How I Lost My Virginity to My High School Teacher

Well, I see by the ol’ calendar that once again school is upon us. Not upon me—but upon many.

Speaking of school being upon people, when I was seventeen I lost my virginity to one of the teachers at my high school.

Out of the blue one Thursday night Miss Usher (not her real name) phoned me at home.

“I’m out of cigarettes. Could you do me the biggest favor, and come bring me a pack? My roommate’s out of town, and my car isn’t working. And I’m just dying for a smoke.”

“Yes,” I said. “Yes. I can do that.” And I could. I had a car!

My step-mother was in the kitchen, cooking and listening in on my conversation. After I hung up the phone I told her where I was going.

“I hope you’re ready,” she said.

“For what?”

“For the fact that you’re about to have sex.”

“What? No I’m not. Why would you say that?”

“Because no woman calls a guy at night and tells him to bring over some cigarettes unless she wants to have sex with him. Pffft. Cigarettes. She’s not even trying to be original.”

“No way. She just wants to have a smoke, that’s all.”

“Trust me. That woman is already smokin’.”

I did not much care for my stepmother. But, as it turned out, she actually knew some stuff.

And by the time the sun rose the following morning, so did I.

When I arrived at Miss Usher’s home I found her porch in pitch darkness. Upon opening her door she was illuminated from behind: all I could see was the silhouette of her body in this … I don’t even know what they’re called. Like a bathrobe—but made of thin, slightly layered, see-through silky-type material. A gown, I guess? But not like a hospital gown. Like a sex gown. And she appeared to be naked beneath it.

My right leg started shaking like it was going to separate itself from me and start a whole new life for itself somewhere.

“Do you have my cigarettes?” Miss Usher practically purred. My brain turned into a shimmering movie screen with the words SHE DOESN’T REALLY CARE ABOUT THE CIGARETTES on it.

“I do!” I said, holding up a little brown paper bag. I wiggled it in the air. “Winstons! They taste good, like a cigarette should! Hahahahaha.”

I’d never taken a class from Miss Usher. Our relationship consisted entirely of me hanging around in her empty classroom after school, trying to be attractively hilarious while she finished up her day’s work. It was because she was so insanely gorgeous that I dared to (always indirectly, of course) flirt with her at all. When you can’t possibly win, what do you have to lose?

“My hero.” She stepped back and pulled her door further open, gently waving the glass of wine in her hand. “Come on in.”

I secretly begged my renegade leg to behave so that I could walk like a normal person. I made it inside without caroming off the doorjam or lurching straight into her.

Before long Miss Usher was sitting on the white sectional couch in her living room, her legs folded beside her. I was on the carpet in front of the couch, sitting hard on my leg in an effort to do anything to stop it from making my whole body shake like an unbalanced washing machine.

“I’m so glad you came over.”

“I’m glad you asked me to. I wasn’t doing anything.”

“No?” She stuck out her bottom lip in a playful little pout. “Is your girlfriend busy tonight?”

I pressed down on my leg so hard it’s a miracle I can walk today. “At the library, I guess.” My voice sounded like I’d swallowed a kazoo. I took another glug from my glass of wine. I didn’t have a girlfriend. I had no idea what she was talking about. I could barely hear. Every nerve in my body was sparking like a lit firecracker fuse.

Around the little finger she’d slipped into the side of her mouth, Miss Usher said, “Do you know why I called you over here tonight, John?” When she very slightly shifted her position on the couch her gown slipped a bit, revealing, for all the me to see, her smooth upper thigh. And the top of her gown wasn’t exactly choking her to death.

Yada, yada, yada—and the next day I was late to my oceanography class. (Hey! This is a family blog. Sort of. It’s not a porno blog, anyway. Suffice it to say that I had an extraordinarily enriching night in which six hours shot by as if it were a minute.)

Though before that night I was technically a virgin, I had been sexually active since (if you must know) fourth grade. But until that night I had always stopped short of  actually doing it, because I wanted to get anyone pregnant like I wanted to get my badoinker slammed in a car door. But Miss Usher was on the pill, and, I knew, wasn’t about to allow herself to get pregnant. And she wasn’t a girlfriend of mine, which, relative to this particular matter, I felt a plus. So, for me personally, it was a perfect way to lose what was left of my virginity. Miss Usher was great. Toward the end of the summer before the following school year she moved away to take a much better job. During the six or so months I knew her intimately (because … well, frankly, I became her ever-ready booty call), I thought of her as a friend, and have considered her as such ever since.

As we all know, there are lots and lots of terribly dismal stories about how people lost their virginity. Mine, however, is not one of those. Mine is one of the good stories. They happen, too. Not as often as they should, but they do.

(Follow-up post: Should I feel remorse over my pre-Christian “sinning”?)


I’m the author of UNFAIR: Christians and the LGBT Question:

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About John Shore

John Shore (who, fwiw, is straight) is the author of UNFAIR: Christians and the LGBT Question, and three other great books. He is founder of Unfundamentalist Christians (on Facebook here), and executive editor of the Unfundamentalist Christians group blog.  (In total John's two blogs receive some 250,000 views per month.) John is also co-founder of The NALT Christians Project, which was written about by TIME,  The Washington Post, and others. His website is JohnShore.com. John is a pastor ordained by The Progressive Christian Alliance. You're invited to like John's Facebook page. And don't forget to sign up for his mucho awesome monthly newsletter.

  • berkshire

    Wow. I found this deeply disturbing, though not exactly surprising.

    You seem Ok with it–are you? You've related the tale here, but I'm curious what you think/feel about it, looking back. If you care to share that, that is.

    • http://www.johnshore.wordpress.com John Shore

      Oh, yes. I mean, I was seventeen. Which I know is young, but … I don't know. It's not THAT young. At least it wasn't for me, if that doesn't sound too braggy, or whatever. But, no, yeah: it was GREAT for me. I think it was (and again, I'm just saying for me) an ideal way to lose my virginity. It was just perfect. I'd been with girls since … forever. But I'd never … gone all the way, as it were, because even I was smart enough to know that could lead to more trouble than I wanted. So, this was just ideal.

      • berkshire

        Interesting. So, you don’t see it as exploitive in any way, given the power differential, the alcohol, you being a minor, her knowing that and doing it anyway, etc?

        I read other comments, including the one that was wided-eyed with an “LOL”, and wonder if it would prompt an LOL if it was a 17 year old female and her 24 year old male teacher inviting her over, plying her with alcohol and then deflowering her. Maybe it would. I don’t know that person, so couldn’t say. But I did wonder about it.

        From a professional standpoint, these dynamics interest me. I have worked with males who’ve been through similar things, and it fascinates me how differently people can conceive of it. One may feel as you do, and another may refer to it as sexual abuse. I tend to view it that way, as well, regardless of how the young male feels about it. I see adults like this as predators who know exactly what they’re doing, and that they shouldn’t be doing it, regardless of whether the boy feels he had a good time or not. I don’t see them (male or female) as much different from pedophiles who seek out younger people because they know they have power and can manipulate them. Now, if it’s a 20 year old and an 18 year old or people *much* closer in age, I might soften that position, but the power differential is still real, still there if they’re a teacher, and they know it. If they really care for the student, then they should wait. If they can’t wait, they are using the student to gratify their own sexual needs, and not thinking of the student’s needs–and that’s just never appropriate. Even if not a minor, the relationship between teacher and student has inherent power differentials–I’m disturbed by it even when it’s college students and professors, frankly, though I know that’s a bit different if you’re dealing with much older students at least. Is it clear to a student that they can say “no” without consequences?

        Had it been my own son reporting the same situation you were in, and I had the same suspicions your stepmother did, it would have been me at her door instead of my son, cigarettes in hand, hoping she chokes on them. Followed by reporting her to the powers that be at the school, because I’d wonder how many kids she’s sending on “cigarette runs”. But of course, this is a different time, a different era, and I suppose people view these things differently than when you and I were high-schoolers–though, not much differently, when it comes to boys.

        What I’ve found in my practice is that there are males who are really wounded by such behaviors, such exploitation, but because our culture views male sexuality and female sexuality so differently, they don’t feel they can speak up about it. They feel they’re supposed to enjoy it, even brag about it, even if it’s been emotionally confusing or painful. Speaking up means they’re not a “man”, they’re a “sissy”, etc. It really jarring–and moving– in a session to see a grown man finally speak about such things and give voice to pain that has long been hidden beneath machismo. Even very young boys who are molested can face this kind of crazy masculine expectation, where it’s viewed as *their* first ‘sexual conquest’, even at 11 or 12 years old, rather than the molestation that it is. It’s really sad. Our sons are as vulnerable as our daughters, but we too often fail to recognize it.

        Anyway, all that is a general comment, of course–not trying to rearrange your personal narrative about your situation. I’m glad to hear that you feel OK with it, rather than damaged by it, and appreciate your willingness to respond to my curiosity about your thoughts/feelings on the matter. It may, in fact, be helpful to me in future work with clients.

        • Matthew Tweedell

          No matter the ages, positions, and genders of those involved, I think, psychologically, it all comes down to whether a person feels he/she gave true, informed consent in line with his/her moral conscience and conscious wishes at the time. If not, he/she was violated, no matter what the means used to accomplish it, or the ends accomplished; otherwise, it seems to me nobody’s crossed the line.

          • http://www.facebook.com/unholyblackdeath William Ely

            You said it exactly. I can’t believe I am agreeing with you about something.

          • rodneycwilson

            Age does matter. No one who has reached the age of 18 should engage sexually with someone who has not reached the age of 18. If both parties are 18, there should be no restrictions (moral or legal or otherwise) as to age, position, gender, etc., as long as the parties consent.

          • spinetingler

            Age of consent varies widely between states in the US and countries in the world.

        • Diana A.

          Yes, it is interesting how reversing the genders changes the perception of what happened. And, I think you’re right that a boy/young man can be just as damaged by being pressured into a sexual encounter by an older person as can a girl/young woman. At the same time, the sociology does kind of make a difference in the perception–that is, girls/women who admit to desiring/enjoying a sexual encounter can all too quickly be tarred with the “slut” brush whereas I’m not sure there’s any term with the same connotation for a guy.

          Gender politics. Pure craziness.

        • Ace

          Yea, I tend to agree. It's pretty messed up, actually.

          Though I do find it encouraging that there have been more cases where female teachers having illicit relationships with younger male students, where the teachers are getting arrested for it, because it IS a crime, regardless of what the two parties may feel about it.

          Of course a lot of this mess just buys back into the whole Cult of Masculinity or Macho Culture or Fight Club or Caveman Thingy or whatever the hell you want to call it.

          17 isn't as bad as, say, 14, but I still think most 17 year olds (boys or girls) have no business having sexual relationships with adults in their mid-20's or older. There's just too big a difference there in terms of where people are in their life, what they need at that time, that it's bound to end up with somebody hurt, on either side. Plus, you know, illegal and for a good reason.

          Bleh.

      • Troy

        Most of the guys I knew in high school, including me, would have absolutely loved something like this to happen to them. As far as I know, it never did. I'm jealous.

        • http://www.johnshore.wordpress.com John Shore

          That is too funny. Wrong, of course. But funny. But wrong.

  • http://nirakia.blogspot.com/ Karin

    *wide eyed* That really happened? LOL. What a life you've lived.

    • Robert Meek

      {Feigned} SHOCK!

      You male adolescent hussy, you! ;) ;) ;)

      Couldn’t resist, John! :)

      Interesting, how times have changed.

      Then and there, both the step-mom and you okay with it, and the teacher, too.

      Here and now, well…

      Does that mean it’s right to take an attitude of indifference? Well, um, no. I guess not.

      Does that mean someone totally outside of the picture, like me, has any ground to moralize about it, so long as it’s not my own kids, that is, of which, thank God, I have none. Nope, definitely not!

