Sex in the Church

Reading Time: 6 minutes

Most of you have realized that sex sells. Not only in car ad’s, movies, underwear, and laundry detergent, but it also sells blog posts. With over 70 postings under my belt, my most popular one with nearly 300 views, (I know that is small time), is titled “Sex is Better with Drugs”.

I am convinced it was so popular because of the title. I don’t kid myself into thinking what I have to share, along with my artistic literary genius, is taking Tuolumne County, (population 54,000), by storm. In fact, I joked with my wife for a few weeks afterwords that I should put the word ‘sex’ in the title of all my blog posts. I was only half kidding, but the message it tells us about our culture, and our own inclinations, speaks volumes.

So when I read a Facebook post about a young mother concerned about the dress of some of the high school girls she saw the other day, I thought this would be a great opportunity to blog about behavior, consequences, and sex. Since part of this post will include my own Church, I thought to myself, “What a great title: Sex in the Church!” 🙂

A few years back, some of my 8th grade girls came to me complaining about another male teacher and how he would always look down their tops. I listened to their complaints, sympathized with their dilemma, and then bluntly asked them if they should be wearing tops that male teachers can look down. They were quiet for a moment, and I could tell by their faces that this was not something they considered. I am sure they expected Mr. G to be indignant, if not angry, and storm off giving ‘that teacher’ why and what for. After a moment I added not only male teachers, (who are often in a standing position over seated students), but the male classmates who might find themselves in a position to view what they have. Once again, they had not thought about that angle, (no pun intended).

After some brief discussion and clarification, the girls agreed, albeit grudgingly, but then countered that he should still not be looking down their tops. Finally, adding more weight to their prosecution, “He is married!” they exclaimed. I agreed, but explained to them how visual men and boys are, and that they should consider what they wear when around men and boys. By all means I told them, it does not excuse such behavior, but if you spill honey on the floor, you can expect some ants to show up if you don’t clean it up. I suggested they clean up their honey and the ants will disappear. I also added that if it continued, they should talk to the principal, but in the mean time, not to wear tops or dresses that expose them in such a way. Ultimately I explained, it was difficult enough to keep the boys focused; I did not need a bunch of pretty girls distracting them more than necessary. With that comment, smiles lit their faces, and out to the playground they skipped, chatting about boys and this new found perspective.

After 22 years of marriage, three daughters, and years of experience in rooms of Jr. High girls, I have learned a thing or two. They were treasures to me, and most of them knew that. Many did not have any kind of father figure around and were like sponges to any kind of ‘appropriate’ attention I would give them.

It was not the first time I had such a conversation with some of my female students, but it was usually about the boys. I would ask the girls if they wanted to be ‘a treasure or a target’ to get them thinking about their end of the equation. I have had that kind of conversation with my students many times over the years. They get it, but let’s face it, girls, young women, all women, want to be considered attractive, and enjoy men looking at them to some degree. It starts early. What they don’t get at an early age is what some boys and men start thinking about.

If more girls had a dad around that would tell them what boys and men think about, or just tell them that what they are wearing is inappropriate, then this ‘ant’ problem would go away. If spilled honey is not cleaned up, it can end up attracting other larger and dangerous creatures to which the girls would be oblivious to. In their minds, they are just dressing to attract some male attention with no thought to the thoughts and behavior of the males they attract.

J. Budziszewski wrote in his book Ask Me Anything, about a student who was struggling with sexual sin and how difficult it was to stop and that it was an ‘inside’ problem that was impossible to control. “The problem isn’t just inside,” Budziszewski explained. “Anything that makes it hard to stop is already too far. Obviously, then, he shouldn’t do anything with [her] that gets his motor running.”

The student then asked, “What if just holding hands with her gets his motor running?”

Budziszewski replied, “Then he shouldn’t hold hands with her. But do you really know anyone for whom just holding hands is overpowering? Second, he can stop doing all the ‘other’ things that get his motor running. Watching certain television programs, reading certain magazines, even hanging out in certain places.”

The student replied those things were just recreation. J Budziszewski added, “Then he needs to stop thinking of sexual arousal as a form of recreation, doesn’t he?” 1

Over the years, I have heard of some conversations about how some of the young women have dressed on a Sunday. This becomes more of an issue during the summer months when it is only natural to wear less. Some of the older men have expressed concern about “How much less is appropriate?” Thankfully, most of the women set an example for the young women to follow. But there is something more powerful when it comes from a man. Some girls/women might interpret the correction as old fashioned, out of date, traditional church legalism, or more likely petty jealousy on the part of the women who offered the opinion. But, if it comes from a man, their target audience, who stands to gain nothing, and even lose some visual eye candy if they were to dress with some added modesty, it can be a bull horn.

In 2 Corinthians 3, Paul talks about how our ministry is not written with ink on paper, but on our hearts. Randolph Richards and Brandon O’Brien wrote, “Rules and laws are established to guide people in the right path. But ultimately the goal is that people will internalized the code of conduct so that it becomes not a matter of external influence, but of internal guidance.” 2 When I read that, I underlined it in my book. We don’t need or want a pocket rule book on how to dress and behave, but rather we should discern how to behave by looking at the Godly examples around us, and looking for examples in scripture.

We have a church full of lovely women, some married, some single. I know I would hate to be a single woman having to dress for church on Sunday, and even every day life. Wanting to dress in such a way to give a hint of honey, but also avoid having to clean up some ants. I cannot imagine how difficult that would be knowing how boys and men think. Couple that with the styles of clothes sold today. Finding something attractive for summer nine times out of ten means something that shows more, and for the modest minded, showing more than they want to.

David Kinnaman, president of the Barna group wrote, “We humans are complicated and multilayered beings, and my strong impression from face-to-face interviews is that often sexuality intersects a person’s faith journey in subconscious, below-the-radar ways. The story of a generation and sex is complicated and layered too, filled with judgment, rules, old and new media, hypocritical religious leaders, values turned on their heads, a world saturated with sexual images and double lives…” 3

Girls look for a love story like those seen in a movie or read in books. They are written by scriptwriters and authors with the intent to sell. When young girls or women wear clothes that expose much and leave little to the imagination, they are also selling. Selling their bodies – they just don’t realize it yet. When a girl dresses to look sexy, guess what? The males around her will look at her and think about sex, not about what a great person she is and how they would love to read a good book with her. Men need to step up and do more than dishes and folding laundry. On occasion, men need to clean up some spilled honey and gently explain how it happened.


1. Budziszewski, J. Ask Me Anything 2. Colorado Springs: Navpress, 2004. Print

2. Richards, Randolph. O’Brien, Brandon J. Misreading Scripture with Western Eyes. Downers Grove: IVP Books, 2012. Print

3. Kinnaman, David. You Lost Me. Grand Rapids: Baker Books, 2011. Print
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Sex in the Church by James Glazier is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License.

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