reclaiming my sexuality from Christians

re·claim

[riˈklām]

verb (used with object), re·claimed, re·claim·ing

retrieve or recover (something previously lost, given, or paid); obtain the return of.

***

Truth to be told I heard diverse perspectives about sexuality growing up. In my immediate family, mum was the word. Amongst my peers it was something talked about in secret braggadocio whispers about who did what with whom, and in church…well, in church, purity was put on a pedestal.

I was never part of any True Love Waits conferences, the quintessential Evangelical event that coerces instructs kids to make a pledge to save sex for marriage and only marriage. The pledge is as follows: “Believing that true love waits, I make a commitment to God, myself, my family, my friends, my future mate and my future children to be sexually abstinent from this day until the day I enter a biblical marriage relationship.”
It is sexual to some degree education but solely from an abstinence perspective. While there are some things within the program that might be beneficial, I truly believe that followers of Christ who aren’t willing to give kids a well-rounded/holistic view on sexuality might be setting them up for failure or worse if kids have sex (gasp!) there might be some sense of worthlessness per no longer being “sexually pure”.

This is my story so I will get back to it. Despite not going to any conferences that were promoting sexual purity and waiting for marriage to have sex, some of it seeped into my subconscious. I didn’t ever write off any of my peers if they were not being “sexually pure” or anything like that, but I did know of some peers who seemed adrift and perhaps even at a loss when they went “too far”.

My first dating relationship was to a woman who had two sons, and while in that season of life I loved her unconditionally, it was sad to hear indirectly people talking about my relationship with this woman who had two children who wasn’t married. It pissed me off for many  reasons, but there was the nature of they didn’t even know her and they made assumptions about this ‘promiscuous woman’ I was dating.
I have a great deal of respect for single parent households, it’s a tough position to be in and having been in a relationship with a woman who was for a while I learned quite a bit. Still among Christians there’s a taboo about it. To those who talk and whisper and cut down such individuals to their face or behind their backs, to those who do that fuck your actions!  Engage them in conversation and maybe you’ll find out where they’re coming from.

Now what confuses me is the pedestal in which sexual purity is placed amongst followers of Christ. There’s no reference of saving sex for marriage in the Bible because in that day and age sex was marriage, and even the nature of it was more procreational not necessarily recreational, although if you read Song of Solomon and between the lines, yeah it was to be enjoyed. Marriage was also transactional; to keep peace between family members or tribes, a daughter and son would unite to hold things together in that way. Plus there’s the age in which people were getting “married” in that day and age, individuals in their early to mid teens! Nowadays people are getting married later and later in life, statistically via Huffington Post; “For men, the average age at first marriage is 28.7, while the average woman is getting married for the first time at age 26.5.
There is also the nature of shaming those who are no longer virgins. Everything revolves around being sexually pure and once that comes to an end, you’re used up and discarded. I know I have felt collective guilt in the past for making out, and it was never really my own guilt! I do see that if you’re feeling guilty by your own guilt and not because of some collective guilt…well, maybe that should be your cue if anything.

When it comes down to it I have for sometime now reclaimed my sexuality from Christians. I reclaim it because I realize having lived life for 29 years now that sex is important, but people are more important. I cannot snob or look down upon someone who is having sex or had sex, that is their purgative and not mine at this time. I am a sexual being, but I am a sexual being in waiting; I will learn, I will ask questions, I will cross “Christian” lines to educate myself sexually instead of just siding with “don’t have sex until you get married/abstinence only” rhetoric.

***

When the time comes to have children of my own it is my intention to give my children a holistic sexual education.  That includes bringing up abstinence but also different forms of protection for safer sex. I will share with them my story without getting into details that will freak them out to the point of not wanting to discuss sexual matters out loud with my wife/their mom and I, the last thing I want for my children is to feel like they cannot talk to me about anything, now whether I’ll be ready for said conversations time will tell. 😉

Sex is important, and it can be very good at times. It needs to be talked about in a way that doesn’t elevate sexual purity in a way that one’s worth is defined solely on whether someone has had sex or not. In recognizing and engaging my own sexuality I realize that there’s more to sex than sex and certainly there’s more to purity than purity. I am doing what I can to live holistically and through this stance this is how I choose to reclaim my sexuality from Christians.

