Tag Archives: Church and Sex

All for One, and One for All: Advocating Godly Sexuality

Have you ever heard the saying, “Don’t toot your own horn”? The message is that you shouldn’t brag about yourself. Let your successes speak for themselves. The admonition to be humble in this regard makes it hard at times for me to share when someone else out there has said good things about HHH.

Grow Your Marriage Award 2012But I was blown away by this comment from Lori at Generous Wife when she awarded Hot, Holy & Humorous a 2012 Grow Your Marriage Award:

“Three cheers for the Three Musketeers of Sexuality! These gals routinely turn out good material on marriage and sexuality. Their ability to talk about tough subjects amazes and blesses me. And they make me laugh . . . a lot.

Julie of Intimacy in Marriage
Sheila of To Love, Honor and Vacuum
‘J’ of Hot, Holy & Humorous”

Bam! Did you hear the sound of me falling over in amazement? To be in the category with Julie and Sheila was too delightful not to share. But then I got to thinking about “three musketeers of sexuality”? What was so appealing about that phrase?

While I’ve not read the novel by Alexandre Dumas, I am familiar with the Three Musketeers as being friends of the main character D’Artagnon. The three friends were inseparable, members of a military guard called the Musketeers, and lived by the motto “All for one, and one for all.”

There is strength in numbers. The Bible says that “A cord of three strands is not quickly broken” (Ecclesiastes 4:12) and that “For where two or three come together in my name, there am I with them” (Matthew 18:20).

One of the blessings of having this blog has been discovering others willing to address biblical sexuality and advocate for (lots of) sex in marriage. When you link with others to pursue a mission for God, your impact doesn’t increase like addition — it multiplies.

Even in the two years since I’ve been online writing about sexuality, many voices have joined the chorus of Christians desiring better marriages and intimacy that honors God. I pray that as the voices grow in number and volume, our world reaches the “tipping point,” defined by Merriam-Webster as “the critical point in a situation, process, or system beyond which a significant and often unstoppable effect or change takes place.” Unfortunately, forces in our world have weakened marriage substantially, and we need to tip over to the side of preserving and strengthening marriage — in part by strengthening the intimate relationship between husband and wife.

But moving back from a big world point of view, we all need three musketeers of sexuality in our own lives and churches. At times I’ve heard from a reader who is eager to tackle this topic with biblical insight within their church, but the leadership or members aren’t cooperative or simply ready. Some wives have no one to talk to about their sexual struggles or with whom to celebrate the beauty of sexuality. You could use someone nearby with an “all for one, and one for all” attitude.

I contemplate now and then what we can do to foster this advocacy. How can we get more (and more and more) people on board to address the topics of purity before marriage, preparing for intimacy in marriage, addressing issues of sexuality in marriage, and broadening and deepening your sexual experience within marriage — all according to God’s Word? Who are those people who might simply need a nudge to step forward and volunteer for the Musketeers?

My own confession is that I had largely given up addressing this topic among my friends and within the church before starting my blog. I had hit the wall of resistance so many times that my confidence and my forehead were bruised. I am making a resolution in 2013 to find more musketeers in my own area.

I plan to keep fencing alongside Sheila and Julie — women who began blogging before me and who have inspired and encouraged me in numerous ways. Knowing that they, and others, are out there promoting godly sexuality gives me confidence to speak up for marriage with boldness. But I also see the benefit of having support locally — creating that synergy within your church to reclaim the blessing of sexuality for the marriages in your midst.

Please pray for me as I approach my own church with some ideas, and then pray for what role you should play in your area to advocate for godly sexuality. If you have the gift of speaking and biblical wisdom on this topic, ask for opportunities to share what God says about sex. If you have struggled with sexuality, ask for access to helpful resources for married couples in your church or local area. If you have special knowledge (a physician, a counselor, etc.), see how you can use your expertise to positively impact marriages.

Let’s join together to be the Three Thousand Musketeers . . . and beyond. In fact, I think our motto should be “All for THE ONE, and THE ONE for all.”

