Recently I was asked to participate in a private discussion with 15 other national leaders surrounding the topics of sexuality and theology. The group was made up of a few straight conservative evangelicals, a few straight progressive (“liberal”) evangelicals, a few straight mainline clergy members, a couple of academics, an HIV/AIDS physician, a Clinical Sexologist a gay celibate author or two and some GLBT clergy. Over the three days we met, there was an unbelievable array of topics covered – and more than a few thought provoking statements. Over the next little bit here, I want to process some of the things that I was challenged by, disagreed with and was put to task over. I look forward to engaging some of these wild constructs and experiences. Here’s Part 1:
On the topic of being in an intimate relationship, one person commented that:
When it comes to ‘sex and Christian education’ the topic of sex, when mentioned in the Church, leads to a sexual self-loathing – the constant negativity of sex before marriage skews thought processes such that in many cases there ends up being a huge negative impact on sex inside of marriage, even after couples waited until marriage, just because ‘sex negative’ was ingrained in people’s lives from the time they were young. Thesis being: Church needs to focus on ‘sex positive’ in marriage rather than ‘sex negative’ before marriage.
Personally, I had never thought of such a process before. But it makes sense. Looking in my own life, it was definitely strange to have sex for the first time, and times after that. I felt bad. Dirty. Guilty. I was confused about those feelings and didn’t like them because that was the moment with my new wife that I shouldn’t have felt any of those things. A sex positive educational process inside the church sure makes a lot of sense retrospectively. And before anyone comments I just want to say best-case-scenarios in churches are a great idea (as many in churches think they do a great job), but reality speaks differently in many situations.
What do you think?