Monthly Archives: May 2018

Are We Afraid of #ChurchToo?

In case you just woke up from a two-year coma, there’s this thing going on called #MeToo, an international movement against sexual harassment and assault. It’s got its own Wikipedia page now, which explains how “Me Too” was first introduced in 2006 but popularized as a hashtag in 2017 following allegations against Hollywood mogul Harvey Weinstein that he harassed and assaulted multiple women.

Since then, not hundreds, not thousands, but millions of women have shared their #MeToo stories, and I’ve both written about it and discussed it with my fellow podcasters on Sex Chat for Christian Wives.

But lest we think the problem is with Hollywood or Washington, D.C. or just secular culture itself, consider how this movement has reached down into our churches and revealed heartbreaking stories of the mistreatment and abuse of women.

Hashtags like #ChurchToo and #SilenceIsNotSpiritual have allowed women to share their stories of being harassed or assaulted by men who were supposed to be acting as their brothers in Christ. Dozens of men, at the highest levels, have been accused, many with convincing evidence or testimony.

It’s been heartbreaking to see that not only have we failed in this area, but we’re late to the party, so to speak. Why isn’t the Church forefront on the issue of respectful treatment of women?

Why isn't the Church forefront on the issue of respectful treatment of women? #ChurchToo Click To Tweet

We have example after example in the Bible of women receiving privileges uncommon for the time they lived, and our Messiah, Jesus Christ, repeatedly modeled how much he valued women.

Now I can envision someone immediately sliding this discussion into one of gender roles in the Church. But that’s not really what I’m talking about. Indeed, I’m not “egalitarian” — rather, I believe God specially tasked men to lead in their churches and homes. But we don’t need to debate that issue for us all to agree that mistreatment, harassment, and abuse of His children is against God’s will.

Our Lord is a champion for the oppressed: “The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to set the oppressed free” (Luke 4:18).

But we have done a poor job of standing up for people who have experienced oppression by other Church members. What stops us from acting as God clearly wants us to act? What keeps up from holding harassers, assaulters, and abusers responsible for their actions? Are we afraid of the #ChurchToo movement?

I think some are. Fear is the only explanation I can think of the unconscionable silence and suppression we’ve seen in some church circles.

Fear of Weakening Our Witness

What if people find out that some who appeared to be upstanding Christians actually mistreated fellow sisters in Christ? Will they reject the message because its messengers are flawed?

Leaders who told victims to stay silent about their abuse or mistreatment often suggested that the good of the Church itself or the Gospel of Christ outweighed the damage done to an individual.

Look, I’ve seen firsthand that when a prominent minister is ruined, some congregants do indeed go out the door. But what we rarely acknowledge is the number of believers who quietly slip out year after year because their safety and wellbeing were not given the value they deserved. A number of people would still be in church but for our inaction in the face of their mistreatment.

Instead, let’s remember this:

Do not put your trust in princes,
    in human beings, who cannot save.
When their spirit departs, they return to the ground;
    on that very day their plans come to nothing.
Blessed are those whose help is the God of Jacob,
    whose hope is in the Lord their God. (Psalm 146:3-5)

For when one says, “I follow Paul,” and another, “I follow Apollos,” are you not mere human beings? What, after all, is Apollos? And what is Paul? Only servants, through whom you came to believe—as the Lord has assigned to each his task. I planted the seed, Apollos watered it, but God has been making it grow. So neither the one who plants nor the one who waters is anything, but only God, who makes things grow. (1 Corinthians 3:4-7)

Let God take care of His Church, and let’s do all we can to take care of His people.

Let God take care of His Church, and let's do all we can to take care of His people. #ChurchToo Click To Tweet

Fear of Ruining Related Lives

Let’s say a minister sexually harassed women, abused someone, or encouraged suppression of truth, and that’s bad — but if he’s hit with a scandal, what happens to his wife and kids? Don’t we owe it to them to keep their lives from being ruined? I’ve heard this reasoning as well, and I get it. It can come from a place of compassion … but also fear.

