I know, I know, I know. I have been gone for what it seems like forever. To be honest, life has been a bit hectic. Not making excuses, just being real. For an entire month, I have been out every weekend dealing with youth events and programs for my church AND the Boyfriend, popped le question of asking me to marry him….SO I have been kinda, (and I say kinda because you know, you don’t want to give this whole impression that it is controlling your life at the moment), been swamped with wedding planning because we are getting married this December 21st. My wedding registry has a countdown for me and right now it is less than 18 days away, so yes, planning a wedding in what has been roughly three and a half months has proven to be an adventure, but fun, so very, very fun. If I wasn’t called to the ministry, I think I would have enjoyed being an event/wedding organizer.
So, what is it that has called me away from ribbons, satin, pearls, and paper frenzy to pause my life once again to sit in front of a computer and share my thoughts in regards to sexuality and relationships? I would have to say the reading of another blog is what urged me to press pause on my wedding and future marriage planning to discuss what came up in this other blog. I pressed paused because my mouth dropped in shock. You know those moments in movies or cartoons when something pretty shocking happens and your initial reaction is to like drop on the floor or fall out of your chair? Yeah, that was pretty much my reaction. And what kind of was shocking even more was the type of reaction that this blog was getting. Some were laughing in a way of mocking; others thought that it was a pretty great read. I would have to say that this blog is a classic example of God’s church spiritually abusing, or bullying in the name of God. What on earth am I talking about?
This blog entry, entitled, “I Waited Until My Wedding Night to Lose My Virginity and I Wished I Hadn’t,” by Samantha Pugsley was Samantha giving her perspective and explaining her journey about keeping her virginity until her wedding night and finding out that she felt dirty, guilty and wrong when she did give herself to her husband that night. Growing up with this understanding that was given to her by the church that if you kept yourself sexually pure, then God would bless you and you would not end up in divorce. That even though that the guy would most likely not have kept his virginity, that being a Christian woman would require you to forgive him and having the duty to wholly give yourself to him, and build off of that. That she was taught to wear her virginity as a badge of honor so that she could “inspire and encourage” other girls to do the same. She goes on to then explain a journey of self discovery and healing, where admitting to her husband that she did not enjoy sex because of the thoughts and feelings going inside of her this entire time, where then she explains that her feminist husband tells her that she doesn’t have to have sex if she doesn’t want to.
Samantha then says these things, “I don’t go to church anymore, nor am I religious. As I started to heal, I realized that I couldn’t figure out how to be both religious and sexual at the same time. I chose sex. Every single day is a battle to remember that my body belongs to me and not to the church of my childhood. I have to constantly remind myself that a pledge I took when I was only 10 doesn’t define who I am today. When I have sex with my husband, I make sure it’s because I have a sexual need and not because I feel I’m required to fulfill his desires.
I’m now thoroughly convinced that the entire concept of virginity is used to control female sexuality. If I could go back, I would not wait. I would have sex with my then-boyfriend-now-husband and I wouldn’t go to hell for it. We would have gotten married at a more appropriate age and I would have kept my sexuality to myself.
Unfortunately, I can’t go back but I can give you this message as a culmination of my experiences: If you want to wait to have sex until marriage make sure it’s because you want to. It’s your body; it belongs to you, not your church. Your sexuality is nobody’s business but yours.”
Why do I even bother with this? Simply because that most likely there is someone out there, a guy or a girl, trying to figure out exactly this process in their lives. And while I do not agree with the conclusions that Samantha ends up with, (because even though she battles everyday with the pledge that she took when she was 10, I think that it is the Holy Spirit trying to still reach her) her journey, her process, and some of her comments point out some very real things that us as people, as humans, as sexual beings deal with.
1. Make sure your foundation for keeping your virginity is biblically solid.
You don’t agree to keep your virginity because the church promises you a better marriage. You don’t agree to keep your virginity because Mommy and Daddy told you so. You don’t agree to keep your virginity because that is what is going to keep you from having a divorce. You don’t agree to keep your virginity so that you can be an example to other people struggling in the “pits of sexual addiction”. You don’t agree to keep your virginity to avoid pregnancy or STD’s. You agree to keep your virginity because it is a response back to God of the gift that He has given you: salvation, grace, sanctification, and future marital sex. Yes, that’s right. Marital sex.
