Posts tagged Sex

The Duck, the Whole Duck, and Nothing But the Duck

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duck dynastyIt has nearly been a month since the daddy of the Duck Dynasty, Phil Robertson, stirred things up with his comments in the interview with GQ magazine. I know this horse has been beat to death. The blogosphere was lit up with post after post about the backwoods Patriarch. They still continue to roll out. Some of them thought provoking, some angry, some appealing to emotions, and others that are poorly thought through.

The reason for all of the excitement about Phil Robertson has very little to do with Phil. He simply struck a match too close to a tinderbox. He opened up a door that allowed some needed dialogue to ensue, though much of the dialogue has been disappointing, hurtful, and doesn’t deal squarely with some of the issues.

Due to the firestorm that Phil’s words created, I have read much about the following topics across the web on Christian, non-Christian, conservative, and liberal sites alike, including: homosexuality, the suicide rate of homosexual teens, Christianity as it relates to homosexuality, Phil himself, gay marriage, equal rights, whether homosexuality is a sin, the sexuality of other mammals, etc.

My goal here is not to add to the noise, but instead take what I have read and discuss it from my perspective as a heterosexual, Christian, counselor, and my experience as related to these topics. My goal is not to appeal to emotion, though this is an emotional topic. It my intention to be loving, but to also represent the Christian worldview, present research, and share some of my professional experience. I will repeat some of Phil’s “crass” language and due to the subject matter, there may be other “crass” terms. I just felt I should give you that disclaimer now in case you would like to abandon ship.

First, if I might simply begin with Phil’s words. This seems like a logical place to start because this is what tipped the domino, and got us here to begin with. The first utterance that Mr. Robertson made that many found offensive was, “It seems like, to me, a vagina—as a man—would be more desirable than a man’s anus. That’s just me. I’m just thinking: There’s more there! She’s got more to offer. I mean, come on, dudes! You know what I’m saying? But hey, sin: It’s not logical, my man. It’s just not logical.”

Many found his language “crude”, which honestly, I find remarkable. He calls body parts by their actual anatomical names. People hear the slang and far more offensive terms for these parts and never bat an eye, but here, he is accused of being offensive. That simply does not make any sense at all.

Then there is his comment about a vagina having more to offer than a man’s anus. Physiologically and medically speaking, is he wrong? A vagina is made to accommodate a penis and an anus is not. Can you insert a penis into a man’s anus? Yes. Is it healthy? The medical community would tell us no. When I was a kid, I had a friend that stuck a pencil eraser up his nose. Sure, he could get it in there, but he caused some serious damage to his sinus cavity. Just because one can does not mean one should. I think this is all Phil was trying to point out. Stay with me. I know it would be easy to check out here. Regardless of where you land on this issue, please read on and let’s dialogue openly without being emotional, because this is how we all grow to understand one another.

The second statement he made that was ill received was his response to the question, “What, in your mind, is sinful?” To which he responded, “Start with homosexual behavior and just morph out from there. Bestiality, sleeping around with this woman and that woman and that woman and those men,” he says. Then he paraphrases Corinthians: “Don’t be deceived. Neither the adulterers, the idolaters, the male prostitutes, the homosexual offenders, the greedy, the drunkards, the slanderers, the swindlers—they won’t inherit the kingdom of God. Don’t deceive yourself. It’s not right.” As you know, much of what he says here is not even his own words. He gives us the words of the Apostle Paul.

Many found offense that he placed the word bestiality, adultery, and homosexuality in the same sentence. Was he comparing these? I honestly don’t know. We would have to ask Phil. I do find that he was honest. He use to sleep with other women outside of his marriage, which he identifies as sin. He isn’t trying to point fingers. He is simply stating what he believes to be wrong and this is fully consistent within the traditional Christian worldview. One thing I found interesting was a representative from GLAAD was incredibly irate that homosexuality might even be compared to bestiality. He stated that it was wrong for someone heterosexual to place a moral judgment on someone for being homosexual, and then he turns around and places a moral judgment on someone for engaging in bestiality. I understand that many will say there is a drastic difference between being committed in a homosexual relationship and having sex with an animal. Yet, for many homosexuals and heterosexuals alike, sex is nothing more than an animalistic act. When sex is divorced from monogamy it simply becomes about arousal and physical release, which is what sex with an animal is all about.