And we’re fearful of something happening that’s already happened. This person already violated his marriage vows, let down his family and parishioners, and/or discarded Christian ethics. It’s a done deal — by the perpetrator. Whether we recognize it or not, it’s still there and impacting the people in his circle. Indeed, many times when bad news comes to light, those around finally have an explanation for something they sensed was wrong long before.

Now, of course we can handle the situation very poorly. (I’ve seen that too!) But in those cases, it’s not the truth itself that does damage, but rather us caring more for gossip or judgmentalism or some other non-Christian approach. We can aim for the right thing and go about it in the wrong way. But how we aim for the right thing, the right way? Seeking truth and justice, while showing Christ’s compassion to all those affected by the truth — that was going to come out someday, somehow. Wouldn’t it be better for the family to have a Christ-like community to fall back on?

For there is nothing hidden that will not be disclosed, and nothing concealed that will not be known or brought out into the open” (Luke 8:17).

Fear of Finding Out Who We Really Are

For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23). Anyone who’s been in the Christian faith for long knows this verse and likely has it memorized. We share it one another to remind ourselves that we all need a savior, the Lord Jesus. And sure, we buy it — that we are sinners. Thus, we talk about sin and repentance, but what happens when we are really faced with the sins of someone in our congregation? We become very uncomfortable.

Admitting that someone we trusted was abusing power and hurting people means that we were fooled at best and complicit at worst. Moreover, what if we peel back the layers and find more terrible stuff underneath — by this person or others in our church? What if looking deeper shows us that we aren’t who we thought we were?

King David’s son Amnon raped his sister Tamar, David’s own daughter. 1 Samuel 13:21 says, “When King David heard all this, he was furious.” But you know what David did? Nothing. Absolutely nothing. David didn’t want to acknowledge the poison in his own family, the person his own son had become. And it cost both his family and his kingdom greatly, with ruined and lost lives.

If we don’t look deeper, we don’t have a chance to save victims and change oppressors. We don’t let God do His greatest work of redeeming people.

For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Live as children of light (for the fruit of the light consists in all goodness, righteousness and truth) and find out what pleases the Lord. Have nothing to do with the fruitless deeds of darkness, but rather expose them” (Ephesians 5:8-11).

Why am I talking about all of this now? Likely because of recent events regarding upcoming he Southern Baptist Convention. I’m not Baptist, but I hardly believe that their denomination is alone in having issues with the treatment of women. The movement isn’t #BaptistToo, it’s #ChurchToo.

And even those who aren’t in leadership need to decide where we stand. When we hear or read credible accusations against a church leader, what’s our gut reaction? Do we recoil in fear, encourage silence, remain with the status quo? Or do we value all individuals involved, seek out the truth, and pursue righteousness and justice?

I for one am 100% ready to defend the Church on its core message, regardless of what the world thinks — including my ongoing commitment to sharing God’s perfect design for sex in marriage. “For I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God that brings salvation to everyone who believes!” (Romans 1:15). But I will not defend oppressors, no matter who they are. “God opposes the proud but shows favor to the humble” (James 4:6, 1 Peter 5:5).

But let justice roll on like a river,
righteousness like a never-failing stream!

(Amos 5:24).

Godly Sources of Intimacy with Guest Daniel Purcell

I haven’t had many men write for my blog — not that I don’t think they have a lot to say on the subject of God’s design for sex in marriage, but my primary goal has always been reaching wives. But when I came into contact with the creator of a neat little marriage app called Ultimate Intimacy, he told me a bit of his story and I asked him to share his perspective with my readers.

Hope y’all enjoy this as much as I did and that you’ll check out the Ultimate Intimacy app! (More into at the bottom.)

