ON-DEMAND

Christianity and Sexuality

Calendar
Streamed
Monday, September 10, 2018

Definitions can be damning. Religious definitions and stances on purity and pleasure are incredibly powerful for shaping our approach to sexuality. Lydia will discuss the impact of these definitions and alternatives for healthier expressions of sexuality and pleasure.

Video transcript

Hi, I'm Lydia M. Bowers and I have spent over 15 years as an early childhood educator before expanding into the sexuality field. My personal experience with painful pelvic and sexual conditions fueled my passion to advocate for a better knowledge and care as well as reframe how we talk about sex and pleasure. I provide sex education that helps individuals understand sexual development from birth to adulthood and I empower those affected by trauma, religious shame or painful experiences to reclaim pleasure for their bodies. Hey Justin, Kelly said to do the little intro at the beginning there so they can have that recorded. So that was my little spiel I guess. All right, getting comfy. How are you? Are you still on the other streams as well or do you kind of do both of them at the same time for as long as they overlap anyway? I always wondered how that worked. Especially if there's multiple streams so do you just like have multiple windows open? Like how do you then keep up with the sound or do you just like just listen to sound? Oh that's right I forgot she pushed it back. And she's right after this now, right? I think so. I think that's what I saw. That's got to be fun though. You just kind of you just sort of switch back and forth. Yeah that makes sense. That's got to be hard though especially if there's two streams you want to listen to that are going at the same time. Sort of have to kind of be able to play around the top. No, that's true, yeah. No dull moments yeah. Well if anyone else is here besides Justin, hello and welcome, I am Lydia. We're going to kind of get started here just kind of giving it a couple of minutes before we really dive into all the good stuff. So I'm very excited to be talking about this topic and having some of these conversations. So I'm eager to have these conversations. I'm hoping people really like jump in and start talking about all this too because that just makes it that much better when everyone is sort of giving some input. So all right, let me make sure I've got everything here. So I know that there are several people that said they would be joining so hopefully people kind of tune in here in the next couple minutes. So my background though as far as the Christianity bit goes, so I grew up in the evangelical Christian Church. Hey Emma, how are you? I'm so glad you're on. Yeah Jared told me he had sent stuff so see ya. My parents have always been in a ministry in some form or another so it wasn't that I went to church when I was born. My dad was a youth minister and then when I was two we moved to Zimbabwe, Africa because they were missionaries then he's been a preacher for a long time. They both have been Bible College professors, now they go to India multiple times a year and he's gonna be helping some Bible College out in California. For my family like Christianity, the evangelicalism that's like who we were growing up and I was one of those high school kids that signed the True Love Waits, like purity virginity pledges and not surprisingly like many high school students that sign those, it didn't work and so I really for a long time really wrestled with my faith for one and what I thought of it and how much of it was really what I believed, how much of it was just this is what I've always been told as well as in that sexuality piece and how does that work together at all, how does that, you know are they mutually exclusive and the more I've now come to a point where I have reconciled a lot of that for me, I look back and see how damaging a lot of these messages were. Well-intended for many people but still damaging and I hear from people all the time, family members, extended family members, friends and people who have especially people who like grew up in the church or for whom like Christianity was a big part and then being very disillusioned then when it comes to sexuality and there's this a lot of like religious shame that surrounds things and so then I especially hear from people who get married and especially like for some who they did wait until they were married to have sex and others who didn't but it doesn't matter. It's still the same. They're like I thought it was supposed to be different. Like I thought I was supposed to get married and then magically all the shame disappears and I'm just supposed to have this fabulous sex life and it's not happening, what's going on. It's obviously there's something missing, there's something wrong. So I wanted to have these kind of conversations today and talk about this. So I am not a minister. I have not gone to... Well I spent some time in Bible College but I have not conscious school specifically for sexual theology. Is that, I don't even know. Maybe that's not even a thing but I've had lots of great conversations with people and it's something that I've studied and wrestled with for a long time. So I'm very excited that people are wanting to have these conversations and I think too as we kind of talk about this... Justin said you're raised Catholic here, almost needless to say it didn't stick. Yeah it's funny how specially with Catholicism somehow that just doesn't want to stick a whole lot. Hello Hugs, I love your name. Raised Protestant okay yeah So for me, full disclosure where I'm coming from, I was raised in the Nemesis raised Baptist same with me. My kind of same thing. So I was supposed to be like a non-denominational Christian Church church of Christ. So nondenominational meaning there's not like a hierarchy of religious leaders and so I was baptized when I was six years old and that's when we were living in Zimbabwe when my parents were missionaries and for a long time and even like through high school actually in high school I was one of the super strong judgmental Christian girls. I don't know if anyone's ever seen the movie Saved with who was that Mandy Moore and who else is in that? Cary Culkin there's like a whole bunch of people in it. It's fantastic movie. I feel like that movie if you've ever seen it, I have been every one of those people