Critique of CT Article: The Real Value of Sex
The first problem I have with the editorial by Ms. Rivadeneira: the stock photo accompanying the editorial on the top of the page is a teenage girl kissing a teen-aged guy in her bedroom.
So, right away, this is setting the tone: the author is primarily concerned with people under the age of 25 having sex.
The opening paragraphs are not any better: they talk about college aged women (20 somethings) selling their bodies on websites to older guys (“sugar daddies”) who will pay off their college expenses.
Next up, the author gets into how sexual purity teachings in religious circles (she cites the case of a young Mormon rape victim) make the female fornicators or female sexual abuse victims feel like trash, since such lectures often compare a fornicator (not sexual abuse victims) to “chewed gum” and use other analogies that revolve around the idea of “being used” or “used merchandise.”
Supposedly, so the thinking goes among many liberal Christians, emergents, and feminists, no Christian can or should ever uphold sexual purity as biblical and the right thing to do, because God forbid it might hurt the tender feelings of some woman who had sex with her boyfriend 15 years ago, or that of a 50 year old woman was fondled by her Uncle Herb when she was ten.
The sexual abuse victim has my sympathy for the abuse, but I do not see sexual assault as valid reason to ignore or throw away the Bible’s standards of sexual purity or expectation about people being virgins until marriage, in regards to consensual sex.
(Please click the “read more” link to read the rest of this post, thanks)
I can’t think of a perfect analogy at the moment, so this isn’t the greatest…
But, to toss out biblical standards on sex, so as to avoid hurting the feelings of fornicators or abuse victims, would be a little like saying that…
Because most white-collar office workers steal post-it notes or ball point pens from their workplaces, and hearing sermons about how theft is sinful hurts the feelings of office workers who steal, churches and Christians should stop giving anti-stealing sermons and should stop condemning theft.
Christians should pretend as though God is fine with stealing, or that He doesn’t notice or care about theft.
Christians should all just ignore that stealing is wrong since every one (supposedly) does it (or has done it at least once), and dog-gone-it, it makes people feel bad and ashamed to be called a “thief.”
I have the utmost sympathy for sexual assault victims. It’s not them I’m upset with, so much as those in Christianity, (usually the more liberal types), who are trying to use the issue of sexual abuse as an excuse or justification to cancel out the Bible’s teaching about sexual purity for anyone and every one.
Here is an excerpt from the CT article:
- by Caryn Rivadeneira
This metaphor serves as one of many shame and scare tactics thrown around in evangelicalism to keep chastity high on moral pedestals and sexuality locked in deep vaults. (Others include presenting sex as the most damaging sin and warning that sexual relations form “soul ties,” so having multiple partners fragments the soul.) These lies connect a woman’s worth to her sexual purity—something totally at odds with how God sees us. Smart and others are wise and brave to call them out.
…And because it’s a gift, neither sex nor “purity” mark a woman or a girl’s worth. In God’s eyes, we are never our sexual history. We are beloved and forgiven and worthy.
…God may intend sex for marriage, but when sex happens outside of it, souls do not tie, a woman’s worth does not diminish, and lives are not ruined. Sex is not the worst sin.
I am troubled by the fact that the female author is fixated on female sexuality.
The Bible expects that males will remain virgins- until- marriage as well, but I see no comments about males and male sexuality in her piece.
I find it strange that while she is trying to defend females from what she considers sexist views of sexuality (ie, sexual purity teachings), she is managing to do just that, by centering the entire discussion around women.
Everyone on both sides of this topic always talk about women, which inherently makes it sexist from the start.
Why do I never see these writers, or any writer, talk about how God expects men to remain sexually pure?
It’s almost as if even these feminist authors adhere to this view, though it is left unspoken:
- “Boys will be boys, men will be men; I don’t expect a man will or can keep his penis in his pants, so men get a pass. But women, now, women, are more moralistic than men, women have self-control, but if they choose to shove self control aside and have sex outside of marriage, they should not be shamed and blamed for it. Men get a pass so women should too.”
These feminist writers are part of the problem. Instead of teaching a lowering of standards for female sexuality or justifying female sexual sin, they need to be upholding and strengthening standards and expectations of male sexual purity and male sexual activity.
As far as Christian culture is concerned, I don’t see as much pressure on males to remain virgins, and not as much attention paid to the males in this area. Males, particularly teen males, only get lectures about the hazards of dirty websites, dirty movies, and conversations about masturbation.
Rarely, though, do I hear pastors or Christian authors tell males: “wait until marriage to have sex.”
I suppose some of the males do get this message in youth groups on occasion, but the overwhelming brunt of this sexual purity talk and “be a virgin until marriage” type discussion is almost always around and aimed at FEMALES, especially in popular culture and on most Christian blogs, books, and magazines.
-And even by the feminist writers, strangely enough. You would think these feminists would spot the sexism here, but no.
In addition, her writing, like other criticisms of sexual purity teaching I’ve seen on many other blogs and sites, inadvertently offends, insults, and cheapens those of us women and men who have remained actual virgins (not “born again virgins” or “spiritual virgins”) past the age of 30.
Maybe her piece was meant to address all women of all ages, but that she referenced college-aged women in several places, and there was no specific acknowledgement that older (over age 30), single women have sexual desires, or that some are celibate, seems to suggest she was thinking only of single women under the age of 30.
The entire essay was therefore, again, as these types of articles about sex and sexual purity are, ageist – in that they are youth-fixated; the assumption by many Christian authors, preachers, Christian lay persons, and publications is that only youth need help and support in regards to sexual sin, sexual temptation, etc.
I don’t know what these people expect never- married Christians over the age of 30 to do. We are left to our own devices again, I suppose. We and our struggles don’t matter.
If I were a 21 year old who was diddling her college sweetie, I bet this author would snap to attention on my behalf though.