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4 Lies the Church Taught Me About Sex
Relevant Magazine ^ | 10 June 2014 | Lily Dunn

Posted on 06/14/2014 10:06:08 AM PDT by Gamecock

I've heard people say that growing up as an evangelical meant they never talked about sex. This wasn’t my experience. I grew up in the thick of evangelical purity culture and we talked about sex A LOT. We just spent all of that time talking about how and why NOT to have it.

As someone who waited until I was married to have sex, I was assured that I would be guaranteed an easy and rewarding sex life. When reality turned out to be different, I was disappointed and disillusioned. Only through gradual conversations with other married friends did I realize I wasn’t alone.

I started to wonder if maybe the expectations themselves were wrong. Maybe what I’d been told or inferred about post-marital sex simply wasn’t true.

Here are four of the biggest lies about sex I believed before marriage

1. Any and all physical contact is like a gateway drug to sex.

Once in high school I attended a big Christian youth conference. One night, one of the chaperones addressed the girls: “Girls, we have noticed some very inappropriate touching going on...”

The inappropriate touching she meant turned out to be two high school couples in the youth group holding hands. This woman was deadly serious. “I know it may not seem like a big deal to you,” she said. “But hand-holding leads to OTHER THINGS!”

I heard similar things from parents, teachers, church leaders and books. In my church it was not unusual for people to pledge not only to save sex until marriage, but even to save their first kiss for their wedding day. “Don’t start the engine if you aren’t ready to drive the car,” and other similar metaphors warned me that any physical contact was a slippery slope straight into the jaws of fornication.

On this side of things, I can honestly say that there are SO many conscious decisions you have to make between kissing and having sex. Despite what Hollywood says, clothes do not take themselves off and bodies do not magically and effortlessly fit together.

If you are committed to waiting until you’re married to have sex, there are many valid reasons to set boundaries on your physical relationship, but the fear of accidentally having sex shouldn’t be one of them.

2. If you wait until you are married to have sex, God will reward you with mind-blowing sex and a magical wedding night.

Before my wedding night, I had been told that honeymoon sex isn’t usually the best sex. I had heard that good sex takes work. I knew that it would probably be uncomfortable at first. But what nobody ever, EVER told me was that it was possible that it just might not work at all at first. On my wedding night, my mind and heart were there, but my body was locked up tighter than Maid Marian’s chastity belt.

I entered marriage with the firm conviction that God rewards those who wait, only to find myself confounded by the mechanics. I felt like an utter failure, both as a wife and a woman. And while we did (eventually) get things working, this was hard, frustrating, embarrassing and a huge blow to our confidences.

Saving sex for marriage is not a guarantee that you will have great sex or that sex will be easy. All it guarantees is that the person you fumble through it with will be someone who has already committed to love you forever.

3. Girls don’t care about sex.

As a teenager and young adult I cannot count the times I heard something to this effect: “Boys are very visual and sexual, so even though you aren’t thinking about sex, you need to be careful because you are responsible for not making them stumble.”

Let’s disregard for now how degrading this is toward men and focus on the underlying assumption that boys are sexual and girls aren’t. For years I was told that “girls don’t care about sex.” Well, as it turns out, I do. This has been a deep source of shame for me. For a long time I felt like a freak, until I started to realize that I wasn’t the only one, not by a longshot. But I never knew it because no one would admit it.

Many girls (yes, even Christian girls) think about sex. Many girls (yes, even Christian girls) like sex. This doesn’t make you a freak. It doesn’t make you unfeminine or unnatural. God created us, both men AND women, as sexual beings. Enjoying sex makes you a human being created by God, in the image of God, with the capacity and desire to love—physically, emotionally, mentally, spiritually and sexually.

4. When you get married, you will immediately be able to fully express yourself sexually without guilt or shame.

Many Christians have spent years—from the day they hit puberty until their wedding day—focusing their energy on keeping their sex drives in check. Then, in the space of a few hours, they are expected to stop feeling like their sexuality is something they must carefully control and instead be able to express it freely. And not only that—but express it freely with another person.

Many of us have programmed guilt into ourselves—this is how we keep ourselves in check throughout our dating relationships. And that “red light” feeling we train ourselves to obey doesn’t always go away just because we’ve spoken some vows and signed some papers.

It took me several months to stop having that sick-to-my-stomach guilty feeling every time I was together with my husband. Not everyone experiences this, but for the many people who do, it’s terribly isolating. Once again we’re experiencing something our churches and communities never acknowledged as a possibility. We feel alone and broken and filled with a profound sense that this isn’t the way it’s meant to be.