at some point in my life. So I was very serious then I went to Bible College, okay and was completely disillusioned because it was like, wait a minute not every Christian is like this perfect little Christian that I thought I was and I kind of didn't know what to do with that and then I kind of just went off the deep end for a while and started making all sorts of decisions that probably, not even probably, that were not good for me or my body. Like I said before I signed one of those virginity pledge cards and it didn't work. I mean I honestly though like I didn't have penetrative sex, intercourse until I was 25 but less than a year later I was pregnant and I wasn't frankly why I wasn't pregnant sooner, I don't know because I didn't... As is usually the case and we talked about this some earlier I wasn't using protection a whole lot and I didn't know anything about it. I also didn't know things like that it's not supposed to hurt and so I was going on with this like sexual pain that I thought was normal and it took a long time to deal with a lot of this stuff. Hello Jackie, welcome. Raised by a sex-positive Jewish dad and a mother who had been raised Catholic. She was raised with a lot of guilt about sex. Oh that's interesting so you've got quite an interesting sort of dichotomy there. Dad had an orgasm talked with me to teach me about women's orgasms since he was puzzled my mom wouldn't. I'm so glad you did though, that's awesome. Justin says the more stricter religion, the more at odds it is with the progressive values that the majority of Millennials seem to have. Yes that's true. So as we talk, also so kind of in this journey that I've been on I'm gonna point now where I still believe in God, I still believe in Jesus and so there's part of me that considers myself a Christian in the fact that I love Jesus and I try to follow him, what I think is what's actually being said but recognizing that I'm not perfect. I do not like to consider myself a Christian though in terms of being associated and connected with the Christian Church as an institution. So kind of full disclosure, that's kind of where I am with stuff. I don't believe that Jesus recognizes the Christian Church today as being of him. I really don't and a lot of that, some of that, quite a bit of that has to do with sexuality. So as we go into this, I have a resource document that Justin will share at some point in the chat. He'll kind of throw it up probably sporadically throughout. That is about like a one-page document with some different resources on it. I have an additional even longer document with more resources if you're interested. To get that just sign up for my newsletter on my website which is LydiaMBowers.com. So if you go there, it'll pop up on the side or you can click Subscribe and just sign up for that and I will send the bigger longer resource list at the end. So as we're going into this, especially like as we're in the chat and kind of talking, I want everyone to recognize first of all, this is absolutely not a sermon and I am not going to be telling you what you should believe about this. I am going to give you some information. I've got resources that you might agree with. Probably some hopefully that you won't agree with because this is something where I think it's so important that we really kind of wrestle with some of this stuff and we have to figure these things out for ourselves or else it's not truly our own beliefs about things. Also different people are coming into this conversation from very different areas. So when it comes to sexuality and spirituality, there are these huge spectrums that we all fall on with what we believe, our experiences with it as well as I feel like sexuality and spirituality specifically Christianity both have been used historically by or people in power have used both of these things to traumatize, hurt and misuse other people and many of us have experienced that in one or both of these realms. So with that I just want to make sure as we have these conversations like we can disagree and that's totally fine and let's have these conversations but let's also make sure we're showing ourselves and everybody else some grace here and recognizing that we're all gonna come at this from a different place. Emma says the fact that religious parents don't openly talk with kids about sex causes problems with not knowing about sex and how to be safe with it. Absolutely. Absolutely so that's one of these big things. So there's like three main areas that I think tend to come to mind when we talk about Christianity and sexuality and what seems to be very like jarring and disconnected and one is LGBT issues right and everyone's heard like how well the Bible says that homosexuality is wrong which okay we'll get into that. Second is this idea of virginity and not having sex till you're married and sometimes goes along with that within some realms of Christianity, people believe that sex is only for reproductive purposes that it's not for pleasure and you shouldn't have fun with it or enjoy it and then the other thing that isn't quite as much as those two but still tends to come up often is masturbation which kind of I guess goes in with the whole like, nothing should be pleasurable. It just should be you know, it's for this one specific purpose. So those are kind of this three main things that I'm kind of talking a lot about tonight but please if there's something else that comes up that you want to explore, I know a lot of times when we're talking about this, a lot of times parents have these questions too because they recognize okay what I was told growing up was not good enough and I don't want my children to grow up having these same issues. So how do I talk to them about it or and that can be someone maybe you're not in a church anymore and you're like, I don't have anything to do with that. How do I still help them make safe choices without making it a religious thing? You may be someone that is like no, I think you should wait till you're married to have sex but how can I share that with my child without shaming them and both are completely valid things. So I don't want anyone to think that I'm up here saying you shouldn't wait until you're married to have sex because if that is your value, like absolutely share that with your children but let's find a way to do that in a sex positive healthy way and at the