Monday, March 21, 2011

The Other S Word

We talked about it.
That s word.
At Book Club.
Oh yes we did.

There was a "coupling" of two consenting adults in our most recent novel. Actually, they were older than adults. They were seniors. Well one of them wasn't, but that's not important.

The author left out all the details - we simply know that two adults spent the night together in a bed and sex was had. They had a lovely little relationship prior to the sex; they weren't being promiscuous or casual about it.

It wasn't inappropriate to the story line for them to do this. In fact, by the time they got to the cabin, most of us were expecting it to happen. Because that's what happens in the real world.

But Oh boy howdy, did this open up a can o discussion worms at the ol' book club...

Some of us believe that everyone, regardless of religious inclinations, knows that sex before/outside of marriage is wrong. It's common knowledge. So, senior citizens from England and middle aged women from Pakistan who are in love with each other and planning on spending the rest of their lives together would know that having sex before the wedding takes place is wrong. They would just know. Because everyone knows.

I, however, maintain that there are a whole lotta folks out there who don't know.That have no idea. No idea that sex before you are married is not part of God's good plan for them. No idea that sex is a gift from God, who created it,  for us, (whom He also created), to be enjoyed fully within marriage relationships. This would be news to many, many people. I think most folks who don't know Jesus, agree that's it cheap and dangerous and slutty to sleep around with a number of partners. But they would say, as long as you love each other (or in some cases, as long as you know each other's names), and you're both willing participants, and you're both over the age of, say 15 ... there's nothing wrong with that. They would be surprised that there is a group of people (Christians) who would be judging their actions as sin.

So that's one of the differences between Christians (people who believe and have accepted that Jesus died for the sins), and those that don't believe. Christians don't have sex outside of marriage. That means they are virgins when they are married. And they don't have affairs. And they don't leave their spouses and have sex with other people. So all this mature, consensual, tender, committed, satisfying, sex outside of marriage? Its called sin.

Know what else is sin? Lying. Cheating. Stealing. Being jealous. Gossiping. Overeating. Being lazy. Ignoring the poor. Not helping the widows. Hate. Greed. Speeding. And according to a sign I saw on a church on 200th Street with week - worry is also a sin.
So. Many. Sins. 

But sex is the one.
The one that seems to get all the attention.
The one sin that has so much baggage attached to it. Long lasting baggage.
The one, that as parents, we pray our kids won't do. It breaks our hearts and rips at our guts.
The one, as children, we don't want our single parents doing. It disappoints us, causes us to lose respect.

It's one sin that is personal.
So intimate.
So "nobody's business but ours..."
So "it's not a big deal, everyone's doing it."
So "it's God's suggestion that we not have sex outside of marriage - but it's not a law or commandment..."
So "we're mostly married anyways..."


I wrote the above thoughts just minutes before the Japan earthquake/tsunami/nuclear/volcano hit.
And then, suddenly, sex; premarital, extramarital, and postmarital seemed unimportant.
Not worth blogging about.
People were dying.

You know that one video about the tsunami that was making it's way around youtube and facebook? The one where the wall of mud was eating up farmland? The one where cars were driving on roads not knowing that there was this wave of destruction coming up behind them?
That messed with me.


But I'm going back to this unfinished but saved blog entry because.
Because I am a closer.
I finish what I start.
And seeing I've got my bathing suit on and I'm in up to my knees in this whole sex-before-marriage pool, I might was well dog-paddle out to the deep end.
(Using swimming and pools as a metaphor is pretty funny if you know me because; 1. I don't know how to swim. and 2. I am not a fan of getting wet. )

Which may make this the perfect metaphor because, 1. I haven't had sex in, like, 143 years and probably have forgotten how to do it and 2. Forget it. I'm not going there with the 'wet' thing.


I just rewatched Glee's Sexy episode.
(It's my source for current attitudes regarding today's big issues. It keeps me hip and relevant.)

Did you see it?

When I was in grade 9, I liked a guy in my Science class who's best friend had a crush on me. By grade 10, the guy who had the nonreciprocating crush on me gave up and declared me open game so the guy I thought was cute took an interest in me, to see what his buddy's noise was all about.

We had two classes together that first semester in grade 10 - Socials and Science.  We did the usual 15 year old flirting thing which involved doodling in each other's note books, working on group projects together, and him carving his initials in soles of my clogs.

At Christmas, he asked me to the Christmas Dance. This was A. Big. Deal. He was the president of the student council, a non-Christian and an experienced 'dater'. I was a silly girl who loved Jesus and getting A's in everything she did.

It took me three days to answer him. I was worried about what he'd expect from me, physically.

We kissed. Through the entire long version of Stairway to Heaven. And kept going even after the band left the stage for their break. And even after the lights came back on in the gym...

Not surprisingly, he asked me to go around with him. Heck with a first kiss lasting, like 17 minutes, who wouldn't want to go around with me?

I said no.
And no again.
And many times no.

Because I thought he'd think if I'd kiss for 17 minutes on our first date in front of the entire school what would I do in private on our second date?

So I said no, rather than talk about it.
And we spent the Christmas vacation tying up two phone lines chatting about unimportant flirty things, meeting at the mall, and writing each other letters.