To continue on, let’s address the serious issue of the increased rate of suicidal ideation and suicide attempts in the GLB community raised in another article which you can read here. While I greatly understand the author’s intent, I feel it was somewhat misguided. The author brings to the surface the issue of teen suicide in the GLB community and hangs the issue on the shoulders of rejection and dehumanization of homosexual individuals, especially within the church. What is not considered is whether other factors besides the aforementioned may be at work in the higher rates of suicide amongst homosexual teens. Please listen to me carefully. If a gay person walks into my church what I honestly believe will happen is that they will be loved. Granted, there are jerks and hatemongers in every walk of life, including congregations, but I can speak for the majority of people that I worship with and say that any person who walks into my church will be met with love. It has to be this way, and especially with homosexual people that are struggling. Yet, I think we should look at other factors that may lead homosexual teens to consider suicide, and one such factor is the homosexual behavior itself. Should we love and help homosexual teens work through their problems? An emphatic yes! My question is, what if the problem is the homosexual behavior? Should we affirm and validate a sexual lifestyle that could be damaging? I don’t think so. At least, I can’t tell someone to keep doing what I believe is hurting them. Why do I think the homosexual behavior is damaging? Aside from my belief that when God says “don’t” he means “don’t hurt yourself” is that fact that the homosexual lifestyle causes emotional problems that teens (and adults, but especially teens) are not equipped to handle. Mainly, that homosexual individuals have a much higher percentage of sexual partners and are extremely promiscuous. Well, so are many heterosexual teens, right? While it is true that heterosexual teens are often promiscuous, they are less so than homosexual teens. But the bottom line is both of these behaviors are problematic and cause emotional distress.I can affirm neither of them.

Well, if we encourage monogamy this will be less of a problem, right? The difficulty is, the homosexual lifestyle is not one that often embraces monogamy. A survey published by the University of Chicago found a glaring difference between heterosexual and homosexual people. The study reported monogamy to be at 83% for heterosexuals and at 2% for homosexuals. This is echoed in my experience as a counselor. Are some homosexual’s monogamous? Sure, but they are the exception. Maybe you say, “Well, if homosexual couples could get married, this would reduce some of these problems.” Again, research does not support this. In countries where same sex marriage is legal, the vast majority do not marry.

Another statement made in this article was, “When faced with the choice between being theologically correct…as if this is even possible…and being morally responsible, I’ll go with morally responsible every time.” Statements like this make me cringe. It is possible to be both theologically correct and morally responsible. The author promotes a false dichotomy here. In fact, when we get sloppy with theology that is when we become morally irresponsible. Again, could it be that the homosexual lifestyle causes some problems for individuals? If it does, it would be morally irresponsible and unloving to promote that lifestyle.

This week, an article appeared in the Huffington post titled “Why I Can’t Say ‘Love the Sinner/Hate the Sin’ Anymore.” The author goes on to write “We don’t use that phrase for everybody else. Only them. Only ‘the gays.’” He then discusses how this idea of loving the sinner and hating sin divides us from homosexual people. This may be the author’s experience, but it certainly is not mine, or many other Christians I know for that matter. I hate my own sin. I hate it violently. My own lust that I struggle with from time to time is just as sinful as the lust of a homosexual. I hate all sin. My sin is just as damaging to me as your sin is to you. As far as what separates us from others, it is only sin. Christianity teaches that sin leads to death. The biblical understanding of death is separation. Thus, sin separates. All of our sin, everyone’s, places distance between God and us. Everyone is created in the image of God, and ever last one of us is dying from a sin disease. So I say we keep on loving sinners, which is everyone, and we keep on hating sin, which causes separation, problems and death.

So what am I trying to say? Christians, Non-Christians,  gays, straights, sinners, parents, teachers, pastors, should all be able to talk about sexuality in an honest way. Love should be the highest goal. I think the problem is, people view love differently. Love, for me, is not about affirming what I believe to be destructive to individuals and society at large. Love says, “Hey, I think what you are doing is hurting you. I will love you, care for you, be here for you regardless of what you do, but I won’t promote destructive behavior.” For many Christians, this is why they can’t endorse homosexual behavior. They believe God labels it as sin because it is destructive, and feel the effects can be seen in the lives of individuals and society. This does not mean they hate or promote hate. It means they are trying to love.

