An orientation for single sexuality: The ‘do’s’ of purity

http://www.themennonite.org/issues/16-10/articles/An_orientation_for_single_sexuality_The_dos_of_purity

Braun Karla sm

OMG, so many amazingly good quotes in this article:

This isn’t to say I’ve stopped believing marriage marks an important boundary for healthy sexual activity. However, I find my parameters not through a checklist of don’ts, but by discovering who and what God calls us—as embodied souls—to be and do.

I’m convinced that the best thing the church can do to encourage holy living is to help us follow Jesus, not a spouse.

I don’t need rules about (not) having sex: I need the church to help me reject the lie that desire is the most important thing.

…I’m not waiting—for a spouse, for sex, for my own little nuclear family. I’m learning what it means to be a Christ follower, distinct from the patterns of the world, active in service, in relationships with others.

Read full article here (highly recommended): http://www.themennonite.org/issues/16-10/articles/An_orientation_for_single_sexuality_The_dos_of_purity

Why have young people in Japan stopped having sex?

http://www.theguardian.com/world/2013/oct/20/young-people-japan-stopped-having-sex

For their government, “celibacy syndrome” is part of a looming national catastrophe. Japan already has one of the world’s lowest birth rates. Its population of 126 million, which has been shrinking for the past decade, is projected to plunge a further one-third by 2060. Aoyama believes the country is experiencing “a flight from human intimacy” – and it’s partly the government’s fault.

Japanese man and woman lean away from each other

Image source and full article: http://www.theguardian.com/world/2013/oct/20/young-people-japan-stopped-having-sex

‘Asexuality: An Overview’ By Julie Decker Explains A Frequently Misunderstood Identity [VIDEO]

‘Asexuality: An Overview’ By Julie Decker Explains A Frequently Misunderstood Identity

Asexuality

This in-depth analysis and first-hand perspective sought to “explore the history of the asexual movement, uncover current research on asexuality, debunk common misconceptions and discuss the challenges the asexual community faces.”

Read full article here: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/10/22/asexuality-julie-decker_n_4143239.html

…people in [sexual] boxes labeled, “Christian, moral” and “Non-Christian, immoral.”

http://unchainedfaith.com/2013/10/14/the-opposite-of-christian/

selfish sex can occur within a marriage, too. Some people firmly believe they have the right to someone else’s body once they are married. Some pastors (ahem) even teach that. I would rather that two unmarried people have sex that honors one another’s autonomy than that two married people treat each other’s bodies with disrespect.

Felix_Vallotton_Interior_with_Couple_and_Screen_(Intimacy)

Image source and full article: http://unchainedfaith.com/2013/10/14/the-opposite-of-christian/

ROB BELL IS NOT A PROGRESSIVE: A (6 YEARS LATE) REVIEW OF “SEX GOD”

http://diannaeanderson.net/blog/2013/10/rob-bell-is-not-a-progressive-a-6-years-late-review-of-sex-god

But throughout his book, he dehumanizes women, voyeuristically using them as sermon illustrations, making assumptions about their lives, and even, at one point, implying that women who have/want sex outside of marriage are “cheap” and “easy.” (Full context: “She [the woman in Song of Songs] is fully in control of herself and she is not cheap and she is not easy.”)

maxresdefault

Image source and full article: http://diannaeanderson.net/blog/2013/10/rob-bell-is-not-a-progressive-a-6-years-late-review-of-sex-god

Four Norms for Just (Justice-based) Sex


A Justice-Based Sexual Ethic (Part 2)

http://trybestpractices.wordpress.com/2013/10/11/a-justice-based-sexual-ethic-part-2/

if I lie and promise a level of commitment that I have no intention of keeping [“Oh, baby, you know I love you and will love you forever…”] for the sole purpose of obtaining consent from someone [“so how about we make out tonight?”], that person is giving consent to something they might not otherwise if I had been completely truthful [“I’m really horny and you’re hot so how about we just suck face for a while?”]. My lie is a misrepresentation of my own concrete reality and thus, I am not obtaining free consent, I am coercing it.