On the first day back at school in January, the two other girls that I shared a science table with talked about their brand new relationships.
They too, had first dates with their 'crushes' over the holidays.
Both other girls, both 15 years old, had had sex with their new boyfriends.
And assumed that of course I had as well. Because that's what everyone did. That's what guys expected. That's what grade 10's (and grade 11's and 19 year olds and ...)  in love were supposed to do.

So while they talked about the mechanics of sex, and the conversations they had with their young partners, both before, during, and after (girls talk about EVERYTHING, guys. Nothing is sacred at a science lab work table.) I sat there taking notes, getting the education of a lifetime - more determined than ever not to have sex before I got married.
NOTHING about their experiences sounded right. Sounded good. Sounded desirable.

Watching the Glee sex episode reminded me of those high school days.
And it caused me to remember where I got my information from, what events and conversations contributed to my personal decision to remain a virgin until I got married.

It wasn't a sex ed teacher.
It wasn't the internet.
It wasn't from pamphlets from a free clinic.

It was,( like Kurt), from conversations with my parents. In my case, mostly my mom. Who was always honest and explicit. (By the way, I love what Burt said.) And it was,( like Puck and Laura) from pornography. In my case, not the internet, but Penthouse Forum. Which was always explicit. (And readily available thanks to some older guys in my life.) (As were the romance novels my mom's friend passed along to me, like "Love's Tender Fury".) And also from God. Deep inside me, that voice of His, kept assuring me that sex was good and awesome and a gift to be unwrapped on my honeymoon. (Yes -  interesting, confusing, and conflicting messages made up my education.)

So, where was I?
I got distracted there...
Book Club, sex before marriage between consulting adults, the acceptance of it, the sin of it, the tsunami, my grade 10 experience... talking about it...

If there's no Christian in a person's life, chances are, they would have formulated their standards based on TV shows, conversations at science tables and Playboy articles. Or physical urges. As in, "if my body is ready, I'm ready."

Burt, in talking with his son about sex Burt says, "It's not just physical. You gotta know that it means something. It’s doing something to you, to your heart, to your self-esteem — even though it feels like you’re just havin’ fun. When you’re ready, I want you to use it as a way to connect to another person. Don’t throw yourself around like you don’t matter. ‘Cause you matter.”

It does mean something. Especially to girls. It's not just a physical urge. That urge is attached to our hearts. And whether we like it or not, our hearts, our emotions, our self-image, our well-being gets tied up in the act. Girls are weird that way. Or we're perfect that way. Depends on your point of view.

And what's interesting is that even though the show is not based on Christian values, and it was an episode that started out totally about sex and ended up being about love (or at least 'emotions' as opposed to 'urges') and it's message was to wait. Wait to make the sex tape. Wait and be in love. Wait for the right person. Wait. You won't regret waiting. Ever.


Know what?
I've talked about sex an awful lot these past few weeks. Hours and hours of it. Over many cups of tea and glasses of ice water. With a variety of friends. Not on purpose. It just keeps coming up.

It just seems to be a theme these days.

And know what?
I think that having sex before marriage isn't the worst thing a person could do.
If Christians are doing it, it's sad because they have chosen to ignore God's best plan for their lives. And when we willingly, knowingly, happily engage in a sinful activity, we cut ourselves off from God's blessings in our life. We grieve Him. We misuse something He created for us as a gift. We selfishly put our need to be satisfied above all else. We can justify it ten ways from Sunday, but sin is sin regardless. Regardless of circumstances. Regardless of age. Regardless of intentions. Regardless of need. Regardless if anyone ever finds out or not.

As parents, it's not so much about doing everything we can to keep them (our kids) pure, but rather doing everything we can to point them to Jesus. They don't need talks on 'how far is too far' but 'how is your relationship with Jesus these days?' They don't need horror stories of unwanted pregnancies and STD's rammed down their throats, they need to be encouraged to keep Jesus front and center of their lives. They don't need more 'I Kissed Dating Goodbye' books left on their nighttables (and HAHAHA, - I just bought four new 'how-to-date' books for my dating kids to consider), they need to be plugged into a youth group, small group, Bible-believing evangelical church where their understanding of God's love for them will grow and mature.

Rather than having a list of "The Ten Sex Things You Can't Do" when dating, we should be helping them devise a list of "The 10,000 Things You Can Do" when dating.

And if non-Christians are doing it, it's sad because they don't know Jesus. And rather than starting the conversation with, "You know, what you're doing is wrong. Sinful. And you have to stop..." it should be "Hey. Wanna come to church with me?" Or "Hi. Let's have coffee sometime."

Because really?
The sex thing?
Not as important as the Jesus thing.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

The religious requirement to be a virgin at one's wedding can lead to:
- women becoming property
- madonna/whore syndrome
- becoming abused
- marrying too young as in Bountiful
- wedded to an arranged partner / stranger
- marrying for the wrong reasons

I wish my own children could have stayed chaste. But their becoming sexually active grieves me far less than if they would be treated poorly by their partners. If sex happens within the context of a caring intimate relationship, then that's good.