The reality is that a 10 year old taking a vow to keep her or his virginity is not a bad idea. There are already 10 year olds getting their periods, getting addicted to pornography, or being sexually active and popping out babies. Playing with Barbies and Hot Wheel cars are not going to keep a kid from exploring. Teaching kids at an early age to value one’s sexuality and virginity enough to remember that it is a gift from God will help this little person to begin to cherish and hold onto something that is valuable as they navigate through the craziness of life. Sex is good. Sex is beautiful. Sex is meant to be fun. How sex is taught to us today is that once we marry, sex becomes boring, so it is better to have it outside of marriage, to gain experience, or to understand it better. The reality is if Samantha had had early sex, like she wished she had, she would have had the exact same experience that she had later on in her life because her thinking would still be the same if she had the exact same experiences with the same people telling her the same stuff and the despair would only have come a lot sooner, and it could have even had dramatic consequences such as suicidal tendencies because of the reasons why she was basing her virginity. I think that God, even in His mercy, let her experience this in the safety net of marriage, where she would have had the freedom to express her frustration and do something about it, unlike her being younger and having her hands tied with other complications. Samantha’s church did sexual education on the basis of fear and guilt and the promise of everything but the sun.
While it is true that sex is valuable, beautiful and meant to be a very active part of a marriage, it is not the only thing that makes a marriage. To be honest, there will be days that you are sick, bloated, on a menstrual cycle, cranky, in pain, physically hurt, recovering from surgery, I mean the list can go on. Sexual pleasure is part of marriage, a very important part of marriage, but it is not what makes a marriage. You can have been a person that has kept her or his virginity from the beginning and be the most horrible wife/husband in the world or end up with a failed marriage because the process of character building was not given over to God to be molded and shaped.
2. Your body, while it does not belong to a physical church, is not yours either.
Samantha is correct in saying that your physical body does not belong to your church. What I mean by that is that people can’t fit in a “One Size Fits All” scenario. The advice that someone may tell you to try for your body may not work for you simply because you have a different body. One person’s idea of modesty may be very different from someone else’s idea of modesty. I mean the church has been up in arms over that for years. And while nobody has the right to dominate over you and tell you to do things or to accept things about your body if it makes you uncomfortable, puts you in danger or go against God’s principles, your body is also not something for you to do whatever you feel like. The Bible has a very strong teaching that the church, is Christ’s body, so one person impacts another person. And we are all sexual beings, we all have sexuality, so how we manage it is kind of other people’s business, I am not talking about exposing intimate details or struggles to everybody and their mother, but how you conduct yourself will show. How someone ticks will impact how another person ticks. It is the phenomena of living in a community. Even sticking your head in the sand, like an ostrich, and thinking that if you can’t see it then it means that it is not there (which by the way is a very toddler like mentality) you are still impacting how the Body of Christ works within it’s community.
So before you start off with your brilliant, logical reasoning skills with the premise of, “Well it is my body so I can do….” Stop and think again; No you can’t. Not with the set of values and principles that you have accepted in being a Christian. If you don’t want to be a Christian, then fine, this doesn’t apply to you. Go on your merry little way, and do whatever you would like to your body. But if you are a Christian, and have accepted Jesus Christ, if you have accepted His blood to cover for you, if you have accepted His righteousness, His robes, His life, then the reality is, you are not your own. You have been bought at a price. Your body is not yours; it is for Him to do what needs to be done. Your body is so much so not your own that when you accept Christ, it becomes His dwelling place, He places it inside His body, the church, and even when you enter in marriage, it is still not yours because now you are called to give it to your spouse. This whole business of Madonna’s thinking, “It’s my party and I can cry if I want to,” isn’t cutting it with God’s thinking. God doesn’t force you to enter into a relationship with Him, but boy, once you are in it with Him, He plays no games. Look up this concept of “covenant relationship” in the Bible and you will see what I am talking about. In order for you to come out right in the end with the whole mess of sin in our world, in our lives, and in our hearts, this is the game that He has to play. And really, you come out better for it.
