Archives For sex

Ok, I admit it. I’m a child of the 50’s and 60’s who grew up with TV. I like to watch some favorite shows then, and now. And contrary to the popular belief of some, it’s not all bad.

Now don’t get me wrong, this isn’t a wholesale endorsement of everything that comes down the media pipeline into our homes. Much of it is a major waste of time. However, sometimes they get it right. And when they do, it leaves a mark.

A current favorite of mine is the NBC series, Parenthood. My interests are both personal and professional.

Personally, I’m a parent of 3 adult children, a son and two daughters. And while my role has shifted from hands on parenting to being a trusted adviser . . . when asked . . . I’m still involved in parenting.

Professionally, I work with a lot of parents who face challenging situations. Helping them navigate through those challenges with grace and courage is what I do. I’m constantly scanning  media– TV, films, books, or music–looking for viable teaching metaphors that can aid in my work.

I’ve also witnessed the the fallout of infidelity up close and personal with the couples and families who have come to my office. A recent episode that really grabbed me was Qualities & Difficulties (03/01/11 air date).

The episode chronicles the story of a younger brother, Crosby, who cheated on his fiancee, Jasmine, with his nephew’s tutor. Yea, I know . . . dumb, and typical for Hollywood. “I know where this is going” . . . I thought.

But here’s the twist.

Instead of championing the typical mantras that “sex is no big deal, it’s just sex,” “sex is just between two people,” and “what two people do sexually is no one’s business except them,” and all the other “there’s no consequences for unfaithfulness” doctrine,  this episode exposes the catastrophic fallout of infidelity throughout an extended family–the couple themselves, the children, the siblings and their spouses, the grandparents, the nephews, the nieces, the tutor, the fiance. Everyone is touched by it. And it’s not good.

What was so vividly portrayed was how devastating infidelity really is!

The final scene is at Joel and Julia’s house. Julia is Crosby’s sister. They’ve had struggles in their young marriage. And as Joel walks down the steps and nervously sits down next to Julia on the couch, you can almost feel what’s coming. What I expected was a confession of his own betrayal of infidelity. Instead, he takes her hand, and begins with, “I need to tell you something.” “Okay,” Julia tentatively responses. He continues, “I will never cheat on you.” “you know. . .  we’ve been through so much. And we’re going to go through so much more . . . you know . . . good and bad, we’re going to go through everything . . . and I will never . . . I will never cheat on you.”

Their embrace is priceless! And the expression on Julia’s face says it all: I’m safe and secure because I’m married to a one-woman man who has got my heart. Joel’s affirmation of faithfulness is all the more exquisite when displayed against the backdrop of  Crosby’s unfaithfulness. After 8 years of marriage, this couple knows better than the day they got married what real love means and what real love requires. Passionate Faithfulness.

Faithfulness is the most costly and exquisite gift that one person can give to another that continually reaffirms, “I Love You no matter what.” And for those who are Jesus followers, it’s the model of love that Jesus himself demonstrates and invites us to follow his lead (Rev. 19:11).

So men, how bout it? It’s time to be honest. Are you more like Crosby or Joel?

If you’ve broken your woman’s heart through unfaithfulness like Crosby, it’s time to man-up and start the agonizing work of rebuilding broken trust. It will take time . . . a long, long time. Counseling, accountability, and vulnerability are vital to rebuilding trust and becoming a better man who is faithful and true.

Are you more like Joel? Then it’s time for you to passionately reaffirm your faithfulness to your bride. Do it today. Make it a practice to find little ways to demonstrate to her that you’re “a one-woman man” (1 Tim. 3:2). Because that’s what a real man who loves God and loves his woman does.

And I’m pretty sure her response will be something like Julia’s.

For more help, check out When A Spouse Is Unfaithful , When The Flame Flickers, and this video insight on how to rebuild a relationship after an affair from Larry Crabb.

Sexpectations

Allison Stevens —  March 28, 2011 — 10 Comments

I’m reading the book He’s Just Not That Into You.  Please don’t stop reading my blog yet- I know – this book is sooo not from a biblical mindset. It’s written mainly by a man, with a woman who wrote for the television program “Sex and the City.”  I know, I know!  This is getting worse, isn’t it?!  I greatly dislike that show and what it stands for.  On the show, women act as if sex is just sex and that there are no good men out there and that women can give themselves away to anyone without any consequences. Well, duh, the consequences are that none of those women characters are happy!

But I can’t deny that the author has gotten me thinking about something when it comes to sexuality in Christian dating relationships.