same time we have to kind of make some concessions and recognize some stuff when it comes to sexuality. Justin says when I think of patriarchy the church historically has always come to mind first. So I think this is a great place to start with this. So we're gonna get some history here. A lot of this information there's a book and it's listed in the resources called Sex in the Constitution which you wouldn't think of would have much to do with Christianity but it does because that's where a lot of the basis for our laws in our country come from in the United States. So that book is by Jeffery R. Stone and the first big chunk of this book goes through the history of attitudes towards sexuality and talks about like in like biblical times okay and it's talking about as they go back and research so like the ancient Hebrews first of all. So now we're not even like this is pre-Christian. This is like Judaism, Hebrew ancient Hebrews did not prohibit masturbation or premarital sex or oral sex or anal sex or prostitution or contraception or pornography, lesbianism or abortion. They didn't ban any of this. That wasn't even like an issue and in the Bible, there are song of Songs which is also called Song of Solomon one of the books in the Bible is this like it's just it's sensual, it's talking about sex. If you're interested in learning more about that, you should check out Sundays, one of the other old school professionals who we call Rev pleasure or Rev P, sometimes and you'll see that does a stream and is going basically through chapter by chapter Song of Solomon and out reading these and kind of talking through like look at the sexuality, the sensuality and it's all these descriptions of these with their lovers bodies and their interactions. This isn't a Bible, we just like to ignore it. There's a lot in Proverbs too like the ancient Hebrews weren't shy about sexual pleasure and particularly within marriage obviously that that was still the focus but it was not something that was shamed or look down on. So Emma seriously like hold on. Now I've got to pull it out. So do you like how I have my Bible on my bookshelf with all the sex books? That's great, right? So I hadn't actually intended to like Bible study but I mean not really Bible study but I'm just gonna give you an example here because now that we've brought it up. In song of songs, Songs of Solomon. The idea is that it's like King Solomon and his lover and so it's saying things like you know let him kiss me with the kisses of his mouth, your love is more delightful than wine, take me away with you, let us hurry. Let the king bring me into his chambers and you know my lover is to me a sachet of myrrh resting between my breasts and I mean it goes on and on right and it's just that's all this is. Is talking about oh and then when he's talking to her, your navel is a rounded goblet that never lacks blended wine. Your waist is a mound of wheat encircled by lilies. Your breasts are like two fawns, twins of a gazelle. I mean like they are... You cannot tell me that at all that sex is just supposed to be for reproduction. There's a whole book in the Bible about sensual sexual love. So then it goes on and when he's talking about so back to it like sex in the Constitution. So he's talking about like in the New Testament, Jesus himself didn't say a whole lot about sex. He criticized adultery. You shouldn't be having sex when you're married, you shouldn't be having sex like cheating on your spouse but he still forgave people that did and he opposed divorce in the absence of adultery and kind of warned about like if you look on a woman to lust after her you've committed adultery in your heart so really like a lot of things that Jesus specifically says about sex, is relating to this idea of like protecting your marriage. This is so amazing. I was raised in the church and taught many stories from the Bible, was never shown that part. Yeah you can just I mean you can even if you don't have a Bible at home, like you can just Google online Bibles everywhere and yeah song of songs, Song of Solomon. Check it out. So anyway so then after the Bible's been written and then as Justin says I hear some churches straight up ignore, remove that part. Oh yeah, yeah. They definitely ignore it. They don't like to think that that exists. So one of the big things that happened with Christianity is kind of around and it was sort of like so after the Bible's been written, kind of after that time period, there are all these different like philosophical movements and all these like ISM Gnosticism and mysticism and all these different things right and a lot of them stoicism, all these things talking about not enjoying things and kind of that to be a good person you have to not enjoy anything in life. This is my really bad summary of this, sorry. So Christian leaders were trying to contend with this. A lot of these theories talked about that sexual desire was dangerous and so Christianity and Christian Church leaders at the time we're trying to kind of contend with all these like rival religious philosophical movements and kind of during that time they ended up absorbing a lot of this. So there was a lot within the church separate from the Bible that the church took on with these sex negative attitudes that were more influenced by pagan mysticism than actual biblical texts or Hebrew tradition and then we get to and here's my favorite, so St. Augustine is this Saint. He's born in like 530s, no 350s. 350s not 500 so like 380 okay, early early. So St. Augustine here's this guy. So he comes along and he really influenced majorly where the direction the church headed. So what happened with Augustine is at some point, he was in Algeria and he kind of hooks up with this lady. They kind of start having sex a lot and hanging out and she has a baby and then he kind of and so then so I guess they had left Africa because then he sends her back to Africa, sends her and the baby. He's like okay I'm not marrying this girl, I'm sending her back then at some point, he agrees to be engaged to some underage girl and I don't know the story behind that but that in itself sounds suspicious. So he's engaged to her but is waiting for her to come of age so they can actually be married and during that time starts hooking up with someone else. So he kind of starts, he starts writing about all of this and how he like can't control