Friday, May 20, 2011

Teens and Sex. . . .

Yesterday I drove down to Manayunk (part of Philly, along the river) to visit the offices of Harvest USA and to sit in on a test run of a new youth worker seminar they're putting together. Manayunk. . . it's trendy now. It wasn't that way when I was a kid living in the Philly suburbs. Back then, Manayunk was to be avoided. I guess things can be revitalized, changed, turned around, and made new. Hopefully, we'll be able to see that happen when it comes to individuals, their sexuality, and our culture's basic assumptions about sex. . . things that have gone in a direction different from Manayunk ever since I was a kid.

Something Nicholas Black said in yesterday's seminar has really stuck with me. Nicholas said that when we were kids (he's about my age), we were interested in and wanted to have sex. Not surprising, since God gifted us with our sexuality, sexual desires, and sex. The difference, he said, was that sex was typically pursued within the context of a relationship. Sure, sex outside of marriage was immoral, but there was at least a relational connect. Not so in today's world. One of the issues addressed yesterday was the casual nature of sex in today's world. . . friends with benefits, hooking up, etc. One youth worker in the room talked about sex parties that 7th grade kids were attending. Another talked about parties where kids would watch movies, then pair up to do whatever was just done on film. These are the times.

This morning, I happened to watch a little video clip from Jason Soucinek, an associate staffer here at CPYU. It's a good reminder of how things that are not the way they are supposed to be, are supposed to be. Thanks Jason!


luke said...

So true. Check out a new book available as free download that fully exposes this new cultural norm. Andy braners An Expose On Teen Sex and Dating

Joel Jackson said...

This is sort of related to this and I thought maybe you would be interested in this article. This is the only place I could find to point you towards it:

Stephanie said...

Walt, here’s the trouble with the Church expressing it’s position on sex. Confident that God would not disagree, the Church is frigid. Jason takes Derek Melleby’s semi-serious words of guidance, “Don’t drink and don’t have sex” just the tiniest bit further but still woefully short of having any sort of relevance to today’s youth. We’ve heard the same shallow statements from tent preachers, and numerous CCC and YFC rallies.

We must be willing to engage in a for-real discussion of sex, for it is the raw, for-real that they are seeing via the Internet. And if you feel that my following words are inappropriate then that will serve as a prime example of what I’m talking about – that the Church cannot confront this issue forthrightly! WHAT IS ACCEPTABLE SEX??? Is it only missionary intercourse between a church sanctioned marriage of a man and woman? If so, say so! If not, let’s not confuse teens by refusing to discuss other forms of sex. Would you believe that I never heard the word “sex” in my home or church growing up? At one time I actually thought dating was sex. This confusion played havoc with my mind and emotions as a teen. You would not believe the guilt I felt upon French kissing my first boyfriend. I distinctively remember entering my house that night and not being able to look either my father or mother in the eye. I remember kneeling next to my bed asking God for forgiveness - and then the next night doing it all over again as I could not control myself. I absolutely loved those totally new, but scary, erotic sensations.

So, does sex include tender cheek kissing, passionate kissing, holding hands (the first step to intimacy), light petting (over the clothes), heavy petting, dancing, just showing parts of one’s self for the mutual visual pleasure of you and another, and the worst of all – self-gratification? Which leads me to,

“When we use sex for our own glory (gratification), we prostitute ourselves”

The most prevalent and guilt-ridden sex act among teens is self-gratification, yet that is not even mentioned. Unbelievable. (And you think I felt guilty about kissing, ha!). Is it or is it not acceptable? Never did I receive guidance on this from church or family. But the cold silence alone screamed of its depravity. I do realize that Jason is not primarily or even possibly including self-gratification in that statement, but is he? And could you please explain how to have sex to glorify God? He does not say.

Do you realize that NOWHERE in the Bible is sex between an unmarried man and unmarried woman (pre-marital) condemned? Not even in the condemnation-loving book of Leviticus. Jason goes on to say,

“Paul say’s something amazing. He says to flee sexual immorality…”(Amazing?)

Paul also says, “It is best for a man not to touch a woman.” Why is one verse quoted but the other ignored? My how convenient, and any teen would see right through this, and subsequently rightfully reject the initial quote also. But even more important is that Jason abjectly fails to give even the slightest understanding of what constitutes “sexual immorality”. Do you realize what a wide continuum that term encompasses and that it leaves itself open to all kinds of interpretations and confusion? By any chance did you run this video by a focus group of teens? Do believe that most teens know exactly what is meant by “sexual immorality”?

Jason continues,

“The sin of using sex for our own purposes (is that it) doesn’t include God”

How does one include God while having sex? I cannot think of a statement more demanding of an explanation yet absent one. And where does the Bible even mention including God during sex?

“When we just take sex and make it into something that’s just physical, that’s not what God intended it to be.”

Again we are left confused. Exactly what did God intend it to be, and according to what scripture?

