Tuesday, February 16, 2010

If it's February, it's time to talk about sex...

That's what we do at Vintage.  We talk about sex in February and money in September.  That's how we roll.

So my husband is up there preaching his heart out about being sexually whole. That God calls us to holiness and holiness is being set apart and designated for a particular purpose and being the best version of ourselves all at once.  And thinks I to myself, like I sometimes do..."Yeah.  This sermon is for other people. This is not about me.  I was a virgin on my wedding night. I'm sexually whole.  No problems here." 

And then I hear my husband list off ways that we are broken...ways we are not whole...and I hear in that list just one thing...."You aren't interested in sex"  and I am taken aback.  The next morning, I am still thinking about that.  And I "talk" it over with a friend a series of emails back and forth.  That afternoon, I find myself with a lump in my throat and hot tears falling as my fingers hit the keyboard and my heart pours out the truths about me...

Some of my readers are just like me...and some of you are from very different backgrounds. You're still rolling that whole "virgin on my wedding night" thing around in your brain.  Maybe this post isn't going to make any sense to you.   I think I'm talking to those of you who know the loaded meanings of "PDA" and "modesty" and "purity" in certain circles.

It dawned on me that deep down in my heart of hearts, I have been believing a lie from  well-meaning but clumsy sexual education (or total lack thereof):    

Sex is good like chocolate cake....It's tasty and enjoyable briefly when you break down and give in to temptation, but really if you were a person of superior discipline and HOLINESS, you wouldn't be interested in it at all.

I'm really good at one thing: being honest.  So I'm being honest here about this because I bet I'm not alone.  I bet there are some other kids who have grown up to be wildly uncomfortably with these annoyingly needy bodies we inhabit.   So wildly uncomfortable, that maybe you, like me, feel uncomfortable at the thought of raising your hands in worship. Or exercising in public. Or dancing. Or dressing to show off your best assets. Or drawing attention to yourself in any way.  Maybe you, like me, would like to blend into the wallpaper more often than not.  Maybe you, like me, find yourself a little more interesting after a glass of wine.

I've been married for almost 14 years now.  Why is this just coming up now?  That's simple.  I have a 10 year old in my house.  As her awareness to the world rises, so does my inhibition. And shame.   That's right, shame.  Nobody can cut you like the kid who's known you for ten years and is beginning to be aware of the fact that you are only human. As parents, we either rely on our own upbringing because we don't know how or don't want to do things differently; or we re-act to things we are not okay with, and do things very differently. I guess I'm reacting. And if I'm going to teach her something different, I've got to be clear on what I believe.

I want to say that I'm not exactly faulting the people that compiled my image of sex.  I think they were doing their best out of their own brokeness.   I know they were serious about keeping me from the mistakes they made.  I know they were trying very hard to protect me. I choose to be ok with that.  But I also choose to teach my kids...my girls especially...that we don't have to make choices out of fear....we can make them out of faith....with a lot of good, healthy information.

As for me, I might need some therapy.  Or at least some coffee dates with my close friends so I can talk through some of those moments in my life that still make me blush to the roots of my hair.

We are all broken, not whole, in many ways.  Thank God for being a talented and gracious mosaic artist.


jess said...

wish there was a way i could be in on this discussion with you in person. it's a big one. my own issues in this area are constantly before me because of our involvement with the college crowd and the insatiable appetite they have for this topic. i wish i had personally had more honest conversation and guidance from my mom, fewer "dating panel" college talks, and more time around non-Christian gals who were living with the small deaths and hardening caused by sex in non-committed relationships. I think that would have made things more real, and more holy. But, I was cloistered away in "Christian dating" circles, casually playing with very dangerous boundaries, and entering marriage as one escaping through flames, and totally surprised by what the payback is for all those, "close calls."

Anonymous said...

Thank you Vanessa...

Sara said...

Vanessa, I love you :)

I will admit that this topic is strange for me in the sense that I didn't grow up thinking nor being taught that sex was bad. I didn't carry those feelings into my marriage for a couple of reasons. The main one being I had these two really great mentors who put their loving arms around me and made sure that I understood that sex within God's design is wonderfully good. And all the fun, exotic, things that go with it within God's design is wonderfully good too...

I don't know if that is comforting to know or not. You made a difference in one teenagers life and this teenager now a mother of soon to be 2 thinks you'll be able to help your own girls have a balanced view as well.

ness said...

Jess, some day we are going to meet and sit over coffee and talk for days...."entering marriage as one escaping through flames." Brilliant. I wonder if there is a club for people like us?

Lizzy, welcome. Thanks for helping me to not feel like I just left a really big matzo ball out there.

Sara, your words do help me a lot. I'm so glad we conveyed a different message to you than we heard. And that you have such a un-weighted-down start to marriage.
As issues do arise, (and they do for everyone) I'm glad that you have found a safe community to help support you.



Just read this. I'm guess I'm a little lost. My fault for missing church that Sunday! I'd love to discuss this with you sometime -- especially if you have any interest in the perspective of someone situated somewhere in the netherland between "brazen hussy" and "good girl" (translation: there's a list but they were all relationships -- no one-night stands and I always knew his name)! Having come full circle back to being married 25 years later to my first is a unique perspective too!


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