Let me close with what I believe to be the most damaging aspect of the homosexual lifestyle on society. Homosexuality, largely due to the lack of monogamy and the “hook-up” culture prevalent in the homosexual community leads to fatherlessness in the lives of children. Why is this a big deal? As Frank Turek points out, children from fatherless homes are seven times more likely to live in poverty. Six times more likely to commit suicide. More than twice as likely to commit crime. More than twice as likely become pregnant out of wedlock. Worse off academically and socially. Worse off physically and emotionally when they reach adulthood. Sure, we can’t afford to ignore the dehumanization of gay teens and the poor treatment some homosexual individuals receive, but neither can we afford to ignore the aforementioned statistics either.

What I hope for people in the homosexual community to understand is that while some people facilitate hate, not every Christian who refuses to affirm the homosexual lifestyle is being a bigot. Many are just refusing to endorse something they strongly believe to be destructive. The Christian worldview does not condemn someone for being a homosexual. We often cannot help preferences or what we find attractive. Yet, we are in control of our behavior. We do choose what urges we act on. So, for many Christians, they are trying to practice compassion for those in the homosexual community. Jay Budziszewski states, “compassion out to make us visit the prisoner, dry out the alcoholic, help the pregnant girl prepare for the baby, and encourage the young homosexual to live chastely. But how much easier it is to forget the prisoner; give the drunk a drink, send the girl to the abortionist, and tell the kid to just give in. False compassion is a great deal less work than true.” For many Christians, their stance on homosexuality is motivated out of compassion.

Walk good. Live Wise. Be blessed.
Josh

Sex and Meat Loaf

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Sex and Meat LoadWhat would you do to be loved? Back in the 90’s, the singer Meat Loaf belted, “I would do anything for love.” Doesn’t everyone want to be loved? It is a basic need that is innate. Everyone wants to receive and express love. The problem is, we are entirely willing to do too much for love and the consequences we face are devastating, both culturally and individually. Currently, about 1 out of 30 Americans successfully waits until after marriage to have sex. If that statistic is disheartening to you, remember that this represents over 10 million Americans that choose to remain abstinent until marriage, and they should be saluted.

It has been my experience as a mental health professional that women will often “do anything for love”, which often includes giving the most personal thing they possess, their virginity. Yet, if we wrote the male version of the song, it might be “I would do anything for sex”. Men will often artificially meet a need to be loved in order to enjoy a romp between the sheets. Now of course, sometimes it works the opposite way, but again, most female sexual addicts engage in sexual acts in order to meet an emotional need.

The fact of the matter is, America has become a nation of sex. It has become the driving currency. Sex has been hijacked, exploited, and manipulated to the point that it has become routine and commonplace. If one is single, having sex is the norm. Recently I was talking to a group of Christians and several made the statement, “If you are in your 20’s or 30’s then you are going to have sex. That is just the way it is.” But the truth of the matter is, we have made it that way. The remarkable thing about human beings is they have the capacity to override their sexual desires; though only 1 in 30 seem to be willing to do so.

I understand though, waiting to have sex is no longer in vogue. We are expected to enjoy sex whenever we feel like it and with whomever we like, as long as they are of age and consensual. Yet, what has this cost us? I would argue, a great deal. Scripture describes marriage, including having sexual relations, as “two becoming one flesh.” Sex is glue for the soul. Sex unites people in such a way that they become inseparable. When a couple has sex and then moves on to other partners, they carry pieces of the other person with them. This inevitably leads to problems.

A study published at Brigham Young University states, “Couples who reserve sex for marriage enjoy greater stability and communication in their relationships” and rank marital satisfaction 20% higher. According to a study at the University of Iowa, women who had sex as teens where at increased risk for divorce. Research at Western Washington University found that “having at least one other intimate relationship prior to marriage is linked to an increased risk of divorce.”

One does not need to pour over research, however, to see the adverse effects that the “sexual revolution” has had on America. To anyone that is cavalier in his or her sexual life I pose this question: Has having sex outside of marriage made your life better or more complicated? Has having sex outside of marriage brought you a sense of being loved or lead to more loneliness, emotional turmoil, and guilt? When you finally married after all of your sexual exploits, was your spouse excited to hear about the previous people you slept with or did you struggle with those memories by yourself? If your spouse had multiple previous partners do you fear being compared to those partners or feel that something that was meant for you was exploited by someone else?

