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.

Sources:

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
Creative Commons License
Sex in the Church by James Glazier is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License.

Sex Is Better With Drugs

Reading Time: 6 minutes

Some of you may be shocked, but this is a fact confirmed by science in recent years. Not only is sex better with drugs, some drugs will increase the desire for sex, the permanence of the relationship, and the desire to care for their children. Where can you get these drugs? It is really quite easy. In fact, you don’t even have to go to a pharmacist, you can find these in any common household. The three drugs I will focus on are dopamine, oxytocin, and vasopressin. All three are found in our brain and are produced when an individual is aroused.

You may have heard of the drug dopamine. It is the ‘feel good’ chemical that creates a feeling of excitement or satisfaction when we take a risk. Dopamine can reward us for driving fast, earning an A on a difficult test, taking a ride on a rollercoaster, rescuing a drowning dog in a pond, (something I did once), or having sex.

What is important to point out is that dopamine has no governor. It rewards us regardless of the action. Imagine that you ask your young child to take out the trash, something he has not done before. If he does, you give him a nickel. If he doesn’t, you give him a nickel. Either way, the child is rewarded for doing something new and exciting. One is rewarded for doing what was requested of him and experiencing something new, the other is rewarded for disobeying the parent. The child is rewarded in either case. Dopamine rewards no matter the moral consequences of the action.

Joe McIlhaney and Freda McKissic Bush in their book “Hooked” puts it this way, “Dopamine is values-neutral. This important point must be stressed. Dopamine will reward for healthy and life-enhancing excitement, but it will also send the reward signal for exhilarating but unhealthy and destructive behavior. Examples of excitement that dopamine rewards can include the use of nonprescriptive drugs, nonmarital sexual involvement, excessive drinking, dangerous thrill-seeking, and so on…To reproduce the good feeling, they seek to repeat the behavior. Their desire for the good feeling can overwhelm their accurately calculating the risk behavior, or for that matter, even worrying about it, if they do consider the risk.” 1 It should come as no surprise that sex is one of the strongest activities that produces dopamine, and this is especially true for teens.

prefrontal

What is significant about dopamine is that it peaks in the adolescent years and continues to increase in one particular part of the brain called the prefrontal cortex. This is the final portion of the brain to reach mature development and is responsible for making wise, rational, logical, mature decisions in life.

Oxytocin is the second chemical I mentioned above, and can be found in both sexes, but has a much greater influence with females. One example is when a woman is breast feeding, her brain is flooded with oxytocin. Oxytocin creates bonding and trust with another person. When a women breastfeeds, she reinforces her feelings for her child and is willing to sacrifice her own needs for the needs of her own child. The more she breastfeeds, the more oxytocin is produced, which creates a greater bonding between a mother and her children.

Oxytocin is also produced during meaningful touching or hugging, skin to skin contact, (even holding hands), and of course during sex. Oxytocin creates a bonding or connectedness between a woman and her partner that stimulates her with a desire to be with that person again and again. McIlhaney and Bush wrote, “The important thing to recognize is that the desire to connect is not just an emotional feeling. Bonding is real and almost like the adhesive effect of glue-a powerful connection that cannot be undone without great emotional pain. Real brain chemicals act on real brain cells, causing those brain cells to bind individuals together.” 2

Many of us can imagine, and may have seen, the infatuations of a young girl on a particular boy or man. The simple affections of a hand on a shoulder, a lengthy embrace, or intimate touching produces oxytocin in females. As significant as the bonding it creates, oxytocin also produces trust in a woman. A young girl or woman who is bonding to a man or boy also begins to trust him. If she is considering being intimate with him, the feeling of trust oxytocin produces is significant because the female will trust he will:
-Care for her and not use her as a sex object.
-Put her needs above his needs.
-Be faithful to her and not be intimate with other women.
-Take care of her and their baby should she become pregnant.

