The Shame of Sex

How “I Kissed Dating Goodbye” Broke My Heart and Killed My Generation. Part 9.

First porn and now sex? Maybe I should have put a rating on these things 🙂

(Sidenote: Dad, I know you read these, so I won’t be offended if you don’t want to read this one. Love, your little girl…)

So where were we? Oh right – Sex. How a three letter word can change so much is beyond me. Contrary to popular belief, sex is the epitome of intimacy. As far as I’m aware, there is no greater way to be intimate with someone than by sex. Unfortunately, our culture has cheapened it.

For so long, sex was seen as something sacred between two married people. While I’m certain (and not naive) that sex outside of marriage has been happening for centuries, I do appreciate the cultures seemed to respect it more in years gone by.

When the sexual revolution happened in the ’60’s, everything changed. Not all of the change was bad, but some of it was. I’m not sure why but the Church decided to treat sex as something quiet and shameful. I can only speak from my twenty-five years of life, but growing up I never saw sex as something to celebrate and enjoy within a marriage by the Church.

It was always a list of “don’t’s.” Don’t go too far with a boy. Don’t be alone with someone of the opposite sex after dark. Don’t have sex before you’re married. Don’t think about sex before you’re married. Don’t, don’t don’t. Again, we took the extreme of our culture’s revolution and put ourselves into a different prison cell. Neither “no strings attached” sex or sheltered sex are healthy mindsets.

We’re going back to the first few days we talked about dating being more about healthy relationships than about a ideology of courtship vs dating. The same goes for sex. I know our parents were trying to do the best they could but I think alot of you would agree with me, that the secrecy and rebellion of having sex seemed to add to the appeal.

I truly don’t believe there is something called “no strings attached” sex. I believe sex always has strings attached. It should be that way. It was made as a way to bind your heart to another person’s. It was created as an act of worship. It’s a scary thing to be completely naked in front of someone else. Physically, spiritually, emotionally.

Again, there are some things I truly cannot speak from experience on and while I’m definitely not perfect and have my own past, this is something I don’t believe I need to understand to know it’s a bad idea. The media makes sleeping around so glamorous. I’m not scared to admit that the world makes it’s perversion of sex look attractive. Maybe if we start admitting that it seems like something to be admired. Almost a badge of honor of sorts. It makes the people on TV worthy or wanted if everyone wants to sleep with them.

I’ll say it here like I said it to my roommate’s boyfriend last night, “I don’t care whether or not every guy thinks I’m beautiful. I only want to be beautiful to one man.” I feel the same way about sex. I don’t care if any or no guy wants to sleep with me. Except one.

I’ve seen this enough times in my friends to ache with them. I’ve cried with them over the pain and the regrets. I’ve heard the longing in their voices when they talk about the past and the “if I only knew then…”‘s. My heart breaks for and with them. I’m so thankful our pasts can be redeemed and some of the most beautiful pictures of redemption have been through these women. I love their stories and wouldn’t change a thing about them. But I also know they can offer a wisdom that I will most likely never have. The wisdom of knowing what a lie “no strings attached” really is.

On the flip side of that is the other prison cell we move into:

Sheltered sex can potentially do more damage than good. While I’m not ragging on anyone, I think having your first kiss the same day as your wedding night is a traumatic mistake. Why? Why would you go from no intimacy to everything? You know what happens? This. She keeps defining herself by her virginity! “After tomorrow, I won’t be a virgin any more!” C’mon guys, really? Sure – everyone has their reasons, and I can respect those, but I get really worried when I see couples like that.

Here’s the thing. You all know I’ve never been kissed. When people find out about it the first question I get (after the sympathy encouragement) is, “are you waiting to have your first kiss until your wedding day??” And my answer is always no. No, I’m not waiting until the day that I publicly make vows to a man. No I’m not waiting for the day when I’m supposed to be more intimate with someone than I’ve ever been. NO! It’s like taking a car out and going from ZERO to 100! What about that is a good idea?!?!

Again, habits take time to form. Viewing sex as an evil, off-limits, shameful thing is not going to be undone because I’ve said, “I do.” Our flesh has skewed our perception. Just because we’re called to give ourselves to our spouse only does not mean we’re sacrificing some major life experience by not sleeping around. Culture would tell me that I’m making a huge mistake by waiting until I’m married. Christian Culture forbids me to even think of such things.

But Papa? I’m pretty sure He’s the ultimate romantic. I mean, have you READ Song of Solomon? I blush every time I do! Have you READ Hosea? Where He calls Hosea to woo and chase after a prostitute? Our God is a God of romance, of intimacy. He knows our inner most being. He is a Lover. For crying out loud – have you seen a sunset? He woo’s us every morning and every evening by reminding us that His mercies are new every day. What human will ever know me the way He knows me? What human has the responsibility to know me the way He knows me?

As far as I’m concerned, sex will be a way to understand intimacy in a way I’ve never known. I don’t want to cheapen that by not keeping it in the context of what it was designed for. I also don’t want to be so caught up in what I’ve been told the last twenty some years that all I feel is shame.

We do a really good job of shaming each other, no? Especially when it comes to sexual sin. So to all of you who have been shamed by the Church or believers, I am so sorry. I am so sorry for the hurt they have caused and the words they have said. Papa’s heart for you is NOT shame, only best. You are lovely. Your past does not define you. Do you hear me? Your past does not define you.

My hope is that those of you who are reading this can relate. To one side, the other, or somewhere in between. My hope is that you understand the depth of intimacy of this incredible gift. My hope is that you’ll make decisions out of a desire for healthy habits that lead to healthy relationships. My hope is that you’ll know how loved you are. My hope is that you’re able to forgive.

Forgive the people who hurt you so deeply that you locked yourself into one prison cell or the other. Forgive the Church for causing you shame. Forgive the boy who pressured you into too much too soon. Forgive the girl who broke your heart. Forgive the people who made you feel less than who you are because of something they had no business being involved in. Forgive yourself for rebelling. Forgive, because He forgave first.

Tomorrow – time to close out this series.

ps. Thanks to my best friend Steph Shivers for helping me talk this one out.

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2 thoughts on “The Shame of Sex

  1. I TOTALLY agree. As a girl who’s been further than she cares to admit, but is still a virgin…. I’m right there with you. Unfortunately, the “sex is bad, just say NO!!” mantra doesn’t WORK in real life. I mean for goodness sake. I can’t say for sure, but there’s a good chance I wouldn’t have gone as far as I did if I was *aware* of it. I was so naive, sheltered by the “just say no” philosophy, that I got in over my head. Not knowing how to resist, because I had always just been told to avoid. By God’s grace I WILL save my virginity for my wedding night… but now that I know more about the in-between steps than most of my Christian friends do, it’s so frustrating to hear them talk like sex is something to be afraid of, ashamed of,…. or easily avoided. Let me tell you. The way that God has created us is AMAZING. He has designed us to naturally know how to… pro-create. haha. He is SO awesome! As a sheltered little girl, I would’ve never thought that God had made intimacy such a beautiful thing. I haven’t gotten there yet, but I can already tell how amazing He’s designed it to be. Please, people. stop judging. Stop inflicting YOUR convictions on other people. See how BEAUTIFUL God had created sex to be. And then save yourself until you’re within the right context. Marriage. 🙂

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