his lust and it's just like taking over him and he doesn't know what to do. So he like drops that engagement and just like drops this other girl and drops all the girls that he's sleeping around with. He starts trying to like figure out okay how do I control myself and he starts getting into some of these like philosophical things and there was a sort of like philosophically religious thing that he started studying where the idea of it is that and here's the quote. You ready? Believing that man replicates the force of evil when he has sex and it chains his soul to the devil. All right, like that's how bad it is. Here's the thing though, this wasn't Christianity. This was just some other random mysticism, mystic religious philosophical thing okay. So he takes that and he buys into it and he becomes celibate at the same time he struggles because he's still like wants to have sex with everybody and so he starts writing about this and studying this and buying into this thing that sex is evil, it change your soul to the devil and everything and then he becomes a Christian and eventually becomes a priest and he takes all of this stuff that had nothing to do with Christianity and now starts writing about it connected to Christianity and starts saying that well because Adam and Eve weren't born, since they were just created by God then in the Garden of Eden, they did not have to struggle with the sin of sexual desire. They didn't even have sexual desire and it wasn't until they were tempted and the fall of man that that's when they suddenly had to experience this horrible sinful sexual desire and passion and so he wrote all of this stuff about how sex is sin, sex is evil and also he said too that because sex is sinful, anybody that's born from sex which is pretty much everybody well this was before in vitro, and stuff like that so long before. So at that point everybody, that means that because you're born because of this sinful act that you are inherently sinful and that's where like Catholicism and there's some other religions that get their idea of like sin at birth, that's where it comes from. That's why they sprinkle babies and baptize infants is because St. Augustine was screwed up and had this weird idea about sex and sin and then applied it to Christianity and it is now carried on. This is where this is coming from. So at some point then he realizes okay hold on. If everybody does away with sin and doesn't have sex then eventually the human race dies out. So we have to allow for sex at some point. So in that he's like well I guess we have to allow sex sometimes but that means we have to really limit it. So we're going to limit it to a husband and a wife who are married and it can only be for having babies. And it can only be in the missionary position, seriously because that's the best way for the sperm to get to the egg and make a baby. So sex is only allowed between a man and a woman in a marriage for making a baby. It could not be passionate, it could not be pleasurable and the other type of sex is sinful. So oral sex, anal sex, masturbation. You couldn't even have sex if the woman was lactating or after menopause because you're not gonna make a baby then so what's the point. So he wrote all of this stuff and I love that in Sex in Constitution book the way Jeffrey Stone puts it, is that like he crystallized the Christian understanding of sex and he really then you know and obviously there was growth and change since then but shaped the traditional American views on sexuality. So because St. Augustine or Augustine before he was a saint couldn't keep himself under control, he felt bad about it, he studied under something that said sex is bad and it's gonna chain you to the devil and then he became a Christian and took all of that and put it on Christianity. Justin just said I wonder how far he's set back the human race. I mean think about it like so to this day, like how much does that affect us now? I just had my mind blown. I mean it's absolutely absurd. So this is where this comes from because if we really look at these things and the fact that yeah there's this whole book in the Bilble on sexual physical pleasure, that's in stark contrast to this idea that sex is only supposed to be for making babies. This is why you know there's the whole... This is my like Catholicism also like outlaws, contraception, thanks St. Augustine. I feel like we need a new meme like it's no longer like thanks Obama, its thanks St. Augustine because he's really screwed up our sex lives. So I would love to know especially if you're in the chat, what does that mean to you? How much does that change how we view stuff because if you think about it then especially when we gets like the Evangelical church and we're talking to like adolescents about sex, everything is this very much you know like okay because even now like when we... How is the sex defined? How is sex defined in the church? It is defined as a penis going inside a vagina. Which in and of itself can be inherently damaging because first of all there are plenty of people for whom that is not an option and that could be because maybe both of you don't have maybe you're not with someone where there's one of each of those parts. Second there are situations and where that's just not going to happen. So one of the things as we're talking about this idea of sexuality and spirituality is like redefining what sex even is. That's something that's been like a huge thing for me. I have dealt with a lot of and still struggle with a lot of like physical sexual pain and for my husband and I like we've to redefine what sex is and that it's not this body part going into this body part but that it is intentional time for physical pleasure. So intentional time for exploring pleasure and connection and that's how we define it because our sex life it's an intimacy thing. For us it's about intimacy, it's about sharing love, it's about sharing that with each other and it doesn't have to be limited to this thing that everyone else says that it's supposed to. Hugs said well my mind is blown too. Justin says for me it really validates my long-standing position that sex negativity especially when coming from religious sources just doesn't make any sense. A lot of times so especially in the evangelical church, a lot of times we'll hear these things and say, sex is wonderful, God gave us sex but it's