~Nathanael~

reshaping my sexuality from me

re·shape

[ree-sheyp]

verb (used with object), re·shaped, re·shap·ing

to shape again or into different form.I am a follower of Christ, a heterosexual male, the oldest kid in a family of 6, a good cook, an active and participatory talker as well as listener, a craft beer snob aficionado, a dark but hopeful and wandering soul…

Yet as I embrace the whole of who I am, when it comes to being a sexual being…well, I know that I like women, but it hasn’t been much apart from knowing it and picking people’s minds about sex, and learning via books, as I am a 29 year old virgin.

I have for sometime now been in the process of reshaping my sexuality.  Where do I begin, well, I guess I will start at the beginning…Sex isn’t something talked about out loud in my family. I know that my parents have had sex at least 4 times, hence 3 sisters and myself, so I’ll just leave it at that.

My sexual education consisted of an old[er] book that was going to be something my father and I were going to go over…but instead, he threw the book my way and I read it on my own. It was horrible, sheer WASPy Evangelical-based horror. The part I remember best from that book due it being so bad was a statement something along the lines of “sex is like asparagus, I might not like it now but when I am older I will” (reader’s note, I have always liked asparagus, so…bad analogy! ;-))

My first encounter with porn was when I was 15 or 16 at the local park. A clipping saying I could “extend my male member by 3-4 inches”…even then I was rather stupefied by the why’s and what’s, but was too…self conscious/innocent to ask what was that advertisement was suggesting.

There was gossip mingled with braggadocio amongst my fellow Boy Scouts, but not much, and even then I knew how to spot a liar (it takes one to know one, and that’s another story for another day).

***

But still I waited, and still wait. But I have come to terms with my sexuality. Perhaps at one time I did think that it was a “wait to get married to have sex” reason why I chose to hold out on having sex. Not that the opportunity hasn’t come up. There have been opportunities where I might have gone further than making out or times when on the job (not the current one, mind you) where I was solicited for sex from coworkers, and one teacher at a school where I worked as a janitor at a local school.

It’s amazing how many opportunities, if I chose, to have sex have come up in my life. Even when I was young I was very surprised at how easy it could be. Then and even now I wonder why does sex just sometimes happen. I like picking people’s minds about this, and for some because I am holding back (rather than holding out) I am ideal, I am the individual who has held back and therefore I am in a place of power. There is power in sex, yes, but to be the one not giving in to sex at times makes you out to be the one who has the most power.

So at this point in my journeys as a human being, I think I am waiting to have sex…for me. I am not selfish when I am in a relationship, but I have boundaries. Despite sometimes getting caught up in emotions, feelings, and a heavy dose of oxytocin and dopamine (yes science is on my mind, among other things) I pull back. I pull back not out of individual guilt or collective guilt that “a Christian should not…” I don’t buy into that, and if I did I know I wouldn’t be functioning well on my own because I’d be overly keeping myself in line (more on this in the next post).

Now to the reader who has already had sex, this isn’t a post about me being superior to you for me waiting and you not. Absolutely not. You make your decisions (and hopefully it’s consensual) and I am making mine.

So why re:shaping you might ask. Well for my sexuality it is still there, no doubt about it, I won’t deny it. But I do realize that I have quite a ways to go with it. I am aware of the short comings in my early sexually active days yet to be had, but I do realize that it will be a culmination of being in a committed relationship to my June* (*term of affection, I’m a Johnny Cash fan/Man in Black kinda guy) in which I am looking for her, and praying with my eyes open for her.

Sex is important to me, but some things have to come together first. I don’t want a one night stand with someone I don’t love, I don’t want a pity lay because I am 29 years old and haven’t had sex, I want it for better reasons than my own and that is why I am in the process of reshaping my sexuality from me.

~Nathanael~