ted talk

I’m not going to give you the birds and the bees talk; see ya mama or your therapist about all that. I’m thinking on a different route. This post is inspired from numerous conversations on the matter, with people on both sides. So, without further ado: Let’s talk about {talking about} sex.

I come from a fairly conservative, Christian home. Though it was split at a young age, things still stayed revolving around the church and Adventist guidelines. Church every week, the rules and regulations / do’s and don’ts drilled into you at a young age. I can go into this into more detail at another time, perhaps on the Spiritual page, but that upbringing really shaped me as a person until I got to high school. It was common — yet unspoken — knowledge that, as Christians, we were to remain pure, holy, and abstinent / celibate.

A little before I entered high school, someone close to me gave birth to their first child, outside of wedlock. Throughout my high school years, I knew friends and acquaintances who either had pregnancy scares or who actually got pregnant. At first, this seemed like taboo; we weren’t supposed to be doing anything like that. Moreover, it wasn’t talked about. People avoided the topic like the black plague; words that were said on the matter were spoken in a less than pleasant tone and dirty looks were given without a second thought.

As Christians at a Christian high school, we had Sex Ed. talks (Well, if I remember correctly, we had a single Sex Education presentation in the four years I was there). If you care to know what they said at these talks, stick around. Girls: keep your boobs covered and legs closed. (I kid you not. The female speaker made such a big deal about cleavage, which, in hindsight, sounded an awful lot about rape culture and trying to make sure that us girls didn’t wear anything that to ‘provoke’ the male students. Ahem, Lord knows the shoulders are a gateway gaze to sex, right?) As for the guys, the male speaker spoke on being godly men and respecting women and basically, “Just don’t do it, alright?” Seems easy enough, right, guys? ** Side note: there was a third section that addressed avoiding sexual activities because a. diseases, b. pregnancy, and c. We are holy children of God. The latter reason is a staple in the church, through and through, though it’s less explicitly stated, and more so expected nowadays**

I, along with some of my classmates, left that chapel service a little self conscious and a little uncomfortable. You could tell that even the teachers were uncomfortable with having to discuss the topic. And that’s just how it goes in this conservative culture: it’s not talked about because it makes people uneasy or awkward. In the church, it’s a taboo topic because it’s naturally, and unspokenly, expected that you avoid it like a disease until you’ve got the wedding rings. But, after going through that high school and now at an Adventist university, I’m no longer shocked when I hear of dozens of students having premarital sex. Is my first thought “Well, they’re damned to hell now.”? Not in the least. Now it’s more along the lines of, “Well, I hope they’re being safe about it.”. Because, at that point, that’s all we can hope for.

Unfortunately, so many parents and “adults” within the church might threaten disownment at even the idea of committing what they call fornication. Worse yet, even if they are able to hold their tongue while you explain things, their judgement seeps out in their eyes and, later on, gossip. It’s awful. Last I checked, being the hands and feet of Jesus doesn’t mean picking and choosing what sins we’re okay with accepting. Like, I’m sorry but, you can’t welcome your alcoholic brother from work into the church or your Catholic sister from the gym, and then shun your own kids or church kids because they made a choice that you didn’t completely agree with. Yes, they made their choice. Yes, it’s different than what the parents would have wanted / raised on. But the fact that they are wanting to open up about it and be honest should make an impact on how it’s treated in the moment and in the future.

If you’re out on your own and/or not on your parents insurance, then this may not apply to you. In fact, it probably doesn’t. But for those of us do, especially who still live at home (hello, saving money for college tuition), it’s a real issue. I know there are some Christian parents out there who have opened up the conversation about sex themselves, and it has not only maintained a close parent-child relationship, but gave the kids more of choice, rather than forcing them into a box. But whether you accept it or not, it doesn’t change that its still happening, inside and outside of your church circle, or even your own home.

The point is that not talking about what’s going on in the lives and world around us, whether inside the church or not, doesn’t make it from happening. Adventist, or Christian, kids will have sex. Rape will happen at private universities. Our culture is becoming less and less harder to differentiate from the world, so why do we act like there isn’t a problem? Why do we still turn our eyes the other way? Not talking about the elephant in the room doesn't mean it isn't there and won’t make it go away. And this doesn’t just limit itself to sex or physical relationships, but can be applied to countless topics that we avoid because we think if we talk about them, we’re saying it’s okay to do it. NO. That is not the case. Talking about it not only lessens the restrictions placed around it, but also creates more of a open and trusting environment for all parties involved.

But, what do I know?

DeAndra Merrills