    • Marie

      I don’t care if this DOES paint me as a harlot, haha! It’s my opinion that you just provoked widespread nostalgia and ENVY, Mr. Shore! *high five*

  • http://www.johnshore.wordpress.com John Shore

    Also, lemme say: I didn't put any kind of moral "lesson" or spin on this piece because I knew, of course, that the whole question of the propriety of the whole thing—and what it may or may not have meant to me personally—would come up here in the comments section. I figured this would be a better place to deal with that range of considerations. Which is why I'm here addressing it at all; usually, of course (and certainly lately) I don't spend a lot of time commenting on my own stuff.

    Here's the truth: it wasn't, for me, anything but good. I knew this woman. We were good friends. By that point in my life I'd had lots and lots of girlfriends; there wasn't anything about sex I didn't know, and except for The Ultimate Act, had done everything, lots. I don't know how to say this except to say it, but I was emotionally and even intellectually mature—or certainly, at any rate, mature enough to handle this. Without making ANY declaration about ANYTHING beyond my personal, little, limited life, I'm saying this was a great thing for me. Most people's first experience about this isn't all that great; mine was wonderful. It was a GIFT I got. If you read me at all, you know I'm extremely sensitive to sexual dynamics of all sorts—and especially to anyone being taken advantage of. It's a huge part of what I've written. All I can ask is that you trust me: I was perfectly, happily okay with this. It was the OPPOSITE of traumatizing. It flattering to me; I liked this woman; we were friends; I had plenty of people in my life her age to whom I was close. It was just … fine.

  • http://blueberrypancakesfordinner.wordpress.com blueberrypancakesfor

    i love this post.

    • Marie

      I do, too. Especially that last part there "…i would venture to say a high percentage of people could not possibly fathom how an experience like this would make you understand more than less about The Sex."

  • Velvet

    So wow, you really trust your readers. This is the kind of thing that people send to those anonymous "Tell a secret nobody knows about you" clubs, that ends up being in a book someday. I taught high school for 5 years. Some of the boys would still be in therapy over this type of thing, and others would still be smiling about it, as a badge of honor. Yes it was a different time back then, but she knew and you knew that this was playing with fire. So I am curious…now that you are the age you are, with all of life's experiences since then, is there a level of regret? What would you say to her if given the chance?

    • http://www.johnshore.wordpress.com John Shore

      Yes, I really, really do trust my readers. As to the regret, well, here, I'll just cut-and-paste something I said further up in this comment group:

      Here’s the truth: it wasn’t, for me, anything but good. I knew this woman. We were good friends. By that point in my life I’d had lots and lots of girlfriends; there wasn’t anything about sex I didn’t know, and except for The Ultimate Act, had done everything, lots. I don’t know how to say this except to say it, but I was emotionally and even intellectually mature—or certainly, at any rate, mature enough to handle this. Without making ANY declaration about ANYTHING beyond my personal, little, limited life, I’m saying this was a great thing for me. Most people’s first experience about this isn’t all that great; mine was wonderful. It was a GIFT I got. If you read me at all, you know I’m extremely sensitive to sexual dynamics of all sorts—and especially to anyone being taken advantage of. It’s a huge part of what I’ve written. All I can ask is that you trust me: I was perfectly, happily okay with this. It was the OPPOSITE of traumatizing. It flattering to me; I liked this woman; we were friends; I had plenty of people in my life her age to whom I was close. It was just … fine.

      • Velvet

        Being friends with someone does make it different. There was an element of trust present, rather than a predator situation. Clearly you had history together. Its just hard to separate any story like this from the scary ones in the news.

        This reader appreciates your trust, and I am honored to have your brutal honesty. I just wish we all had the guts to be so open, and also willing to defend ourselves like you do John.

        • http://www.johnshore.wordpress.com John Shore

          Thanks, Velvet. But … you know, I mean, about your (very kind), "I just wish we all the guts to be so open." What guts? It took no guts at all for me to share this. I mean, I knew I'd get the usual "How dare you be the wrong sort of Christian?" criticisms, but I get those if …. I don't know … post my grocery list from Trader Joe's. But otherwise—and I only mention this because a couple of other people have been kind enough to also suggest that my posting this has in some way been courageous or bold—why would it have been a problem for me to share? It happened 35 years ago. I was okay with it then, and certainly haven't grown less okay with it over the years. Far be it from me to give anyone less reason than they might to think well of me, but, just for the record, this took no more guts for me to share than it would have been to have written about … well, any other aspect of anything that happened in my life so long ago. I'm not … sensitive that way. I figure, life happens to people. It's certainly happened to me; it's happened to you; it's happened to everybody. All we can do is keep our oars in the water, put on our life jackets, and keep rowing.

  • Diana A.

    The age thing is such a tough thing to judge anyway. Back in the day, it was normal for a 17 year old to be married (and thus, having sex.) And a 24 year old female? Over-the-hill. Now, we have the same old hormones but a dreadful tendency to infantilize our children–which means that they still do all the "adult" things that they're "not supposed to be doing", but with no understanding of the natural consequences of doing these things. The truth is, a seventeen year old of either gender is physically an adult. Best if we make sure these seventeen year olds are emotionally and mentally adults as well.

  • DR

    People study Oceanography in high school?

    Oh, California.

    • http://www.johnshore.wordpress.com John Shore

      I know, right? I was wondering if anyone would focus on that! Yeah, my school had this pretty advanced oceanography program, actually. The whole science department at that school was incredible. Not that I would know, much. Oceanography seemed like the easiest science class I could take. Wrong.

      • DR

        This kind of thing is so common with my male friends. But of course its the *men* that are the adult predators, right?

        The ladies pursue plenty of younger men and I get a little tired of the inference that women aren’t just as responsible for initiating of the f’d up sexual stuff that happens with kids (though you were 17 and I know you were probably fine with it ;) ).

        • Ace

          There have been SEVERAL incidents lately in the news, at least here in Tennessee, of female High School teachers getting arrested and even convicted of child molestation for messing around with their male students (granted, their victims were mostly younger than 17, more in the 13-15 range, which is even skeevier).

          Things are changing, slowly.

  • http://ricbooth.wordpress.com Ric Booth

    I can’t believe you were allowed to buy cigarettes as an under-aged youth back then. Appalling.

    • http://www.johnshore.wordpress.com John Shore

      HILARIOUS!

      She knew I smoked.

      • Robert Meek

        They sold them to underage without carding in those days, right?

        • http://blueberrypancakesfordinner.wordpress.com blueberrypancakesfor

          yup…i bought smokes all though jr high.

        • beth

          Right, there was no carding for tobacco, it wasn’t illegal then. Cigarettes were about 50 cents a pack, Cigarette ads and vending machines were everywhere. The legal drinking age was still 18 too, but no one was really checked.

        • Tim

          If I recollect, 16 was the age to legally buy smokes in California.

          My high school English teacher, 38 year old male, had sex with my 15 year old classmate and carried on a three year affair right under everyone’s nose. He married her when she turned 18. They adopted a black baby boy and named him Whiz. Wasn’t sure if it was an homage to the Broadway hit, or the faux-cheesy cracker spread. I remember that not long after they adopted Whiz, the young wife was abducted in the Fashion Valley parking lot and police gave up the search after they found reason to believe the abduction was cover for a reluctant housewife who had run off to Arizona with a boyfriend closer to her own age. Wonder what ever became of Whiz Hansen?

    • beth

      Things were so different in the sixties. Mom and dad would send me on my bike (no helmet, alone,two miles from home across a hwy), i might have been as young as eight, down to the A&P for her Benson and Hedges and his Kents. Grandma liked Ralieghs, cause she saved the coupons on the back. I loved the honor of doing this, I always got to keep the change. A penny could buy bubble gum, a dime a whole candy bar.

      • Marie

        I was a kid in the 70′s, but I concur – times sure have changed.

        My neighbors used to see all the kids out in the street playing ball, skating, etc… and shout for us, “I need smokes!” (ALL the neighbors, mind you – EVERYone smoked, hoooly moly)

        And we’d scramble for the neighbor who tipped well for the errand running (a quarter, a ride on the motorcycle, a Coke, etc…) and we’d flat out ignore that old hag who tipped NOTHING (and was meeeean).

        I remember running down the street with a BUCK in my sweaty little hand for a pack and a ten dollar bill for a CARTON. I was 7 or 8 years old. Man, to this day, I still remember every neighbor and every brand they smoked!

        I miss the 70′s. ♥

        • http://blueberrypancakesfordinner.wordpress.com blueberrypancakesfor

          ya know, the 70's were really cool….

  • Kim

    Wow. Now I’ll have to get out the old yearbooks and figure out who she was! Also, it occurs to me…wasn’t it like…I dunno…ILLEGAL for a teacher to solicit sex from a student?

    • http://www.johnshore.wordpress.com John Shore

      I think she was pretty confident I wouldn’t call the police.

  • mm

    The noun your looking for towards the end is negligee. And yea, it’s been said before and i sweat its’ not sexist but…it’s just different for boys. 17 year old boy and 24 year old woman(heck she could have been older). really not weird. 40 year old man and 16 year old girl:skeez fest. Just the way it is.

    • http://luwandi.wordpress.com Beth Luwandi

      But 24 year old male teacher and 17 year old girl? Isn’t that also different?

      I’m just asking…

      • http://www.barnmaven.com Barnmaven

        From the POV of a woman who lost her virginity to her 21 year old boyfriend when she was 15, a 24 yo male teacher and a 17 yo girl is – depending on the situation – not so different. In today's world, in *any* world, frankly, looking theoretically at the scenario of an older authority figure initiating sex with a teenaged subordinate, there's something wrong. But are there *degrees* of wrong? My reaction to the thought of a twenty-something male teacher and a 17 year old girl is much less violent than the thought of a thirty-something teacher and the same girl. Or a twenty-something teacher and a twelve year old girl. Or any adult teacher and any student under the age of 16-17. Still wrong…but not AS wrong. The amount of coercion involved also factors in – was the student coherent enough to consent? If not, then its rape, no matter whether it was a female teacher and a male student or a male teacher and a female student.

        Fodder for pondering…

    • berkshire

      That’s the way people *pretend* it is. Boys can and are damaged by these things, as well.

  • http://www.youtube.com/user/Epistomolus Dennis Dawson

    Let me just pull out the ol’ yearbook, good ol’ 1976 Bicentennial year…look at those sideburns…those shoes were so dangerous…ah, faculty…let me see…ewww….ewwwww….OMG….ewwwwwww. Man, I’m sorry that happened, John.

    But here’s the thing. This event, according to this story, took place on a Friday night (“No woman calls on a Friday night”). And yet, in a dramatic twist, Mr. Shore stumbles “into class” the next morning. The NEXT morning? Saturday? Brilliant as he is, I just find it hard to believe that Mr. Shore was every scholarly enough to take a class on a Saturday. This whole story stinks. It’s the kind of fabrication that I would expect from Mr. Hyperbole personified. Except for the sex with teacher part, which I don’t doubt for a second.

    ~D

    • http://www.johnshore.wordpress.com John Shore

      Oh, you know, you’re right. That’s funny how your mind works. To me, the whole THING is all balled-up (so to speak) WITH that Friday morning—with coming back to school the next day. So I just … always think it happened on a Friday night. But, duh, it was a Thursday night. So I’ll go change it. Thanks for catching.

  • http://whitenoisemetal.typepad.com/white_noise_metal_video_p/2010/04/between-the-buried-and-me-the-great-misdirect-on-white-noise-metal.html Brian Shields
    • http://www.johnshore.wordpress.com John Shore

      This story isn't at all "much like" mine. The one you've linked to is about a 42-year-old woman who had sex with two different 14-year-old boys. I was (a mature) 17-year-old with a woman who was 24. Not the same. In these matters, age is everything.

