Abstinence is unrealistic and old fashioned

Great read and encouragement.
If sex is the highest physical form of intimacy you can have with another…then sex outside the bounds of the highest form of commitment to another (i.e. marriage) is the biggest lie we tell each other and ourselves. And how can any true intimacy build on lies?

The Matt Walsh Blog

From my inbox, an email from a high school student named Jeremy:

“Dear Matt, first I want to say I really like your blog. One of my teachers actually mentioned it in class once after you wrote something (she didn’t mention it in a good way lol) and I went and looked you up so I’ve been following you ever since. I know you get so much email so I don’t expect you to see this but in case you do I wanted to get your opinion about something. You write a lot about relationships and everything so I’m wondering if you think abstinence should be encouraged in school?

Reason I’m asking is because we are doing our sex ed lessons in health class now and the topic has come up. Yesterday my health teacher was talking about safe sex and someone mentioned abstinence and she said it wasn’t realistic…

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Biblical or not: Saving sex for marriage

(Image not mine)

Last month I had the privilege and enjoyment of sharing dessert and wine with a diverse group of women. The conversation was dynamic, vibrant and thought provoking. I loved it. As far as topics went, we covered a lot of ground…including of course, the topic of sex. At one point someone said,

“…and I hear tons of youth are having oral/anal sex instead of vaginal to keep their virginity…”

Someone cut in, “Hahaha, sounds like they’re Christian and being totally literal about it.”

And another, “Totally! Haven’t they heard you can be a born again virgin? Just abstain for one year.”

More laughter and the conversation flowed to other things…but this stuck in my mind. I’m a slower processor so I didn’t jump in with comments….but where are people getting the idea that you’ve “saved sex for marriage” as long as you don’t have vaginal sex?? Sadly, it is probably true that many are “Christians” believing the line to avoid crossing is vaginal intercourse. Everything but that “line” is permissible. Is that the standard we’re teaching our youth….in our families and in church?? If it is we’ve failed miserably.

For the record, “save sex for marriage” isn’t even in the Bible. That was a marketing catch phrase to counter the “Safe Sex” messages being pushed through schools in the 80’s and 90’s. You may have seen it…mottos like “The only SAFE sex is to SAVE Sex for marriage”. It’s all very well meaning, and the principle is biblical, but clearly, it’s lacking the depth of meaning God intended for sex if that’s all there is to the message. I’m not a scholar, but I KNOW God’s boundaries around sex relates to being pure before and after you marry. Even just looking lustfully at someone is equivalent to having committed adultery. (So if you’ve thought “It’s ok to look, just don’t touch” then think again.) We need to teach more about what purity means. It’s about HONORING the marriage bed…HONORING your future/current spouse….HONORING God….whether publically or privately…in our actions, words or thoughts. So many have dumbed it down to just “can’t have [vaginal] sex before marriage” and have completely missed God’s heart.

God’s standards do not have loopholes for us to sneak through. Yes, sometimes it seems like an impossibly high standard, but sometimes, something only seems impossible until you put your mind to actually try living by it. Then being empowered by God to obey, we actually CAN do it. There is no temptation under the sun where God hasn’t provided a way out. We just have to be willing to take it.

And I do believe it is possible to be a “born again virgin”…to start over. God’s gift is grace and giving second, third, many chances. But the point isn’t to abuse His grace so we can continue sinning (“Oops I did it again”) rather it’s for us to be able to move forward saying, “I’m new in Christ. I’m through with making up excuses and justifying my compromises. I desire purity…for myself, for my future spouse and in obedience to God. Help me to make my next decision a good one.” And then find yourself desiring what tempts you less and less, as the character and desires of God fills you more and more. So, to those who bear Christ’s name…consider honestly, whose standard are you living by?

s-e-x

I guess you can say the topic of sex is a passion of mine. Not with regards to its pleasure, but in how it’s so powerful in building or ruining relationships. In how it can create or destroy a life.

Raised in a Christian home and surrounded by mostly Christian circles, the most common clichés I’d hear about saving sex for marriage was “because the Bible says so“, “to prevent STI’s” and “so you don’t get pregnant“. While practical, with the advent of contraception you can do away with the latter two reasons for abstaining from sex (when used properly anyways)…and “because the Bible says so” really doesn’t reach very far into our very relative morality as having any kind of substantial reason to obey it. Especially since not very many people actually read it.

Our culture heavily emphasises that abstinence is “impossible” and should not even be attempted. With the devaluation of marriage as well as later marrying ages, saving sex doesn’t seem to make much sense. Even for unmarried, self-professed evangelical Christians, 80% of those between the ages of 19-29 have had sex (cited in RELEVANT). I think it was C.S. Lewis who said, and I paraphrase, “What seems impossible is only so because you haven’t actually tried it.” (Apologies I don’t remember which book that was from.) One who trusts that God has a very good reason and design for why sex is reserved for marriage will try very hard to obey…and find it IS possible to do so. I am very thankful to God that I can say I was a 31 year old virgin on my wedding night. I’m not the only one so I KNOW waiting is possible for those who commit to it.