Whenever I talk with youth I always like to ask them, “Do you want to have an amazing sex life after you are married?” I have never had one tell me “No, I hope my sex life after marriage is rotten.” They always look at me quizzically and respond with an enthusiastic “yes”! So I tell them the best thing they can do for their sex life later is not to have sex now. Because when two become one, they can’t become two again. You can’t unscramble eggs. Sure, God forgives us and offers us His wonderful grace, but we still face the consequences of our actions.

Meat Loaf would do anything for love, but he wouldn’t “do that”, whatever “that” was. We all want to be loved. We all want to give love. I think many of us have a fear not finding someone, but that doesn’t mean we should settle for a cheapened form of love and do “that”.

Let’s keep sex and love as two distinct entities, and allow sex to flow out of a committed, loving, marital relationship, the way it was intended to be.

Walk good. Live wise. Be blessed.
Josh

What’s So Great About Marriage?

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whats so great about marriageMarriage is something incredibly complex, but also beautifully simple. It is the process of two separate people merging into one, yet retaining their individual identities. It has its highs and lows. It holds its share of joys and times of sadness. At times it is smooth sailing and yet other times the couple finds that the storms of life have lampooned them on the rocks.

There are those that view marriage as an archaic institution. Some look at marriage with a skeptical eye. Many have experienced a poor marriage of their own or were the product of a dysfunctional marriage growing up. Some see the divorce rate and decide against tying the knot, but choose instead to take a different approach to doing life with someone else. Yet, society would do well to remember that all forms of relationships are fraught with problems. Deciding not to get married does not mean you get to avoid the problems that are often a part of marriage. It simply means you have the same problems without the commitment, which at times, is the anchor that strangely holds people together.

Even though marriages have problems (which is because they are comprised of two individuals that have problems), the actual benefits of marriage is astounding. Marriage offers benefits in the areas of health, finances and longevity that no other forms of relationships offer.

Surprisingly, for myself, one of the biggest benefits of marriage is that it taught me an incredible amount about who I am. The ancient Greek philosopher Plato wrote that one should “know thyself.” Before marriage one should seek to have a good understanding of who they are, or they will lose their individual identity and potentially be resentful for this later. I believe, however, that one can only know his or her self to a certain degree before marriage because marriage does much to teach one about who they are, what they desire in life, their insecurities, shortcomings, and past hurts. Yes, marriage does indeed grow, stretch, and educate individuals about life.

But, as was previously said, there is a wealth of benefits from entering into a lifelong commitment through matrimony. On average, husbands and wives are more likely to live longer, healthier and happier lives than their single or cohabitating peers. Married men seem to boast the greatest health benefit from marriage, with single men have mortality rates that are 250% higher than married men and single women have mortality rates that are 50% higher than married women. Married men and women recover from illness quicker and more successfully than do those who are not married. Robert Coombs, a professor at UCLA states, “Virtually every study of mortality and marital status shows the unmarried of both sexes have higher death rates, whether by accident, disease, or self-inflicted wounds, and this is found in every country that maintains accurate health statistics.”

Married men and women have lowered risk of problems with mental health. Married couples report being happier than those who are not married. Married mothers have lower rates of depression than single or cohabitating mothers. Married men are half as likely to commit suicide as single men.

There are financial benefits to marriage as well. Married people earn more on average than do single people. Men are more successful at work, get higher appraisals on the job, and are more likely to get promoted. Married couples grow more wealth than do single people or cohabitating couples.

What about the sex? Married people have more sex than single or cohabiting men and women. Married individuals also report being more satisfied with their sex lives as well.

Marriage is also a safer place to be, with married women being at lower risk for domestic violence than single or cohabitating women. Married men are also less likely to be involved in violent crimes than single men.

Marriage is even good for society and children. It creates the emotional, social, and economic conditions needed for effective parenting. Children who have both parents living in the home are: 7 times less likely to live in poverty, six times less likely to commit suicide, less than half as likely to become pregnant, less than half as likely to commit crime and do better academically and socially. It also adjusts the lifestyles of individuals and alters their lives in ways that personally and socially beneficial.