I’ve been married to my sweetheart for 14 years. We’re both active in our faith and church. We avoid R-rated movies, and definitely anything pornographic or salacious.  We have an Internet filter to help protect us and our six kids. We’ve seen friends marriages disintegrate because of pornography and a view of sex that’s more like what you read in grocery store checkout-line magazines.

Although my wife and I had what we thought was a good intimate relationship, there were many things we didn’t know we didn’t know because we didn’t feel safe looking for answers. We were too afraid that reading or watching something wouldn’t be appropriate, so we avoided it altogether. It appeared that it was easier than to navigate what appeared to be a moral minefield.

A Friend Tells Me…

One day a friend told my wife and me that his marriage changed dramatically in the last few months after he and his wife got a few things working really well in the bedroom. He mentioned a community of Christian bloggers that discuss sex in positive and wholesome ways. Let’s just say it was an exciting conversation I don’t usually have on a regular basis!

I was intrigued, but skeptical. I didn’t want to compromise my values, and going online  searching for information about sex seemed scary. However, I was yearning for what my friend had in his marriage. He just seemed so sincere! My wife and I jumped in together and decided to see what my friend was so excited about. This is how we found the blog and book, Hot, Holy & Humorous.

…But Is It Okay?

Besides unanswered questions we’ve always had about sex, we were now introduced to new ideas we hadn’t considered (I guess you don’t know what you don’t know, right?). In addition, we weren’t sure if it was right to be reading tips from other couples of what they enjoy their lovemaking (in general terms). This became our moral dilemma — if reading material like this was right with God. I believe that we can receive answers to prayers and guidance from a loving Heavenly Father, but He expects us to do our homework too.

The answers didn’t come all at once, but little bits at a time. Here were some of our guiding principles that helped us along the way:

  • “Seek and ye shall find” (Matthew 7:7). I believe that God is the source of all truth, including truths about sex. We could rely on him to teach us if we put in the effort.
God is the source of all truth, including truths about sex. We could rely on him to teach us if we put in the effort. ~ Daniel Purcell Click To Tweet
  • God is a giver of good gifts (Matthew 7:11). Although I knew God approved of sex (multiply and replenish the earth!), for the first time I came to realize deep in my heart that God actually loves sex. He invented it! He designed it not only for procreation but for husbands and wives to express love and strengthen marital bonds. As the creator of it, He made it amazing and wants His children to partake fully of this special gift He’s set apart for his children.
  • By their fruit you will recognize them” (Matthew 7:16). To me, this meant I could experiment a little with what we read and observe the outcome. The fruits I was looking for were a strengthened connection with my wife and things that would encourage me to be a faithful and devoted husband. If the fruits are good, then the tree the fruits come from must also be good.

With the above in mind, my wife and I spent a lot of time over the next few weeks talking, reading, and … ahem … doing our “homework.”  

The Fruits of a Healthy & Happy Sex Life

All of the sudden our marriage started to change! The first “fruit” we noticed is we started communicating better about everything, including the sensitive and the sacred. Another “fruit” was those twitterpated feelings from early on came back. We felt like newlyweds all over again, but better! I couldn’t (and still can’t) stop thinking of my wife during the day, just like back in the earlier dating days.

As for our physical intimacy, our frequency doubled, quality quadrupled, and overall marital satisfaction increased by an order of a magnitude. A weekly date night became a real set-in-stone thing. We were sleeping better and our stress levels went down. As a result, there was more peace in the home; it seemed like the kids started getting along better too.

My desire to be the best person I could be for my precious wife increased dramatically too. This meant I had some personal changes to make. Changing one’s habits aren’t easy, and it took some sacrifice on my part but have been well worth it for my dear, sweet angel wife Emily. I could go on further about the blessings we’ve enjoyed, but I think you get the picture.

My Soapbox

Improving the sexual dimension was just a part of our renewed enthusiasm for each other in our marriage. It seems though that a healthy, happy sexual relationship brings out the best in us. It leads people to be honest, true, chaste, benevolent, and to do good. It gives us strength to endure all things and fills our days with hope and excitement for our future. It leads us to honor our vows and be fully committed to each other.

