(Link): The Trivialization of Sex (a post by A. Hamilton)
Here are a few excerpts from that page:
by Adam Hamilton
Churches don’t often spend a lot of time reminding people of the beauty and importance of sexual intimacy. Conversely, society tends to trivialize and cheapen it. People talk about “hooking up” or having “friends with benefits.” From that perspective, sex becomes not the culmination of a deep, meaningful relationship, but instead merely an end in itself. It has become commonplace in our society to think that after a first or second date, a couple might sleep together.
… Here’s the challenge with hooking up or friends with benefits: We’re simply not ready to reveal our innermost selves to another human being after one or two dates; the bonding that happens is premature.
… I invite you, even if you have been intimate with another in the past, to reclaim the idea that sex is purposeful and meaningful, and it isn’t something to be trivialized.
Please click the link above to read the entire page.
I have to disagree with the author on a few points.
It seems to me most preaching about marriage and sex does in fact contain a lot of commentary by the preacher about how sex is “important” and “beautiful,” and they almost always tack on “within marriage, of course.”
Here is the response I left on the page:
It’s also the Christian culture in American that trivializes sex, not just secular society.
Some preachers have turned sex into an idol, such as Ed Young Jr and Mark Driscoll, who either preach about sex in very graphic terms from the pulpit on a regular basis, or who pull sexually tinged stunts during church, such as erect stripper poles in the church, or put a bed on the church roof and get into that bed with their wives. (Please look up the WND editorial “The Church of Sex” for more information about that.)
I’m in my early 40s now, was a Christian since childhood, desired marriage, was hoping to marry a Christian, but marriage never happened for me, and so I’m still a virgin.
Churches do not support virginity- until- marriage for adults past their mid twenties or early 30s. The concept or ideal of virginity is only given support to the under- 25 age group. Even this blog page seems to assume any and all singles reading it have engaged in sexual sin previously – some of us have not.
If you are an older virgin such as me, you get no support from Christian culture, which is absolutely obsessed with marriage, kids, and the “traditional family,” all of which have been turned into idols that conservative Christians worship.
Family is often placed on equal footing or above God Himself, when Jesus said that if you put your traditional family before him or on the same level as, you are not worthy to be His follower. Christians regularly ignore that passage and other ones where Christ taught that your spiritual brothers and sisters in Christ are to come *before* your flesh and blood family.
As a never married adult, I feel excluded by churches that run about saying they are a “family” church, or who have the phrase “We are a FAMILY church!” printed on their signs and bulletins, because I know dang well they mean family as in “Dad, Mom, and 2.5 kids,” and not “spiritual family of God.”
Preachers rarely address uplifting, encouraging sermons to older singles that promote celibacy and present lifelong celibacy as being obtainable. Life long celibacy is thought of as being an impossibility.
Preachers / Christian culture do nothing to affirm singlehood, but often treat it like a less than desirable state and one that needs to be “cured,” and the insulting idea held by many Christians is that marriage is the only life milestone that truly makes one a full fledged adult.
I would still like to get married. The problem is that another segment of Christians, while they do affirm singlehood in a manner, they do so to the unbiblical point that they over- spiritualize singlehood.
Meaning, they shame singles who want marriage by telling them cliched nonsense like, “Jesus is all you need,” “but just think you have more time to serve God!,” or “The Lord is your husband,” or, “don’t make marriage into an idol.” Singles who desire marriage don’t need to hear any of that, it is hurtful, annoying, and insulting.
Singles should not be mistreated or ignored in their single state, but neither should they be shamed for desiring marriage, either.
Celibacy is misunderstood by churches and Christians: God does not wipe away the sexual desires of celibates, nor does God grant us special powers or grace to be celibate: I am celibate at my age through sheer will power and by my choice alone; not by special gifting of God.
Most sermons by most churches are about marriage and how to have an awesome marriage. So singles cannot relate to any of that.
When sex is discussed from the pulpit or in Christian media, it’s only to tell singles that “sex outside of marriage is wrong,” and it’s often mentioned that, “but we know nobody past age 25 can resist sex and that all singles are having sex, so just remember God will forgive you your sexual sin.”
This is a false view: people can in fact resist sex into their 30s, 40s, and older, but preachers never acknowledge this; they assume in their books, blogs, and sermons that everyone and anyone by age 40 has had sex at least once.
And this assumption is very demoralizing for those of us in our 30s, 40s and older and who are still virgins, because we are not even acknowledged to exist. We have upheld biblical purity teachings, but we get no kudos from churches, no support.
Meanwhile, liberal, emergent, and even many so-called conservative Christians downgrade sexual purity and virginity, such as SBC Russell Moore and Christian blogger Tim Challies, who chide older virgins for supposedly valuing virginity too much and for being “prideful” about it (even though we are not prideful). They also pretty much argue that Christians over- value virginity and should stop valuing virginity.
The liberal, and/or ‘bleeding heart’ types of Christians think that sexual purity/ virginity standards are mean-spirited and hurtful because they make many female fornicators feel guilty, ashamed and bad about their sexual sin, so they want Christians to stop upholding purity and virginity teachings.
