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.