It seems though that a healthy, happy sexual relationship brings out the best in us. ~ Daniel Purcell #marriage Click To Tweet

In our situation, it was knowhow, techniques, and new things to explore to keep things fresh that made the initial difference. Then, like a virtuous cycle, other areas of our marriage improved. When other areas improved, our sexually intimate area improved too.

I learned how important it is to make lovemaking fun and mutually fulfilling. None of this would be possible without feeling safe to explore helpful resources that we could apply in the bedroom. We’re grateful for the brave souls out there that are willing to share what they’ve learned in a healthy, positive, and constructive way. They’re blessing many lives, probably more than they’d ever know.

If there are readers with a spouse who’s unsure about this blog, podcast, books, or Facebook group, I hope they’ll at least read about our experience and reconsider. I want to tell them to be brave and realize there’s a lot of good people out there sharing real experiences based on true principles. I hope they find that learning more about God’s design for intimacy is uplifting, wholesome, and encouraging. And can be really, really fun too!

J again: Be sure to check out Daniel’s app! Trust me—go ahead and pay for the premium. (It’s about the same cost as a Chick-fil-A meal, y’all.) You can thank me later.

Ultimate Intimacy App Banner

5 Times You Teach Holy and Healthy Sex to Your Kids

Parents have a strong influence in how their children view their sexuality and establish standards for sexual intimacy.

Parents have a strong influence in how their children view their sexuality and establish their standards for sexual intimacy. Click To Tweet

And much of that influence is not overt, but rather what we model day by day. With that in mind, here are five times you teach holy and healthy sex to your kids.

1. When you show affection in front of your children.

Young children typically enjoy seeing their parents embrace and kiss, but older children can give us the impression they don’t like it very much. They might roll their eyes, squish up their face, or even say, “Yuck!” Perhaps we don’t want to embarrass them, or perhaps we’re uncomfortable being affectionate when they understand more about romantic relationships, but many couples stop showing much affection in front of their kids.

But even if it feels a little awkward or it causes a reaction from your kids, it’s healthy to show affection in front of them. Children need to know their parents are still committed, loving, and even a little sexy to one another. Flirting, holding hands, hugging, and mild kissing are all wonderful practices for them to see. And yes, it’s good for them to know those actions lead to more intimate encounters that they don’t witness. All of this assures them of their parents bond and the benefits of marriage.

2. When you pursue and protect time alone.

You need time away from your children as a couple. And that time shouldn’t only happen when they are unaware, such as when they’re asleep. Let your children know that Mom and Dad want and deserve time alone together, in the bedroom, without interruption.

Depending on their age, that could mean announcing that it’s Mommy and Daddy’s special time, or that it’s date night, or that you just want to be alone (which teens can decipher and don’t want to know more about). But make a point of letting your children see that a husband and wife pursue and protect alone time, because they enjoy being together in romantic and intimate ways.

3. When you answer their questions about sex.

Sometimes I receive the question, “When should I tell my kids about sex?” For a lot of parents, the answer is “whenever they ask” — to which I could add, “as many times as they ask.” Yes, I think you need to have a specific talk with your children describing the sexual act, but the vast majority of teaching throughout the years will be simply answering their questions.

Think about your own experience growing up: Didn’t you have questions about sex? Who did you go to for answers? My bet is that many of us parents would like our kids to come to us rather than the other options available. So when our children ask us about sex in any way, we need to be open to the conversation, willing to listen to their thoughts and concerns, and able to respond in a way that encourages a positive, God-honoring view of sexual intimacy.

4. When you protect them against predators.

When I was growing up, minors had to intentionally seek out porn; now they have to avoid it like a stream of dodge balls coming at them. And it’s not just pornography, but mature-rated shows on streaming sites and Google searches on unrelated topics. Then there are online chats and multi-player games where a predator could interact with your child. I’m not trying to scare you, but we should be aware of risks out there.