only when within the frames of marriage but then also what gets carried on is this idea that as long as you don't have sex until you're married then once you do everything will be fine. So hugs said I love that definition of sex. I know right and it's freeing. It frees you up to explore more together and it's not just this this kind of rope thing. It's like okay what do I like? What feels good? It doesn't have to be this one thing. Jackie says do you have any advice if dating someone who's strongly affected by Catholicism and thinks masturbation is a sin. Feels hard to impose my own beliefs on him or challenge things that are so near and dear to his family but it affects things. It's so powerful to understand where the sex negativity comes from so that I can feel stronger against it and better articulate things. So masturbation, let's talk about masturbation. Masturbation usually when people talk about masturbation being a sin, it usually comes from one of two places. One being where Jesus says if you lust after someone that's not yourself spouse, it's like committing adultery with them but there's this idea of lust right and that okay well if you're fantasizing about this other person, you're basically having sex with them and so what that's used to say is a lot of times well that means masturbation is wrong. However not everybody fantasizes about somebody else. A lot of people do but also again if we think about like okay so Jesus was really trying to protect marriage and the idea is like okay so you're married to this person but you're withholding this intentional intimacy with them in order to think about this person over here. It's this idea of like okay and what he wasn't saying that like okay well masturbation is wrong. Think about where your priorities are. Are you spending your sensual emotional thoughts on the person that you're partnered with or are you kind of spending that on someone else? So that's kind of its own thing to sort of unravel. The other thing though when it comes to the idea of masturbation being wrong is and sometimes, so masturbation is sometimes called onanism because in the Old Testament there's the story of this guy named Onan who spilled his seed and was struck down by God. And so people use that to say that masturbation is wrong. However it's this whole back story and actually it goes into it in depth in the Sex in Constitution book too but basically it's a complete misinterpretation because in in the culture women were really only as good as who was taking care of them which would have been either a father or a husband and if their husband died, then the husband's land and property would pass on to their children and their children would then take care of their mother. So if a woman's husband died and she had no children, she was left destitute, out on the street. So in the culture and in the tradition the idea was okay how do we protect these widows. How do we take care of them? So their solution was in that time is if husband dies then what was supposed to happen and they don't have children is that his next of kin so like his brother is supposed to then marry his widow and have children with her in his brother's name which I know sounds ridiculous to us now. But the idea was that he is doing this in order out of love for his brother and his brother's wife so that she will not be left out on the street. So Onan's brother is married to Tamar. Onan's brother dies okay so he's supposed to marry Tamar. He's supposed to give her children but he marries her and he still has sex with her but he's like, screw this I don't want any kids I have to claim this land. I want it for me so what he does is instead of coming inside of her he pulls out, multiple times so this wasn't like an ongoing thing. So he had no problem marrying her. He had no problem having sex with her but he refused to come inside of her because he didn't care about her, he didn't care that she would be left without anyone to take care of her so it was a selfish thing and that's why he was struck down. That's why it was seen as being bad. It wasn't about oh did his you know sperm not go inside of a body. It was about him being selfish and not taking care of his brother's widow. So that's really where the whole masturbation is wrong thing comes from. So there's a fun fact. Hugs says, I've been masturbating since 12 years old, felt so guilty for so long. Oh yeah. Only started recovering from that after taking a gender studies class in college, finally enjoying it now. Good I'm glad and Jackie for real like after this because I don't know if I have anything specifically, I have some other stuff so email me, hit me up on Twitter or whatever. We'll talk I'll find some stuff for you. Hugs says actually I often don't fantasize about anyone when I masturbate. Sometimes I do but often I think other things like meditating on the feeling itself or even praying. I love that but yeah and it's kind of that idea that like our bodies are good. Our bodies are made experience pleasure and like if you're somebody with a clitoris, that has no purpose other than pleasure. It doesn't do anything else except experience pleasure. That's not a mistake and so this idea that so sometimes yeah and honestly like and I have definitely masturbated where I have fantasized about people and I have masturbated when I have not and there is something almost better about when it's not, when it's just like yeah you're really like being mindful of like the sensations of your body and enjoying that and I love that you brought like praying during it. I mean seriously like okay so if God made us and made these bodies to experience pleasure then why not explore that? There is another book. A lot of books I don't have copies of right now. This one's called Redeeming Sex by Deborah Hirsch. There's a lot, I really like a lot of this. It's called I just said it's called Redeeming Sex and really kind of talking about this idea that we've really separated you know sexuality and spirituality and a lot of that again, thanks St. Augustine, they don't have to be these separate things because then what happens when we are talking especially if you're someone that's grown up in a Christian Church like as a high schooler, the messages we get about sex is that sex is great once you're married but we stop there and nobody talks about that it's supposed to be pleasurable. Nobody