      • berkshire

        Age isn't everything. It's something, but not everything. You were a minor, and while you knew you could handle it and it felt fine to you and all the things you said (I believe you, btw), I would find it hard to imagine that someone who abuses their position in that way (yes, I do see her as having done that) was thinking, "Well, he's young, but he's so much more mature than those other boys, so I'll pick him." Maybe I'm wrong, but the issue is the choices that the adult in the situation made–unless you're making the argument that at 24 she's not so firmly planted in adulthood and 'adult judgment' as the 42 year old (and on that point, you might very well be right–see last part of this comment). The details of the situations are different, but it looks similar to me, too, and I don't think Brian was so far off.

        Also, apart from your personal situation, age doesn't always tell you much about a person's maturity. I know people in their 20's who sadly are still really vulnerable to being exploited by others and who have the judgment of an adolescent. I find the 18 year old standard kind of arbitrary, really–but then, I guess almost any age guideline for growth and maturity would be. Our neurons are still myelinating well into our 20's. It does affect our judgment mightily.

      • http://www.whitenoisemetal.com Brian Shields

        My guess is those 14-year old boys would tell us how they were “mature for 14″ and how their parents just didn’t understand their relationship with the Hummer mom.

        Look John, I’m not disrespecting what you experienced… just pointing out as others have what a double standard there is for this sort of thing.

        • berkshire

          It also makes me wonder–do you know that you were her only "booty call"? Do you know if there were others? I'm not saying there were. Just pondering.

        • http://www.johnshore.wordpress.com John Shore

          No, I didn't think you were disrespecting … well, anything. I just personally don't find the two stories have much in common, is all. (And I knew someone would jump on my "age is everything" statement. Of course it's not everything. But fourteen isn't fifteen isn't sixteen isn't seventeen, is all I meant …. )

          • http://www.whitenoisemetal.com Brian Shields

            On the age front, 14 seems a lot closer to 17 to me than 24 is to 42

          • Michelle M

            As a high school teacher, I can tell you that there is a HUGE difference in maturity between a 14 year old and 17 year old.

  • David C.

    John,

    You have quickly become one of my favorite writers. Growing up in the church, I have recently experienced much disappointment and disillusionment with the “church.” Your writing has been refreshing, and has encouraged me. I haven’t given up on “the faith,” but rather, still clung to it–and your writing has played a part in that.

    I’m disappointed with this blog post. It’s well written, like most of your stuff, but I don’t see the purpose in writing this, nor publishing it. You’re flaunting a relationship that was inappropriate on many levels–legally, morally, professionally–even though the age difference was only seven years. The tone and content of the posting–I think it would have been different if your voice in the post wasn’t trivial about the situation. The paragraph ending with “hop on it” was pretty distasteful.

    I support you writing about whatever content you wish, but I’d encourage you to ask yourself if it really benefits your audience.

    David

    • Robert Meek

      I cannot believe you are moralizing and being self-righteous about something that happened a good 30-some years ago in his life, that he felt comfortable relating, for the mere sake of doing so!

  • http://www.lcweekly.com Margaret Evans

    Actually, you MIGHT be looking for the word “peignoir”… (Negligee works, too). And all I can say is… wow. The grown-ups in this story leave a lot to be desired. Your teacher… your stepmother… The whole scenario was wrong on so many levels. But what’s REALLY wrong is that nobody seemed to recognize it as wrong. And even now, you don’t seem to. It just… was. Are you really as “whatever” about this as you seem, John?

  • Robert Meek

    I cannot believe you are also moralizing and also being self-righteous about something that happened a good 30-some years ago in his life, that he felt comfortable relating, for the mere sake of doing so!

  • Robert Meek

    For God’s sake people, GROW UP.

    He’s not asking for APPROVAL.

    He’s not saying you SHOULD approve.

    He was merely RELATING HIS PAST to us.

    SHAME on your all who are pompously moralizing at him!

    • berkshire

      It actually sounds like you're "moralizing" at us now.

      Presumably, when John posts something publicly on his blog he may not be asking for approval, but he's aware (and even expecting) people to comment. I think he's handling it just fine, as far as I can tell. One of the most enjoyable things about John's blog, in my opinion, is the diversity of views expressed here, and people's sense that they are free to express those–even those that differ with the blog's author.

      But are *you* gonna be OK? You seem to be taking other people's opinions pretty hard. . . .

    • Matthew Tweedell

      I’m surprised there is so *little* moralizing actually! We have a Christian writer asserting that the ideal way to lose his virginity was not only prior to his wedding night but not even to the person he ended up marrying, and underage—and under the influence of a little alcohol—to boot!! Where's the conservative backlash/firestorm on this? It seems they are just interested in arguing against both sound theology and liberal theology, but when it comes to issues of substance of how we actually live our lives in the world in action, they often seem a bit light on conversion. (Could it be that they can't bring themselves to be so hypocritical…?)

      • http://www.johnshore.wordpress.com John Shore

        "A bit light on conversion"?

        • Matthew Tweedell

          Oops! I'm glad you pointed that out! That was supposed to read "conversation".

      • Jeanine

        nope – I'm an adulterer, so I have no room to talk.

        I didn't post though, because it saddens me that he thinks God's grace came so cheaply; that we can look at our sin and continue to love it after '30 some years' of walking with the Lord.

        • http://dianer.blogspot.com/ DR

          Jeanine,

          This is a serious question. Can you grasp the concept that your last few sentences completely invalidate your first? When you don't have room to talk? Don't talk.

          • Matthew Tweedell

            I'm not trying to answer for Jeanine or anything, but here is my take, DR:

            I do believe her sin to be washed by the blood of Jesus. It is gone.

            Though she had no room to talk, and no room in the Father's house, the Word has prepared a place for her, and she may speak the Word. If in speaking, she errs or strays from Him, we then may correct her. But I see no reason that she should not speak on instances of morals—little moments of tiny victories in heaven or hell—if she may speak on the weightier matters of eternal destination. If a person who's made mistakes of their own in life is not freed from the obligation to teach their children right from wrong, why can they not tell others about it too? Sometimes there is no better witness as to what is so wrong about a given mistake as one who's made it—indeed we should learn from the mistakes of others, as each being left to learn from his/her own mistakes could not have accomplished the great cumulative progress of human history up through the present day.

          • http://www.johnshore.wordpress.com John Shore

            Seriously, Matthew. Step away from the bong.

          • Matthew Tweedell

            I'm learning to take that as a compliment. :)

          • http://dianer.blogspot.com/ DR

            Jeanine wasn't criticizing someone's morality, Matthew. She was – as seems to be her most frequent contribution – speculating on the authenticity of John's "30-something years" of walking with the Lord".

            And I know, I know – Jeanine will (once again) rush in and clarify "I wasn't doing that! I have no room to judge! I wasn't casting any dispersions on John's salvation, my goodness gracious if it appeared that way I'm just so sorry!"

            Until the next time she does it because she's really not sorry at all for doing that kind of thing.

            And here's what the real deal is, Matthew. I'm fine if you disagree, but I will provide my take on things and you can take it or leave it.

            As a Catholic I've been dealing with the Jeanines of the world for a very long time. And as a Catholic who used to be an evangelical and went back to my Catholic roots? I've got their number, it takes a crook to catch a crook. There is a fairly typical pattern and the probability of what's occurring is likely.

            Jeanine appears to be here to ensure that those reading – particularly those who are not Christian – get a real example of what it means to be a Christian, because for Jeanine? John, me – a lot of us here? We're not *really* Christian. We're lost. So we're doing damage to the non believers, we're caught up in the massive wave of deception that has gripped the Body of Christ right now.

            I'm sure other people who are regular contributors here feel just like Jeanine does, but they don't have the courage (that she does) to *almost* say it. That's why I respect Jeanine. At least she tells you to your face what she thinks. Or did in the beginning, but now that she's faced people who will actually counter her, she's switched gears. Another part of the pattern.

            What typically happens is people like Jeanine (sorry Jeanine I don't mean to pick on you but you're here for a holy War, so I guess I'm happy to provide it for you).

            They try to be "subtle" through the "use of quotes". We've seen her do it several times. Obama" Well he is a "Christian". The liberal media? They report "the truth".

            And that can actually work in face to face conversation. She and others can be subtle about it and stop short as they say, "Listen, you're not a real Christian" but not really say that plainly because it's so expressly forbidden in Scripture to do so. But it fails miserably online, particularly with people who actually don't believe Jeanine possesses the fullness of Truth herself. Who perhaps believe that she is the one who is gripped by something she's not even aware of. She's probably not in regular conversation with those who see her that way, so this whole experience is good for her.

            As for those who see her as dangerous too, the difference is that they are not judging her state of salvation before the Father through Jesus. She is the one doing that, people like Jeanine are here to do that. But the hard part for them is that they are faced with people who won't let them get away with it. It's quite a conundrum.

            So this is the dance we all play here. Good times!

          • http://dianer.blogspot.com/ DR

            P.S. Me saying all of this plainly will be seen as a spiritual attack because I'm reacting to the conviction of the Holy Spirit.

            OK, that should do it.

          • Jeanine

            @DR 'And I know, I know – Jeanine will (once again) rush in and clarify “I wasn’t doing that! I have no room to judge! '

            Actually, no – I did mean to clearly question John's morality in sharing this story the way he did, and I do not apologize.

            This whole business of 'you cannot judge me' and 'apologize to me for questioning my salvation' is just one big gigantic cop out. All you are really saying is that you want to live by your own standard, not any other, and nobody is going to tell me what is right and what is wrong.

            This whole business of 'the Bible is open to many interpretations' is just saying 'I don't want to live by the standard that the Bible speaks forth, I would rather have my own standard.

            Don't you think that the Spirit is able to interpret his own word to a believer? Don't you think the Spirit is able to bring forht truth in a consistant manner? Don't you think that the Spirit is building his church?

            Matthew 7 (Judge not lest you be judged…..) was challenging a group of Pharisees who had access to the scriptures (where others did not) and heaped rules upon rules which were not in the scriptures upon the heads of the common people as a false standard. In addition, they displayed outward righteousness, while inwardly their love for God and others was cold.

            By contrast, the apostles in the early church were constantly writing letters to exhort, encourage, correct, discipline and teach new believers in the ways of righteousness. In fact, much of the New Testament was written as a result of believers challenging the morality and actions of other believers as regards to the scriptures and the person of Jesus Christ. His scriptures declare who he is and show forth his standards.

            Come on, do you think that Christ saved us so we could stay the way we are and love our sin? No, He is building his church, and he is setting apart a people of righteousness (not by works of the law) but by the filling of his Spirit. He is the power for righteousness, and he is changing the hearts of His people to be like Him.

            Show me where Christ sat around with sinners and relished in their fleshly stories of unrepentant lives. I can't find Christ doing that anywhere.

            You can point your finger at a truly repentant sinner and mock them all you want; but in essence you are mocking the Holy Spirit of Christ who has led that person to repentance and who is changing that person to be made righteous, in both heart AND deed.

            Romans 6:13 And do not present your members as instruments of unrighteousness to sin, but present yourselves to God as being alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness to God.

          • http://www.johnshore.wordpress.com John Shore

            Jeanine: You're showing you have much less interest in the truth than in protecting the idea that you're right.

            You just now wrote to DR, "I meant to question John’s morality in sharing this story the way he did, and won't apologize for it."

            But that's not what you did, Jeanine, and that's not what I asked you to apologize for. You didn't question my "morality in sharing this story." What you actually wrote was, "John thinks God’s grace came so cheaply." It's okay for you to question the advisability of that one post. It's not okay for you to criticize my entire concept of God and his grace. You went too far; you were too harsh; you judged without anywhere near enough information. For that you should apologize. Show us you're serious about how humble and thoughtful and aligned with God you are, and apologize for what any fool can see you should.

          • Jeanine

            So you do think that if Jesus were here right now, and you presented this story to Him exactly as you have presented it to us; that he would say 'well done John" you have conveyed my heart to others very well.

          • http://www.johnshore.wordpress.com John Shore

            Apologize for the wrong you did me, and then we can talk about what we think Jesus might do or say or think or feel. But when you've done wrong, don't point to Jesus as a justification for it.