Consequently, our kids need us to be their protectors. This involves talking to them about what’s out there and how to make good decisions. Even young children can understand, “If something on the screen makes you uncomfortable, press this off button, then come and get me or Daddy.” You can talk to tweens and tweens more openly, asking them what they encounter and coaching them on how to handle it. And you can install internet filters on their computers to keep them from being targeted by adult sexual content.

Get Covenant Eyes internet filtering software (affiliate link)

Affiliate Link

By the way, you won’t have much moral authority on this one if your internal attitude is “I can look at the XXX stuff, but they can’t.” So if you are struggling with porn use or lust, you need to address that as well. Don’t hold off helping your kids while you work on this sin, but recognize that teens in particular are smarter than you think and, if you keep it up, will likely pick up on you being a hypocrite.

5. When you point them to what God says about sex.

I didn’t leave this point for last because it’s least important, but rather because I want to make sure it’s the last point you hear and process. Our goal with our children should always be teaching them about God’s design for sexuality. As the Creator of sex, what did He say it’s for, how does He talk about it in Scripture, and what does purity really mean? Why is God’s design better than the world’s teaching? And how can they have a great sexual relationship once they’re married?

When they’re young, these messages are as simple as celebrating the way God made their bodies—all of their bodies. As as they age and you answer their questions, bring God into that conversation, making sure they fully understand that sex was and is God’s idea. Demonstrate with your words and actions that sex in marriage is not simply physical, but also emotional and spiritual. Let them know that the Bible likens the marriage relationship to the intimacy God longs to have with us. We are a mirror of His love.

The Bible likens the #marriage relationship to the intimacy God longs to have with us. We are a mirror of His love. Click To Tweet

Our parental influence is far more than we think at times. This is no guarantee, because we each have free will, but let’s do what we can to set our kids up for a healthy and godly perspective of sex.

The Whole Story video course from Sheila Gregoire & Daughters

Is Joking about Sex Okay?

My site is called Hot, Holy & Humorous — because those are three aspects of sex in marriage. And if you’ve read or followed me much, you know that I love humor. Indeed, I believe a sense of humor is what makes life more bearable in bad times and more enjoyable in good times.

I’ve been known to crack a few sex jokes and chuckle at innuendos. One of my favorites is when someone asks me about masturbation, and I answer, “Well, now that’s a touchy topic.” And you’ll periodically hear one-liners and laughter in our Sex Chat for Christian Wives podcast.

But is there such a thing as too much sexual humor? Or a type of sexual humor that should be avoided?

Is there such a thing as too much sexual humor? Or a type of sexual humor that should be avoided? Click To Tweet

Is there such a thing as too much sexual humor? Or a type of sexual humor that should be avoided?

Ephesians 5:3-5 says:

But among you there must not be even a hint of sexual immorality, or of any kind of impurity, or of greed, because these are improper for God’s holy people. Nor should there be obscenity, foolish talk or coarse joking, which are out of place, but rather thanksgiving. For of this you can be sure: No immoral, impure or greedy person—such a person is an idolater—has any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God.

Hmmm. Should we reconsider how we treat the subject of sex in conversation? Don’t panic yet. Let me outline a few thoughts here.

1. Context matters.

This passage is talking about sexual immorality and impurity, and conversation in that context. A sexual innuendo about one’s body part is one thing when spoken to your spouse and a whole other thing when spoken to someone else. The first is in the context of a covenant relationship blessed by God with intimacy as the goal of that humor. While the second clearly meets the “out of place” definition in the scripture and could lead to the immorality and impurity warned about.

Now this isn’t license to say anything whatsoever within marriage, because our words should always meet the goal of building one another up (Ephesians 4:29). But speaking innuendos to your beloved mate isn’t an immoral or impure act. Indeed, look at how the lovers spoke to one another in Song of Songs — their playful use of metaphors and euphemisms. That’s a good example of how we can use sexual sense of humor in positive ways.