We could go on discussing the benefits of marriage. The list is vast, but one can walk away with a picture of marriage that is vastly different than what is often portrayed. Marriage is a blessing. God had a specific purpose and intention when He designed the two to become one.

One advantage of marriage is that, when you fall out of love with him or he falls out of love with you, it keeps you together until you fall in again. –Judith Viorst

Walk good. Live wise. Be blessed.
Josh

Best of 2012: The Sex Olympics

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Best of 2012_Sex OlympicsThis was the third most read post of 2012, and it was published during the Olympic Games. It deals with a shadier side of the Olympics which intersects with where our culture is morally.

Odds are good that at some point during the Olympics  you tuned in with over 3 billion other people to watch the Games. The Olympics are inspiring to watch, as you witness records being broken and mankind pushing physical strength and agility to their limits. The world looks on in wonder at the accomplishments made and cheers for their country with pride.

Recently, reports were given on what occurs within the Olympic village. Behind the scenes is an extreme party scene filled with debauchery. Reports say that the Olympic village will be stocked with 100,000 condoms during the course of the games. Apparently, the Olympic athletes engage in copious amounts of sex. According to world-record-holding, American swimmer Ryan Lochte, about 70-75% of Olympians engage in what I am terming, somewhat tongue in cheek, “the sex Olympics”.

Honestly, I find this disheartening. When watching the Olympics we get an image of people who have so much physical control and strength, but lack these same qualities when it comes to morality. Instead, if reports are correct, many feed their sensual appetites and show limited control.  Yet, this is becoming the norm. The sacredness of sexuality is increasingly impugned, yet at what cost?

Working with both individuals and couples, I can tell you that the emotional consequences of casual sex can be astronomical (much less the unexpected physical consequences that are so often the case). Having sexual partners previous to marriage often causes difficulties within marriages, sometimes without the couple fully knowing that this is the case.

So what does this mean for us as Christians, both single and married? It means it is our sole responsibility to promote a healthy sexuality grounded on a biblical perspective. It is up to us to hold ourselves and one another accountable to what God’s word says about sex. It means we keep our hearts and minds pure. It means we help our spouse guard their hearts along with their eyes. It means that we dress and behave in ways that will not contribute to those around us stumbling. It means that we have conversations, even if it isn’t always comfortable to do so. It means that the church must be willing to talk openly about this issue and engage our morally depraved culture.

We were created as sexual beings, but our sexuality was meant to be maintained within a proper context. Just as Olympians exhibit focus and self control when it comes to athletics, so also can we maintain a proper focus and self control in matters of sexuality and lust. It is up to the Christians to redeem sexuality and keep it sacred. Are we doing that? Are we keeping our minds pure? Are we meeting our spouse’s needs and keeping open lines of communication about sexual struggles? Are we holding one another accountable? Are we speaking truth even when it is uncomfortable?

“The monstrosity of sexual intercourse outside marriage is that those who indulge in it are trying to isolate one kind of union (the sexual) from all the other kinds of union which were intended to go along with it and make up the total union. There is (not) anything wrong about sexual pleasure, any more than about the pleasure of eating. . . (but) you must not isolate that pleasure and try to get it by itself, any more than you ought to try to get the pleasures of taste without swallowing and digesting, by chewing things and spitting them out again.” – C.S. Lewis

Walk good. Live wise. Be blessed.
Josh

The Sex Olympics

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Odds are good that at some point this weekend you tuned in with over 3 billion other people to watch the Olympic Games. The Olympics are inspiring to watch, as you witness records being broken and mankind pushing physical strength and agility to their limits. The world looks on in wonder at the accomplishments made and cheers for their country with pride.

Recently, reports were given on what occurs within the Olympic village. Behind the scenes is a extreme party scene filled with debauchery. Reports say that the Olympic village will be stocked with 100,000 condoms during the course of the games. Apparently, the Olympic athletes engage in copious amounts of sex. According to world-record-holding, American swimmer Ryan Lochte, about 70-75% of Olympians engage in what I am terming, somewhat tongue in cheek, “the sex Olympics”.