talks about protection. I don't know how many, especially having been to Bible College but lots of Christian couples were getting married. How many couples got married having no idea that maybe they should get a condom or maybe they should you know go to the gynecologist first and get a prescription for birth control. Like no idea. Lube is certainly not discussed that Lube is not just for postmenopausal vaginas that are dry, lube is for everybody and especially like if you are waiting, the first time no matter whether you're waiting till after marriage or not. If you are somebody with a vagina, the first time something goes in there, it's not always just like oh there it is. We don't talk about okay there may be some awkwardness here that things aren't just like you see in the movies. We also don't talk about the fact that sex shouldn't hurt and in fact what is awesome perpetuated by the culture is this idea that for vagina is that this idea that like the hymen is supposed to break and that is something that like you see in the Bible like where they talk like Old Testament about bringing proof of her virginity which would have been blood which means that somebody was not turned on enough. There was not enough foreplay, there was not arousal because a hymen except in very rare cases where it like goes completely across, doesn't actually tear it just stretches and we don't learn these things. We don't learn this, we're not taught this. So then the other thing when we go back to this definition of sex is this definition of it just being a penis and a vagina. Because let me tell you something there have been these studies done on teenagers and the difference in first time having sex for teens who signed the pledges to wait until they're married to have sex and the teens that don't. The teens that do sign the pledges wait on average 18 months longer than the ones that don't. 18 months and the ones that do, when they do have sex because most of them are, are not using any form of protection, like me. Also there is a much higher rate in Christian teens, oral sex and anal sex because they haven't learned that there's more than just penis and vagina and they think that's getting around the technicalities of virginity and they're having like unprotected oral or anal sex and let me tell you gonorrhea is on the rise in oral sex because people don't realize. The idea that not telling people about sex or that if we teach kids about protecting themselves, then we're giving them the green light to go ahead it's just so damaging as well. Okay Hug says I've actually read a lot of Redeeming Sex, it still seemed to have a message of sex is only okay within heterosexual marriage at the end of the author's journey but maybe I misinterpreted it. No, I don't think you did. So here's one of those situations where there are some of these things where you may agree with and you may not. So no I'm with you. Some of that is this is one of those things where you kind of have to as you read it kind of discern for yourself because just like tonight, while you're listening to me talk, you're gonna have to decide okay how much of this am I gonna listen to and it's okay if you don't. So yeah with this because Deborah Hirsch was someone who had said she was a lesbian at one point and then I think it kind of went to bisexuality. Now she is married to a heterosexual man and they are ministers. So there's a lot in here that's sort of like her journey with it but some of what I think was valuable to me in this book was kind of the reclaiming the idea of sexual pleasure. That that's not inherently separate from like sexuality and Christianity but yeah. There are a lot of the books where it's still going to say that kind of thing and so again that's something where you kind of have to decide for you and wherever you are in your journey with spirituality and or sexuality. Irena, I hope I'm saying your name right. Hello. Masturbation is the first way of learning about yourself, what you love feeling about your body, she says a lot of women don't experience orgasm because they don't know what they like, can't teach their person about what they enjoy. Yes, absolutely. There are some great books about that too and these are not on the resources list but I think I'm going to add them to that longer one. There is a book. I don't have one of them here. So Becoming Cliterate is a great book. This is by Lori Mintz and basically Irena what you just said about a lot of women don't experience orgasm because they don't know what they like, can't teach their partner, here's the guide book. That is pretty much the summary of this book and there's another one called Come As You Are by Emily Nagurski and I think I end up recommending that book every livestream that I do because it talks a lot about the actual science of desire and arousal and that what we see in the movies is not really like accurate about bodies. And so there are now Hugs back to what we were saying in the resources and I'm not sure which of this. Some of them are the shorter ones there may be some of the long ones. There are several letters from... There are some from different like religious institutions about sex and there's like purity culture one, there's a website called thank God for sex that's like this healing sexual shame. There's verses about misinterpretations of the Bible, there's a lot of stuff that's going to address the sex being more than just a heterosexual marriage. So there's a lot of stuff in there that was you know just that one specific book and so let's say we've talked about masturbation, we've talked some about this idea of like the virginity, sex before marriage kind of thing. I'm trying to think what else we haven't really talked about. We haven't really talked about the LGBT stuff. Again there are some great stuff in the resources, there's a book called God in the Gay Christian which is by I think he is a minister now maybe. Yeah so a gay minister and there are several like podcasts and websites for I know there's Rev L who is second Reverend was that cross is bisexual and she talks a lot. She has her website is Will You Be Whole. It's talking about like sex and faith. There's a lot of these things in there and so I really encourage you to like look through some of this stuff and I would love to keep these conversations going too. Hopefully we can kind of do these live streams