          • ManimalX

            @ Jeanine:

            "Show me where Christ sat around with sinners and relished in their fleshly stories of unrepentant lives. I can’t find Christ doing that anywhere. "

            "So you do think that if Jesus were here right now, and you presented this story to Him exactly as you have presented it to us; that he would say ‘well done John” you have conveyed my heart to others very well."

            Game, set, and match. Everything else that has been written can take a back seat to the truth of these quotes.

            There is simply no defense for a Christian bragging about their past sins. Bragging up past sins is the very antithesis of repentance. "Turn from and do no more" is mutually exclusive to "fondly embrace and promote."

            "Dude! I remember when I murdered that hobo and threw his body into the lake! That was SO AWESOME! I mean, I had been around a lot of stupid people before, and I THOUGHT about killing them before, but I had never gone all the way. So, you know, a hobo who nobody cares about, that was the IDEAL way for me to commit my first murder! Yay murder!"

            Really? Come on…

            Carry on, Jeanine, you have done nothing wrong here. John goofed big time on this one, got called on it, and is now playing victim instead of eating his humble pie. Nobody can bat .1000 for long. Not much you can do about it but point it out as best you can and move on.

          • http://ricbooth.wordpress.com Ric Booth

            There is an assumption being made here (by a few) that every Christian firmly believes that premarital sex is a sin.

            There also appears to be an assumption that all Christians should always wrap their stories up nicely with a bow, so that all reading and listening can see the miracle of God's grace every time. But life's stories are not naturally neat and tidy. Nor are they irrelevant and unimportant. They simply are part of us.

          • http://dianer.blogspot.com/ DR

            Actually, no – I did mean to clearly question John’s morality in sharing this story the way he did, and I do not apologize.>>>

            If you were criticizing his morality, you would have done so. You were calling into question WHETHER OR NOT HE IS SAVED. Do you get that? I’m not yelling, I’m emphasizing because you post things you seem to later retract. And honestly, who cares – go for it – I vastly prefer people like you just coming right out and doing it, I admire that (and I like to know who I’m dealing with). But this going back and forth, back tracking – stop doing that. If you don’t believe John or others to be a “true” Christian? Then just say it, Jeanine. Stop putting things in quotes. Follow through. It doesn’t matter, any reasonable person is going to read that and say “Wow how in the world would she even know the state of Grace someone else is in?” so you can’t hurt anybody, but I get embarrassed for you as you say things without actually saying them. I’ve been trying to encourage you when you speak plainly. Just do it.

          • Matthew Tweedell

            Very insightful, DR… Thank you for that rousing spiritual attack in response to the conviction of the Holy Spirit, which Spirit only ever inspires the most holy of things!

            I would like to point out however that I didn't say—neither did I think—that she was being particularly critical morally. And that wouldn't be helpful. That would be judgmental. You see, it has to do with a certain matter regarding the Word that I have been trying to explain to Jeanine recently. As Word unto itself it is true, but in our application in particular instance, in connection to a chosen reference in the reality as known to us, we go beyond what is actually inherent in the Word. Now, if this is done in the Spirit (which requires some degree of seeking and grace), it should be true as well, but we corruptible beings are highly likely to be led astray here; so the best way to protect against the Evil One who gives birth to false reason and false definitional determination is not judging any particular case when not really necessary.

          • Matthew Tweedell

            (Just to clarify, when I said, "that wouldn't be helpful", etc., I was referring to Jeanine being morally critical, not to my saying or thinking that.)

          • DR

            Matthew, please slow down. My comment was not directed toward you, as far as I can tell you don't have a habit if passively-aggressively speculating on the authenticity of another's salvation (which is what my comment was referencing).

          • http://dianer.blogspot.com/ DR

            (Let me know if I misunderstood your comment, I might have).

          • Matthew Tweedell

            Perhaps you've misunderstood the first sentence. It was a joke, pointing to the irony of naming the Holy Spirit as the cause any sort of "unholy" reactions.

            I was serious when I complimented the insight shown in your previous comment!

            I know it wasn't directed at me or others particularly like me, and the rest of my comment wasn't directed at you so much as it was just easily relatable to a point I wanted to make for the sake of us all (which is why I didn’t nest the comment as a reply to yours), elaborating a distinction between moral discourse and being judgmental (in the context of a more general word of caution against drawing the wrong sorts of conclusions from Scripture).

            I apologize for the misunderstanding.

          • DR

            Matthew, I sensed I wasn't understanding your point. Thanks for clarifying! <3

        • Jeanine

          The Holy Spirit led me to feel a sorrow over my sin which led me to repentance. I don't rejoice in what I did, I don't try to make excuses for what I did, I don't try to shift the blame for what I did, I've tried my best to make restitution for what I did, I am heartbroken over what I did, and by the grace of God I will never do it ever again. What I feel about it is shame. I don't look back on it as a joke and with pleasure.

          You can jump to whatever conclusions you want about why I said it.

          • http://dianer.blogspot.com/ DR

            Selective attention doesn't work with me, dear. How you want to manage your past and speaking to issues related to it in the present isn't my business, I don't care about it and it wasn't the point.

            When you start putting "quotes" around peoples' "walk with the Lord" in any context, you're speculating on the authenticity of their salvation without actually stating it plainly. And I'm going to call you out when I see you do it.

          • Jeanine

            I didn't do that – the quotes were around the '30 some years' because Robert Meeks used that term up above somewhere.

          • http://www.johnshore.wordpress.com John Shore

            Jeanine: You wrote, "It saddens me that he thinks God’s grace came so cheaply; that we can look at our sin and continue to love it after ’30 some years’ of walking with the Lord." ? That's you judging the moral status of another; that's you declaring how someone else (someone you don't even know) understands God's grace generally and in their lives specifically. That's something you need to apologize for doing.

          • DR

            Pointless, won't happen, but at least you tried.

          • ManimalX

            @ John Shore

            Sorry, but you have no right to play the victim here.

            I'm so tired of this "don't judge me" bullcrap. When you LOUDLY and PUBLICLY proclaim something as you do in your blog, and you do so as a CHRISTIAN, other Christians are going to hold you accountable.

            How dare you accuse someone of "not even knowing" you when you post EXACTLY the things you WANT them to know about you?! What are we supposed to do? Not believe the things you right about yourself?

            This post is an unrepentant brag about some sinful activity in your past. Do you expect your fellow Christians to just let something like that slide by with a wink and a nod? Too bad. We are a dying breed, but some of us don't wink and nod at sin.

            Also: it is really very hypocritical of you to accuse Jeanine of "judging the moral status of another" while at the same time you are laughing and jovially conspiring with others who have "judged your moral status" and happen to agree with you.

            So… what? Those who "judge your moral status" and AGREE with you get a pass, but those who "judge your moral status" and DISAGREE with you get the bullcrap "don't judge me/you don't know me" cards thrown at them?

            It is you who should be apologizing to Jeanine, who very bravely and accurately called you out on a goof.

            I expect this kind of juvenile reaction from young, newbie Christians (and from non-believers who think they have Christianity all figured out), but not from someone who regularly and proudly proclaims how long they have been walking with Christ.

          • http://audioarchives.blogspot.com spinetingler

            “This post is an unrepentant brag about some sinful activity in your past. Do you expect your fellow Christians to just let something like that slide by with a wink and a nod? ”

            I’m a fellow Christian. I don’t consider what he did a sin. I’ll wager he might not, either.

          • DR

            Jeanine, with all due respect? You lose credibility and respect when you just don't come right out with what you want to say. You imply it. You stop short and then you play games like you're doing now. It's unbecoming.

            Speak plainly. Let your yes be yes and your no be no. You're not fooling anyone and it's uncomfortable to watch you do it. If you want to judge someone's walk with the Lord? Then just do it. Have the strength and the courage of your convictions. If people disagree with you doing that or even yell at you for it? If you believe it's the right thing to do then stick to your guns. There's integrity in that.

          • Matthew Tweedell

            I'll say it for her, DR:

            Some are challenging your brand of Christianity, Mr. Shore—specifically, whether you are being guided by the Holy Spirit and the Word of God. The Holy Spirit as they know Him is screaming dissonance to the spirit in which you write sometimes, and the Word appears logically inconsistent with your words at times. This indicates fundamental disunity, disharmony, and dissent from God on your part; the pseudo-Christ cloaking your transgression against the Lord is none other than an anti-Christ of hell. Nevertheless, they do not say so directly, for "whoever is not against us is for us"; rather they try to correct your misguidance, being honestly concerned about how these sorts of things are perverting to the gospel, causing the Church to fall to pieces, and causing our nation to veer—perhaps dangerously—off course. So how do you answer those who can be neither as the lilies of the field nor as children to whom belongs the Kingdom of God, those who would say you appear to be either not truly repentant or a moral relativist?

            Let me guess: Shore family motto? (Yet could not that itself be the fundamental tenant of self-righteousness?)

          • Diana A.

            So maybe John is not the perfect Christian. In fact, by definition, there is no such thing. Jesus alone was/is perfect and Jesus wasn't a Christian. Jesus was/is Christ.

            Christians in general, particularly the more fundamentalist among us, tend to come across as being holier-than-thou. John is a refreshingly different sort of Christian. I think it's important to note that he wasn't a Christian when he lost his virginity–so it isn't as if he was going against his religious principles at the time since those were not his religious principles. Moreover, there are plenty of Christians who lose their virginity outside of wedlock all the time–including fundamentalists, who then turn around and point the finger at others, as if they themselves never sinned in their lives.

            Are we arguing here that John should not have discussed the loss of his virginity without wearing a hair-shirt and a bunch of ashes on his head?

          • Matthew Tweedell

            No, we aren't arguing that at all.

          • Matthew Tweedell

            (Ok, so now I've got to respond in Mr. Shore's stead as well….)

            First, John, thank you for sharing this story.

            Perhaps they're right—maybe you're an unrepentant sinner—but I choose rather to trust you when you say that was a good thing that happened.

            For without trust, what is humanity? I tell you there is no humanity—just humans—without trust.

            We believe Jesus when He says He is the Son of God, as there is no reason to believe Him untrue about it, and I will believe Mr. Shore in what he tells us of himself, so long as there is no evidence that we should doubt it.

            It is not that I personally have no room to talk (I do), and it is not that I adhere to moral relativism (I don't), that I do not challenge this portrait of moral and virtue.

            Rather, it is because I have no doubt as to the moral integrity of John Shore.

            Jesus said, "Whoever is not against us is for us," and "He who is not with me is against me." So it follows that a spirit that seems to go against one who is not against Christ is not the Spirit of God (who Christ is).

            In other words: that which would dissonantly decry anything of John Shore personally would not in fact be of the Holy Spirit!!!

            Simply put, "This is how you can recognize the Spirit of God: Every spirit that acknowledges that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God, but every spirit that does not acknowledge Jesus is not from God." (1 John 4:2-3)

            But wouldn't the spiritual be man equipped to judge all things in Truth as Paul seems to imply?

            "There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under heaven." (Ecc. 3:1)

            Paul himself said: "I care very little if I am judged by you or by any human court; indeed, I do not even judge myself. My conscience is clear, but that does not make me innocent. It is the Lord who judges me. Therefore judge nothing before the appointed time; wait till the Lord comes. He will bring to light what is hidden in darkness and will expose the motives of men's hearts." (1 Cor. 4:3-5)

            But are we simply to ignore the obvious if there are apparent discrepancies in word?

            "This is what we speak, not in words taught us by human wisdom but in words taught by the Spirit, expressing SPIRITUAL TRUTHS in SPIRITUAL WORDS. [emphasis added] The man without the Spirit does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him, and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually discerned." (1 Cor. 2:13-14)

            So again we must turn to the Spirit. Paul wrote, “He has made us competent as ministers of a new covenant—not of the letter but of the Spirit; for the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life.” (2 Cor. 3:6)

          • Matthew Tweedell

            *wouldn’t the spiritual man be…

          • http://www.johnshore.wordpress.com John Shore

            Jeanine, true shame makes most people truly humble. And truly humble people are the last to point accusing fingers at others.