In the book, the author says that if you’re’ dating a man and he doesn’t want to have sex with you, he’s just not that into you. He adds that whatever reasons the man gives for not wanting to have sex, (religion and faith included), is simply an excuse because a man you’re dating should want to “rip your clothes off.” If he doesn’t, then he’s not into you and he’d rather avoid telling you that than face the yelling, crying, or whatever fallout would occur if he told you directly that he’s not caught up with your hotness.

OK, a problem I have with that is that I know there are good guys out there who honor women by waiting for marriage to have sex. They get it. They know that sex is a precious thing to a relationship and it shouldn’t be given to just anyone. They want to be pure and want to marry a pure woman.

Granted, this “waiting” is easier for some than for others. But the standard is still the same. Sex is for marriage and it’s worth the wait.

So, I’m getting to my point here. What should a single Christian woman expect from a single Christian man?  Should she expect him to never struggle with lust? Should she expect him to always keep his hands to himself? Should there never be chemistry between them that causes them to end a date early?! Oh, boy, I hope not, on the last question, anyway.

The lack of a sex drive is not an indicator of spirituality. How we respond to the sex drive is what matters. Love is doing what’s best for the other person. And it is best to wait. Men know this; it’s just that sometimes they don’t want to wait. But men love the pursuit; they like to work hard to earn something, not just given it so easily. The harder they work at it, the greater the reward – not just for men, but for all of us.

God made us with natural yearnings for intimacy. But intimacy isn’t only about sex.  Sexual fulfillment can’t be found outside of a trusting, lifetime commitment.

So, unmarried girls, let’s be real here.  There will be times, at least I hope so, that the desire for your man and his desire for you will be so great that you literally have to walk away from each other! He just might have to go home early.  That’s just the way it is.

Women and Men

Allison Stevens —  January 24, 2011 — 11 Comments

Is there any common sense to waiting for marriage to have sex?

I think there’s a lot of common sense about it. I just spoke with two separate women who went further, physically, with men than they had planned to or were emotionally ready for – and now one is filled with self-doubt and shame; the other is anxiety-ridden.

These women are beautiful, competent, caring, and successful. Any right-minded (or should I say ‘right-hearted’) single man would be thrilled to be with her. But the women’s self-esteem has taken a plunge now because of how far the physical relationship went without the commitment from the man. Now they wonder if the guy is in the relationship for the long haul. One of the men said he wasn’t sure. Hm. How convenient.

Sex is more than a physical act – at least to a woman who’s looking for a husband. And even to girls in high school who “make out” with guys and then hear that the guy isn’t interested in becoming boyfriend-girlfriend. She is hurt by that and wonders why she isn’t good enough for him.

I think it’s because she gave herself away too fast. Not that the guy who made out with her was a catch. Obviously, he has issues of his own. This isn’t just a female problem! Males are too willing to be passive and take the sexual activity that the woman is willing to give him, and then leave her behind. That is not a good, strong man.

But back to women:  When a woman gives her body to a guy before he’s committed himself to her, she puts herself in jeopardy of severe heartbreak and disappointment of not getting the most important desire in her life:  an intimate, committed, life-long relationship. A woman’s purity holds the key to her heart. If she gives that away too soon, a man can come in and take advantage of her vulnerability.

A woman pays a huge emotional price when she has sex before or outside of marriage. She can become fearful, anxious, lack confidence, and lose the meaning and purpose of her life.  Then, to relieve some of these painful symptoms, she may resort to continually giving a piece of herself away to an unworthy man, every time compromising what her true inner self tells her is right for her.

Had no idea what to write about this morning until I read my online local newspaper this morning.  Headline:  Supporters of teacher who had sex with student flood judge.

A 32-year old teacher had sex with one of his 15-year old students (at a Christian school!) and he was sentenced to 8 to 40 years in prison. He cried in the courtroom saying how sorry he was for what he’d done.  He received over 100 letters of support from people around the country, asking the judge for leniency. According to the newspaper, principals, teachers, nurses, and youth workers wrote letters stating that this teacher was not a predator, not a monster, not a long-term threat, but could continue to have a positive impact on other’s lives. They apparently wrote that he is one of the best teachers they’ve ever seen and that their children benefited from having him as their teacher. One person wrote that he thinks he is a model of Christian faith, despite his actions. Parents and students apparently loved this guy; they didn’t know what side of the courtroom to sit on, they said, because they wanted to support both the teacher and the student. Right.

Did anyone care about how the victim and her family might feel?

Apparently not. The people gushed over this teacher. One woman said that she would have her children be in his classroom in a heartbeat. She thinks he’s just a man who lost his way and that nothing good will come from his being in jail.

No, no one who loves this man cares one bit about this young girl. The newspaper reports that the victim and her family feel ostracized. Of course they do!  They feel completely abandoned and alone. She’s left the school and attending another.