more and just kind of keep digging into this stuff. This is sort of the you know, intro to it. So some of this as we're talking, when it comes to this idea of... And I come back to a lot this idea of what we're telling teens or young people in the church because I know, I can see like how that affected me. So this idea that we're not... There's this this idea that well if we teach children about other sexual orientations, if we teach them about contraception and birth control, if we teach them about you know all these different things then we're giving this green light which is kind of silly because we don't do that with anything else. We're not like well when you're 14, I don't want you to drive a car yet so I'm not gonna let you see a car and we're not gonna talk about it and I don't want you to even know what a steering wheel is until you have your driver's license and then you can get in the car and you just go drive it. It doesn't make sense and excuse me. So we then, we're left with all these confusing messages or no messages at all and then what happens is when what we're just told over and over a lot of times when we're told things, we're taught about like good touch and bad touch. Again I understand why those terms are used but we get these idea that like, okay well these parts of my body are bad instead of these types of people are dangerous and you don't have to do anything with these types of people because a good touch is going to be good because of who is giving it to you, not where it is. Because a hug from my husband is good. If I get a hug from some creepy random guy on the street, it is bad. So it's not that the hug is bad or that my boobs are bad. That's not bad. So even with that kind of thing we start these messages real young and so we keep kind of going with this and then what happens is we have this thing where when we're so focused on this idea that we need to not have penetrative heterosexual intercourse until married what the Christian Church does, is make that the end goal. Everything we do is just to not have sex before we're married. So like the purity cards or you know the trail of weights pledges or whatever it is, these conversations about you know well how far is too far up to this line and well good girls don't do this or this and they make this the end goal when really if we think about it so even if you are someone that is like fully in the church like diehard Christian and you're like I want my children to wait till their married to have sex here's what I have to say to you. That's fine but don't make that the end goal. What we want is to have a healthy sex life or healthy sexuality because then everybody's gonna have a sex life. Because some people don't want to and don't choose to and that's totally fine too. So what is healthy sexuality gonna look like and yes, you are wanting your children to have that sexuality be or that sex life to be something that's after marriage but we also have to understand that sexuality starts like at the very beginning. Sexual development starts early and we are learning about our bodies and relationships and interacting. I don't know how many of you grew up so especially evangelical Christian churches there was this book around the time when I in high school that came out called I Kiss Dating Goodbye and the whole idea was that well we shouldn't be dating people because that just leads to temptation and heartbreak and that we need to just basically only court someone with the intent to marry them. It was this book and then he wrote a sequel in which he talks about his courtship of his wife but he gives this example that... He and his fiancee at the time they'd been engaged, they were getting married in four months and they had agreed they weren't even gonna kiss till they were married. They'd only hold hands and put their arms around each other and that they were like visiting her mom and there was a hammock and he was like, well why don't you take a nap in the hammock and so they lay down in the hammock like his head's here and her heads there so their feet are there and he immediately starts berating himself because he's like I knew it was a bad idea, I had ulterior motives, I just wanted to be closer to her body and starts talking about how he's like conscience is getting at him like stop looking at her legs and she's not your wife yet and if Christ, and okay actually here's the actual quote. "If Jesus Christ the one who sacrificed his life "to redeem you and set you apart for holiness. "If he were to walk up and lay his nail-scarred hands "on the side of the hammock, "would you be proud of what you're doing?" and he immediately gets out because he's like, I'm sorry I'm enjoying this for the wrong reasons. Four months away from getting married and that is shame. There's another example and I tried to find the book and I couldn't and so there was this missionary couple, Jim and Elizabeth Elliott and this was long long time ago and she wrote a book called Passion and Purity and there's some stuff that I find problematic in it. However at one point they're engaged and he writes her this letter about how he's so excited about their honeymoon and how like he says stuff like I can't wait to take your clothes and just throw them on the floor like I've longed to do and feel feel your smooth thighs against the broad expanse of my own. Like it's kind of hot and heavy and I think that's... So even if you are choosing to wait until you're married to have sex or no matter what your values are, how you're coming at it and how we're framing it there's this difference between this shame and this is bad, thanks St. Augustine again that it's bad and everything is sinful and it's wrong and then there's this idea that no, our bodies are good, our bodies feel pleasure, they're supposed to feel pleasure and gosh darn it, I'm gonna appreciate that. So we only have a few minutes left. We have a couple things in the chat here. Iris, hello Iris was raised Catholic in a household where being queer wasn't okay, now no longer there. Could be happily-ish queer. Still have issues concerning my sexual desire for fem people. Do you have any research recommendation? Absolutely so I know Justin has put the link to the resources in there. That's a short one. I have a longer one so if you go to my website which he's already put that in there as well, you can sign it for the