The Sex Talk and the Failing of the Church

Warning: This post is not rated G. It’s PG…or maybe PG-13. Just read it to yourself before reading it out loud.

Yet Another Warning: This post is also a bit of a rant. If you’re easily offended by someone saying “the church” is doing it wrong, or putting blame on religion or those that propagate it’s falsities, then do us both a favor and stop reading here. Comments will be moderated to make sure things stay clean and civil.

As I was driving Xavier to school today, we had one of those “sex talks” that most parents dread. Our church is just finishing a series called “The Best Sex Ever” and he saw the handout in the back seat of the car. He picked it up and read “The Best I’m not going to say that Ever”. I assumed it was an embarrassing thing for him to talk about, so as any good dad would do…I corrected him and said “The Best SEX Ever”. He said “it just feels like it’s a bad word that I shouldn’t say”. What?! Sex is amazing. As far as I’m concerned, that’s just a fact. It’s wonderful, it’s fun, it’s useful, it’s fun, it brings couples together…and it’s fun!

I immediately corrected him, explained to him that sex isn’t a bad word and that it isn’t “dirty” or “bad”. Instead it’s actually an amazing thing that he’s going to enjoy some day. Our conversation continued the rest of the way to school. I had to correct some misunderstandings that were caused by other boys sharing about things they didn’t understand. I wanted to make sure he understood that I’d always be there to answer questions about sex, which lead me to share with him a story about when I was in third grade.

There was another boy, a good friend of mine, that hung out with some older boys pretty regularly. We all knew what erections were (yes, this was third grade and yes, third grade boys know about erections…even 21 years ago), but he’d heard it referred to as a “boner”. He’d been curious, so he had asked why it was called that. I assume it probably seemed funny to the older boys when they explained to him that there was a bone that slid up when you got excited and that’s what caused the erection. Needless to say, this third grade friend of mine was excited to share what he’d learned. Remember, we’re only 8 years old with an extremely rudimentary understanding of anatomy, and he really believed what he was saying. I wasn’t as convinced. I went home and blindsided my dad with this newly acquired theory, and my dad put the issue to rest. There’s no bone. You can’t break it if you fall while you have an erection (although I don’t doubt it would hurt), etc. He took the time to answer all my questions.

I told Xavier that the information he hears at school could be accurate or could be just as wrong as what I had heard in third grade, but I promised that I’d always answer any questions he had. And I’d be happy to clarify/verify whatever he was hearing. He seemed to be happy with that, and he did ask a couple minor questions, but then we arrived at school. Still, the lines of communication are open.

The whole way home though, I thought about his comment about sex being a bad word. The more I thought about it, the more frustrated I became. Now I accept a lot of the blame myself. I admit that there have been times when I’ve avoided the topic just because it’s awkward. That stops now. However, I don’t think all the blame lies on me. A kid doesn’t get the impression that a word is “bad” just because mom and dad don’t use it. As a test, I asked Xavier his impression on a couple words I’m pretty sure I’ve never (or VERY rarely) used around him. Penultimate. Irascible. Doppelg√§nger. Not a single one did he think was a bad word that shouldn’t be said.

Unfortunately, he goes to a Christian school, a Christian church, and has plenty of Christian friends he hangs around. And in my experience, Christians have a warped (and not-Biblical) view of sex. And they push it on everyone they can. Having an opinion is fine…I have them too. Pushing that opinion on others is a completely different, and far worse, thing. However, worse still, by orders of magnitude, is pushing those opinions on people under the guise of teaching the Bible!

A while back I hit a time in my life where I decided I needed to codify my beliefs. Too many things that I’d taken as Biblical fact were neither Biblical nor fact. There were too many inconsistencies, inaccuracies, etc. So I decided that I believe there is a God and that I think the Bible is accurate (although at times translation leaves a lot to be desired). I threw out everything else. Since then I’ve been working through many areas of life and deciding what I believe based on the things I know, rather than the things I was told. You’d be amazed how different you view the world when you do this. Sex is one of the many subjects I’ve tackled.

I’ll leave out many of the more controversial topics that I’m still working through and stick to the things that are clear, and yet often mistaught. First and foremost; sex is NOT dirty. Greg Rohlinger did a pretty good job (far better than I’ve seen in other churches, so bravo Greg) explaining this. Consider watching the series.

Second, sex does NOT have to be limited to the missionary position.

As the apple tree among the trees of the wood, so is my beloved among the sons. I sat down under his shadow with great delight, and his fruit was sweet to my taste.Song of Solomon 2:3

Yep, that’s the Bible talking about oral sex!

Awake, O north wind; and come, thou south; blow upon my garden, that the spices thereof may flow out. Let my beloved come into his garden, and eat his pleasant fruits.Song of Solomon 4:3

Biblical description of oral sex, this time for her pleasure!