That said, we need to be careful how we speak in mixed company, to ensure that we are not nudging someone toward impurity. Sexual innuendos broadly (like my “touchy” joke above) don’t meet that definition to me — it’s just us laughing at the shared experience of life — but specifics could be problematic.

2. Content matters.

In the commentaries I read on this passage, the most common takeaway was that sin isn’t funny. Coarse joking about things like sexual trafficking, pornography addiction, adultery, etc. are not a Christ-like approach to sin. We can all nod our heads on this one, but let’s be honest: This can be difficult to follow all the time, because we tend to diffuse stressful situations with humor. It’s a go-to coping mechanism for some.

But real brokenness is heart-rending. It pricks God’s heart and should prick ours too. For instance, there were many jokes about Hugh Hefner through the years, but I never thought he was funny; rather, he was sad, pathetic, and damaging. Likewise, nothing about the #MeToo movement is funny for those who have been sexually harassed and/or assaulted.

Living in Texas, I remember vividly when front-runner candidate Clayton Williams lost the governor’s race by making an offhand comment comparing bad weather to rape. It wasn’t simply in poor taste; it was thoughtless and heartless to everyone (women and men) who had been raped. That is sexual humor gone much too far.

3. Consequence matters.

What’s the result of your sexual humor? Is it lightening you and others up about the awkwardness and foibles of the sexual act? Is it convincing us that sex is universally funny in some ways? Is it having a shared moment of humor with a close friend? Is it inducing greater intimacy between you and your spouse?

Or is it causing your spouse or friends discomfort? Is it encouraging your mind to dwell on sexual improprieties? Is it arousing your lust as much as it tickles your funny bone?

The goal is for God’s people to maintain sexual purity and morality, and if your humor doesn’t do that, then you need to take a step back and ask what, if anything, you need to change.

Now, admittedly, I sometimes have a commenter slam me for my sexual sense of humor here on the blog in a way that makes it clear the person is way too uptight. If someone thinks that Christianity means No Joking Allowed, then the problem isn’t really the joke but the audience. Tough crowd. Is this mic on? Of course if you’re married to that “tough crowd,” you need to tread carefully. Encourage them toward lightning up a little, but don’t dismiss their discomfort.

Is it okay to joke about sex? A playful attitude toward sex can help us see this act in a proper light, pursue greater intimacy with our spouse, and bring laughter to our daily lives. None of those things dishonors God’s design for sex.

But if and when our sexual humor is in the wrong context, includes immoral content, or has a damaging consequence, we need to rethink the purpose and power of our words.

Intimacy Revealed Ad

What I Wish I Had Been Taught Instead of Purity Culture with Rebecca Lemke

Rebecca Lemke

I met Rebecca Lemke when she contacted me about appearing on her podcast, The Scarlet Virgins. Her book about her experience in the Purity Culture shares the same name. And I was impressed with how she was speaking up about her experience, both the good and the bad.

We had a wonderful discussion, which will appear soon on her podcast. But in the meantime, I asked her to return the favor and talk to my audience about what she wished she had experienced instead.

This is great information for two reasons:

  1. Even if you didn’t grow up in the Purity Culture, many churches embraced its underlying message in subtler ways, and you might need to rethink what it really means to be pure before God.
  2. We married folk often have children, who should be our students when it comes to sex, and we should think through what messages will point our kids in the right direction.

I hope you’re entirely convinced now to read every word below, because I’m eagerly turning things over to Rebecca.

Blog post title + male & female symbols on chalkboard with chalk beside them

My husband and I are currently making our way through the book Making Chastity Sexy by Christine J. Gardner. A generous friend sent it to me because of my interest and extensive work on purity culture. This book has sparked some discussion between my husband and me about the way we would have liked sex and relationships to have been approached in our youth and some of the ways in which we hope we can approach these things with our son.