Honestly, I find this disheartening. When watching the Olympics we get an image of people who have so much physical control and strength, but lack these same qualities when it comes to morality. Instead, if reports are correct, many feed their sensual appetites and show limited control.  Yet, this is becoming the norm. The sacredness of sexuality is increasingly impugned, yet at what cost?

Working with both individuals and couples, I can tell you that the emotional consequences of casual sex can be astronomical (much less the unexpected physical consequences that are so often the case). Having sexual partners previous to marriage often causes difficulties within marriages, sometimes without the couple fully knowing that this is the case.

So what does this mean for us as Christians, both single and married? It means it is our sole responsibility to promote a healthy sexuality grounded on a biblical perspective. It is up to us to hold ourselves and one another accountable to what God’s word says about sex. It means we keep our hearts and minds pure. It means we help our spouse guard their hearts along with their eyes. It means that we dress and behave in ways that will not contribute to those around us stumbling. It means that we have conversations, even if it isn’t always comfortable to do so. It means that the church must be willing to talk openly about this issue and engage our morally depraved culture.

We were created as sexual beings, but our sexuality was meant to be maintained within a proper context. Just as Olympians exhibit focus and self control when it comes to athletics, so also can we maintain a proper focus and self control in matters of sexuality and lust. It is up to the Christians to redeem sexuality and keep it sacred. Are we doing that? Are we keeping our minds pure? Are we meeting our spouse’s needs and keeping open lines of communication about sexual struggles? Are we holding one another accountable? Are we speaking truth even when it is uncomfortable?

“The monstrosity of sexual intercourse outside marriage is that those who indulge in it are trying to isolate one kind of union (the sexual) from all the other kinds of union which were intended to go along with it and make up the total union. There is (not) anything wrong about sexual pleasure, any more than about the pleasure of eating. . . (but) you must not isolate that pleasure and try to get it by itself, any more than you ought to try to get the pleasures of taste without swallowing and digesting, by chewing things and spitting them out again.” – C.S. Lewis

Walk good. Live wise. Be blessed.
Josh

Sex, Love, and Rock N’ Roll (But Mostly Sex)

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From time to time, when I am in the car, I will flip on the radio to see what all of the cool kids are listening to these days (usually because my ipod was left at home by accident). Today, I had to make a quick trip so I flipped on the radio. The three songs that came on back to back while I was in my car, a grand total of ten minutes, were chocked full of undisguised sexuality.

Now, don’t get me wrong, I understand that to a certain degree sex and rock n’ roll have always been good buddies. The term “rock and roll” itself was used early on to be sexually suggestive. We have seen a trend in rock music (along with other genres of music and society in general) to be increasingly overt sexually since its inception in the 1950’s.

Now before we continue, let me state that I am a lover of diverse musical styling’s. I harbor no ill feelings toward rock music. In fact, I cut my teeth on 90’s grudge rock and alternative music. I like many forms of music (excluding a few) as long as the content is well written, thought provoking, encouraging or uplifting. What I want to examine is how the content has changed from past to present.

Since the sexual revolution music (and majority of culture) has went through a sexual evolution (or maybe I should say de-evolution). Again, since the beginning there have always been musicians that focused on sex lyrically, but the disparity between current music and what was written 40-50 years ago is vast. Majority of the early songs that referenced sex did so more covertly or with double entendre. Today’s music leaves nothing to the imagination. In fact, the music just pumps through your speakers and slaps you in the face with sex. You might call it ear pornography.

Let’s just take a look at a few songs and see how music has evolved sexually over the years. I realize I could do a Google search and weed through the millions of songs that reference sex, but instead I am going to appeal to my own memory of popular songs throughout the years. Disclaimer: The following lyrics will become increasingly offensive.

1950’s
Jerry Lee Lewis – “Great Balls of Fire”
“Well kiss me baby, woo….it feels good
Hold me baby
I want to love you like a lover should
Your fine, so kind
I got to tell this world that your mine mine mine mine.”