So how do people teach against these things? They simply bend “sexual immorality” to mean anything they want. Before you take someone’s word for it, check it out yourself. Research and try to figure out for yourself what that refers to, and by extension what’s right and wrong sexually.

Read all of Song of Solomon and look for the eroticism in the poetry. It’s sensual, erotic, explicit, and beautiful. That’s what I want and that’s what I want Xavier to have some day. And I will NOT sit by and listen while people with closed minds regurgitate what they were taught without ever questioning it, and I won’t subjugate my son to it. Wake up, or get out of my way. I’m on a mission to figure out the TRUTH.

6 thoughts on “The Sex Talk and the Failing of the Church”

  1. To be fair, it think the world has a warped view of sex too. Some where between the extremes of the two views I think we can find God’s truth on the matter. I don’t think this balance point will fall in the same spot for everyone, much like issue of eating meat offered to idols.

  2. Hmmm…This is an interesting post, and an even more interesting subject (one that I’ve already been forced to wade into a little bit with Harrison — yikes).

    I’m actually surprised to hear that you know of Christians who actively preach against various sexual pleasure practices. I came from a very conservative Southern Baptist home (my dad is a pastor), and I never encountered any teaching, either from my parents or anyone else at church, about what forms of sexual pleasure were forbidden *within marriage*. From what I remember, the only restriction was that you HAD to be married; once you met that benchmark, everything else was fair game.

    Considering what you said above, if the church, schools, parents, mentors of children were all more open and honest about sex, would you want it talked about with Xavier when you’re not there? I definitely think there’s an element of privacy and/or decency that needs to be considered in dealing with this subject — especially with a third grader — and I’m not sure that this particular subject should be openly discussed with kids in a public setting (Sunday School, Math class, etc).

    I guess I’m curious as to what your ideal open-about-sex society would look like, especially in relation to X at this stage in his life.

    1. Obviously this is a tough one to answer. However, the more that I’ve thought about it, the less I agree that sex should be considered a “private” topic. I’m not saying that I want a teacher sharing with Xavier what they did last night, but at the same time I don’t think it’s a topic to be avoided and left only to the parents. Every kid needs to learn math, science, writing, etc. Every kid needs to learn how to handle finances, how to make decisions for themselves, and how to be self-motivated. Every kid needs to learn about sex. Only one of those is thought of as “private” and I’m just not sure I agree that it should be.

      Everything at an appropriate level of course. They’re not teaching X differential equations or how to use the change of base formula to solve a logarithm, but they ARE teaching him multiplication. The same needs to be done with sex.

      I think that people think they’re protecting their kids, but the truth seems to be that they’re just driving the information underground. Instead of getting the information from people that know what they’re talking about, they get it from friends, the internet, TV, etc. And if you think you can keep your kids away from these things I’d posit that you’re only fooling yourself.

      It’s not that I don’t think I can keep X informed myself without anyone else. However, I *do* think that by making the topic taboo anywhere but in the home, we give the wrong impression. Without saying as much, we make our kids think one of two things:
      1) Sex is a dirty thing as evidenced by the fact that we can’t talk about most of the time.
      2) Parent’s don’t get it, my friends do. Which scares me.

      I don’t have a perfect plan yet, but I’m sure we can do better than what we currently have.

    2. Part of the problem with society is that we keep it private and don’t openly discuss sex. This lack of transparency and openness on a subject that most people enjoy leads to some of the hatred and bigotry that we see so much of in the world. Instead of hiding sex, we need to be letting everyone (including kids in an age appropriate manner) know that there are no sexual acts between consenting adults that are bad. We need to get kids understanding how to choose and use birth control when they are beginning puberty, and we need to reinforce and remind otherwise you end up with people like Todd Akin who think rape is a form of birth control.

      To put it plainly, all consensual sexual activities are fundamentally healthy and pleasurable and we need to encourage sexual pleasure and experimentation. We need to educate and enable everyone to make informed decisions.

      Also, Congrats Aaron on having this conversation with X. I’m sure it wasn’t easy but it is definitely a good thing you are doing making sure he has the right information.

      1. I’m sure my views are somewhat more conservative than yours here, but I think there’s a fine line between teaching proper usage of birth control and encouraging sex. You mentioned “consenting adults” but then talked about teaching birth control at the beginning of puberty. I don’t specifically disagree with either, as long as we’re careful to remember that a teenager that just went through puberty isn’t yet an adult.

        What I *do* agree with is that excessive conservatism in the area of sex can lead to people having some pretty confused views. I think it’s unhealthy. I don’t claim to know how far the pendulum should swing in the other direction, but I know it’s not in the right place right now.

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