S-E-X Is Not a Four-Letter Word

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We tend to think of sex as a private issue, especially as Christians.  Of course.  Sex is intended to be between two loving, consenting spouses – and no one else.  But is it possible we are taking the secrecy too far?


We seem to view sex as a shameful topic of discussion, and I fear we’re making a grave mistake.  Overstepping this fine line comes at a cost – a cost to us, and a cost to the broken.  Many of us probably are the broken, but how can we know when no one is talking about it?


I heard about a recent conversation in church, where a sweet lady mentioned trafficking.  “Labor trafficking?” her friend replied.   “No, the other kind.”


“The other kind.”  You know, S-E-X.


I say this without an ounce of criticism.  I have complete faith her intentions were noble.  Maybe she was just being polite, avoiding crass talk.  Maybe there were little ears around.  I tell this story because it’s a perfect illustration of the norm.  Most of us would blush right along with her, talking about sex in church.


But why?  Who benefits from politely shying away from talk of sex?  Is the church holier without soundbites of sex floating through the air?  Are its people purer?  Is the God we worship not also the creator of sex?


I think we can agree there is an appropriate time and place for sex.  Let’s not fool around on the pew.  I don’t suggest singing “The Birds and the B-E-E-s” in children’s church.  But can we lighten up a little?  There’s much more than our prudish reputations at stake, so maybe the taboo is worth reconsidering.


Victims of abuse are further oppressed by the silence.


The manipulation that comes with sexual abuse is confusing and it crushes self-confidence.  “It was my fault, I could have stopped it, I should have fought, I should have reported it… ” the self-doubt plays like a broken record.


They’re afraid of being judged or blamed.  Afraid of the abuser.  Afraid of humiliation.  Afraid they’ll pour their hearts out and then no one will help.  Shame and fear isolate.


It’s so hard to reach out for help.  We only make it worse by treating sex as shameful, affirming every insecurity and fear.  Would you share details of your sexual abuse with someone embarrassed to talk about it?  Not a chance.


For better or worse, sex affects everyone.


How do you suppose our secrecy affects the state of our marriages?  Infidelity is a leading cause of divorce.  Pornography is running rampant in Christian marriages.  It is subtly eroding relationships, distracting us from the real thing and changing the way we view sexuality.  It’s perpetuating abuse.  People may not even know how prevalent or damaging pornography is, since we seldom hear about it.


Our reluctance to talk isn’t doing any favors for those in sexual sin outside of marriage, either.  Sexuality can be a driving force, sometimes an addictive one.  One which every single adult lives with on a daily basis.  Yet, I would bet my last dollar most people struggling with sexual sin feel alone.  They’re not alone.


Our children are also at risk when we don’t tell them what they are up against.  They’re impressionable little people who have constant access to information.  They’re vulnerable to their own curiosity and sinful nature, and also to predators.  The average age when a child first views pornography is nine years old.  Nine.  We’re talking averages here, which means roughly half see porn before the age of nine.  These kids can count their years on this earth without even using all their fingers.  We want to shelter them so badly, but if we don’t talk about sex from God’s perspective, someone else will introduce it to them from the world’s perspective.


Let’s talk about it until it feels normal, and then keep on talking… 


Imagine the difference if we speak up.  Think how much more approachable we will be to victims when we correct some misconceptions in the church and introduce a familiar person to help.  Think how adults will benefit from hearing the truth about pornography and a less timid approach to the Song of Solomon.  Consider our kids’ potential if we equip them well – awareness empowers them not only to protect themselves, but to reach the lost in their generation.


There should be a distinction between the sexual intimacy of a couple, which is private, versus the broader topic of sex.  The topic of sex – God’s design, sex within marriage, sex outside of marriage, sexual abuse – should be anything but private.  It’s a major part of life.  People are hurting and vulnerable and few are talking.  We can start the conversation.  We should.  People need to know they can come to us.


Let’s shout it off the rooftops that we want to listen, want to talk, want to help.  This is how we show God’s love to the broken and where healing begins.  This is where we exchange a moment of discomfort for eternal gain.







Image Credit: Adapted from Creating Keepsakes

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