I’m a single Christian talking about sex
I'm a single Christian talking about sex. And up until this past year, I thought this was wrong. I believed the lie that sex as a topic made sense for only married Christians to explore and understand. As a single, I had little place in this dialogue. The topic didn't make me uncomfortable or nervous. I had sat in many talks and messages that taught me not to have sex. But where would my place be in learning about orgasms and our physiological makeup and God’s purpose in it all? What would be the point?
My Internalized Messages
I had internalized messages throughout the last two decades that went something like this, ‘Sex is bad until you’re married,’ ‘Don’t talk about sexual things unless you’re married,’ ‘Sex and shame go hand in hand.’ These messages came from a number of sources: the Church, family-of-origin, friends, my own personal experiences. How could I dive into a topic so vulnerable and risky and off-limits without experiencing the shame I had attached to it? And how could I even begin to have influence in it? Wouldn’t it be better to wait until I'm married to be passionate about the topic of sex?
This thinking sounds extreme, I know – and yet I believe that it contributes to the overwhelming silence on the topic of sex in the Church. Parents shy away from teaching their children about sex often because they are afraid to expose them or compromise their purity. The Church is afraid to celebrate sexuality in a way that may bring about temptation.
But what if the silence itself is contributing to internalized messages of shame, of curiosity, of temptation? If Christian leaders taught singles to honor sex, instead of resorting to silence or condemnation, maybe there would be a greater willingness and joy to uphold the boundaries God placed around it before marriage. If marriage does come, there would be less shame attached to it and more understanding and enjoyment of it. There would be a deeper understanding of God and his rich design to show us more of who he is.
Discovering Your Messages
I was really challenged this year to develop my own theology of sex, meaning my personal understanding of what Scripture says about sex and its purpose. In exploring God’s Word, I found myself more intimately relishing in who God is and why he would give us such a sweet glimpse of himself through sex. I found myself wanting to put sex in its proper place – not as an idol but also not as a taboo topic – as one tool used for his glory and a glimpse into his character.
But it started with me really searching my heart and my past and my thoughts, recognizing the faulty beliefs I have had about sex for a long, long time. It started with countering the lie that silence was the appropriate posture in my singleness. It started with evaluating the lens through which I was understanding sex. I think it may start there for all of us.
What messages have shaped your understanding of sex - from your parents, the Church, friends, experience, education? How do those messages contribute to your beliefs about sex?
Take some time this week to really sit and ponder your own sexual autobiography. Consider the messages you've internalized, your own beliefs about sex, and how that shapes your view of God in light of it all.
We'll dive in deeper on our theology of sex next week.