Fats Domino – “Blueberry Hill”
“Tho’ we’re apart you’re part of me still
For you were my thrill on Blueberry Hill”

Bobby Darrin – “Dream Lover”
“Dream lover, where are you
With a love, oh, so true
And the hand that I can hold
To feel you near as I grow old”

1960’s
The Beatles – “I Want to Hold Your Hand”
“Oh please, say to me
You’ll let me be your man
And please, say to me
You’ll let me hold your hand”

Roy Orbison – “Pretty Woman”
“Pretty woman, walking down the street
Pretty woman, the kind I like to meet
Pretty woman
I don’t believe you, you’re not the truth
No one could look as good as you
Mercy”

The Beach Boys – “California Girls”
“The Midwest farmer’s daughters
They all make you feel alright
And the Northern girls with the way they kiss
They keep their boyfriends warm at night”

1970’s
Marvin Gaye – “Let’s Get It On”
“Don’t you know how sweet and wonderful, life can be
I’m askin you baby, to get it on with me
I aint gonna worry, I aint gonna push
So come on, come on, come on, come on baby
Stop beatin round the bush”

Aerosmith – “Walk This Way”
“So I took a big chance at the high school dance
With a missy who was ready to play
Wasn’t me she was foolin’
‘Cause she knew what she was doin’
And I knowed love was here to stay”

Four Seasons – “Oh What A Night”
“You know I didn’t even know her name
But I was never gonna be the same
What a lady, what a night!”

1980’s
Billy Joel – “Keeping the Faith”
“I thought I was the Duke of Earl
When I made it with a red-haired girl
In the Chevrolet. Oh yeah
We were keeping the faith”

Madonna – “Like A Virgin”
“Like a virgin
Touched for the very first time
Like a virgin
When your heart beats next to mine”

Tina Turner – “What’s Love Got to Do With It?”
“It’s physical
Only logical
You must try to ignore
That it means more than that
Oh what’s love got to do, got to do with it”

1990’s
Nine Inch Nails – “Closer”
“I want to **** you like an animal
I want to feel you from the inside
I want to **** you like an animal
My whole existence is flawed”

Green Day – “Basketcase”
“I went to a shrink
To analyze my dreams
She says it’s lack of sex
That’s bringing me down
I went to a *****
He said my life’s a bore
So quit my whining cause
It’s bringing her down”

Dave Matthew’s Band – “Crash”
“Oh and you come crash
into me, baby
And I come into you
Hike up your skirt a little more
and show the world to me”

Songs I Heard on the Radio Today While Driving for Ten Minutes
Nelly Furtado – “Promiscuous”
You expect me to just let you hit it
But will you still respect me if you get it
All I can do is try, gimme one chance
What’s the problem I don’t see no ring on your hand”

Usher – “Scream”
“And I ain’t trying to fight it, to fight it
But you’re so magnetic, magnetic
Got one life, just live it, just live it
Now relax and get on your back”

Neon Trees – “Everybody Talks”
It started with a whisper
And that was when I kissed her
And then she made my lips hurt
I could hear the chit chat
Take me to your love shack
Mamas always gotta back track
When everybody talks babe

As you can definitely see, the overt, explicit exploitation of sex in music has increased over the years. Why is this? I think there are a couple of reasons. Where people lack creativity there is a trend to appeal to the use of sex. As Switchfoot so knowingly sang several years ago, “Sex is currency.” There is no doubt that the use of sex sells a great many products, music being no exception.

Another reason we see an increase in sexually suggestive/explicit lyrics is due to the fact that sex is no longer sacred. Society has reduced it to a meaningless act for recreation. Some might argue whether the chicken or the egg came first. That is, is music a reflection of society’s attitudes toward sex or did the arts drive people to approach sex in a more apathetic way? The cause does not matter near as much as the result. Little is considered sacred, and the current state of the arts will continue to eradicate what traces of sacredness remain.

With the daily amounts of sex consumed every day through media and the arts, it is no wonder that people are overly sexualized. We have lost our way as a society. Let me close with C.S. Lewis’ take on the topic. “You can get a large audience together for a strip-tease act-that is, to watch a girl undress on the stage. Now suppose you came to a country where you could fill a theater by simply bringing a covered plate on the stage and then slowly lifting the cover so as to let everyone see, just before the lights went out, that it contained a mutton chop or a bit of bacon, would you not think that in that country something had gone wrong with the appetite for food? And would not anyone who had grown up in a different world think there was something equally queer about the state of the sex instinct among us?”

It’s time to restore sex to an expression of love (between married people). We need people to create good art. We need art that is reflective, inspiring, and that holds on to all things sacred.