You can see how some friends, parents, or caring adults can see the truth of a situation between a young man or woman, and she is unable, or unwilling, to listen to advice on how best to proceed with a relationship. It should come as no surprise that 80 percent of unwed fathers don’t marry the teen mother of their baby. 3 I personally have seen this with several former students and their broken relationships. It is also a trend as casual sex is taking our culture by storm. In the 1960’s, 68% of all twenty somethings were married. In 2008, only 26% were married, due in large part to cohabitation. 4

Oxytocin, just like dopamine, is another values-neutral chemical the brain produces. It does not consider boys or men who are just using girls or women as sex objects. Girls who engage in premarital sex fall victim to the effects of oxytocin. They desire the bonding and connectedness while feeling safe and secure because of the trust it produces, while the intentions of the male may be far from honorable.

Finally, there is vasopressin, which also has a bonding effect, but with the male to his mate and his offspring. This chemical is probably the prime cause of men becoming emotionally attached to women who they are intimate with. It may also explain why some men return time and time again to a woman who is insulting, degrading, or emotionally abusive. When a man has sex with a woman, his brain is flooded with vasopressin, and creates the bonding he may feel toward her.

When men move from sex partner to sex partner, they damage their ability to develop long term relationships. McIlhaney and Bush put it this way, “The inability to bond after multiple liaisons is almost like tape that loses its stickyness after being applied and removed multiple times.” 5 Just like dopamine and oxytocin, vasopressin is values-neutral. The male brain flows with vasopressin when having sex with one partner or several over a period of months and years, but unlike becoming ‘attached’ to one partner, the male will lose his ability to bond with someone when he has multiple sexual relationships.

Can people who have multiple partners find someone and enjoy a lasting, life long, healthy relationship? Of course, but my point in this post is that our teens and twenty somethings can fall victim to drug abuse and not even know it. Former president Bill Clinton may define sex as intercourse, but studies on brain activities show that sex is, “Sexual activity is any intimate contact between two individuals that involves arousal, stimulation, and/or a response by at least one of the two partners.” 6

I would tell my former students just because you are not having intercourse, does not mean you are not having sex. Sex comes in many forms, and they all produce powerful drugs that affect your ability to think clearly, rationally, and consider future consequences to your actions. These drugs are so powerful you may even ignore warning signs about an abusive relationship, or the advice of loved ones who have your best interest at heart. And to those that are engaging in sex outside of marriage, like it or not, you are likely to fall into a statistic that will place you in poverty income levels, multiple unsatisfactory relationships, and chronic depression.

The purpose of eating is not for pleasure, it is for survival. Those that eat for strictly for pleasure damage their bodies and are often grossly over weight. The purpose of sex is not for pleasure, it is for procreation. Those that have sex outside the design of marriage damage their relationships and their lives. These drugs were designed for a purpose, and that purpose is for permanent, life-enhancing, procreating relationships.

The world will tell you that when you feel you are ready, you should have sex. The world will tell you that as long as you use condoms, or other birth control methods, you are safe to have sex. The world will tell you that it is your business, and so long as no one gets hurt, it is alright. The world will tell you that as long as it is between two consenting adults, no harm is done. Science facts and Scripture tells us otherwise.

1 Corinthians 7:1-5 Now for the matters you wrote about: It is good for a man not to marry. 2 But since there is so much immorality, each man should have his own wife, and each woman her own husband. 3 The husband should fulfill his marital duty to his wife, and likewise the wife to her husband. 4 The wife’s body does not belong to her alone but also to her husband. In the same way, the husband’s body does not belong to him alone but also to his wife. 5 Do not deprive each other except by mutual consent and for a time, so that you may devote yourselves to prayer. Then come together again so that Satan will not tempt you because of your lack of self-control.

Sources:

1. McIlhaney, Joe S. Bush, Freda M. Hooked New Science On How Casual Sex is Affecting Our Children. Chicago: Northfield Publishing, 2008. Print
2. Ibid.
3. Maynard, R.A. Kids Having Kids. New York: Robin Hood Foundation, 1996. Print
4. PewResearch Social & Demographic Trends. “The Decline of Marriage And Rise of New Families. PewResearchCenter, 18 Nov. 2010. Web. 1/1/2014
5. Ibid
6. Ibid

*I highly recommend the book Hooked for parents of adolescent children, or teens.

Pin It on Pinterest