          • Jeanine

            If you read what I wrote, I did not accuse you of anything whatsoever. I admitted to being an adulterer and ashamed for myself.

            I did however notice that you still enjoy the story and the experience of the loss of your virginity; that is not an accusation; that is what you said in your own writing.

          • Susan

            Jeanine,

            You are implying that it is wrong that John doesn't have shame for this particular incident of his past. And you know what? That is your problem, not his.

            I wrote somewhere in here that there's a lot of poignancy to John's post b/c it is utterly human and he is utterly, unabashedly human, and thank God for his authenticity. It is what is helping me to WANT Jesus in my life versus FEELING OBLIGATED to a fear-based faith. (This is only about my personal experience/baggage, so I'm not trying to convey some underlying slap in the face to anyone.)

            You are not better for having shame. You are not better for admitting to cheating on your spouse. And, that you seem to interpret your cheating on a spouse as being on the same level as a hormonally explosive 17-year old kid who lost his virginity with his 24-year old teacher – that's delusional – at least that's what I think.

            There is a difference between shame and guilty, Jeanine. Guilt is about sorrow for something we've done. Shame is being sorry for who we are.

            You've no need for shame. It's in the past. You're forgiven. Maybe you need to forgive yourself.

            As I previously said, your conviction, your experience, your interpretation of scripture and circumstances and perspective on other's salvation…none of it makes you any better, but it doesn't make you any worse.

            I tend to lean toward DR's notion that you are here to steer people clear of the 'unwashed us' – but I could be dead wrong. I hope you are here to learn as much as to teach. If you're not, it is your loss.

      • Matthew Tweedell

        I find it interesting that when people have in the past made mistakes morally in some area, they often feel uncomfortable preaching to others on it, but even if people have in the past made critical mistakes in theology, they often feel just fine asserting their present theological understanding.

        • Don Rappe

          Yes, like the Apostle Paul.

      • gooseberrybush

        I never read where he asserted that the way he lost his virginity was the ideal. He doesn't recommend that other people do exactly as he did or that it is the Christian thing to do. He's relating a story from his life.

        • http://www.johnshore.wordpress.com John Shore

          What I wrote (somewhere in this comment thread) was, "I think it was (and again, I’m just saying for me) an ideal way to lose my virginity." So of course some people read that as my saying it would be an ideal way for any guy/person to lose their virginity. Having completely missed, I guess, the "(and again, I'm just saying for me") part. (And thanks for your defense, Goose.)

          • ManimalX

            @ John Shore

            Did I ever tell you about the time I robbed an unattended gas station cash register because I needed beer money? I think it was (and again, I'm saying just for me) an ideal way to get the money I needed. Of course, some people read that as my saying it would be an ideal way for ANY guy/person to steal the beer money they needed. Having completely missed, I guess, the "I'm saying just for me" part.

            I mean, just because I wink and nod at the blatant sins in my past, and just because I actually remember all of those sinful acts with fondness, and just because I like to trot out some of those old capers from time to time in order to let others know how great those sins were while maybe getting a laugh…. well, don't exercise any sort of discernment right judgment about that, OK?

            /sarcasm

          • http://audioarchives.blogspot.com spinetingler

            “Did I ever tell you about the time I robbed an unattended gas station cash register because I needed beer money? I think it was (and again, I’m saying just for me) an ideal way to get the money I needed.”

            Yeah, that’s a crime against another person, not a consensual act between two people.

            X!

            Try again.

        • Matthew Tweedell

          I understand that.

  • http://www.johnshore.wordpress.com John Shore

    To David C above: It’s funny you mentioned the “hop on it” joke. I was changing that as your comment came in; I agree that it was too crude.

    As for the rest, I’m hardly “flaunting” anything. I’m just telling a quick story about something that happened to me. As for your desire for me to only publish things that “benefit” my “audience,” how do you purpose that I measure that? And who do you think is in a better position to measure that at all, you or me?

  • Diana A.

    This is part of your work on your autobiographical book, is it not? I’m just curious.

    As for your critics: Shore Family Motto. It’s your blog, you have the right to write whatever you damn well please.

    Plus, this kind of thing happens all the time. No sense in fluttering our eyelashes and pretending it doesn’t.

    • denver

      I agree with Diana: it’s your blog! You needn’t worry yourself with “how will this help my audience?” You’re not our group therapist. And frankly I admire and honor people that can be so open and honest with people about their past like you can! Too often in our society we “don’t talk about the difficult subjects.” Talk away, my friend, you probably ARE helping people just by making it more acceptable to share parts of our past with each other!

      and @ David: if he had ended it with some kind of spiritual insight, or “moral of the story”, would you have liked it better? It’s not like the post title wasn’t blatantly honest about what the story was about. If you were uncomfortable with the subject matter, perhaps you shouldn’t have read it, no? I’m not trying to be argumentative, I’m just saying, if you’re uncomfortable with it, you could have stopped reading it. Maybe it was helpful to someone else who had a similar experience, even if it wasn’t helpful for you. And it’s not like he did a celebratory dance at the end; I’d hardly call it “flaunting”.

      • ManimalX

        "I agree with Diana: it’s your blog! You needn’t worry yourself with “how will this help my audience?” You’re not our group therapist"

        Yeah! I mean, why in the world should a long-time professing Christian worry about what their words and actions communicate to other Christians and non-believers?! I mean, who worries about the effect their words will have on their audience anyways? That's so old fashioned and legalistic and lame! Write whatever you want, dammit! And to hell with those who can't handle it!

        I mean, why the hell should I NOT eat meat sacrificed to idols in front of a brand new Christian converted out of paganism? If they have a problem with me eating meat sacrificed to idols, well, then they can get over it or get the hell out of my house, right? Right?!?

        /sarcasm

        We are talking about responsibility with Christian liberty here.

        "4 So then, about eating food sacrificed to idols: We know that an idol is nothing at all in the world and that there is no God but one. 5 For even if there are so-called gods, whether in heaven or on earth (as indeed there are many "gods" and many "lords"), 6 yet for us there is but one God, the Father, from whom all things came and for whom we live; and there is but one LORD, Jesus Christ, through whom all things came and through whom we live. 7 But not everyone knows this. Some people are still so accustomed to idols that when they eat such food they think of it as having been sacrificed to an idol, and since their conscience is weak, it is defiled. 8 But food does not bring us near to God; we are no worse if we do not eat, and no better if we do. 9 Be careful, however, that the exercise of your freedom does not become a stumbling block to the weak. 10 For if anyone with a weak conscience sees you who have this knowledge eating in an idol's temple, won't he be emboldened to eat what has been sacrificed to idols? 11 So this weak brother, for whom Christ died, is destroyed by your knowledge. 12 When you sin against your brothers in this way and wound their weak conscience, you sin against Christ." – 1 Corinthians 8:2-12

        The kicker:

        "Therefore, if what I eat causes my brother to fall into sin, I will never eat meat again, so that I will not cause him to fall." v 13.

        Wisdom says that John should likely refrain from bragging up past sins about which he is proud and not repentant.

        • Kara

          Dude. If John doesn't believe this was a sin, then none of this applies. The passage you quote is of limited use, because we're not all going to bow to the will of the strictest-common-denominator. If we did, I wouldn't be allowed to wear pants. There are people who think that my pants-wearing is a major sin, and a stumbling block, and blah, blah, blah. But I fully believe that it's not a sin, so I ignore them and live as I feel led.

          John's free to do the same. Your beliefs on what is sin don't compel anybody else to agree or live by them.

          • ManimalX

            @ Kara

            If John doesn’t think that sexual immorality is sin, then he has no business presenting himself as some great expert on the Christian faith like he does. Scripture is quite clear that teachers in the faith are held to a higher standard, obviously because they are able to influence others who sincerely look to them as a trustworthy source.

            You can “live as you feel led” all you want, but when Scripture is quite clear on a specific matter, then it doesn’t matter how you feel “led” in that matter. The pants thing you mention is obviously a silly bit of legalism, folks making up rules that just aren’t biblical. Sexual immorality, on the other hand, is spoken to quite clearly in Scripture.

            This is part of the great downfall of Western Christendom: people feeling like they just get to come to the Christian faith like it was a spiritual buffet from which they get to pick and choose which bits to accept and which bits they don’t like. It is no wonder we actually have third and second world countries now sending missionaries to the USA.

          • Diana A.

            "If John doesn’t think that sexual immorality is sin, then he has no business presenting himself as some great expert on the Christian faith like he does."

            I don't feel he is presenting himself as "some great expert on the Christian faith." I feel he's presenting himself as just another Christian struggling with the same issues with which we all struggle.

            Also, it doesn't seem to occur to you that God might be using John precisely because of all his flaws and foibles. In this world of self-righteous, sanctimonious Christians who are firmly convinced that they are the only ones who are really worshiping God and that everybody else is worshiping the other guy, maybe John's down-to-earth attitude (even earthiness) is exactly what is necessary to bring people to Christ who otherwise might not be remotely interested. I've always said that God is ruthless in his love and will use means and methods that appall and dismay us more prissy creatures.

          • Kara

            Perhaps John doesn’t think this was sexual immorality.

            Okay, a point to be made: Scripture is never freaking clear. It’s a compilation of “books” written millennia ago in languages that both have a stunning degree of ambiguity in them. And we don’t know who wrote them. And we don’t know who fiddled with their content after that. And even if no one did, we don’t know if God actually liked the stuff people put in there. And if you quote scripture at me to persuade me that God inspired the Bible, the circular reasoning will make my head explode.

            I’m over this. I’m sick of mainstream Christians telling me that I’m the problem here, when they’re the ones who’ve been running the show for decades (and how well that’s turned out!). We don’t need freaking missionaries, we need the Christians we have to take Remedial Not-Being-an-Ass.

            I’m not treating Christianity like a buffet, I’m trying to find the truth. I’m not picking the parts that I like, or that are easy. Is it easy to believe that Hitler’s goes to heaven and that every other villain in history will too? No, that sucks, from my human point-of-view. But I believe all people will one day be restored to God, because God is capable of genuine forgiveness.

            Don’t say my faith is easy or convenient. It’s harder to believe in a world with shades of gray to be navigated than to believe everything’s an easy black and white.

          • Diana A.

            Love this!

          • Anne

            Couldn’t have said it better!

          • http://spiritualmeanderings.wordpress.com/ Sentinel

            As Diana has pointed out, John's not presenting himself as a theological expert. He's presenting himself as a Christian.

            That means he's a flawed human being who doesn't have all the answers, often has trouble even engaging with the right questions, messes up, struggles through life the best he can, has things in his past he's not proud of, has things in his past he shouldn't be proud of but is, and regularly fails to live in the way that Jesus calls us to.

            Just like me, Billy Graham and Mother Theresa.

            Just like any other Christian.

            Honesty is far more important than fluffy moralising. If you're going to write a blog which says, "Hey, I'm a Christian, and these are some of the aspects of me," then I think it's less useful to present a sanitised and blandly inoffensive facade than a "warts and all" portrait.

            On my own blog I recently wrote a post about sin and babies. Now, if someone has just lost an infant child, I think that post will make for some pretty horrible reading. And I think that many people will find it offensive. But I also think that there were some important issues there, and that the topic is worth discussing. If I endlessly worry that I'll offend someone, I'll never write anything in a public space.

          • http://audioarchives.blogspot.com spinetingler

            I think John is clearly following one of the two commandments that Jesus gave: You shall love your neighbor as yourself.

    • http://www.johnshore.wordpress.com John Shore

      Thank you, Diana and Denver, very much.

