Thursday, May 3, 2012

Single, Saved & Having Sex


From Ebony:

Yolanda Jordan* remembers the moment she decided to have sex for the first time. She was 27, fresh out of grad school, in a committed relationship—and horny. She was also raised in the Baptist church and had taken a vow of abstinence. “I was curious,” says Jordan, now 34, a graphic designer in Columbus, Ohio. “My mind was telling me one thing, my body another. I was grown [and] longing to be touched. I am not perfect; I struggle with sin. I strive to live a righteous life. Just because I have a Bible on my nightstand and condoms in the drawer doesn’t mean I love God any less or that He doesn’t love me.”


Many Christian youths who signed abstinence pledges or wore purity rings reach a crossroad as young adults. They are faced with upholding Biblical principles against sex outside of marriage during an era when the average age of first marriage creeps toward 30. Celibacy may be even tougher for singles who have splashed around in the pool of fornication long before dedicating their lives to Christ. More are asking, “Am I really condemning my soul to eternal damnation by getting my freak on Saturday night and praising the Lord on Sunday morning?” As many as 80 percent of young unmarried Christians have had sex, according to Relevant, a magazine for Christians aged 18 to 30.

Even as they uphold abstinence as ideal, religious leaders can no longer ignore the elephant in the sanctuary. From a newsletter published by pastor Creflo Dollar: “There was a time when … marriage was honored and respected ... and sexual relationships outside of marriage were certainly not accepted as the norm. However, times have changed … values have moved away from the standard of God’s Word because of selfishness.” Last year’s Jumping the Broom, produced by Bishop T.D. Jakes, opened with Paula Patton’s character regretting her decision to have casual sex the night before. The romcom portrays her finding true love and deciding with her fiancĂ© to abstain until their wedding day. It was Jakes’ decision to include the morning-after scene, Patton told The Christian Post. “We make mistakes, but the goal is to become better [people].”

But finding a Christian man who is actually willing to wait may be easier onscreen. Single father John Fitzgerald, 29, acknowledges the difficulty in putting faith before flesh and has even ended relationships because of the woman’s decision to remain abstinent. “Yes, it’s wrong, [but] I’m still doing it,” he says. “It’s something I struggle with in my personal relationship with God. People say, ‘Don’t make sex such a big deal,’ but for a lot of people, it’s a deal breaker.”
 Read the rest here. Sigh. Okay, we all know (almost) everyone is doing it, but that still doesn't make it right. It's discouraging to read Yolanda's rationalizing. Yeah, God still loves you. That's the first thing you pretty much learn in the nursery Sunday School. Duh. But God's love does not void God's will.

And John... dumping a chick for not giving it up? Double sigh and a SMH.

Now before I get accused of "judging", I'm not casting any stones. Lord knows He's not finished with me yet. But to deny fornication is a sin is wrong. Scripture says it best:

Flee from sexual immorality. All other sins a man commits are outside his body, but he who sins sexually sins against his own body. Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your body.

1 Corinthians 6:18-20

8 comments:

globetracer said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Alisha De Freitas said...

Globetracer, this is embarrassing but I accidentally deleted your comment. I approved it but clicked the wrong link and... Whoops! I am so sorry! But I agree with what you wrote!

Mea culpa! That was fat fingers on a iPad slip.

Jesus-in-the-city said...

I had the same feeling of regret for these people when reading this. From my personal experience in a Christian marraige where neither of us married as virgins but we did abstain from having sex with each other before we were married, I can say, wholeheartedly, premarital sex is not worth it!

God doesn't give us commandments, warnings, teachings and direction to hurt us, hinder us, cramp our style or harm us in any way. It's not possible that God "just doesn't understand." Thats the beauty of Jesus Christ. He faced every temptation and did not sin. He was a fearless leader and teacher and miracle maker who had many followers, male and female. It is a lie to believe that Jesus wasn't tempted in EVERY way. But He died a virgin at 33. The most important thing to Him was the will of Hs Father and if we are going to be Christ followers, that needs to be the most important thing to us as well.

If anyone is reading this and happens to be struggling with this, let me tell you, it's not worth it. When you have sex with someone you are UNITING your soul with their soul. It's not simple and it's not "just physical." When you do go on to marraige someday and became united with your spouse, it won't just be you you are bringing into the union, it will be you and whomever else you've chosen to unite with in the past. That's not fair to your partner and it's not fair to you or to the third party who is off somewhere in the world out there carrying around a piece of your soul. Just really pray and trust God on this and ask other married couples their experience. Of aaall the sins out there, sexual sin is in its own category and that's not by accident. It's serious! It ruins lives and tears families apart. Look at all the people out there who have been raped or have been victims of sexual abuse and struggle with it for the rest of their lives! That's not by accident, it's because sex outside of a marital union between a man and a woman is sinful, hurtful and wrong. Whether you choose to sin for yourself or someone chooses to sin against you and it wasn't your fault, it's still sin and in the long run, you pay.

I read once that sin feels good now and hurts later and righteousness hurts now but is rewarded later. Maybe that will help somebody some day. Thanks for posting this, Li!