3. Sex will always be awesome if founded on a biblical foundation.
Samantha said that sex wasn’t awesome her wedding night. Well, that definitely can be true. But her first night if she wasn’t married wouldn’t have been awesome either. Sex hurts some people the first night and sex doesn’t hurt others the first night. I have no idea if my first night will hurt. It may or may not. For my mom, her first night didn’t hurt and she said it depended a lot on how gentle was the man. And you also have to handle the reality that a man’s genital is a complete foreign object the first time. While the woman’s body knows that it is designed for accepting the man’s genital, it can still be weird the first time. Listen, being human is not easy sometimes, I think that we can all agree on that. So there will be days when sex might seem too much work at the moment because you are exhausted, or malnourished, or sleep deprived, or sick, bloated. Whatever. You may even get ticked off at your spouse and are giving him/her the cold shoulder. There will be times that you may not reach an orgasm. But the whole point of sex is not to wait to be in the mood, or end up doing bedroom gymnastics or bringing these crazy sex toys or watching porn videos to reach that orgasm, the point of sex is to give of oneself for intimacy, for reconciliation, to understand each other, to forget yourself, focus on someone else and help that person reach her/his climax.
People can end up feeling used if you just come to your spouse to fulfill your need and the focus is for you to reach your orgasm no matter what, even at the cost of your spouse. It is like that you are just a shell with a hole that says, “Insert here” and that’s it, and then you just walk away. If that’s all it was, then God wouldn’t have placed all these restrictions about what sex is, and it wouldn’t matter if we got involved with inanimate objects, toys, or even animals. BUT, that is NOT what sex is. In a previous blog entry, I pointed to the fact that the man represents something of God that only the man can represent and that the woman represents something of God that only a woman can represent. So, with that in mind, sex is a moment of utter vulnerability. Sex is a time of discovery, exploration, of giving oneself, of acceptance; sex is a connection where the representation of the character and image of God is at it’s highest. Wait, what?? Yeah, you read right. So can you see why God is so anti premarital sex?
Biblical sex is designed in such a way, that it requires for the man to give and take, and for the woman to give and take. I have been going through premarital counseling with my fiancé, and we have been learning a lot in the area of physical intimacy. I have learned that sex is so vital to men, so much so, that it impacts their psyche. Men need sex. They do, it is part of who they are, and when these needs are not met in marriage, it impacts the way that they view themselves, how they are incapable of arousing their wife and then feeling like failure. However, when the man just comes to the wife and demands sex regardless of how she is feeling, how her day was, what is bothering her and making her sick, he does nothing but hurts his wife. She just sees it as the next thing to do on the checklist before she can finally relax and sleep. Also, a man can reach his sexual peak in two minutes or less, a woman is 7 to 14. So a man can be done so quickly, and the woman receives no gratification at all from it, it is a drag to her. Which in turn, makes the woman play the game of giving their husbands infrequent sex. When sex is founded on the biblical foundation of focusing on the other person’s needs, when the man takes the time to romance her, to arouse her and play with her, she will respond, which then in turn will allow for frequent sex. When a man focuses on his wife needs and when a wife focuses on her husband needs, when they understand what pleases each other, and what makes each other tick, sex will always be great because the focus isn’t you, it is the other person.
4. You CAN be religious AND sexual!
When I read that a person was struggling in being religious and sexual at the same time that was the moment where I almost fell to the floor. A little of me died inside.