“And [Christ] died for all, that those who live should no longer live for themselves but for him who died for them and was raised again.” 1 Corinthians 5:15

Step Up, Church, and Talk about Sex

Q&AIs it Monday again? It’s time for me to address another question left by a commenter on my Q&A with J at HHH post:

GREG DONNER: “I also mentioned this to Julie [Sibert, I suspect], but I would be interested in your take on how we as believers can (and should) be doing to boldly speak the truth about biblical sexuality in the church. It’s something I’m very passionate (and frankly, very concerned about).”

In some respect, Greg answers his own question: boldly.
Take a look at the letters of Paul in the New Testament: He boldly addresses whatever issue plagues the church and refocuses people on God’s desire for their lives.

Wrongful thinking and behaviors regarding sex permeate our culture. From the sexually abused child to the promiscuous teen to the porn-addicted husband to the withholding wife to the married couple who struggles to connect physically, we are off target a lot. Jesus never turned a blind eye to sin and pain in His midst. It is our God-given duty to speak into others’ pain and confusion, to speak for God where He has spoken, and to pass on God’s desire for their lives, even in the area of sexuality.

What should this boldness look like? Ideally, churches should have a cradle-to-grave approach. Here are some suggestions for how churches can minister to people in various stages:

Childhood/Teen Years

Provide parenting classes to help families address the subject. Plenty of parents want to equip their children with a godly view of sexuality, but they simply don’t know how to talk to their kids about it.

Empower youth ministry to address biblical sexuality with tweens and teens. All too often, parents resist having the subject brought up in church. Guess what? It’s being brought up everywhere else your kid is. Isn’t it better for our children to get information from a biblically-driven youth pastor than from his/her school friend or a TV show?

Host fun, well-supervised teen events. Churches can help teens by hosting events that provide opportunities to mingle and have fun without the sexual temptation that often exists in secular venues. It needs to be something that will attract teens, but also keep them out of pressurized situations. For instance, when I was a teen, a couple of churches hosted teen dances; the likelihood of anything inappropriate happening with my date at the Mormon family dance was practically nil. Here’s another out-of-the-box idea: What if a church rented a bunch of luxury cars and had volunteer members drive teenagers and their dates to and from local proms?

Singles

Provide preengagement and premarital classes and counseling. Preengaged.com focuses on this kind of assistance, and Brad and Kate Aldrich of One Flesh Marriage recently mentioned a premarital program at Watermark Church in Dallas, Texas. There are some excellent studies for dating couples (although I am only familiar with Before You Say I Do by H. Norman Wright). Ask most married couples if they wish they had prepared more, and they will say yes–including in the area of sexual intimacy.

Help singles find a mate. I don’t believe everyone must get married or that being single is a lesser status. However, 1 Corinthians 7:9 says, “It is better to marry than to burn with passion.” And although marriage rates are declining in the U.S., the vast majority of people still want to be married at some point. Hey, the best thing the church ever did for my sex life is introduce me to my husband. But too many single Christians have few options. What can churches do? They can offer area-wide singles events. I’m not suggesting some Christian version of The Bachelor or The Dating Game. Such events shouldn’t be meat markets, but rather worship, fellowship, or Bible studies which allow singles to gather and get to know one another. Love can take it from there.

Marrieds

Make marriage classes, retreats, and seminars routine. In addition to in-depth scriptural and theological studies, churches should teach on the practical application of God’s Word. Look for biblically-based marriage studies or find couples with knowledge to share. Here are a few series I have been through: Marriage Helper (Dr. Willard Harley); Love & Respect (Emerson Eggerichs); Love, Sex & Marriage (Joe Beam). I am also a fan of The Five Love Languages by Gary Chapman (who has a study titled The Marriage You’ve Always Wanted) and just about anything Dr. Kevin Leman writes (he has a study titled Making the Most of Your Marriage). Several friends have also spoken well of Mark Gungor’s Laugh Your Way to a Better Marriage.

Stop skipping the sex part! This is part B of the above suggestion. I was recently told by another blogger that churches often skip the sex lesson in a marriage series–perhaps because the topic is considered too sensitive. That tidbit of information had me V8-headsmacking the rest of the day. (Ouch.) God wants married couples to have growing marriages and great sex! Let’s support healthy marriages by helping couples do exactly that.