Finally, given as purely constructive advice for future videos, Jason seriously overemphasizes his facial expressions all too often. It looks phony and makes one feel uneasy.

Online Dating said...

Keep on posting, such an interesting article to read.....Online Dating

Chris said...

Got to agree with Stephanie on this one...if we give half answers and "stick to the script" we're not going to get anywhere in these conversations with our kids.

We need to be willing, and ready, to discuss the more complicated issues around sexuality without feeling liek we're selling out on the sacredness of sex in marriage.

I don't have all the answers on this one...

Ralph said...

There’s a reason that this video is so vague and tries to convince through overacting (I’m surprised Walt, that being in your position for so long that both didn’t jump out at you). The reason being is that its message does not stand on a solid foundation. As Stephanie mentions, there is no specific biblical condemnation of sex or description of specific immoral sex positions or acts, between married or unmarried consenting couples – none whatsoever! So the question is – why is the Church so fixated on condemning sex outside of “love making” between married couples and all sex for unmarried couples? It is unquestionably a non-issue to Jesus,

“Thou shalt love thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it. Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.” Matthew 22:37-40.

How can the Church spend millions of dollars, millions of hours, over years and years, condemning certain kinds of sex, when it has never even given anywhere near a precise
definition of the word sex? Anyone want to try?

I have spent considerable time trying to reconcile my church’s position on “making love” - okay vs. “having sex” – not okay. One reason I can come up with for the Church being so enraptured with such a benign subject is that in accepting the sex drive as animalistic lust, it would be contributing to the theory of evolution. Let’s face it; if we don’t put the “love-making” spin on it, sex between humans is animalistic. But there also has to be another reason(s) because this condemnation has been around prior to Darwin. It’s also too easy to dismiss the early Calvin/Knox founding fathers as having hang-ups. Is it perhaps that the early members desired to place as much distance between themselves and animals so as to remove any legitimate comparison, thus providing support for the biblical teaching of superiority via dominion? Maybe they just found the act downright disgusting, but now I’m right back to where I started, –why? I just don’t know.

Some of the early missionaries were so intent on creating a distinct line between humans and animals that they taught natives to stop procreating in their heretofore normal animal style and taught them to only procreate in the “missionary” style - a style that animals do not use. Also, some missionaries even distributed bras before bibles, to further create the division between woman and animal. I’ll never forget seeing a picture of several native women wearing their sparkling new white bras, looking totally bewildered and degraded.

Let’s all be honest. Love has nothing to do with having sexual feelings. Only lust equates to sexual feelings. Love equates with many feelings – affection, a desire to be held and touched, wanting to fulfill the physical and emotional needs of another, nurturing, etc. But love does not create the necessary physiological “parasympathetic and sympathetic nervous response” that is necessary for the male to perform. If love did create this male physiological response, one can see the problems and awkwardness this would cause on a possible daily basis. It is also lust and not love that causes the physiological response for the necessary secretion in the female to optimize consummating the act. If love did create this female physiological response we can see the hygiene problem this would create on a possible daily basis.

The best reasoning I can put forth to substantiate sex being animalistically gross and not an act of beautiful “love-making”, is the universal reaction of anyone upon imagining their parents doing it. (“Oh gross!”)

Stephanie said...

Online Dating and Chris. Thanks for your compliments. For a real insight into a teenage girl’s guilt and shame about sex growing up in the Church I should publish parts of my diary back then, but they are so painful I can’t even go back to read them. The Church-inflicted shame I felt was covert child abuse. That night coming home from my “kissing date” I felt so dirty that I took the longest shower of my life, even though having showered just prior to my date.

Although I know Walt, that your intentions are ALWAYS good, it really upset me to see you compliment this video. Although I can handle the comments of this video now, as a young teen (not too long ago) it would have been crushing. The statement “…Flee Sexual Immorality…” (my capitalization), brings such a complicated and monumentus issue down to a base, totally useless level of, “Just Say No” to drugs.

Church Construction said...

Christ does not bid us to seek refuge in him to rob us of pleasure, rather in Christ alone can we find fullness of delight. What is more this delight comes with righteousness and peace! These are the gift He gives when we take him as our master and put of the drudgery of sin. St. Augustine was a profligate in his youth and he knew what he meant when he said "Our hearts are restless until they find their rest in thee". Sex does not give peace or joy. Sex merely leaves us wanting more, but can never satisfy us completely. In Christ alone can we find the joy and peace, for which we seek all of our live.

Stephanie said...


Is this your answer to today’s youth concerning sex? If so, your comment is the best example yet of totally irrelevant, ambiguous and ethereal advice that one could give to today’s youth concerning sex. Even Walt in his post of May 31, states that sex DOES bring us pleasure (you state it cannot bring us “joy”). Walt states,
“God gave us sex. God gave us sexual desires. God gave us the wonderful and complex mix of nerve endings that inhabit all the body parts that bring us pleasure. And God declared all of those things as good”.

How can you possibly correlate your words with Walt’s - or is your statement meant to be in disagreement?