Okay, so before we get into this whole argument of religion versus spirituality, and Jesus wants a relationship and not religion, let me just press stop before we all start hyperventilating. How I am using religion here is how the Bible has always used the concept of religion and that is in a committed relationship to Him, to His cause, and to His church. The book of James uses the word religion and explains that true religion is taking care of the orphans and widows. Religion is a system of beliefs, precepts, values and lifestyle. And while it can be easy to play a surface game of checklist and rules with religion, I think that that is religion taken out of its true context of how God intended it to be in the first place. Don’t you think that God is interested in our beliefs, precepts, values and lifestyle? Don’t you think that in Heaven there will be a certain way of doing things that stem from a solid relationship with Jesus? Anyways, if you still have issues with that definition, just press pause on it, and catch what I am trying to say: it is still possible to have a relationship with Jesus AND be sexual. There.
But first, a little back history to explain why people think that people can’t be religious and sexual. When I was studying for my degree, we had to take a year’s worth of church history. And let me tell you, the early church (not the early New Testament church with the apostles and disciples), but the church that came after that, which then developed into the Catholic Church, had a phobia to sex and women, but yet they made a huge push for marriage and procreation. In other words, you were a good Christian if you married and had babies because God asked for that in Genesis, but you were a better Christian if you did not get married to a person, but married to God and dedicated your whole life to Him. That’s how monasteries came into the picture. Also, different philosophies began to enter the church and one of them was dualism, which came from the Greek philosophy that the person was two, a soul and a body, and that the important part of the person was soul and not body, (which also began to shape other things, like immortality of the soul and the heresy Gnosticism, where people were saying that spirit was good and body was bad) and hence you would have monks and nuns going on these massive fasting trips, and denying oneself of food, water, sleep, and other earthly pleasures, like sex.
They also played this massive blaming game of who sinned first, and the fault always came on the woman, who succumbed to her passions, which then brought Adam down. The church taught that the man was epitome of the gift of God and that the woman was the sexual nature. So the church began to teach if a man could resist a woman in such a way to deny his passions, and act in accordance to his role that was given to him of God, he was a good Christian. If a woman can keep herself from attracting a man’s attention, and dedicate her life to God, then she can redeem herself of her sinful sexual nature. And hence, from generation to generation, this idea of a woman not supposing to enjoy sex, to keep herself this “pure, untouched, blushing, dutiful, not enjoying sex but enjoying motherhood,” was developed into the mentality of people. Also, a twisted version of this, where the man can do whatever he wanted and still live, but if a woman was caught in doing whatever she wanted was sent to death, was also accepted by the church, because man was the epitome of God’s gift, and the woman was sexual nature, so if she got raped, or was caught in adultery, it was never the man’s fault. It was the woman’s fault because either she acted, behaved, or dressed in a certain way to distract the man. A man can have countless of illegitimate children, if a woman was caught bearing that illegitimate child, then it was her fault, never mind the man’s involvement.
So from these humble beginnings is how the church developed from generation to generation that one is not supposed to talk about sex, one is not suppose to enjoy sex, one is not suppose to prepare for it. And naturally all this tension started to bubble up between people and teaching, because clearly, history and human action was proving quite well, that well, humans have a natural inclination to sex. And then that is why finally everything blew up in the 60’s with the Free Love movement (with other political and governmental problems in the picture of course). Anyways, you get the idea.
Nowhere does the Bible say you are holier if you don’t have or you don’t enjoy sex. Paul talks about his gift of singleness (which by the way, the church loved to build up on that) as being good, but if you need to get married, then get married. Listen, being single or married is not going to make you holier. There is nothing by your own actions that is going to make you holier. We have the whole Bible and the story of Redemption to tell us that. We are not holy. God is holy. And when we accept Him, it is His holiness that makes us holy. Not if we agree to have sex or not in our lives.