Mark said...

Hi there. I couldn’t resist the urge to post again.

I don’t think abstinence is an ideal for everyone, and it certainly sounds like it’s not an ideal for Yolanda. It sounds like abstinence has caused her long-term pain and distress, as she describes a constant struggle. Other writers, such as Libby Anne, the writer for the blog Love, Joy and Feminism, have described severe sexual dysfunction after saving herself for her wedding night. She said she “couldn’t turn off” feelings of repression and guilt about sex, and had to simulate rape scenarios with her husband in order to not feel guilty about it (see www.patheos.com/blogs/lovejoyfeminism/2011/11/the-purity-culture-and-sexual-dysfunction.html). Surprisingly, the comments page lit up with comments from other women who had experienced similar problems.

I’m not saying that everyone’s abstinence experience will be as negative, just as I’m sure yours wasn’t. Instead, I’m saying that Christian culture has a double standard, where the psychological risks of pre-marital sex are exaggerated, and the psychological risks of abstinence are kept secret.

I think you’re being a bit harsh on guys like John Fitzgerald. We all have a right to expect happiness and contentment from our relationships, including the pre-marriage relationship. If that relationship is bringing us more grief than satisfaction, we will walk away, just as any woman should. We have a right to expect a relationship to be a positive force in our lives, and in this day and age we expect more from our relationships than just a selection period for marriage. Sex, like all other relationship issues, should be open to compromise, as if Fitzgerald’s girlfriend refused to compromise, then maybe she was the one being selfish.

John and Yolanda have another reason for not delaying sex: the sex you have when younger is so much better than the sex when you’re older. Part of this is physiological, as an 18 year old body can go longer and bend more than a 28 year old body, but the main reason is sociological. People marry when they have full-time jobs and are ready to have kids, i.e. age 25 for men, age 27 for women. This is the worst time to lose your virginity, as you’re most likely to be overworked, under financial stress and be sleep deprived from child-raising. There’s a sweet period in the early twenties, when you’re time-rich and relatively free of responsibility – the sex in this period is mind-blowing. I’m happy with my sex life, but I can honestly say that the sex as a 25 year old student is way better than as a 37 year old overworked professional – if I’d waited, I’d never have known how good it can be.

Mark said...

Hi Jesus-in-the-city. I hope you’re doing well.

So sex is uniting my soul with someone else’s. I’ve never heard my genitals being referred to as a soul before. Is this a new American slang? It’s so hard to keep up with you youngsters.

It’s been my experience that sex with people you care about doesn’t diminish your soul. Instead, taking the time and effort to understand others and form bonds, then to share intimacy, has been for me a source of personal growth. Even in relationships that didn’t last. Loving others doesn’t make your soul break up. I’m sure you loved your parents and friends, but those loves didn’t diminish your ability to love your husband. Sex is complex, but for most of us it’s an act of love, and compliments other acts of love, such as being there for someone, or just remembering their birthday. None of these acts result in violence to our souls.

Also, I don’t think that rape and sexual abuse are a consequence of premarital sex, but rather acts of violence and betrayal. Rape is diametrically opposed to consensual, pleasurable sex. Personally, I don’t even think rape is about sex; it’s about domination and humiliation.

Alisha De Freitas said...

@Mark,

I've gotten a number of responses to this post on the FAR FB book and the views have shown that this is a hot topic.

I've been thinking over this the past few days and think I might just do a follow up post. I left my commentary short because I didn't want to come off preachy. So I included that bit of Scripture, which I think pretty much sums up the problem of sex outside of marriage for Christians. And I want to emphasize the "for Christians" part.

Here's the thing, if someone is choosing to commit to Christ, it seems odd to start picking and choosing what parts of His teaching they want to follow. Like if I personally disagree with that whole "turning the other cheek" stuff, I'll disregard it, but I'll go along with the "giving to Caesar" cause that works for me. Uh, no, lol. The same goes for the sex area. Either we're going to give it over to Christ or not. I'm not saying people won't fall short- of course we will. But just disregarding the parts of Christianity we don't like or feel challenged by cheapens our witness. And it also remains willful disobedience.

I want to make it clear, I'm not sitting on some high horse looking down on them. We all have our struggles. I just don't want to pretend that because a situation is challenging, we should redefine it as being okay from a Biblical perspective.

Mark said...

Hi Alisha.

I'd enjoy a follow-up post, because I think your writing comes from a very interesting place. Some of your best posts have been about what these issues mean to you.

I don't think you need to worry about appearing judgmental, partly because your blog is one of the sweetest natured I've read, but also because judgement isn't always bad. If you call out a jerk for being a jerk, I'll be the first to stand up and applaud. I just don't think Fitzgerald was acting like a jerk in this case.

P.S. I see that Greene has gone back to being an atheist. .......Oh crap.

Alisha De Freitas said...

Awww, Mark... that was so nice. You've got me smiling.

Yes, a post is coming. Probably more on Christians and sexuality altogether. We'll see. :-)

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