I don’t regret waiting until I was married to have sex, and I’m not advocating that churches stop teaching that sex is designed for marriage. But I do think there is something seriously wrong with the way we’ve handled the conversation.

If our reason for saving sex until marriage is because we believe it will make sex better or easier for us, we’re not only setting ourselves up for disappointment, but we’re missing the point entirely. Those of us who choose to wait do so because we hold certain beliefs about the sacredness of marriage and about God's intentions and wishes for humanity, and we honor these regardless of whether they feel easier or harder. In the meantime, we in the evangelical church has a lot of work to do correcting the distorted ways we talk about sex and sexuality, especially to our youth.


TOPICS: General Discusssion
KEYWORDS: allyoueverthinkabout; sex
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1 posted on 06/14/2014 10:06:08 AM PDT by Gamecock
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To: Gamecock
If our reason for saving sex until marriage is because we believe it will make sex better or easier for us, we’re not only setting ourselves up for disappointment, but we’re missing the point entirely. Those of us who choose to wait do so because we hold certain beliefs about the sacredness of marriage and about God's intentions and wishes for humanity, and we honor these regardless of whether they feel easier or harder. In the meantime, we in the evangelical church has a lot of work to do correcting the distorted ways we talk about sex and sexuality, especially to our youth.

2 posted on 06/14/2014 10:06:58 AM PDT by Gamecock (#BringTheAdultsBackToDC)
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To: Gamecock

Sounds like she needs counseling.


3 posted on 06/14/2014 10:11:31 AM PDT by ViLaLuz (2 Chronicles 7:14)
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To: ViLaLuz

Her view is prevalent in churches that carry the teachings she is referring to.


4 posted on 06/14/2014 10:16:10 AM PDT by DonaldC (A nation cannot stand in the absence of religious principle.)
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To: ViLaLuz

Why is that?


5 posted on 06/14/2014 10:17:22 AM PDT by FourPeas ("Maladjusted and wigging out is no way to go through life, son." -hg)
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To: Gamecock

1. Any and all physical contact is like a gateway drug to sex.

No, I wouldn’t say that. But not so terrible to avoid any PDA vs. doing it. I wish the f-ags would obey that rule.

2. If you wait until you are married to have sex, God will reward you with mind-blowing sex and a magical wedding night.

I wouldn’t say that either. Maybe expectations are too high. Ties into my next comment.

3. Girls don’t care about sex.

Not nearly as much as males do. Really. Yes, we care, but overall it’s not so all-important as it is for males. It’s only one thing. I think other things are more important to show love, and perfectly content without sexual things (beginning aging seemed to drain me of libido, frankly), whereas certain someones seem to think the most important way is sex. Both by him and to him.

This ties in with the “promise of great sex”. It’s really not that important. Just don’t let me have terrible sex - just like don’t make me marry a truly ugly guy.

4. When you get married, you will immediately be able to fully express yourself sexually without guilt or shame.

Why not? I understand the conditioning, but personally I had no illusions. I kept it under wraps but knew what capabilities I had, knew what I’d not mind trying so there was no problem. Shyness is the biggest thing, not worrying about morals. It’s all fair game at that point. Maybe some people don’t really get that.

“Those of us who choose to wait do so because we hold certain beliefs about the sacredness of marriage and about God’s intentions and wishes for humanity”

It’s about time we say exactly why wait, and it is from what sex is actually for - making babies. If babies are made outside that covenant, they are automatically born into rough times. It is not fair for a child to be born into lousy circumstances with 1 parent, who also shows herself to be of low character. Probably will be of low income, arguing and fighting with strangers as well as relatives, just generally of poor environment.

That is the reason it is immoral to have sex outside marriage. Other issues are incidental, including how it can hurt the “adults” involved when they break up, etc. Easier when you haven’t tried that “bond”. They will never stop thinking about that sex, and it will affect later marriage and children, etc.


6 posted on 06/14/2014 10:21:53 AM PDT by the OlLine Rebel (Common sense is an uncommon virtue./Technological progress cannot be legislated.)
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To: Gamecock

The earthly reward for adhering to God’s commandments is that it saves you a whole lot of trouble.


7 posted on 06/14/2014 10:24:46 AM PDT by gusopol3
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To: Gamecock

I would agree certain churches have an extra-Biblical attitude to sexual activity, but the Word is the Word and it does limit your desires and expressions for your own good. It does seem this woman is venting anger at God aiming it at the church.