With that being said, the first human relationship that God placed on earth was a husband and wife. God could have chosen to do a bunch of different things with the first people on earth, but no, instead He chose to do a husband and wife, a man and woman, completely and 100% attracted to each other and His first command to them was, “Be fruitful and multiply.” Did you catch that? He didn’t say, “Pray to me first, grovel at My feet, or recite to Me first the 100 Rules of the Garden.” No, God’s first command to Adam and Eve in the Bible was, “Go. Have sex. Make babies.” And God said that. Not Satan. Not Adam to Eve or Eve to Adam. God. God said that to them. And when sin entered the picture, one of the first things that got attacked and warped was the husband and wife relationship and sex. Already in the following chapters after The Fall, we have polygamy, incest, and homosexuality entering the picture. What was a beautiful representation of the character of God between man and wife, that gift of enjoying oneself with each other, together, aka sex, was sabotaged. One of the perfect pictures of God between man and wife was the one that has taken the hardest hit when sin entered the picture. Now it is to the point that sex is no longer viewed as something to be kept in the marriage context and it is to be enjoyed whenever, with whoever, and however, “no commitments”, “no strings attached”, and “no boundaries”. It hurts families and undermines deeply the foundation of a kid who is born from it in an unstable home, and their emotional, spiritual, psychological, and physical well being is given a huge dose of, “Good luck Kid.” No Jesus. Jesus is no longer invited to sex.
And again you are freaking out. “Jesus??? Invite Jesus to sex???” Yes. Invite Jesus to sex. I am not saying to stop and pray every time you get in the mood and say, “Come Jesus. Amen.” Hey, it might work for some people, but that’s not what I am saying. What I am saying is play by His games of what sex is meant to be and you will have a better sex life than what this whole messed up world or even misconceptions in the church is telling us of sex. He made it. He created it. He knows what makes it work and what doesn’t make it work. Sex was meant to be something beautiful, powerful, awesome, and amazing. It is a gift that He gives to husbands and wives to give to each other and to enjoy each other. Have sex when you are angry, upset, tired, or hurt. Have sex to say you’re sorry, have sex to play and have fun, have sex to explore, to tease and to encourage, to accept, to build, and to show love. And thank God for it. It wouldn’t exist without Him.
Having a strong relationship with Jesus will help you have a strong sex life with your spouse. Because you are not coming to your spouse to see what you can take, but what you can give. There will be nights that yes, it will be better to just snuggle and cuddle over having sex. But for the most part, sex is there for both of you. There is an entire book in the Bible about sex in the marital context. It is called the “Song of Solomon.” Again, the church had this phobia of sex and tried to make it into this whole “allegory of Christ’s love to His church,” and while there can be some truth to that….the book is pretty explicit on breasts, hips, curves, perfumes, muscles and passions. Sex is not bad. It is not ugly and it is not dirty. So don’t treat it as such, and don’t treat it as a rag to wash whatever comes your way.
Getting all dolled up and spiffy for your spouse is not a bad thing. Keeping yourself attractive for your spouse is not vain either. I enjoy wearing a pretty dress for my fiancé. I enjoy getting a new perfume where he will enjoy it. I like seeing him get dressed up, or admiring his body when he is working outside shirtless. It is not a bad thing! If these things weren’t there, then attraction and sex wouldn’t be possible between husband and wife. I am looking forward to the night that I can finally give myself to him, to my future husband. I have pretty things to wear, and pretty smelling stuff. I am excited, nervous, and anxious. It may hurt, it may not. I also know that even if it does hurt the first time, I know that eventually it will not. The point is that even if it is painful and an orgasm is not reached immediately, I do know that I have been given a man that is beyond worth. Here is a man that has agreed to love me no matter what, whether I look like a Hollywood fashion model, or a bum on the couch watching chick flicks. I have been given a man that loves God and follows Him and seeks to submit his life to Him. I have been given a man that I know he will cherish me the first night and be as gentle as possible. I have been given a man that will direct me and we will discover together. I have been given a man that the rest of our lives together are going to be absolutely, wonderfully, and completely dedicated to the God who has placed us together.
I know that there are other things, especially the whole aspect of feeling guilty when maybe some lines were crossed, and this fear of losing salvation over mistakes that are done, that were brought up from Samantha’s blog that needs to be addressed. And I will address it, in the next blog. But right now, I just really wanted to give a powerful, positive affirmation about biblical sex in a married relationship between man and wife.
A verse from Song of Solomon 8:3, “Let his left hand be under my head and his right hand embrace me.”