Category: Unashamed Answers
"Masturbating will make you go blind." So goes the old myth. (Many myths prevail surrounding masturbation. The most interesting may have been perpetuated by Dr. John Harvey Kellogg who thought that a proper diet would alleviate a man's desire to masturbate, and so he fed men under his care in a mental institution a special cereal he created. Kellogg didn't curb masturbation, but did become a cereal giant and many of us still eat Corn Flakes today with no impact on our sexual desires.) Recently, my husband and I were having dinner with a couple we greatly respect. The man is a well-studied theologian and beloved pastor. During a conversation about the overall crisis of purity in the Church at large, he referenced a Bible verse that made me wonder: "Is the notion that masturbation causes blindness really a myth after all?" I'd like to share that verse with you today, but first let's take a look at masturbation and ask the question: Is it a sin?
Is Christian culture sometimes formed more by secular lines of thinking than by biblical truth. Third wave feminism has posited the thought that teaching purity and modesty is a form of misogyny BECAUSE it is largely directed at women. They have even gone on the record that teaching modesty promotes rape culture. Does teaching modesty promote “rape culture”? A better question to begin with is this: does “rape culture” even exist? Last year, a TIME Magazine article declared that it was “Time To End Rape Culture Hysteria.” Writer Caroline Kitchens championed the report of the nations leading anti-sexual violence organization, RAINN, which rebuked the overemphasis on the concept of “rape culture” as a means of preventing rape, citing that 90% of rapes on college campuses are committed by 3% of the male population. RAINN argues that rape is the product of individuals who have decided to disregard the overwhelming cultural messages that rape is wrong. The fact is rape crime is on the decline. The National Crime Victimization Survey indicates that rape occurrence in the 1980’s was 2.4 per 1000 people. Now it is .4 per 1000. Even RAINN reports that sexual assault has fallen by more than 50% in recent years. That makes it no less vile, but it does mean we aren’t living in a rape culture. The “modesty promotes rape culture” idea is a feminist dogma. It is scripture that should be informing the Christian conversation on sexuality, modesty, purity, and sex crimes; not the leading voices of third wave feminism.
What would you do? The child you know and love—and was raised as a boy before you met and the adoption was official—wants to be raised as a girl. The catch: doctor's cannot really say for certain if this child is a girl or a boy. This child has a medical condition known as intersex. About 1 in 2,000 babies are born with conflicting physical sexual organs in which a sex development specialist is brought in to consult. In many cases, closer examination and blood tests reveal that they are biologically male or female. But for some, no clear biological sex is evident. Such was the case of "Laurie," whose adoptive Christian parents were seeking answers when they came knocking on my door. What her mom told me about the Christian community's response broke my heart.
"Good sex comes to those who wait." That was last week's claim by Her•meneutics blogger Courtney Reissig. Only, I should clarify that she ended the sentence with a question mark: "Good sex comes to those who wait?" And then her words decried the efforts of the abstinence and purity movement—my efforts, really—charging that we are guilty of "incentivizing abstinence with personal pleasure." To her credit, Courtney—whose work I've examined rather thoroughly and I'm fairly certain that if we shared a cup of coffee I'd enjoy her and find more common ground that different thinking—cited last year's New York Times article "In Hookups, Inequality Still Reigns." The article explained that women report having better sex in committed relationships than those having casual sex. Courtney argued that using studies like this to encourage virginal Christian singles to wait was akin to demanding a "cosmic exchange" with God. My purity now in exchange for great sex later, Ok God? "Promising great sex to those who wait for their wedding day is feeding off of our desire for self-fulfillment, not other-oriented service," wrote Reissig. Is it wrong to teach our children and young single adults that there are practical, pleasure-filled rewards in waiting for sex? Are we falling prey to using the world's model of sex education when we use studies revealing that sex is better inside committed relationships? And—what you really want to know—is sex better if you wait?
"The truth is that God designed sex to be enjoyed within the context of a marriage bed. It’s as simple and as terribly frustrating as that. While it would be nice if there were a caveat for those who never get married, that would deny the sanctity of the act of sex altogether wouldn’t it? The marriage bed should be honored by “all,” not just those who have one. (Hebrews 13:4) This is difficult but true." (From "How Can I Satisfy My Sexual Desire As A Single Woman?") And yet, I promised you when I started this blog series that I'd dig hard and try to find answers to your questions. Specifically, I promised that I'd look for ways that you can meet the five legitimate longings that Dr. Juli Slattery and I wrote about in Pulling Back the Shades. And one of them is this: God created women to long to be sexually alive. A rich theology of sexuality demands a robust desire for sex, and God did not create the boundaries of sexual expression to frustrate us. So, what plan exists to relieve the sexual tension? I think there are four ways that God enables a single woman to have her sexual desires released in a healthy manner.
If you're conflicted by the fact that you find Johnny Depps' Captain Jack Sparrow sexy, you've come to the right place. The treacherous, badly groomed pirate swoons the hearts of women despite that fact that he's most likely incapable of sustaining a long-term relationship. (Never mind the fact that he's fictional.) Recent studies suggest that women are scientifically attracted to bad boys. Some think this tendency is heightened during ovulation when a woman may subconsciously be more likely to consider how protective a potential mate could be of offspring. (I'm sorry that I just called your future children "offspring.") (Again, never mind the fact that the bad boy tendancy might make them undependable.) I think we are, in fact, attracted to the bad boy. But I think the reason is much simpler than science will ever uncover. I'd like to reveal it to you today so you can figure out what to do with your bad boy appetite before you end up with one that might hurt you.
Are you tired of guys wanting to just "hang out?" Do you wish someone would tell them to "man up" and ask you on a real, live date with food and a car and...gosh...maybe you even secretly hope he might open a car door for you? You're not alone. From The New York Times to Huff Post, the word is out: dating is dead. "Hanging out" is in. And single women are underwhelmed. In a culture that constantly celebrates women's independence and the ability to be on an equal playing field on the dating scene, isn't it strange that the most talked about movie of 2015 is a one that celebrates bondage? With Jamie Dornan and Dakota Johnson recently wrapping Fifty Shades of Grey, all of a sudden, words like "submission," "master", and "obedience" are not only acceptable but sexy. Even, Barbara Walters, one of the most liberal women in the media is talking about the thrill of a strong man.
Recently, I spoke at Grove City College chapel and had the delight of doing an additional follow-up workshop that evening for women on beauty (which was not recorded). Only problem? The guys showed up along with the girls. Were they here for an easy extra chapel credit or could it be that they really wanted to understand the complex interweaving highway that is the female brain? I hoped for the later, decided to play it cool, and threw my notes away. Inviting the guys into the conversation turned out to be something of a medicine for the soul to the girls, as I watched the men impart to their Christian sisters something I could not. It went something like this.
On a few occasions I have survived the world's most boring church services. As I sit there with the bad music, long and poorly presented sermon, and the dead interactions of people I can not help but think how opposite this must be from the thrill and adventure of the early church founders who were risking their lives and hiding in homes to tell tales of miracles and resurrections. How their pulses must have raced with passion as their bodies were laced with adrenaline at the task of growing the Church. If we are not careful, we create a very counterfeit understanding of Church by thinking that Sunday morning services are church. They aren't. And the thinking that they are contributes to the deadening of souls who long for something more than the mundane and veils rather than reveals the glory of God. There has to be more to life than empty traditions, routines, working 9-5, and hollow church services. Does this call out to your spirit like a spring of water to a thirsty traveler? Is boredom sucking the life out of you? I have hope for you.