A point my husband made recently is that much of what we learned was through the Christian pop culture. Yes, there was a lot of in-your-face rhetoric with the purity rings and conferences and concerts, but the fear we learned was subtle in a lot of ways. It crept in on us more through the subtext within the culture and the way people acted than what was actually said.

Which, to be sure, was fear-mongering in many respects. At least in my case, where crushes were considered an emotional STD and therefore you were to marry your first one to avoid contaminating anyone else or yourself.

The number one thing I wish there had been more of is a culture of practicality surrounding sex. One point Gardner’s book makes is that sex was sold as a product, specifically amazing honeymoon sex, if you paid the price of waiting until you were married. A virgin body on your wedding night was made into a commodity to sell abstinence until marriage.

It seems abhorrent to me that information about precious gifts of God (our bodies, our sexuality, our marriages) was spun to produce an outcome rather than just giving us the facts and the Word of God. Why, on God’s green earth, was that not enough?

Instead of trying to make false promises and add to Scripture to up to ante to gain compliance, I wish the Powers That be would have spent time teaching us about how sex and marriage actually work.

Instead of trying to make false promises and add to Scripture to up to ante to gain compliance, I wish the Powers That Be would have spent time teaching us about how sex and marriage actually work. - Rebecca Lemke Click To Tweet

For example:

1. How our bodies work.

Things like hormonal changes, male and female reproductive systems, things that impact libido, what influences attraction, etc.

Purity culture has made sexuality this big bad thing that only becomes good the moment you say “I do.” Even going so far as to say noticing beauty is inherently sinful, which has caused problems for many people in the path of this idea. The body is bad, the spirit is good (amazing how tenacious old gnostic ideas are). Except when you get married, then somehow the body is magically good.

This kind of odd rhetoric combined with lack of any education on puberty, attraction, sex, etc. makes it easy to see sexuality as this conceptually blurry, overpowered bad guy. Appropriate information contextualizes sexuality so you know and believe it is a good thing. With this foundation, you also happen to understand why it is prudent and God-pleasing to exercise it in the proper place within marriage.

2. What healthy sexuality looks like.

Numerous men and women have contacted me since my book came out to tell me that, since being fed a diet of purity culture’s high expectations, they have been extremely disappointed with the realities of sex. This is an issue compounded by exposure to pornography, which is something many of these individuals have experienced as well (oftentimes as the result of an attempt at sexual self-repression that backfired).

Sex isn’t always wild and crazy. You don’t always break a bed frame or wake all the neighbors up. Sometimes pregnancy complications arise and pelvic rest is ordered. But to hear the talk at a purity event, you wouldn’t know this! The existence of this blog and others like it helps to combat this issue, but nothing can replace having practical expectations laid at the beginning.

My husband and I have made it a point to be an open book with our son so he doesn’t have to wonder or feel ashamed or scared about sex. We make it a point not to idolize sex or manipulate its importance in his mind by downplaying or overemphasizing its role in our lives.

Instead of growing up in a subtext and culture of fear and lack of knowledge, I wish we would have had the opportunity we are trying to afford our son, to be surrounded by stability, certainty, knowledge, and respect for sex within the context God created it to be.

The Scarlet Virgins Book Cover

Rebecca Lemke was a Good Christian Girl who wanted a Good Christian Husband and a Quiverfull of kids. The sort of blessed, picturesque life promised to people who followed The Rules.

The Scarlet Virgins is a memoir of Rebecca’s journey through the ramifications of spiritual abuse and purity culture, wrestling with the temptation of apostasy, the descent of herself and others into the depths of addiction, alcoholism, anorexia, depression, self-harm, and suicide. She outlines the dangers of finding your identity in your purity or ability to follow the Law rather than in Christ and what he has done for you.

For more information about Rebecca, the book, and her podcast, visit The Scarlet Virgins.

Related posts:
Talking to Your Kids about Sex: No More One & Done
Is “Don’t Have Sex” Enough for Teens?

Intimacy Revealed Ad