  • denver

    I am suddenly reminded of the South Park episode where they confronted the whole “it’s different for boys”/”it’s different when it’s a woman” attitude when it comes to older teacher/younger student relationships. It being South Park, of course, it was Ike and the kindergarten teacher instead of a high school student. But the whole episode, Kyle is trying to get the authorities or somebody to stop the teacher, and at first they’re all, “Oh my God! A student is being taken advantage of by a teacher! What’s his name?” …and Kyle says it’s not a he, it’s Miss whoever, the kindergarten teacher. Inevitably, they’re like… wow… she’s kind of hot… niiiiice. The whole episode, every man in South Park’s reaction is “niiiiiice.” And they nod their head. Kyle is like, what the hell??! LOL…

  • http://ricbooth.wordpress.com Ric Booth

    And you didn’t cuss. I mean, that’s gotta count for something.

    • http://www.johnshore.wordpress.com John Shore

      You can imagine all the stuff about this story I’m NOT sharing, for fear of … well, whatever. Like about how that night I got what is easily the largest scar on my body: it runs for about five inches upward, starting at about a quarter of the way down my right butt cheek. I bled, man. And didn’t even almost care. But that scar is one of my memories of that night that is still very definitely with me.

      • http://ricbooth.wordpress.com Ric Booth

        Maybe you could post a picture of that scar. oh wait. that would not benefit any audience.

        For some reason, I’m imagining spurs now.

      • http://ricbooth.wordpress.com Ric Booth

        Thanks for being honest, John. And thanks for not twisting it into a sermonette.

        • http://www.johnshore.wordpress.com John Shore

          Well, you know what happens when I try to sermonize: Why I Don't Run a Ministry. (And thanks, friend.)

  • peet

    Dear Penthouse,

    I know you’ll find this hard to believe, but it actually happened to me….

    • http://www.johnshore.wordpress.com John Shore

      I really shouldn't share this–especially here, now–but I can't resist. Here's my, "Porno Letters to Men’s Magazines: True Stories, Or Normal Guys Lying Like Dogs?"

      • Marie

        I am crying so hard my nose is running!!!! "ANGELA"!!! Omg, my ribs hurt! Thank you!!!!

        • http://www.johnshore.wordpress.com John Shore

          Ah, a runny nose. Nature's ways of reminding us that we're giant lubricant dispensers.

          Yeah, I'm gonna stop writing things now.

  • Melissa

    I would lose my mind if I thought my son was having sex with his teacher! You are (and were) fine with the situation, obviously. So that's a good thing. What made me absolutely crazy was the conversation with your stepmother. Did she give you a high five on the way out? Way to go there, Mom. The only ass that teacher would have seen that night would have been the ass I made of myself when she opened her door. "So, you wanna have sex with my boy, do you? Well, you let me know if you still feel like it after I beat your ass…." (I grew up in a small, southern town and that's pretty much the way it would be handled :) Adults in authority taking advantage of kids (willing or not) is so disturbing for me. I'm glad that in your case, everything turned out fine. However, I think what your teacher did was very wrong. Man, I sound like such a prude but I swear I'm not ;)

    • http://www.johnshore.wordpress.com John Shore

      No, I know you're not. You're great. And, actually, that was about the only time I can recall that my stepmother and I actually sort of almost got along for a moment. It's totally one of my better memories of her.

  • http://robinjester.wordpress.com robinjester

    two things:

    i find it amusing that people can feel they expect anything from a blog. how did we get here exactly?? no matter who the writer is, the elevation of what is put “in print” should still hold more weight or whatever than what we throw up (read:hurl) onto a wordpress post.

    secondly, damn. you know, it reinforces to me what a crazy gender-biased society we are. if i posted a blog saying i seduced a 17 yr old when i was teaching at a local high school, i am pretty sure people would have my head regardless of how old i was (i was 22 when i had my first teaching gig). i am very glad that you were not only not traumatized by this but probably a much more mentally healthy person when it comes to sex because of this. i would venture to say a high percentage of people could not possibly fathom how an experience like this would make you understand more than less about The Sex.

    good posting, dude ;)

  • http://robinjester.wordpress.com robinjester

    *people feel they can expect

    sometimes my typing is too fast for my brain.

  • CGM

    Dude: decidedly UNcool from the perspective of one (huh?) of your girlfriends! ;-)

    I went to school with John & can confirm that this sort of thing was not all that unusual, though. Unlike today, most seventeen year olds in 1975-76 were definitely closer to being adults than to being kids. Seventies high school seniors were like today's college seniors. In fact, I had a few friends who were living on their own, fully supporting themselves, as soon as they hit 18. Furthermore, just like the story cited by one of the commenters above, we had a science teacher who married one of his students soon after she turned 18. Apparently, it turned out to be a successful marriage.

    Please understand–I'm certainly not advocating this sort of thing. It was a different time, that's all. Many seventeen year-olds–John among them–were pretty much grown up and were soon to shoulder the full responsibilities of adulthood. As for today?? It's a completely different story. Although teens today are generally more knowledgeable about the wide world of sexual ACTS, they seem, to me at least, to be far younger, overall, in their outlook toward building relationships.

    I love your blog, John! And I'm so grateful to see my old, sweet friend using his gifts to make the world a kinder place. Bravo!

    • http://www.johnshore.wordpress.com John Shore

      CGM: Speaking as someone who knows that if anyone in this world knows exactly how mature I was in high school, it's you, please allow me to from the bottom of my heart say thank you for being so willing to completely lie to the world about how mature I was in high school.

      • CGM

        Hey, now! Stop calling me a liar!

        That wasn't a lie. It's my true perception of who you were. I wouldn't lie to defend your character (or anyone else's), although I might choose to keep my mouth shut when sharing my personal observations would not serve anyone. At any rate, the truth will always be bathed in the light of the heart that views it.

        Sometimes you can judge yourself too harshly, John. I remember a whip-smart, funny, young charmer, who was doing his best to grow into a kind & loving man. Your home certainly didn't offer an abundance of compassionate guidance! Yet, silly as you could be, it was clear that you were very earnestly attempting to raise yourself to be a good man. A few missteps along the way don't even matter over the long road, so don't waste a minute focusing your memory on those. I don't. :-)

  • Susan

    John, at first read I felt so sad for you, going through an experience like that at such a young age. Then I read that you thought your relationship with your teacher was a great thing. And you added that you are still ok with how things transpired at the time. And now I just feel confused.

    My sexual life started in 82, just as HIV was first being found in men in San Francisco. Today, sexually transmitted diseases are rampant. My kid is 15. I'd prefer he had as few sexual partners as possible, if only because of the germ risks.

    Even given what you know now, as a married adult, you still feel that your experience with your teacher was a good thing? I know it was a different time and place. But when you think of the risks you were exposed to, well it just makes me shudder. I'm not criticizing. I just don't get it. I'm just glad that you are ok with the whole thing, and nothing bad happened.

  • Jeanine

    g

  • Susan

    Saw the title of this post earlier today. Went to read it and somehow ended up in the comments first and read this.

    “And all I can say is… wow. The grown-ups in this story leave a lot to be desired. Your teacher… your stepmother… The whole scenario was wrong on so many levels.”

    I thought to myself, “holy crapoly… a teacher AND his step-mother and he was in high school?” So, when I actually read your blog, it was much tamer than expected. Weird. I felt several emotions while reading it. Amused, slightly disturbed, nostalgic, and vicariously mischievous. Kinda miss those carefree wonder years, y’know?

    If I had kids, I’d not wish this scenario for them (especially not a daughter) …

    But we watch movies & read books with an attitude that is far more accepting of sexuality/decadence, far less tolerant of human indignities and far more compassionate than in real life. It makes me wonder if there is a certain unspoken obligation of judgment that we are free from when our minds are engaged on the story, on the slice-of-life and not on the person and the baggage we subconsciously transfer onto them.

    I can see why some people would be taken aback by your blog, John, because it’s not what a “Christian should espouse” and I’m sure I might’ve felt that way a few years ago. But I guess now I just appreciate that you’re a human who happens to be a Christian who doesn’t bear false witness to who you are.

    Thank you.

    • Susan

      JS – I know you weren't advocating anything. Was just doing that stream of consciousness thing again, which is not conducive to commenting on blogs.

      • http://www.johnshore.wordpress.com John Shore

        No, listen, I found your comment very sweet and touching. And my whole BLOG is one huge exercise in stream-of-consciousness writing. When I sat down at my desk this morning, I didn't think, "I think I'll write the story of how I lost my virginity." I had no idea what I'd write. So I looked at the calender, and saw it was Sept. 3. So then I figured school must be starting. So I wrote the first sentence. Which led to the second—and then the third. Then I was done. That's pretty much how I always do it.

  • John G

    A good narrative and bold to share it.It has me wondering if age is the only issue. Back in high school (early 60′s), a male student teacher got a 17 y/o student pregnant. Her mom disowned her and she moved on with an older sister. There was not an issue about age here or even having sex. Just that they weren’t married when they had sex and he didn’t marry her. She had the baby, but his family took her.

    • http://www.johnshore.wordpress.com John Shore

      Yikes. Awful.

  • Janine

    Amazingly brave or bold of you to post this story Josh – I can't decide which. You're a great writer. My hat's off to you. But the story is very personal and the lightness and almost irreverence with with you share it is – I really don't know what to say. I thought, "He's pretty well adjusted and unbelievably OK with this in order to be able to share about it in- well – a blog post." But truthfully, I was not honestly OK with your step-mom's non-nonchalant and almost "I could care less what you do with you sexuality" endorsing attitude about the whole thing. That she, or anyone in your family that cared for your well being, wouldn't say that maybe this isn't the right thing to do – and why – is stunning to me. Your sexuality and sharing of yourself in such an intimate way is not worthless or meaningless or simply " a good time", unless you start to think about it in that way. So although it is your story, I can't imagine, on a personal level, it would be everyone's ideal story. You can say, wow – sex anytime with anyone is great and this experience was so casual and cool… regardless of consequence. But intimacy is just that – intimate. And it always will have a consequence and impact. If you care about sex and not the person, someone is devalued. I couldn't help but think 'they're values'. Things we value and have a reason to care about. I don't know what else to say, other than, I wish you all the best on your journey. Not sure if your glamorized and all-around parent approved version of the loss of virginity is the moral life lesson others should follow. At least you're being honest. Personally, I believe this had more of an impact on you than you think.

    • http://www.johnshore.wordpress.com John Shore

      Here's something I've written in the thread above somewhere, that covers some of what you've talked here about, Janine:

      Here’s the truth: this affair wasn’t, for me, anything but good. I knew this woman. We were friends. By that point in my life I’d had lots and lots of girlfriends; there wasn’t anything about sex I didn’t know, and except for The Ultimate Act, had done everything, lots. I don’t know how to say this except to say it, but I was emotionally and even intellectually mature—or certainly, at any rate, mature enough to handle this. Without making ANY declaration about ANYTHING beyond my personal, little, limited life, I’m saying this was a great thing for me. Most people’s first experience about this isn’t all that great; mine was wonderful. It was a GIFT I got. If you read me at all, you know I’m extremely sensitive to sexual dynamics of all sorts—and especially to anyone being taken advantage of. It’s a huge part of what I’ve written. All I can ask is that you trust me: I was perfectly, happily okay with this. It was the OPPOSITE of traumatizing. It flattering to me; I liked this woman; we were friends; I had plenty of people in my life her age to whom I was close. It was just … fine.

  • Kara

    It’s distressing to me how little we trust seventeen year olds these days. (Take that at face value, please, and don’t make it more of a statement than it is.)

    Coercion, assault, lies/manipulation are not okay in sexual relationships at any age. But to say that age automatically and unconditionally makes this encounter wrong is, I feel, to insult John’s agency and autonomy. John seems to have no regrets, and it also seems that he knew what he wanted. I’m frustrated with the patronizing attitude taken towards teenagers and sexuality a lot of times these days.

    I’m not saying I think it was a wise choice on the part of John’s teacher. Or even a morally okay one. I’m not making a moral judgment here, because I wasn’t involved, John was, and he’s happy with the way things worked out. But I am saying that the US has a problem with the way it frames the sexuality of teenagers. It’s viewed as illegitimate or nonexistent, and IMO that’s insulting to a population that deserves more credit than they’re given.