American Christians spout off a lot of commentary about how they support virginity and purity, but they really do not – one way they drop the ball is by neglecting older singles.
Churches love to support teens and 20 somethings and young married couples with kids by word (in sermons, preaching material) and in practical terms (such as financing a lot of activities for youth), but if you do not fall under any one of those demographics, you are invisible to most churches. Most churches do not spend near as much money on never married adults over age 30 as they do the teen agers.
I have a blog called “Christian Pundit” where I have blogged about these issues and more, like how married Christians harbor many mean, unfair, cruel and inaccurate caricatures of older never married, childless adults, how there are double standards running amok (ie, there is a segment of Christians who expect hetero singles to abstain from sex but feel it’s acceptable for homosexual singles to have sex with each other).
Married Christians often assume that single Christian adults are immature, sleazy, or not as godly as married couples, but I have blog post after blog post with links to news sources, some to Christian news sites, of Christian men who have been arrested for murder, wife abuse, picking up prostitutes, and some have admitted to having dirty web site addictions, etc.
Married Christian couples are simply not more godly, mature, or responsible than single adults. But that stereotype exists in churches today, many of whom refuse to allow singles of either gender to hold teaching positions or other positions of responsibility or leadership.
(My Christian Pundit blog should not be confused with another of a very similar name – someone else has a blog called “THE Christian Pundit,” which is not mine. My blog does not have the word “The” before “Christian Pundit”)
I would also encourage anyone reading this to read the book “Quitting Church” by Julia Duin, who records incidents of unmarried Christians who have either been ignored by churches or mistreated, all over being single. She explains why adults singles are quitting churches.
I would also recommend the book “Singled Out” by Christian authors Field and Colon with more of those examples, and how the church has erred in how it preaches and teaches about celibacy, virginity, sex, dating and marriage, and ironically, some of the very teachings Christians use to keep singles in line and avoid fornication either lead to more fornication by singles, or are at the root cause as to the huge epidemic of prolonged, unwanted singleness among Christians.
Most of us single Christians wanted marriage, but Christian teachings on gender roles, marriage, sex, etc, has caused us to stay single into our middle age. See my blog for more information on that.
I no longer care about remaining a virgin until marriage, and I also have given up on the “only be yoked to a believer” teaching. I have waited long enough for marriage and sex, and am now willing to have pre- marital sex and date/marry a Non Christian.
No offense to the other poster below, but as a 40 something “technical virgin” (I am a real deal virgin, not merely a virgin in an allegorical sense), I take a bit of offense at how Christians who have had pre-marital sex go around using the terms “born again virgin” or “secondary virgin” to describe themselves, as it sort of cheapens the word “virgin.”
Either one is a virgin or is not. If you fornicated previously (by choice) at some stage in your life, you are a forgiven sexual sinner, not a “born again virgin” or “spiritual virgin.”
I apologize for such a long post, but these issues are hardly ever discussed among Christians, the opportunities to discuss them are few and far between.
Related posts, this blog:
(Link): WARNING and NOTICE On Vulgar Language on This Blog
(Link): Why So Much Fornication – Because Christians Have No Expectation of Sexual Purity
(Link): The Myth of the Gift – Regarding Christian Teachings on Gift of Singleness and Gift of Celibacy
(Link): No, Christians and Churches Do Not Idolize Virginity and Sexual Purity
(Index Topic Link): Married Christian Couples Engage in Sexual Sin (examples, editorials)
(Link): Christians and Cheap Grace Concerning Sexual Sin
(Link): Christian Teachings on Relationships: One Reason Singles Are Remaining Single (even if they want to get married)
(Link): Being Equally Yoked: Christian Columnist Dan Delzell Striving to Keep Christian Singles Single Forever
(Link): Christian Response FAIL to Sexual Sin – Easy Forgivism
(Link): Virgin – and Celibate – Shaming : Christian Double Standards – Homosexuals Vs Hetero Singles – Concerning Thabiti Anyabwile and Gag Reflexes
(Link): Douglas Wilson and Christian Response FAIL to Sexual Sin – No Body Can Resist Sex – supposedly – Re Celibacy
(Link): Pat Robertson Expects Men to Commit Sexual Sin (and it’s not the first time)
(Link): Example of How Christian Teaching About Sex, Marriage, and Gender Creates Hang Ups and Entitlements Among Christians
(Link): Christian Double Standards on Celibacy – Hetero Singles Must Abstain from Sex but Not Homosexual Singles
(Link): When Adult Virginity and Adult Celibacy Are Viewed As Inconvenient or As Impediments
(Link): There is No Such Thing as a Gift of Singleness or Gift of Celibacy or A Calling To Either One (not how it is taught by most Christians)
Related post, off site:
(Link): Same-Sex Marriage and the Single Christian – How marriage-happy churches are unwittingly fueling same-sex coupling—and leaving singles like me in the dust.