Walk good. Love wise. Be blessed.
Josh

Marriage Monday: Dirty Little Secret.

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“You can get a large audience together for a strip-tease act-that is, to watch a girl undress on the stage. Now suppose you came to a country where you could fill a theater by simply bringing a covered plate on the stage and then slowly lifting the cover so as to let everyone see, just before the lights went out, that it contained a mutton chop or a bit of bacon, would you not think that in that country something had gone wrong with the appetite for food? And would not anyone who had grown up in a different world think there was something equally queer about the state of the sex instinct among us?” – C.S. Lewis

To say that the appetite for sex is indulgent within our culture would be a gross understatement. The distortion of sexuality could rightly be labeled a pandemic. Being a pastor and counselor, I have worked extensively with people and families who have felt the destruction that comes from viewing pornography. It ruins marriages, distorts minds, contributes to abuse, disrupts families, leads to premature sexualization in children, and causes spiritual fragmentation. I cannot exaggerate the danger of viewing pornography. It is something that must be addressed in marriages (and families) across America.

First, some statistics:
-1 in 3 porn viewers are women
-70% of men, aged 18-24, visit porn sites in a month
-12% of websites on the internet are pornographic
-Nearly 25 million pornographic sites are in existence
-Every second, over $3,000 is spent on internet pornography
-Over 28,000 internet users are viewing porn every second
-40 million Americans are regular users of porn sites
-25% of all search engine requests are pornography related
-68 million searches are conducted a day that are pornography related
-35% of all internet downloads are pornographic
-There are 116,000 searches for child pornography daily
-The average age at which a child first sees porn online is 11
-Every 39 minutes a new pornographic video is being created in the U.S.

Sexuality is sacred, but it has been distorted, defamed, and massacred. I believe it is tempting to think that surely, these numbers can’t be representative of a Christian population, but research shows that at least half of men sitting in the pews of churches struggle with the use of pornography. No one is immune. Everyone is capable of having their sexual appetite fed with the poison of pornography. From my experience, I would suppose the percentages of Christians consuming pornographic material to be much higher than 50%. It is such a habit plagued by guilt and shame, which individuals do not want to readily admit that they struggle in this area. It is also an area that isn’t dealt with as often in church.

Though we might not want to think that we or our spouse could struggle with pornography, this issue must be dealt with in marriages (and families). There must be open dialogue about this topic.  Have you discussed the potential problem of pornography with your spouse? Are you taking safeguards in this area? Need I remind you that 7 out of 10 men and 3 out of 10 women struggle with pornography? Should I point out again that 50% of Christian men struggle with pornography (although I argue this
statistic is much higher)?

Let’s not live in denial. We must not be passive. Let’s chop off the snakes head before it continues to grow and devour. Pornography is a difficult addiction. It thrives in secret. Sexually explicit material is readily available. One need not even leave their home. It meets a physical drive that is powerful. It forms a behavioral ritual that is commanding. It releases chemicals in the brain that also feed into the addiction cycle. Pornography is a savage beast that is indifferent to the plight of your marriage and is extremely difficult to escape from, but it can be done.

Are you struggling with pornography? Do not think that you can beat this alone. There is no way around asking for help. First things first, tell someone else. Get some information about sexual addiction. Have several people hold you accountable. Remove any source that can feed your addiction. Participate in marriage counseling and get to the root of the problem. It will not go away without drastic intervention.

Have you and your spouse had a discussion about pornography? My wife and I are not so naïve as to think it could never develop into a problem in our marriage, so we take proactive steps. Internet history is always there for the viewing. We have one another’s passwords to every account. I do not flip through channels haphazardly at night. We have an open relationship that I could go to my wife if I ever felt temptation in this area. I have also pledged to my wife that I will tell her should I ever view pornography. We guard one another’s hearts and eyes. Devon doesn’t watch anything on television that could lead to lust.

Our marriages are too valuable and sexuality too sacred to be destroyed by this vicious beast. As long as it remains a “dirty little secret”, it will continue to thrive. If left untreated, it will be your ultimate undoing. Choose to sin, choose to suffer. Let’s keep the lines of communication open about this topic with our spouse.

Walk good. Live wise. Be blessed.
Josh

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