    • Velvet

      I really liked how you phrased your response. I imagine you would be a good advocate for people, especially teenagers:)

    • http://www.johnshore.wordpress.com John Shore

      Ah … sanity. Thank you.

    • Ace

      I think the real problem is that with teenagers, emotional and intellectual development and maturity is ALL OVER the map.

      There are some mature 15 year olds out there who are as capable of making decisions for themselves as adults, and there are some 17 year olds who are still mentally/emotionally hanging out in the 5th grade. Most high school students fall somewhere in between those two extremes.

      The laws we have against under-18's having sex are meant to protect the weaker members of the group, I think. And that's not necessarily a bad thing.

      At any rate, the courts do not have the ability to discern the "adult" teens from the "kid" teens, so you have the system we have.

      • Kara

        If there are "kid" teens, it's because we have created them through laws like these. The notion of adolescence, the very concept of a teenager, is something that's developed only in the last century. And it's to everyone's detriment.

        If we stopped telling people aged 13-18 that they're still children, that they can't be trusted, that they need massive books of rules and laws to define what they're allowed to do, that they are incompetent? We will get exactly what we've predicted. Treating them high schoolers like competent individuals who are responsible for the things they do and say will create high schoolers who are competent and responsible, at least better than our current system does.

        There are 27 year old men who are mentally/emotionally hanging out at around the 5th grade. But it's not socially acceptable, and we don't give them a free pass or pass restrictive laws defining what they can do because of that fact. If it weren't socially acceptable (almost socially mandated) that "teenagers" be children? They wouldn't act so much like children. We're doing this to them.

        There is no difference in the eyes of the law between a three year old and someone who's a day away from their eighteenth birthday, with the exception of driving. I understand that any age of majority is going to be arbitrary, but I think that our arbitrary age is several years too high. That's what I believe.

        • tera

          Recently I’ve been learning about brain development and emotional maturity and what historically in the Judeo culture was expected of young people. At 13, they came into maturity and social standing as someone who was capable of discerning right from wrong and being held accountable for their actions – however, decisions were still made with the guidance of parental management. Before the age of 13 is called the “Age of Directives” where the parents tell them what to do and how to recognize right from wrong. They also learn it from watching their parents model the appropriate behavior and stories are passed down that teach right from wrong and the consequences of the choice one makes and how it affects the community and the individual.

          At the age of 30, they come into the “Age of Decision.” That means they are no longer need guidance from their parents or elders. But from the age of 13 until 30, the young members of the community are given guidance and feedback from parents and elders and this is called the “Age of Parental Management.” The elders pass down their wisdom and help the young people make “good” decisions that will serve them and their communities well and limit strife and ill-will among the community and promote responsible actions and uphold values and shared beliefs about social norms and constructs that bind people together and create an atmosphere of well-being.

          I agree with much of what was written about expecting more responsibly mature actions on the part of young people, but I don’t think that’s what the problem is. I think our young people aren’t being held responsible or having to face any social consequences for their choices. We have an attitude today that we should just allow them to do whatever they feel like doing and we accept and forgive them even when they do things that are wrong and irresponsible. Also, there is too much anonymity and too many adults who are immature because they didn’t have anyone to hold them accountable or model appropriate behavior and healthy boundaries and discipline over their emotions.

          Let’s not forget John having sex with his teacher was irresponsible and wrong, too. The teacher was absolutely wrong. Having casual sex is wrong. Does it happen, yes. But that doesn’t make it right.

          • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/johnshore/ John Shore

            I don’t know, though. I don’t know how casual it was. We were pretty close.

          • Molly By Golly

            Teens and adults are held responsible for their actions in our culture; every demographic study of our discipline systems from detention hall to super-max shows that the poor and minorities do indeed pay for their misteps. The children that power forgives, perhaps too easily, are its own. Good thing we’re all children of God.

        • Lowbrow Theologian

          its really distressing how many people are pissed off over what John has shared here, i think its awesome and the lady should be applauded,better to lose your virginity like this than drunk at a party with little recollection. Well done both of you.

      • Allie

        Interestingly the same laws did not protect my husband from signing up to fight in a war for four years starting at the age of 17, or my father in 1944 from doing the same at the age of 16. Make no mistake, the law is not about protection for THEM. It’s about control for US. We want young men and women to get killed in wars; we don’t want them to have babies. So we pass laws making it legal to do one and illegal to do the other.

  • Nancy

    As a college professor, many of my students were very near in age to me when I first started. And many of the young men in my classes were interested in me– probably less because I was cute, but more because I spoke to them of more consequential things than many of their peers. Thats is because it was my JOB. There is a level of "cool" that is granted by your students if you are not boring, are young, somewhat attractive, and have a sense of humor.

    It is a little bit flattering at first, and you do certainly recognize physical attractions, but you still don't act on it. Regardless of the age difference, there is a power difference. Subtle, maybe, but still there, and still a relationship based on an image of me that was a little bit worshipful. I don't think for an instant think that my students would have regretted a fling had I allowed it. But as their teacher, I would have been creepy. As I get older I still have worshipful students, even if I am not "cute". The sense of "wrongness" is even more obvious. I just hope that your teacher got out of the profession, or at least entered one more suited to her unique "needs".

    • SueTX

      I’m with you, Nancy. If this woman had been an insurance secretary or some other non related professional I wouldn’t have had much trouble with this story. Most 17 year old boys are able to seperate love from sex, so emotional involvement wasn’t too risky. However the step mother….well, enough said about that waste of breath!
      However, her being in a position of trust, and power makes this scenario just wrong.

  • http://ricbooth.wordpress.com Ric Booth

    It's interesting that we live in a country that says 17 year olds are old enough to serve their country (a.k.a., shot and kill another human being), yet some think THIS experience would be too traumatizing. I myself became an adult at age 14. Not by choice, just had to to survive.

  • amie

    While we're chatting about sex with minors… would some of you please check out the following:
    http://www.news.yahoo.com/s/yblog_upshot/20100903/us_ybl...

    And if, perhaps, some of you think it's necessary to call these people on their behavior, please check out:
    http://www.protect.org

    No child should be exploited.

  • Luciana

    Negligee.

  • Susan Golian

    OK, everything else aside, I just love the term "sex gown."

  • Andy

    My story isn’t nearly as interesting. Thanks for a good read!

  • Bud Buckhout

    seriously “sex gown” bahahahaha that was too funny lost mine on my wedding night

    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/johnshore/ John Shore

      You lost your sex gown on your wedding night? Did you ever find it? I keep mine balled up and pressed in a quart-size Baggie. It’s not good for it, but there are some issues I’d just rather not face. Or remember.

  • tom

    no teachers like that when I was 17…I got screwed! and not in a nice way..,

  • Ralph the Wonder Llama

    If you want to overlook the sexual misconduct, fine … but this woman should have been strung up by her thumbs for encouraging a minor to buy cigarettes.

    • Gordon

      Is it exhausting being a scold?

  • http://audioarchives.blogspot.com spinetingler

    Change the genders in the story and let the howling begin.

  • http://www.lostmyv.com Cristina

    Very well written; You have a great sense of humor ! I thought it was a great interpretation of your experience (apart from the legal ramifications of your story).

    I thought it was fascinating how you wrote “So, for me personally, it was just the perfect way to lose what was left of my virginity.” It seems like having sex completed the final step for losing your virginity. Interesting definition of virginity.

    There’s a website called LostMyV – http://lostmyv.com/ – where people share their stories about their first sexual experiences.

    They are trying to gather the wide variety of experiences that are out there. I encourage you to submit your intimate and unique story as it would be very enlightening to everyone. Thanks, and best of luck with everything!

  • Amy

    I believe a “sex gown” would be properly called a negligee.

    • Diana A.

      I love the term “sex gown” though. I think that’s just great!

  • Chase

    I respect those who have brought critique to this post. As well as those who mentioned the gender biases in our society. I’m well aware of the fact that this could have royally screwed you up (I guess the jury’s still out, right?).

    However, the 17 year old boy inside of me (at least the one who was up late looking at porn, not the one who wore a purity ring) just stood up and applauded you.

  • Brian W

    John, if it’s the teacher I’m thinking of, I remeber her – dude you would have been a god around school had we known. Of a student body of 2,500 kids, she picked you, you stud you!!

    • http://www.nightwares.com/ Warren

      You appear to be assuming that he was the only one.

      • Brian W

        Agree, so true, she probably had carnal knowledge with a few willing teenagers….

  • Rob Brunner via Facebook

    Haha! You make a good point.

  • http://www.facebook.com/KristiOutlerByrd Kristi Outler Byrd via Facebook

    Nothing like some John Shore to put a smile on your face. ( and I just finished “HA!” this morning…)

  • Holly Wells via Facebook

    Thanks for the candid story. Makes a mom think.

  • http://www.facebook.com/lawrence.prichard Lawrence Prichard via Facebook

    It has always amused me when people talk about “losing” virginity, when many (not all) of them relinquish it willingly!

  • Jeff Blackshear via Facebook

    Got it bad, got it bad…

  • http://www.facebook.com/Agingstoner Robert Dingus-Deville via Facebook

    She should have waited until his 18th birthday, but I guess she needed the cigarettes immediately:)

  • http://www.facebook.com/gaychristian Gay Christian via Facebook

    …and the moral of the story? Always use a sleeping bag.

  • Nancy Johnson via Facebook

    Geez.

  • Liz

    I really appreciate this story. When I was 17 (in 1990) I spent the summer traveling with my boyfriend. My Mom took me to Victoria’s Secret to buy cute panties before the trip. It was super matter of fact that (of course) I was going to have an active sex life at 17. Yeah it wasn’t with a teacher but whatever, people are people, and this story was one person’s in particular. It is neither advocating or dissuading any behavior. It’s about an experience. A real one. It’s not an after school special. Thank God.

  • Alex Hedgepeth via Facebook

    sex sells, man

  • http://www.facebook.com/john10423 John Gragson via Facebook

    Well, not to be ignorant, but if you put it out there, they will share.

  • http://www.facebook.com/gordon.herzog Gordon Herzog via Facebook

    I’m glad your stepmother let you go, although I’m sure she would not have been able to stop you even if she had tried. But, your stepmother was a beast and I kind of sort of pretty much hate her.

  • Ken Leonard via Facebook

    For the record, I read it when it was first posted and have tried really, really hard to forget the story. I sure haven’t shared it.

  • http://www.facebook.com/NEWolfe Nathaniel Wolfe via Facebook

    that.was.hot.

  • http://www.facebook.com/JohnShoreFans John Shore via Facebook

    Ken: well, for what it’s worth, since first publishing it I’ve so often edited it I’ve practically rewritten it since then. Perhaps you’d now find it more palatable?

  • inotowok

    it horrifies me to think that today this woman could be arrested and imprisoned for a long period of time. upon release she would be listed as a sex offender and her life would probably be ruined. the law does not differentiate between this consensual youthful de-flowering and child molestation.

  • Elizabeth Fullerton via Facebook

    Come to think of it, I shared it back in the day. I was impressed by a Christian who dealt frankly with sex and adolescence without shaving off the rough edges for a moral.

  • Meg

    Oh dear…I’m turning 20 in a few days and I have to say that this is really gross. Sorry John I really respected you before but this article wasn’t my cup of tea at all.

    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/johnshore/ John Shore

      Never let your reason for losing respect for someone be that they told the truth.

      • Meg

        I guess that much is true, at least you were honest about it. But it’s not easy being a virgin in a world where everyone is ALWAYS constantly pressuring you to have sex. I’m tired of getting picked on because I want to wait when it’s nobody else’s business. I keep trying to pressure myself into doing it with my boyfriend because I’m tired of always being the odd one out but it’s so scary. I only want to bang one person in my life that I really love, but it’s so hard to wait…I don’t know why I can’t stop being a big baby and do it.

