If you get a chance, read this blog –
Pardon the snark, it’s just I’ve had about 27.34 years too much of discussing sex in the terms of my religion, and I. Am. Tiiiiiiired. In fact, it’s a wonder I’m not in counseling at this point. Though that is next.
It seems the overwhelming popularity of exactly TWO recent media/pop culture events (“Magic Mike,” hereafter abbreviated as MM, and “50 Shades of Grey/Gray/whatever”) have left the Christian community split. There’s the sex (oops! I meant to type “set”) that says “Yeah! It’s totally awesome that Channing Tatum is taking his clothes off, as if he DOESN’T do that in EVERYOTHERMOVIEHEWASINEVER”, and then there’s the set left quivering in a cold sweat, in the corner, pacing around at the downfall of women, the apparent last bastion of chastity. What’s that show? “Teen Mom?” Nevermind.
I wasn’t a virgin when I got married. In fact, if the 16 yr. old virgin version (say that 10 times fast) could have had coffee with the 22 yr. old non-virgin-version of myself, the 16 yr. old version would have been hasty to heed the standard (albeit humorous) advice to “get thee to a nunnery.” Someone tell me where that reference originated, because I have long since forgotten where I heard it, but I never stop giggling at it. Anyhow, I wasn’t a virgin. Incidentally, neither was my husband, so don’t feel too bad for him for marrying a whore like me. Don’t get me wrong, we weren’t the WORST people on the face of the planet, by traditional standards. But we weren’t “pure” either – because apparently in the minds of a great many of my Christian brethren, having sex one time before marriage – or 5 or 50 or whatever your “number” is – is actually worse than any number of other sins you could commit. Ritual disembowelment of a litter of kittens comes to mind, but be creative. Sex is the worst sin evaaaar, no matter if the Bible says all sins are equal in the eyes of God. Nope, it’s gotta be sex (I’m being sarcastic here). Let’s trumpet that right to the top of our talking points and then talk about it all the freaking time until we have a nice, happy group of perfect people (or at least, people who lie about their past and their struggles, and hide all of the insecurity that produces), and we scare off all the imperfect ones! Yeah, that’s a way to make sure this 2,000 year old religion just keeps right on trucking!
Again, I know this all sounds terrible – really, I do. But I am exhausted. You know, the guilt issues I dealt with, particularly at the start of my marriage, were a
big hurdle to jump. I mean huge. The only two things that got me through it without me completely leaving the church were a) the acceptance of my husband, who married me – baggage and all – and has completely and endlessly kept his promise to love me and support me, and b) the Grace of my Savior. SO if you want to judge me, think I’m a terrible person, laugh at me, shoot me evil looks, you go right on ahead. My friends, if my struggles cause you one moment of feeling like you’re better than me somehow, you’ve got this whole thing wrong.
My struggles make ME better, because through each one I know that God is with me and that I have surrounded myself with people who matter and who make me better. So really, you go ahead.
Anyhow, back to the articles in question:
- For all my ranting about the oversaturation of discussions of and attention focused on SEX ( sex sex sex sex sex sex…), particularly within the church, I do agree with some of Melissa’s points in her blog. I have this friend who is a big proponent of orgasms and how they are the pathway to better marriages and better health – and she’s pretty much right. Ask Dr. Oz! It’s proven stuff, people! It’s just like with these preachers who make major media news for advocating that couples have sex “for 40 nights straight” (not continuously, just…ya know…per night). I think there’s even a TV show like that now, where a couple is challenged to do the durtydurty every night for a week or two. So when Melissa says people would probably be better off forwarding that money for a MM/50 Shades hoorah towards instead indulging in some sexy lingerie to enjoy with their hubby, or chocoalte-covered strawberries (or whatever you’re into, I don’t know and don’t care), she is kind of right. Why NOT enjoy that resource with your husband AND get yourself a “happy ending?” It’s not like Channing Tatum or Christian Gray/Grey (really, don’t care how his name is spelled) is going to appear in reality and take care of your needs. It’s not happening, ladies.
- I should again divulge, just for clarity and disclosure’s sake, that I have neither read the full text of “50 Shades” or seen the movie “Magic Mike.” I have, however, read a small excerpt of “50 Shades” and it’s the most godawful piece of trash ever. And not because it’s S&M, because it’s honestly – from my understanding of S&M – not even bonafide S&M, but rather some softened-up offshoot of S&M. But really, if you like having your hair pulled or whatever you’re into, just tell your man. I’m sure he’ll help you out. No need to put yourself through 300+ pages of poorly written, dumbed-down, psuedo-prose to get brief, meaningless intellectual sex-jollies that will end in…pffft. Nothing. Again – there’s no happy ending!!
- The whole “Mommy Porn” thing? I don’t get. I’m a mommy, and you know what is absolutely, stunningly, provocative and completely titillating to me? When I walk in the kitchen and my husband says “Hey hot stuff, don’t you worry with those dishes, I took care of them.” That. Is. HOT. It’s called “choreplay,” men. Study up. Other things way sexier than Channing Tatum being shirtless: My husband being an awesome dad, massaging that knot in my back for me (for the 11th time – I get really bad knots in my neck/back), or raving about how much he enjoyed the lasagna I made for dinner, or congratulating me on my pull-up form at the gym. We’re still dating in a lot of ways, and that’s fun. It’s the simple things, but they build a life that I love.
- I think the church needs to stop putting sex up as the ultimate sin. We hear all the time about lives ruined by premarital sex, but do we hear about the marriages ruined by the issues cultivated from a lifetime of this constant “Sex is Bad” religion monologue that is so steadily fed to us that it’s sometimes hard to cut it off and say “Oh, I’m married now – so it’s go time!” Yeah, well, I personally know people whose marriages have barely gotten off the ground because they just never were able to get comfortable with the idea that sex wasn’t bad. And that’s almost worse – that someone waited and held out and then got married and still felt overwhelmingly guilty about having sex with their spouse. Sure, I’ve heard people argue that some language in the bible suggests otherwise, and that it is indeed of the utmost importance. I’m not countering its importance – I’m countering its importance ABOVE ALL OTHER sins. I sometimes think maybe it’s our (the church and its body) favorite thing to talk about because we all have some big fuzzy issues to deal with when it comes to Christianity and sexuality.
If you want to get some really interesting reading, check out the HUGE comments sections at the bottom of the blogs linked. I promise you I’m not the only Christian woman who has some issues to contend with – we’re all here. We’re all a mish-mash of things. Sexy, guilty, lonely, overjoyed, used up (or users ourselves), full of faults, full of hope, depressed, addicted, amazed, disappointed, sick, healed, and just plain confused. Anyone who tells you they have this stuff figured out – be it life, marriage, motherhood, or Christianity – is LYING TO YOU. Don’t believe them. Believe this: We are all imperfect. Jesus didn’t come to save perfect people. He came to save dirtbags like me and you.