Monday, July 25, 2011

The Forbidden Topic

Ok people, I am going to write about something that I've been wanting to write about, but struggling to decide how I want to broach this topic. And the topic is...

Sex.

Now, I am going to use my own life as an example, but I am not going to be explicit, so if you were looking for any type of titillating details you've come to the wrong place. I do however, feel a need to write about it, as I have seen how God has been uncovering some issues in my life regarding this very topic.

I think about sex, a lot. Sometimes more than I should. Sometimes in ways that I should not.

Yes, women think about sex. I enjoy sex just as much as my husband and am thankful that God created such a wonderfully intimate thing to draw us closer to one another in our marriage relationship.

I call this the forbidden topic, because my experience has been that Christians do not want to talk about it, or are uncomfortable with this subject. In some ways, it has been painted as something that is dirty, completely sinful and disgusting. But what happens when we are not being taught what the Bible says about sex, we are going to get our information from the world, and the world is more than happy to give it. This is a problem. And this is exactly what I have done.

Now, I am not blaming the church for my lack of understanding, because as a Christian it is my responsibility to read and study Scripture for myself. I do, however, believe that part of the church's function is to teach Scripture and it is a topic that gets pushed to the wayside far too often.

Ok, let me go back to explaining what I mean. When I was growing up, no one would talk to me about sex. Not people in the church, not anyone in my Christian school, not even my parents. The most they would say about the topic is "Don't have sex until you are married." I think one time someone tried to touch on the topic of boundaries as far as relationships go. This is a good thing to say, but what I needed, was how to view sex from a Christian worldview. That is to say, how to look at it through the lens of the Bible.

Our world is over-sensualized. It is no longer enough for a girl to be pretty or beautiful, she should be "sexy". We see it in clothing, magazines, hairstyles, even make-up is about how sexy we can make ourselves look. As if every thing we do, should be for the purpose of arousing the lusts of those around us.

From the time I was in middle school, I remember trying to work out this subject in my mind and what it means for me as a girl, a teenager, a young adult, and now a woman. I understood that it was wrong to have sex before marriage, but did not understand it in the sense of keeping myself pure before God, so I began to allow the world to shape my view of sex at a young age. Yes, this led me down the wrong path as far as choices I made in relationships, but that is not where I want to go today. What I do want to say is that lately, the Holy Spirit has been convicting me about how I am still allowing the world's view to influence my thoughts and sometimes even my actions.

I am sick to my stomach realizing how I have carried this distorted view of sex and what it means about me as a person, a woman, a wife, with me through these years. Giving up bits and pieces, but holding onto it still, not quite wanting to let it go. The part of me that still holds onto that idea of beauty = sexy.

I've struggled with this, like I said, since I was in middle school. What girl doesn't want to be beautiful? So obviously beauty has quite often dominated my thinking. God has taught me so much over the years, of what true beauty really means. But even knowing that, doesn't always mean I think like that. And it doesn't always mean I act like that.

I find that I am continually having to renew my mind with Scripture in this area, as the Holy Spirit convicts me of yet another way I am allowing it to seep back in. There are times I have to remove myself from a place, turn a channel, put down a magazine, etc. I have to make conscious decisions to put the thought out of my mind and think about what God sees as beauty. This is not always easy. The world pummels us over with this idea of being sexy.

But SEX IS NOT JUST ABOUT LUSTFUL DESIRES!

Even Christians often have this misunderstanding about what sex is and why it was created and how to enjoy it properly. I'm not just talking about understanding that it was created for the context of a heterosexual marriage relationship, but even what it means given that context.

I had a professor recently who puts it this way (might not be an exact quote), "Sex is a ministry to your spouse." It was created as a way to minister to your husband or wife in love. Hearing that just turned a lightbulb on as far as a good way for me to describe what Scripture says about sex (1 Cor. 7:3-4) and a good way for me to put into perspective society's push towards "being sexy".

Society views sex as simply lustful. It is all about desire and arousal. Feeding the desires of the flesh. The push for women (and girls) to be "sexy" is to pursuit arousing that desire and lust in the men around you. As though they need some sort of help doing that (am I right guys?). I'm not going to go into the implications this has on our guys, except to say that it only makes their struggle that much worse, especially when women in the church have bought into this idea. I'm sure I have not always helped them by some of the things I've worn. But my push here is for women to understand how this can affect even the seemingly smaller decisions we make. Things like why we get a certain haircut, or walk a certain way, do our make-up a certain way, why we exercise, how we choose to eat, etc. Guys may not always notice, but how many of us do some of these things with that thought of being sexy behind it? I admit, I sometimes do.

Increasingly, my perspective has been changing over the years as I better understand it from Scripture and as I continue to put off thoughts formed by the world's perspective and replace them with what I know God says about this subject. But I had to come to see this as sin. I had to learn a new worldview. I still have to choose to use it. And I have to continually make the choice to not allow it to dominate my thinking. I don't always do that, I admit.

Now, I debate about clicking on that publish post button that means this will forever be floating around in cyberspace, but I know I am not the only one who struggles with this issue as a woman (1 Cor. 10:13) and I hope my honesty and forthcoming about it will help someone else. I am taking a risk of vulnerability sharing this with all of you, and can only ask for your prayers and loving accountability.

3 comments:

Babetta said...

I'm very proud of the spiritual growth and maturity you express here. It's not easy to be vulnerable; especially with such a hot button topic. The world has done much to damage healthy sexuality, and Christians have happily played the ostrich while our children flounder.

Adrienne said...

Amen! Our culture indeed wants to brainwash our children. Studies have shown that little girls age 5 & 6 are actually concerned with being HOT. Seriously? As a married woman, I should be content that my husband has desire for me. I shouldn't want to arouse desire in men other than him...that'd be lustful and greedy and manipulative. Sex is not a taboo topic in the Bible, so I wonder why it is in the church! May we have the courage to properly train our children about God's design for not only purity, but for all other areas of godly sexuality.

Tiara said...

Thank you for your beautiful post!