Sex and shame.
I read a good post at Today’s Christian Woman that I wanted to share, because quite frankly, I can relate. I’ve had a few conversations with my married Christian girlfriends lately on the same subject. Sex. Specifically, why is there a veil of shame or secrecy around sex to the point that even grown, married friends feel uncomfortable discussing it? The saddest part is flash back a decade ago and we didn’t feel squeamish, although none of us were hitched. It’s like the Christian Culture curtain descended and our sexuality was to become hidden. Hannah Nitz writes:
As my friend’s wedding day approached, a group of us got together to celebrate with a pink and girly bachelorette party. I put on my high heels, slapped on some red lipstick, and ran out the door, looking forward to a night of laughs and pre-wedding nerves. We started with a beautiful dinner, ran all around the mall in a scavenger hunt for wedding night necessities, and ended up back at the maid of honor’s house for some presents and games. All of the women were giving our friend wedding-night advice when one of the bridesmaids said, “I feel wrong doing this. I don’t think we should be talking about sex.” The atmosphere of the evening abruptly changed as this group was reminded that “good Christian girls don’t talk about sex.” It felt like something out of a movie, where the air was popped out of our balloons and the music came to a screeching halt.
I watched the hostess of the party sit down, feeling slapped across the face. The bride started to fidget in her seat, obviously uncomfortable with the guilt that had just been poured into the room. Quickly, my mind began to race with questions. Questions like, Why is it that we can gush for hours about the colors of the wedding, the songs to dance to, and the bride’s dress, but are afraid to give sexual encouragement to our friend? Didn’t she pursue purity so her marital intimacy would be that much greater? Isn’t this the time we are supposed to talk about sex?
With a shaky voice, I took a deep breath and said, “God created sex for us to enjoy with our husbands! Why wouldn’t we want to encourage our friend with advice and excitement?” Other girls in the room agreed, but the rest of the night still didn’t feel right. The celebration was taken out of my friend’s giving herself as a gift to her husband and was replaced with question marks.
Growing up, I always understood that there were two different camps when it came to sex. The first side talked about sex and flaunted it! In college I would often run down the dorm room hallway and pile on my best friend’s couch to watch Sex in the City. This show featured beautiful, independent, and wealthy women who talked openly about sex, different positions, and pursuing men. I felt a small piece of guilt for watching the show, but I was pulled in!
On the other hand, the Christian women in my life definitely approached sex differently. The only words I heard about sex from them were “purity” and “don’t look like the world.” I saw these two sides and understood that as a Christian, I wasn’t supposed to talk about sex, think about sex, or watch things with sex (sorry Carrie Bradshaw!). Sex was just plain wrong. And sadly, as I walked into my one-flesh union with my husband, I still held onto that belief.
Where the heck does that even come from, anyway? Let’s stop and ponder this. Do you think the secrecy is okay? And if not, are you contributing to it’s prevalence by remaining silent like most of the bachelorette party guests in the story? Do read the rest of the post here. I’m so thankful to my friends Giddel, Keyia, Kandi and Naomi who I can talk to without fear of condemnation (or worse, disgust). Do you have friends you can be real and open with, even accountable to (yeah, that last one IS hard, but hey, this Christian life is not meant to be lived in a bubble!)? Discuss!
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