Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Sex Talk | The guilt and shame linger

Growing up in the I kissed dating goodbye generation, purity was a pretty big deal during my youth group days. They pounded it into our brains that sex ... was ... BAD.

Kissing was bad.
Dating was bad.
Touching was bad.

Bad. Bad. Bad.

So when is sex good? 

In the context of marriage of course; however in this day in age, we aren't getting married at the ripe age of 18 like my beloved grandmother did. The average age American's are getting married is 27. That's over a decade of controlling hormones after they begin raging during the tween years, and years of conditioning your mind and body that sex is bad. I mean, how else are we going to abstain from it if we don't categorize it as BAD... right?

Then comes the time to do the deed in the right context, and guess what, sex doesn't automatically become good. Surprise!!! All the years you waited and your psychological tactic to abstain is now working against you. Bet your youth pastor didn't warn you about that! At least mine didn't.

A confession
I was speaking to a friend who was sharing her testimony about her shame in having sex once she got married to her husband. She said something like, "I had gotten so good at drawing a boundary and not crossing a line to remain pure that once I got married, I didn't know what to do with the boundary." The guilt, shame and embarrassment carried over into her marriage and it made me think, how am I going to feel when the time is right? What does sex mean to me?

What does sex mean to you?

As a Christian?
As a man?

As a woman?
As a person who wants to do what is right and pleasing?
As a sexual being?


How does God define sex in His word?

I don't want to go into the answers to these questions, but throw them out there to get all of us thinking. Do we have an unhealthy perspective of sex? Is our method of teaching abstinence wrong and unbalanced? Is this transition and mental reconditioning part of the natural process of coming together with your mate? Is it normal for guilt and shame to follow us into our marriage beds?

As Lily Dunn wrote in an article in Relevant Magazine this week: 

In the space of a few hours, something we had treated as forbidden, dangerous and private became something we were meant to enjoy and celebrate with each other. No amount of intellectual knowledge could take those deeply ingrained feelings towards our sexuality and magically change them the moment we slipped on those rings or later when we slipped off our wedding clothes. It isn't really strange that this transition didn't happen instantaneously, what was stranger was that we expected it to.

My personal reflection
I obviously do not have all of the answers here but I do know the obvious; life isn't perfect. Every season comes with its own struggles. In the single season, we are struggling to remain pure. In the marriage season, we are struggling to be intimate with our spouses. We are constantly fighting for something; and that's what's happening on this side of heaven. Battles. Struggles. Guilt. Shame. 

But we are not defeated. 

As I approach a season of marriage, I realize that I need to be aware of my expectations and of the reality that each season, though beautiful, new and a precious gift from God, comes with struggles. I know that I have an enemy fighting against me and the destiny God has for me. I know that there is a force that is greater than me fighting to see me fail. Not just fail, but wants to steal from, kill and destroy me. That's a threat. 

And guess what? Satan wants the same thing for you! 

No matter how strong our enemy is, God is greater! No matter the struggles I face in my new season, I know God will get me through it. I believe that creating awareness and having open discussions, especially with our mates, help us along the way. 

Guilt and shame may follow me to my marriage bed; but you know what? I am not alone. And you aren't either. 


  1. Addressing this topic feels like it would be sticking my head into a hive of angry hornets and why would I want to do that? I have a lot of thoughts on this topic and can't express them in a short comment but i'll start a dialog (discourse about intercourse, if you will) with the hope that I won't upset you with my honest ramblings.

    I understand the Christian model says wait until marriage, be open to God's message and it will all work out. Most people will fumble along and figure it out and move past the ackward into the awesome. unfortunately some will not figure it out or even make the effort and a spouse will suffer.

    I do think there is something to be said about finding out if you are sexually compatible before you commit to a lifetime together.

    Despite what some people think, premarital sex wasn't invented with the iPad or even in just the last half century. It's been around for a long, long time. The Victorians weren't exactly Puritans. Then again, neither were the Puritans.

    I think the answer varies from person to person and no one answer could or should carry the day.

    1. Icarus -- I always appreciate when you comment on my blogs and thank you for being sensitive in your response. I don't think anyone is assuming premarital sex hasn't existed pre-Puritan era. In fact, we see lots of sex and rape in the old testament that goes outside of the context of marriage.

      While there seemingly are "benefits" of premarital sex, there are also consequences to it: STDs, pregnancy -- I mean you are a smart person. You know what they are.

      God created sex to be inside the context of marriage for our own good. I can go on and on about the benefits of sex inside of marriage versus sex in a non-committed relationship. Bottom line is, I wouldn't expect anyone who isn't a Christian to abide by this teaching, sexual purity, etc. I am not saying that non-Christian individuals do not practice abstinence as well, but those figures are small. In fact, they are small even within the Christian community.

      Why? Because celibacy calls for extreme self control. Point is, those that have actually put this teaching into practice (regardless of who agrees with it or practices it) and have followed this practice have found it difficult to transition. I wanted to open a discussion about this transition.

      Thank you again for your comments. I find our dialogue respectful and enjoying.