And it’s rewarding. Between my husband and I, there is no comparing to memories of prior experiences. It’s a true giving of our entire selves.

I read this article in Boundless.org (good read!) which clarified some reasons of why I waited. Struggled…but still waited. It’s true, the cliché reasons weren’t enough. (Actually, I was a little bothered that STI’s and pregnancies were in the same category of prevention…especially now as a number of my friends are struggling to conceive.) But consider this:

…a couple with nothing separating them but a theologically formed vision of the body, sex and marriage will find a way to reserve the consummation of their mutual love until after their highest moment at the marriage altar, where they forsake all others and heroically pledge their total being (body and soul) to each other for better or worse, until death does them part.

…a couple captivated by the theology of sex and marriage will find a way for the act of consummation to be just that: a genuine consummation (the most radical gift they will ever give in this life), not a counterfeit consummation (telling the other person at least in body that he or she is entirely and exclusively the other’s, that they are one flesh, when in truth they have not yet made that vow to each other).

We outright LIE to each other through our bodies when we have sex outside of marriage. The claims of “I want to show how much I love you” or “This moment just feels so right” are hollow if this highest demonstration of love isn’t preceded by the highest level of commitment as expressed through marriage vows. Sex is designed to join body AND soul so when we allow our bodies to express the vow we have not yet made before our communities and God, we confuse ourselves in a very deep, and sometimes destructive, way. When a genuine consummation of love is made, new life bearing their images can result as a beautiful extension of that vow. By trying to prevent pregnancy, we essentially reduce sex to being just about pleasure, but it doesn’t change what was written into our bodies, that sex joins two people body and soul. And that every time we tear apart to be with another, we tear our souls.

I Wish I Knew…9

…Mutual sexual fulfillment is not automatic

…well…

It’s not.

And this isn’t one of those easy to dive into conversation topics either…ha ha…okay….diving in we go….

My first thoughts are that our culture is very sexualized and places WAY TOO MUCH emphasis on sex being “the glue” in a relationship. Really, considering the amount of sex being had in non-relationships….it’s really lost much of its gluey-ness and nearly all of its sacredness. It seems more like fruitflies in a mating frenzy rather than a soul-binding, intimacy-building connection between two people who have pledged their lives to each other. Even animals have more sexual fidelity than some of us humans. I digress….

One of my office friends was pretty shocked to hear I had gotten married without first living together. “How do you know if you have sexual chemistry???” Well, what is sexual chemistry? It’s matching all the things you liked based on experiences from all your previous partners to the things the other person likes based on the experiences he had with all his previous partners. Sounds like it’ll be hard to match…and if that’s a deal breaker…then I think it’ll only get harder to match with time. For us, well, starting from the first day of marriage, we get to discover and tailor our sexual chemistry to us and us alone. No other memories. No comparisons. No barriers.

I’m not saying that not having past partners makes mutual sexual fulfillment automatic, or even “way easier”. There are a few less psychological barriers to work through but regardless, it takes a lot of work to reach that mutually “fulfilling” state. A year later, we’re still learning and discovering. Communication is the key.

These are a few things the author Gary Chapman believes you should know:

  • Men tend to focus on the intercourse while women focus on the relationship. Sex doesn’t “fix” the conflict…you have to address the heart of the relationship for intimacy to grow. I heard a wife say, “I’d rather have help with the kids and dishes than an orgasm.” I daresay if the kids and dishes were taken care of there’d be way more of a mood and time for an orgasm or two.
  • For women, foreplay is more important than intercourse itself. I’ve also heard it said “Women are like slow cookers, men are like microwaves.” It’s true. So…..s l o o o w   d o o o w n. See, more “o’s” already.
  • Mutual sexual satisfaction does not mean simultaneous climax. You see that a lot in the movies…but it’s just a movie and not usually reality. Don’t focus on this…focus instead on mutual enjoyment of being close to the person you love.
  • Forcing a sexual act on your spouse is never an act of love but is sexual abuse. True love always seeks to bring pleasure to your spouse more than to yourself.
  • Sex is more than just intercourse. It joins body, soul and spirit….and should be viewed as an act of love that expresses in the deepest possible way your commitment to each other. When it stops being this, mutual fulfillment will not be reached.
  • Communication is [still] the key. No one is a mind reader so learn to ask respectfully what works and what doesn’t…also learn to listen empathetically. The goal is mutual fulfillment afterall.
  • The past never remains in the past. You need to talk about this before you marry and work out any emotional or psychological barriers history may bring. Leaving it until after marriage will bring a greater barrier of feeling deceived.

So what we’ve been learning in year one is to focus on just finding ways we can show deep love and appreciation for each other…and in ways the other person feels deeply loved and appreciated. (Remember what Love is.) We hope we never stop learning how to do this and doing this in new ways.

Definitely looking forward to year two. 😉