel like he views me the way that Kenyan did for two years; I will want him to do that one thing that M used to do, but it won’t be just quite right; I won’t connect with him because I will be buried under years of guilt.
Don’t get me wrong — I will get married someday and I will love my husband in the deepest of ways. But I have created problems for us before I’ve even met the man. We will work our way through them and we may come out stronger on the other side — but it didn’t have to be. And more importantly – it doesn’t have to be. Not for you, or your daughter, or your sister, or niece, or even our sons (because you can be sure they suffer from these decisions too).
If we can start having honest, real conversations about this struggle we face, maybe we can start to change the course of history. In a highly sexualized culture we can’t afford to keep these hurts to ourselves anymore. In most churches, thanks to programs like Celebrate Recovery, men can find support for a pornography addiction — so let’s take it a step farther and talk about sex.