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/johnshore/ John Shore

          You’re not being a baby. You get to wait as long as you want.

        • stranger

          That is extremely respectable. I would wife you in a heartbeat, you’re what every good guy worth being with would want forever. You’re right about the pressure and society but just because society is going down the gutter doesn’t mean you have too, props to you

  • http://www.facebook.com/mwdaugherty Melissa Webster Daugherty via Facebook

    It made me crazy when I first read it in 2010 and yep, it still pisses me off when I read it today. That teacher wouldn’t have known what hit her. Instead of getting some sweet, young boy at her door, she would have gotten some mom fist in her mouth. Disgusting women both of ‘em….

    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/johnshore/ John Shore

      I was hardly a “sweet young boy,” Melissa–though I understand and appreciate where you’re coming from. But … no. I was lucky she was there when she was.

  • Magnus

    So what year was that :)?

  • xldl

    daaaamn awesome

  • harrisco

    It turned out to be “just….fine” — and that is good, and actually a relief. This same scenario does not turn out fine in other situations–and that is why the story is troubling. I was waiting for the transition statement in the story, where John learned that some monsters are alluring, wear sex gowns and coo in your ear–where he learns that the most attractive people are really the least attractive, and that some of them turn sex into power and manipulation rather than intimacy. I am glad it did not turn out that way, that it was all fine, but the set-up was there…. Teacher calls somebody she knows is vulnerable and eager to answer, whose stepmother is both knowing and permissive, somebody dweeby enough to be easy prey for the of-all-the-guys-in-school-she-picked-me routine. She adds some alcohol and cigarettes to help make the non-adult feel like an adult. She calls him a hero. (Of course he felt flattered, studly, like he had received a sexual gift–but what does that fact suggest about the underlying dynamics of the relationship? ) She knew exactly what she was doing, John says. She did. She was a manipulator–and, even if the story ended up fine in John’s assessment, he did end up becoming a sexual call-out service for her for six months. He may have told himself it was by mutual assent, but with a skilled manipulator and a naive kid, I doubt it was a relationship of equality and mutuality–and it was perhaps not as fine as John recalls. I do not say this as criticism or judgment of John. Memories are selective things, and manipulators as skilled as the carefully backlit teacher are good at shaping stories in their favor. If the teacher is cast here as rather benevolent and friendly more than victimizing, that is the sort of post hoc mental trickery an expert manipulator invites. In short, John, you seem to be rationalizing becoming someone else’s sexual plaything. Even now, you probably do not fully realize what happened when that phone rang the first time.

    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/johnshore/ John Shore

      But … I wasn’t dweeby; I wasn’t particularly emotionally or physically vulnerable; drinking and smoking didn’t make me feel like I was an “adult” (I’d been smoking since I was ten and not exactly a stranger to alcohol); my relationship with the woman was by mutual assent; I wasn’t particularly naive; she wasn’t “victimizing”; the experience was exactly as I remember it; I’m not rationalizing anything; and I fully realize what happened “when the phone rang that first time.”

      But other than all that, astute analysis.

      • Alliecat04

        I’m a huge fan of letting people define what happened to them. If you, as an educated, experienced, and (to my eye) mentally healthy adult, say you weren’t molested, then I think you get to say that and have people believe it.

        However, as someone who has known two other men who were in sexual relationships with teachers which they did consider to be abusive, I kind of feel this lady is in the position of a drunk who wakes up the next morning with the car sideways on the lawn and wonders how she got home from the bar. Sure, no one died THIS TIME, but that doesn’t mean it was a good idea. The question I’d like to know the answer to is why she picked you, and not someone her own age, with her own level of life experience and understanding of relationships. I can think of several possible answers to that question and none are very flattering to her.

        So, just for contrast, assuming this story is how to make it with a teenage student without scarring him for life, here’s how not to do it. Don’t, as a female coach, pick out one of three black boys in a private school, call him in for “disciplinary action” after everyone else has gone home, and tell him you’ll let him off if he gives you what you want. Also don’t use a 15-year-old student as a comfort object when your husband leaves you, and then involve him in seventeen layers of drama when your husband comes back, get pregnant by him, and have him grow up in the same town with his biological son who doesn’t know about him. Those are the stories of the guys I know who made it with teachers. Both think the teachers should have gone to jail.

  • Neel Choudhary

    you are such a lucky person!!!!!

  • J. Arr

    Per current laws, sentencing: 1st or 2nd degree felony, 5-10 years in prison,must serve at least 85% before being considered for release, Megan’s law registration, parole for life supervision, possible GPS tracking, strict travel, internet usage limitations, loss of teaching license, life of poverty, etc.. No matter if you press charges or not. I’ve seen people’s and their family’s lives ruined from punishment for much lesser crimes and no intent. If I made the laws, her punishment: loss of license, 6 months of jail, and full expungement thereafter. Yours: 3 months in juvenile detention, full expungement (yes, it should be a two-way crime). Politicians make the laws though.

    • http://johnshore.com/ John Shore

      J: You’d have locked me away for three months. Wow. Glad you don’t make any laws.

      • J. Arr

        I wouldn’t have locked you up at all. It’s just a compromise between the current system using consistent reasoning. Using the current logic, you should have been locked up for 10 years. But consistent logic doesn’t apply. It’s more political.

    • http://www.GenesisGospel.com/ John Robbins

      Politicians create laws in order to create criminals because the criminal justice system is a multi-trillian dollar for-profit industry that preys on its citizens in order to make political bigots rich. Can you imagine how many sex crimes politicians, lawyers, judges and police officers commit every day? But, of course, the laws don’t apply to those who enforce them.

      • J. Arr

        John Walsh, from America’s Most Wanted was in his early 20′s when he began dating his current wife. He was fooled into believing she was 23 but was actually 16 and met at a bar in New York. Being that he met at a bar, I highly suspect he had sex with what is considered an underaged girl. He would have been sentenced to more that 5 years in prison, and been on the sex offender registry. Perhaps his guilt makes him the biggest hypocrite, supporting blanket laws that stereotype people like him and ruin lives. Source: video interview on BIO.hd available on youtube

  • Moni

    LOL! Normally I don’t get entertained by blokes’ braggadocio stories, but given the context of THIS story, that is truly EXCELLENT! Well done :) :).

  • Jeremy Salleng

    This is an example of why the poison of religion is much more subtle then “militant atheist” often describe it as. It allows us to pretend that there are two sets of standards. One set for the “male” and another for the “female”. I want all those who were commenting on this story with “congrats!” and “this is awesome!” or even “He was a 17 year old boy of course he loved it” to now turn things around and imagine if this exact same article were written by not John…but someone named Elizabeth. Where, in the story, was she went to meet her male teacher at his house after her step father told her to “go for it.” What is your reaction in that case? Are you thinking about the story differently? Are your reactions different? Why or why not? When an older person prey’s on a younger person sexually it is not “hot” it is not “cool” it is not acceptable. Maybe John doesn’t feel like he was taken advantage of….but one instance of one person not feeling taken advantage of does not make this sort of behavior alright. There are a million ways this story could have ended differently. There have been a million ways this story HAS ended differently. Perpetuating this myth that teen boys like and or deserve having older persons prey on them sexually is disgusting. It is not acceptable for adults to use children as a sexual outlet. Period.

    • Ellen

      Couldn’t agree more

    • http://johnshore.com/ John Shore

      But … who said anything about religion? And do you really think the gross imbalance of power between men and women doesn’t exist outside of “religion”?

      • Jeremy Salleng

        Of course imbalances of power exist outside religion. But it requires religion to be enshrined in the tenants and belief’s of a modern society. There is no logical reason to have two sets of sexual conduct standards. Only imaginary ones.

    • Unah

      I agree with you, but I actually do know an “Elizabeth” that had a similar experience. I went to college with a girl who had a sexual relationship with her high school band teacher. It started her senior year, and they had a short lived marriage a few years later. I don’t think she ever regretted anything except the marriage. The reality is sometimes young people can handle these types of experiences, and others can’t. And when it is bad it can be really bad. I personally view these types of relationships as predatory regardless of gender, or whether or not someone is harmed.

  • Balooh

    What a really naughty teacher!..lol

  • Susan A

    I’m glad that worked out for you. I lost mine to my music teacher between 7th and 8th grade. The relationship continued through the 9th grade, after which I went to a conservatory in another state. I can force myself to remember the relationship fondly but that’s a short lived contrivance as my mind tends to snap-back to reality when I see the scars on my wrists, or lay awake at night wondering why – at the age of 46 – I still can’t spend more than two evenings under the same roof with another human being without becoming terrified. Developmental Trauma Disorder – the version of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder that is permanent – has been a wonderful gift for insuring an empty life of almost unbearable loneliness.

    • Bones

      Did you ever report him?

      • Susan A

        “Her”, and no, I’m a transgender. My earliest memory is of my mother bringing down the hammer on my delusion of being a girl. The teacher and my mother were friends and embracing my behavior was the teacher’s way of insuring I wouldn’t be turning on her. It was an excellent tactic. She paid a price for it, though. I spent enough time with the family that I came to be considered a foster brother to the 3 children. When I left the state I swore I’d never speak to anyone from my home town, again. And didn’t until last year – 25 + years. One of the children found me on Facebook. It turned out there was enough suspicion of the affair that it tore the family apart and interestingly, I’ve ended up chatting a couple times with the woman. She was terrified for years that she’d come home to a waiting police car as my mother had found out when I was 20 and made her ire well known. I didn’t know about any of that….which was an odd feeling.

  • shaktari

    yeah, no. never gonna say a high school teacher having sex with a student is a good thing. don’t care how well-adjusted you turned out – lots more end up with serious mental and emotional health issues. it’s like saying “i was spanked and i turned out great!” well yeah, fine, but just because you’re “ok” doesn’t mean your child will end up fine if you hit them.

  • Steve B.

    I read through so many responses that say this encounter could have ended differently, so therefore at least one party needs to be punished. Any sexual encounter or relationship has the potential to end badly. Should everyone who engages in such behavior be punished? because it has the potential to hurt?

    The writer engaged in a consensual relationship with his mistress, and both got exactly what they desired from it and were happy both in the moment as well as much later in life. Neither party is deserving of lifelong punishment and stigma as a result of this, and neither deserve my judgement. My agreement with and moral sanction of their actions is irrelevant. It is not my place to tell them they cannot do what makes them happy. I say that based SOLELY on this story and the information at hand, and NOT based on any other situation, hypothetical or otherwise.

  • http://zzapp.com JonsBlog

    On collection day as a paperboy at age 13, one of my female customers
    “invited me in” for apparently the same sort of encounter. She was
    wonderfully seductive and terribly disappointed when I courteously
    declined. I chuckled as I left her front porch, and later found the
    entire encounter hilarious (as I still do) because … I’m gay, and
    couldn’t possibly have been less interested in her ;-)

  • spinetingler

    “Seventeen-year-olds are children by law.”

    Except when they are tried as adults. Or depending on the state or country, where the age of consent varies from 14 to 18.

    • http://www.GenesisGospel.com/ John Robbins

      Mary was most likely 13 or 14 when she had Jesus.

      • spinetingler

        Immaculately, though!

  • http://laReader48.blogspot.com tomtul2

    You say this was a good first sexual experience. Can you explain why it was good? In view of the fact that many moralities discourage no-strings sex, not just fundamentalist Christianity.

  • Shawn

    Sorry. I was a very young high school teacher (22) and there is no scenario where it would have been appropriate for me to do this to a student. There’s a power balance between teacher and pupil and you can screw with kids’ heads if you’re not careful.

    • http://www.GenesisGospel.com/ John Robbins

      I’m not sure it was his head she wanted to screw with. Just saying.

  • Kyrie-Eleison Rodriguez

    what the hell did i just read?

    • http://johnshore.com/ John Shore

      Um … is this a trick question?

      • Kyrie-Eleison Rodriguez

        i… *sigh* i dont know what i expected.


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