newsletter and I'll send the longer one. There are all sorts of resources, I got you. Hug says same cisgender-ish woman, I like that, I love the ishes who's only dated men but wants to explore relationships with women non-binary still have internalized homophobia, fear about physical interaction with women. Absolutely when I was younger, I experienced attraction to women and I thought that I had to choose between being straight or being lesbian because I didn't know that there was like any kind of in-between, I thought you had to choose and I thought at that point if I decide to be a lesbian, I will be disowned by my family so I was like, I can't even choose that. That's not an option. I have to just choose men and then it wasn't later honestly till after like my husband and I were married and we were talking at one point and I was like, I mean yeah like yes I've experienced like I've been attracted to women, yes I've kissed women. That doesn't make me bisexual and he kind of looks at me and he goes but doesn't that and I kind of sat there for a second I was like, oh yeah, yeah it does. Okay and so it's kind of funny like my heterosexual husband was the one that sort of affirmed that for me but yes all sorts of resources there. Let's talk more. Also if you are willing to I would love there is the little tip jar down at the bottom. You can see it there or here. I don't know which side are you all on. It's a little dollar sign. If you've gotten something out of this and you've enjoyed this, I would love for you to tip because we do these for free. It's like five bucks you can send five dollars of course I would love that but also Justin has put a link into the chat. Here is the other thing that we definitely don't learn in the church what this is. So this is what the clitoris looks like. This is actually, so the clitoris is actually this huge internal organ. What we see on the outside is just this little bit right here. It actually goes like all the way around and it actually like so like the entrance to the vagina is right here and so this is not what we normally see. Anyway old school has stickers with a clitoris on it. So if you would like to get free clitoris stickers, he has the link there so you can sign that up there. That's right, I know right. My husband told me I was bisexual. For us like we are in a monogamous marriage so at this point it's not even like I'm exploring that. I guess I sort of exploded earlier but it's just... It's just that you know but like sort of affirm this is who I am and I am okay with this. Amanda says analysis and fact, thank you. Pretty accustomed to work I've seen from some radical feminist Christians. Do you mind if I ask about your academic religious studies if you've done any. Specific programs, articles, resources you love. Okay I have not done okay academic religious studies. I went to what was at the time Cincinnati Bible College, not Cincinnati Christian University and if they at all thought that they have influenced this stream tonight, they would probably be horrified. Some of that I had some kind of basic Bible stuff and I don't know if you were here kind of at the beginning. My parents have been in the ministry all my life. My dad reads Greek and so we have a lot of conversations about there's times from like okay, this is what this English translation says. What does this actually say? So we've had a lot of these conversations. I really like the again I keep bringing this book up but Sex in the Constitution which doesn't sound like it has anything to do with faith but this huge section like Jeffrey Stone goes through this, the history of Christianity's evolution with sexuality over the years. So again if you go to my website and just sign up for my newsletter, I'll send you the big like the double page. It's about to be longer because I'm adding some stuff to it list of resources be glad to send it to you. Email me, let's talk more and so I have not done any formal like sex and religion studies. They've been very separate. I'm just a sex educator that grew up in Evangelical Christianity with parents in the ministry. So I know we didn't get to everything because this is a lot to talk about in an hour. Right now once we are kind of done here on old school right now is Renee Daniels and so that stream is I believe about, excuse me goodness sakes about birth control and there... Her sort of journey through trying some different kinds of birth control so especially if that's something where you never really got that. I highly recommend staying tuned and actually like once we end this live stream, if you just like to stay there, it'll automatically go into hers. So that all that kind of information. So thank you all, thank you for coming, thank you for chatting with me. Jackie okay yep so you got it, perfect. Thank you all. Oh Hugs, you're wonderful. Hugs to you Hugs, thank you. So let's talk more and absolutely Amanda I know I think we're in some of the same Facebook realms because I'm pretty sure I've seen you on there. So we'll talk more. I will send you to some other stuff. So thank you everybody, have a good night. Remember, sex is not just penis and vagina. Sex is intentional time for exploring pleasure and connection. Iris oh my gosh, the Give me Sex Jesus is on my list, on the resources list. Actually the link to it. I have not finished watching it. I know it's a short thing, I started to but I love that it really gives some different perspectives, so I'm excited to finish that. So I'm so glad you brought that up yes, because that's linked in there. So everyone thank you, have a good night and hopefully yeah you hang out and get some more info on birth control. All right, have a good night. Okay sorry Iris if you have some thoughts, let me finish watching it. Email me and let's talk. Maybe we can even do a stream on that. We'll unpack Give Me Sex Jesus. I think maybe you've got something there. Alright, bye everyone.

Christianity and Sexuality

Date
Mon
Sep 10, 2018
|
6:58 pm
|
Calendar
Monday, September 10, 2018
|
6:58 pm

Religious definitions and stances on purity and pleasure are incredibly powerful for shaping our approach to sexuality.

Calendar

Upcoming
live streams

Join our live streams to learn from experts, ask questions, and interact with a diverse community of sex positive people.

Missed a live stream? Check out our On-demand classes

No items found.