Monday, August 18, 2014

the one where I talk about sex {again}

{via pinterest}
let's talk about sex.
I'm serious.

it's everywhere.
I'm serious about that too.

but you know something else?
it's also a really big secret.
{especially in church}

I grew up in a world where gateway drugs weren't seven-leafed plants held rolled and drooping between teenage fingers. it was the fingers themselves that were the problem. because if skin touched skin, that was the start of a slippery slope...

...a slope that led to bodies and skin and nakedness and words that were alluded to, but rarely spoken aloud. just in case there was someone listening. and the idea of it being mentioned in church? never. just in case God might overhear.

we talked about purity, of course. about guarded hearts and the mystery of a man with a woman and the way it should be for marriage. but what, exactly, should be for marriage? we were never sure. not really.

it was all a mystery. until churches and white dresses and rings slipped onto sweaty fingers and hotel rooms where the door shut with a heavy thump...

...and then it was still a mystery.

because it was a secret until that minute, except that everyone seemed to have forgotten the "sex kitten" potion that was to transform a blushing new bride and a nervously fidgeting groom  into ravenous sexual creatures. they forgot about what happened when the door closed and we stood there with shuffling feet and the acute awareness that there was nakedness under our clothes.

this is the part where I am supposed to present a solution.
the only one I have is for us to talk.

we have to stop making little words that start with "p" and "v" and "s" into dirty unrepeatables that linger like forbidden fruit squashed into pulp on tongues. we have to find that line and realize that it's written in the dirt, not carved into rock.

we need to talk.
with words, not euphemisms and "when you're married, you'll understand."

because it doesn't work that way.

we need to talk.
about sex.
about penises and vaginas and hormones and sex. hear me say it. sex.

because the most important thing is a heart.
not a hymen.


  1. Poignant and perfect.

  2. Grace walks before you, sweet girl. I worked as a health educator for 10 years for the public health dept. Teaching about STDs to teens and puberty to 4th and 5th graders were the classes I taught most frequently. Yes, diabetes and hand washing were called for often, but THOSE OTHER TWO were far more called for. BUT, the most important thing I said to these kids was "Talk to your parents, talk to your counselor, but don't talk with your peers because they know no more and maybe less than you do." We would talk about the game "Telephone" where the first one to hear the message passed it to the next and the next and by the time it reached the end of the row, the message was so distorted that you cannot believe a word they say! When I talked with the parents of these kids, I said the same thing. "Talk to your children, your teens. Don't let them hear from someone else. They need to hear this important stuff from YOU!"
    You have hit the nail on the head tonight. Glad we are a neighbor apart on SDG.
    Caring through Christ, ~ linda

    1. I am powerfully blessed by these words, dearheart. truly, for you to validate EVERYTHING that I have said here is truly a reminder that I am doing the right thing.

      love to you, sister. <3

  3. Thank you! I think it would be really traumatic to do sexual development that way - staying "pure" and chaste till a wedding night when you are supposed to "go all the way." I think snuggling with a boy friend, kissing lightly, kissing more, rubbing through clothing and then slowly removing clothing one piece at a time over weeks or months is so much more natural. Sexuality is learning and development. Forcing people to be restrained, restrained, do nothing, and then do it all is just wrong and damaging. Maybe it's time to admit skin can touch, desire isn't lust. Maybe it's time to talk about consent and how violation of consent is true lust. Maybe it's time to let go to of the rules and advise young people on how to develop sexually with consent and safety.

    I grew up hearing that "dating and breaking up is practicing for divorce." Now I think that dating is practicing and learning in relationships. I'm glad my kids are getting a very different view of sex ed and morals.

    1. I appreciate your viewpoint, Ann. while I personally saved sex for marriage (and I do think it is the best option), I would have liked to have been given the choice. my view is obviously ever-changing and growing as I learn more and more about sexuality not only in Scripture but also as a woman/feminist in this world + in the church.

      thank you for your input, love. I hope to see you here far more often.

  4. My husband was given a very informative how-to letter on sex by our marriage counselor that he was not to open until AFTER the wedding. I've often wondered... When exactly after the wedding? Was the idea that he would excuse himself for half an hour after we arrived at our honeymoon destination to read up on What Comes Next? The gesture was well-meant, and I don't doubt for a minute that there are Christian couples who go into their hotel room that first night without a clue how to proceed, but oh man, is that really the ideal scenario? Suppress, suppress, suppress, suppress, turn on!?

    I'm so grateful for continuing discussions about purity culture and how we can do a better job preparing our children for sex. I'm absolutely with you that the silence and associated shame need to be the first things to go.

    1. no more silence, no more shame. and I think that might just be the crux of it, after all. the shame is numbing and the silence is deafening. frankly, I think if we spoke up a little louder, some of those dark hidden things would fall into the light, where there is so much more clarity.

      thank you so much, dear Bethany.

  5. I feel the same, Rachel. I've seen many "good little Christian girls" have a hard time transitioning to "sex kitten" in marriage, because they bring unconscious guilt with them that somehow it's still "wrong." Conversations need to be had.

    1. it was a long time for me before I realized that it was okay to be free and wild in the bedroom with my husband because I was still so hung up on the shame...and my parents did an amazing job preparing me! it's just hard to shake off all the guilt and the pointed fingers that come from being raised in the legalistic church.

      bless you, Lisa, for having eyes to see.

  6. Rachel - sing it, girl. As someone who has written about how porn nearly destroyed our marriage, we have to have conversations about sex (what it is and isn't supposed to be) because we don't intrinsically know. I find it so interesting how the church has weighted things, deemed them appropriate or in appropriate when it's ALL in the Bible. We've let ourselves be okay with avoiding topics because we've chosen comfort over wisdom. We've chosen self-protection over the Word of God. We've chosen to let darkness reign instead of keeping it all in the light. Thank you for using your voice in this conversation.

    1. "we've chosen comfort over wisdom" :: YES. Jen, my dear friend, you have nailed it there. we have to shed some of our comfy situation and allow some realignment in our hearts.

  7. Well said, Rachel.
    --Jan (from SDG)


I look at you and see all the ways a soul can bruise, and I wish I could sink my hands into your flesh and light lanterns along your spine so you know there's nothing but light when I see you. :: Shinji Moon