Financially support marriage ministries. Many quality marriage resources can only continue through outside financial support, and churches can make that a goal of their budget.

Provide babysitting services to married couples with children. One of the hardest periods for marital intimacy is when your kids are young. A group of church members (e.g., youth, “Golden Agers,” singles) could provide babysitting as a ministry. Or a church could establish a babysitting co-op in which couples keep others’ kids at times and get their own date nights.

Miscellaneous

Take a sex survey of your church and present your findings. Oftentimes, we don’t know that church members are struggling with sexuality. Who’s going to stand up on Sunday morning and say, “Could you address biblical sexuality because I ain’t gettin’ any at home?” We can awaken the attention of church leaders and members by asking for anonymous input about where they are thriving and where they need help.

Be specific. Too often, churches address sexuality at too high a level. For singles, we hear, “God wants you to stay pure.” Yes, He does. But be specific about how a sexually-ramped-up 17-year-old boy can stay cool when a hot girl throws herself at him. Or how a 23-year-old single woman can wait another seven years to let her libido see daylight? For the marrieds, it isn’t enough to say, “God wants you to have a good sex life.” How does a husband figure out how to pleasure his wife to climax? How can a women deal with her lagging interest in sex? How can a couple move beyond negative sexual histories? Be specific.

Bring in special speakers. Christian colleges and universities often have marriage and family therapy or Christian ministry departments with qualified experts. There are also writers, bloggers, counselors, and speakers who address this subject. For instance, get Sheila Gregoire, author of The Good Girl’s Guide to Great Sex, to come talk to your church (or better yet, my church).

Offer couples counseling. Couples counseling should be available to dating teens, couples in serious relationships, engaged couples, and married couples. The singles may need a session or two to learn strategies for stopping sexual activity before it starts, while a married couple may need to address a lack of intimacy or physical barriers to satisfying sex. If the church does not have the wherewithal to offer such counseling, it can subsidize another church’s counseling center or a Christian-based counseling practice.

Plug into ministries that help those who need special care. Has a child been sexually abused? Is a husband dealing with a porn addiction? Is a couple dealing with adultery? Such issues go beyond typical couples counseling. Find ministries that address specific issues.

Look for experts in your midst. That physician who attends your church? The labor and delivery nurse? The psychologist or counselor? The recovering sex addict? The woman who was sexually-abused as a child and found healing? The couple that lived through an affair and have a thriving marriage? They have something to offer. Ask how they are willing to help support healthy and godly sex lives for church members.

Maintain a quality library with helpful resources on biblical sexuality. There are many Christian-based books and video and tape series available, but cost can be prohibitive for families. Churches could use purchase resources, and then let families know that they are there.

No one church can offer all of this, so we must rely on each other in the larger church body. But each church can address godly sexuality throughout the seasons of life by offering biblical knowledge, specific information, relationship support, and prayer for the purity and intimacy of their members.

Now that I’ve thrown out my brainstorming ideas, what are yours? What are your churches doing to boldly address biblical sexuality? What would you like to see your church or area churches do?

Does Your Church Know?

Q&AOn Mondays, I’m working my way through the questions left in the comments section of Q&A with J at HHH. I still have several fabulous ones to get to, and I appreciate your patience. If yours hasn’t shown up yet, I promise it will.
Today’s question, however, is a bit personal:

HAPPY: Aloha, J! You had mentioned earlier that you told your mother about your blog – how about people from church? If so, what sort of response have you received?

The quick answer is no. However, my pastor has known for a full year what I am doing and is supportive. He agrees that the church needs to foster healthy marriages, including biblical sexuality within them. Beyond that, I don’t speak for him, as he might or might not agree with everything I’ve written on my blog. He and his wife do have the web address and can access my posts at any time.

Why haven’t I told my church? First, I have chosen to remain anonymous for the time being, simply going by the letter J. I have personal and family reasons why I have not yet revealed my identity, but I do expect to at some point.