LadyJustice4

Read full article here: http://trybestpractices.wordpress.com/2013/10/11/a-justice-based-sexual-ethic-part-2/

Christians Are Not Called to Have Amazing Sex [COUNTERPOINT!!!]

http://www.relevantmagazine.com/life/relationships/christians-are-not-called-have-amazing-sex

OMG, this post makes me so angry!

It starts well. Rachel Pietka begins by saying that

Although these conversations [that evangelicals are having about abstinence and sex] are evidence that Christians are forming a more candid, holistic and theologically sound discourse about sex, an area that still needs more attention is the far-reaching effects of abstinence rhetoric on marriage.

While the movement is great at detailing— and exaggerating—the benefits of saving sex for marriage, it is dishonest about the challenges abstinence presents to couples who eventually tie the knot.

Yes, totally – I couldn’t agree more!

Pietka then references a Salon post where the writer, Jessica Ciencin Henriquez talks about her own tragic story of abstinence-gone-wrong. It’s a story about sexual incompatibility, disappointment, and divorce. In her conclusion, Henriquez writes:

Without having sex before marriage, I blindly walked up an aisle and committed myself to a man who didn’t know me and gave my long-held virginity to someone with whom I had no more chemistry than a second cousin.

And here’s where the Pietka article flies off the rails into WTF-land. Out of nowhere, she makes the claim that

sexual compatibility does not matter to Christians when choosing a spouse…

Pietka doesn’t support this claim theologically, biblically, or any other way – probably because there is no support for it!

Now to be fair, what she’s trying to do is ensure that Christians don’t make good sex into an idol – “sex is not our God.” I’m down with that. However, when she goes on to say that in order to avoid sexual idolatry we need to be

willing to make a commitment to someone with whom we may be sexually incompatible, with whom we may never have good sex, because the purpose of marriage is not pleasure, but formation,

I want to tear my hair out. (And I like my hair.)

This. Is. Not. The. Gospel!

For one thing, Christ never said, “I came that they may have life, and have it indifferently.” No, he said that he came that we might have life abundantly!

And I have no idea where her claim that “the purpose of marriage is not pleasure, but formation” comes from. Even if we set aside the fact that she never substantiates this statement, it’s still indefensible. Because what kind of people are we being formed into if we’re called to live our lives in pleasureless marriages?

And then there’s this line:

Although sex is indeed God’s gift to us, Christians are not directly commanded by God to have great sex.

Well, yeah, okay, but the opposite is also true – that Christians are not directly commanded by God to have bad sex.

And then there’s this stunning statement:

Sexual incompatibility, therefore, is a cross that some couples bear, and Christian communities could lighten this burden if we made an effort to put sex in its rightful place. If sex were viewed as a gift that, like everything else in this world, is marred by sin, it may be easier for couples to accept that bad sex is neither a reason for divorce nor an excuse to stop investing in a marriage. As with other trials, bad sex is an opportunity to rejoice in suffering (1 Peter 4:13) and to be further conformed to the image of Christ (Romans 8:29).

I mean, in a nutshell, what Pietka seems to be saying is, “Be abstinent, wait until you’re married to have sex, and then if the sex is bad after that, well suck it up because at least you don’t have to hang on an actual cross – just a sexually unfulfilling cross. Sucks to live in a fallen world, doesn’t it?”

And no, bad sex is NOT an opportunity to rejoice in suffering! It is an opportunity to open up new lines of communication with your partner so that both of you can find and experience the pleasure that God designed our bodies to feel.

As Old Testament scholar, Tremper Longman notes in his commentary on the Song of Songs,

God is interested in us as whole people. We are not souls encased in a husk of flesh. The Song celebrates the joys of physical touch, the exhilaration of of exotic scents, the sweet sound of an intimate voice, the taste of another’s body… The Song affirms human love, intimate relationship, sensuality, and sexuality.1

In closing, I’d like to say that while I appreciate Pietka’s idea that we can’t worship sex (good or bad) above God, what she neglects is the idea that people like Peter Rollins are pointing out: that anything can become an idol, even purity, even marriage, even God.

Christians_and_amazing_sex

Image source and the article I’m critiquing: http://www.relevantmagazine.com/life/relationships/christians-are-not-called-have-amazing-sex