8 posted on 06/14/2014 10:26:20 AM PDT by Viennacon
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To: gusopol3

Good points. Sex outside marriage can cause major problems in your life. There is nothing wrong with avoiding potentially bad situations,even if you have sexual desires but don’t have a spouse to share them with.


9 posted on 06/14/2014 10:32:51 AM PDT by Dilbert San Diego (s)
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To: Dilbert San Diego
One issue is, what is a potentially bad situation? The answer will vary from person to person, but some Churches/people go overboard. Handholding, limited kissing/hugging, being without a chaperon, even interaction with the opposite gender before age 25 have been presented to me by various people as gateway drugs to illicit sex and a passel of illegitimate ankle-biters.
10 posted on 06/14/2014 10:38:14 AM PDT by Wyrd bi ful ard (Pope Calvin the 1st, defacto Leader of the FR Calvinist Protestant Brigades)
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To: Gamecock

1. Any and all physical contact is like a gateway drug to sex.

This is sound advice taken to an absurd extreme (handholding?!)

2. If you wait until you are married to have sex, God will reward you with mind-blowing sex and a magical wedding night.

Good sex takes time and practice. The two most important elements are patience and a sense of humor.

3. Girls don’t care about sex.

Most girls aren’t driven by sex the way men are. We’re wired that way. Generally, women appreciate sex more as they mature.

4. When you get married, you will immediately be able to fully express yourself sexually without guilt or shame.

What’s the fun in that? Just kidding.


11 posted on 06/14/2014 10:38:21 AM PDT by Jeff Chandler (Conservatism is the political disposition of grown-ups.)
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To: Dilbert San Diego

Too bad so many are too old when they learn that. Keeping the commandments keeps you from having to learn by experience.


12 posted on 06/14/2014 10:39:08 AM PDT by gusopol3
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To: FourPeas

Sounds like she and her husband are struggling with personal issues. A good Christian counselor could help.


13 posted on 06/14/2014 10:40:05 AM PDT by ViLaLuz (2 Chronicles 7:14)
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To: Gamecock

Sounds more like it’s the way she personally experienced it / dealt with it and claims that is how everyone else must also feel...I’m sorry for her and maybe her own church was way overboard but I haven’t encountered any young married couples having this experience who waited until they were married...though they weren’t scolded for holding hands, embracing, etc. before they were married either like apparently she was told not to do.


14 posted on 06/14/2014 10:42:34 AM PDT by Republican Wildcat
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To: Gamecock

Maybe try to be more in line with what GOD says in his word about sexual relations FIRST. As imperfect beings we may not always see or understand reasons behind Gods instruction, that doesn’t mean though that they have no merit or should be ignored. Take a good look around you and observe for yourself the product of man’s interpretation of right and wrong, specifically with regards to sexuality


15 posted on 06/14/2014 10:55:53 AM PDT by snappahead (if your gonna be dumb, you better be tough.)
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To: Viennacon

Not at all. Read the last paragraph.


16 posted on 06/14/2014 10:58:39 AM PDT by Gamecock (#BringTheAdultsBackToDC)
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To: snappahead
True.

But legalistic implementation is wrong too.

I grew up with some of this same stuff. There wasn’t really any Biblical teaching, just heaping non Biblical interpretations on us.

I think in many was she is right.

17 posted on 06/14/2014 11:00:34 AM PDT by Gamecock (#BringTheAdultsBackToDC)
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To: ViLaLuz

I read it differently. It sounds like when they were first married, they had things they needed to learn about each other and their sexuality. Seems pretty normal, actually.


18 posted on 06/14/2014 11:04:43 AM PDT by FourPeas ("Maladjusted and wigging out is no way to go through life, son." -hg)
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To: Gamecock

Which is exactly my point. Gods word gives us the answers. Indoctrination by churches for control has always been part of history, I too was subjugated to it throughout my childhood and young adult life. Looking back I see that the biblical training my PARENTS provided through scripture that was the most important of all and I am fortunate and thankful for it.


19 posted on 06/14/2014 11:16:55 AM PDT by snappahead (if your gonna be dumb, you better be tough.)
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To: Gamecock

I dated a good Catholic girl (briefly) in college and let’s just say that I knew much more about female sexual anatomy than she did. I felt sorry for her being so ignorant about her own body.


20 posted on 06/14/2014 11:17:00 AM PDT by IronJack
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