Even if I was ready to tell my church, it’s a small world. For instance, I have more than once discovered that two of my personal Facebook friends knew each other when I didn’t know they had any connection. I have also visited churches where within a few conversations I have found mutual acquaintances. Moreover, I am three degrees of Kevin Bacon. Really. The point is, once the cat is out of the bag here, it’s out of the bag everywhere. So I will likely tell the church just a few days before I tell all of you.

I have considered how my church will react when I suddenly announce, “Hey, you know how I said I didn’t have time to teach any extra classes, and you wondered what on earth I was doing with all of my time? Well, I was super-busy writing a blog about sex. And yes, it’s ministry.” And what about when someone from my church Googles the blog name and finds posts on shaving, fellatio, and sex and bunnies? Maybe there is some way to direct them first to The Gospel in the Bedroom.

What I expect is that my church will be much like The Church — some will ignore it, some will be supportive, a few will be thoroughly encouraging, and a few will be in my face giving me an earful for discussing something so very private in such a public way. I do suspect that my church will have far more of the supportive and encouraging types than detractors (which would explain why we chose it as our church). However, I have no doubt that someone will think I have stepped every single toe over the line and wiggled them in the direction of hell.

In that case, I’ll take heart from one of my favorite Winston Churchill quotes: “You have enemies? Good. That means you’ve stood up for something, sometime in your life.” Of course, I’m not trying to make enemies. Far more important than Prime Minister Churchill is the Word of God which says, “If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone” (Romans 12:18).

But I’m not keeping my identity a secret for fear of retribution from a few detractors. Hey, I already have detractors in the blogosphere. I get a little friendly fire from time to time as it is. My reasons are focused less on me and more on certain people in my life.

Still, when I do tell all of my friends and family what I’ve been doing with this blog, those closest to me won’t be surprised. I’ve been talking about godly sex for a long time. I recall sitting at a table with some women who were talking about marital intimacy like it was a chore and one of my friends said something like, “Well, we can’t talk to J about this because she’s likes sex.” I might as well have been a flying purple people eater at that moment. (See also Intimacy in Marriage’s great post called 5 Reasons I Like Sex: Confessions from a Christian Wife.) However, I bet that I wasn’t the only gal in the room who loved having sex with her husband; I was simply the only one who had spoken up.When I finally add a bunch more letters to the “J” and give you a full name, I would love to also speak about God’s gift of sexuality. But perhaps God wants to groom me a little while longer. For now, my ministry to equip marriages for thriving physical intimacy largely takes place through one-on-one conversations as the subject arises and this blog. Indeed, that may be part of God’s refining of me: I gain information, encouragement, and wisdom from my interaction with others on this subject. In particular, some of you have left comments that make me reflect, study the Bible deeper, and simply keep me going.

I wish I could thank all of you in person. But of course, if I did that, the cat would not only be out of the bag, he’d be yowling all night.

But I’m not so silly as to think that whether I speak up or not is going to be the make-or-break moment for the church and sexuality. I agree wholeheartedly with Mordecai from the Bible when he advised his cousin Esther: “For if you remain silent at this time, relief and deliverance for the Jews will arise from another place.” My perspective on the blog is what Mordecai follows up with: “And who knows but that you have come to royal position for such a time as this?” I started with a “Who knows? Maybe God really can use me here” attitude. But if I don’t do it, someone else will. Indeed, if Christians are going to effectively fight against Satan’s attacks and reclaim God’s gift of sexuality, it will take more than one blogger or one speaker or one preacher anyway. But maybe I can do something from this blog — and someday in other ways.

Regardless, the Church needs all of you talking about godly sexuality where you are and in whatever way you can. It may be giving encouragement to a friend who is struggling with porn or lack of interest or coordinating a marriage class at your church or instructing your own children about God’s plan for marital intimacy. It may be writing or speaking on this subject. It may be commenting here when you have some wisdom to add.

My church doesn’t currently know I’m writing this blog. But the church knows that I stand for godly sexuality. What about your church? Do they know what you stand for? What small or big thing can you do to foster godly marital intimacy where you are?

Be sure to come back next week when I’ll answer a question about what the church can specifically do to foster biblical sexuality.