Isn’t it ironic that the victim is the one they’ve left by the side of the road and they run to the one who “beat her up” and left her there? Is it because he’s crying and saying he’s sorry? What, do they want her to stand up real quick, dust herself off, and say, “Oh, Mr. So-and-so, it’s OK, I know you’re sorry. I forgive you.”

What about this girl?!  She’s hurting!  He hurt her! What about her pain? I’m sickened and appalled at these people who call themselves Christians who are so open and public about their support of this man who hurt her! They’re willing to sacrifice this young girl so that they can protect this man. I don’t even know what to say about this except that this is evil at work.

They should be open about their support of this girl, not this man who took advantage of one of his students. The victim’s father asked a pointed question of the two pastors’s who wrote letters of support for the teacher. He asked if it was their 15 year old daughter that he had sex with, if they would have asked the judge for mercy.  Neither pastor responded. Hm. That says a lot doesn’t it. Where is the love?

Sexual assault, rape, incest, sexual abuse; these all carry with it such a deep level of shame. The blame immediately goes inward. And to make it all worse, people like the supporters of this teacher blame the victim. They blame the victim by publicly supporting the man.

Sex Talk

Tim Jackson —  December 2, 2009 — 14 Comments

Do you remember the “sex talk”? You know, the talk? Some of you do. It was that awkward moment when your father or mother sat down and did the “birds and the bees” thing. Now, for the life of me I never have been able to figure out how birds and bees would ever fit into that conversation, but, nevertheless, you know what I mean. Remember?

I don’t remember the talk. Why? Because it never happened. And I know a bunch of you reading this post are in the same boat as me.

I grew up in a Christian home where sex was never mentioned. Not once. Not ever. So, as I grew up and matured, sex was a very awkward subject. And no body was talking about it, especially Christians, and especially in church.

Couple holding hands--smallSo, here are some things that I find amazing about sex. Now before you get concerned about reading further, let me reassure you that there will not be explicit of talk about everything that I find amazing about sex. This is a selective list of observations intended to raise a healthy dialog about sexually in an honorable way.

Okay, so here’s my short list:

1. It never ceases to amaze me how sexually saturated our world has become. I mean, sex is everywhere. I can’t turn to any form of media without hearing or seeing a barrage of both explicit and implied sexual images, innuendos, and conversations that drag sex into the public arena for all to witness. And I’m not talking about the pornography industry here. (That’s another whole issue in itself that we’ll have to reserve for a later discussion). I’m talking about what we see, hear, read and are otherwise exposed to through the mainstream media–like radio, TV, magazines, advertisements, and the internet.

2. What’s equally amazing is that–for the most part–the majority of people around me (and that includes many Christians) seem to be completely immune to the impact this assault is having on them sexuality. The message seems to be getting through that there are no significant consequences or enduring fallout for unleashing unbridled sexual expression in any form and any where.

3. What’s also amazing is that for all the sexual indulgence in our culture, Christian couples rarely if ever talk about their sex relationship. I’ve spent the last 23 years working with couples in marital and premarital counseling, and my experience has been that the vast majority of couples never talk about sex. They don’t share their sexual histories prior to marriage. Nor do they talk much about their expectations of sexuality within marriage. Most couples who have been married for any amount of time, 3-5 years, say they feel “awkward” talking about sex and usually avoid it. What’s amazing is that these same couples will watch sexuality portrayed on TV and in movies and don’t think twice about it. In spite of that exposure, there is still minimal meaningful conversation about what is or isn’t going on between them in the bedroom.

4. When I speak at men’s conferences and men’s retreats, it’s amazing how many men admit that they have never had a meaningful conversation about sex with their fathers. Often, it’s only a paltry 1-2% of the men whose fathers took time to share with their sons about this crucial area. And then we wander why men struggle so deeply with their sexuality.

5. What is amazing to me is how we as Christians have allowed the forces of darkness to hijack and exploit the whole beautiful and mysterious gift of our God-designed sexuality. Rarely–in my more than 50 years of church attendance–have I ever heard a positive sermon about sex. Plenty of negative press about what not to do, but rarely a passionate presentation of the celebration that sexual intimacy offers to a married couple. Sex is an exquisite and exclusive celebration in the bedroom of the love that a couple has made outside of the bedroom. Sex isn’t the main event. It’s the delightful dessert that is to be savored after the nourishment of a hearty meal of meaningful relationship.

So, that’s my short list of what I find amazing about sex. How about you? I know it’s awkward, but lets be honest. No graphic or lewd comments, please. Just honest dialog about whether or not you can identify with some of what I’ve shared. Feel free to disagree as well. That makes for a good discussion.