Sex & Singleness

Christians & Ashley Madison

 

Christians and Ashley Madison

When the news broke about Josh Duggar’s membership on Ashley Madison, I honestly cannot say I was surprised.   My heart absolutely broke for Anna and those kids, but the fact that Josh had made these choices did not surprise me.

No, I don’t just assume that every man goes out looking for an affair, or that every man would pay money to try to find one.  But given his history and how his family reacted in the course of that history, it could almost be expected that he is addicted to pornography and being unfaithful to his wife.

It’s also not surprising that he reportedly listed the following in his “wants” on his Ashley Madison profile:

“Experimenting with sex toys”

“Sex Talk”

“Naughty Girl”

“Girl Next Door”

Can we talk about sex for a moment, here?  No, I mean, seriously, can we just talk about sex.  It’s not like it’s a big secret.

But, there are still groups of people who act like sex is some big secret.  The problem with acting like sex is some big bad secret is that you end up with people who are, essentially, sexually dysfunctional, afraid to embrace their desire, and slinking away to sites like Ashley Madison where they can crave all they want and at least feel normal.

In fact, if I were allowed to guess, my guess would be that many of the users on Ashley Madison are conservative Christians.  Here’s why: Continue Reading…

Sex & Singleness

Why I Don’t Support Abstinence-Only Sex Education

Let me preface this by saying I am nearly 30 and still a virgin, so this is not an attempt to justify or pass blame off for adolescent (non-existent) sexual escapades.  This is an attempt to change the way we talk about sex and abstinence, because while I may be nearly 30 and still a virgin, my abstinence-only sex education classes have little to do with that.

I remember my first sex ed class.  One hundred of my seventh grade classmates and I piled into the choir room and sat facing our guest speaker.  He was a bespectacled nurse who was either socially awkward or intimidated by a room full of prepubescent Jr. Highers.

His presentation, as I remember it, was filled with very little “education” as far as how sex worked and a lot more stories of 101 ways sex can go wrong.  There was the list of STDs, the unwanted pregnancies, the girls who bled to death after losing their virginity and the couple who tried to make love on a hardwood floor on a snow day.

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Pornography, Pornography Addiction, Women & Pornography

The Heart Behind “The Heart of the Matter”

Within moments, there will be an online screening for “The Heart of the Matter,” the documentary I was asked to interview for back in May 2012.  It was released while I was away on hiatus, and I have yet to see the finished product, but I came across a scathing review of it.

The review, from a self-proclaimed “porn loving feminist,” detailed the shame in the film.  So much shame, from the gray backgrounds to the single chair in the middle of a barren room.  Our interviews talked about shame.  She honed in on mine in particular and said that if I could just get rid of my shame, I could join her and her progressive feminist friends (apparently progressive feminist is synonymous for “women who like watching porn”).  Her point was that the film simply showcases a toxic culture of shame in the church.

That was exactly the point.

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Lust & Fantasy, Pornography

“Teach Men Not to Rape” and #TakeDownThatPost

It is not often that I write addressing current events.  They can be so volatile and slathered in opinion.  One poor choice of words and you bring the wrath of a politically-correct American democracy crashing down on your head.  So, yes, I keep my little voice out of the big fight, perhaps more often than I should.

This week though, I just do not feel I can remain silent, because the effects of porn have been all over my news feed.

From a college porn star bemoaning the fact that she gets no respect now, to the outcry at Miss USA, to a large Christian publication’s story in which they allow a child abuser and sexual predator to spin his interactions with a minor as if it were just an affair.  #TakeDownThatPost is sprinkled all over my Twitter.

And my heart seriously could not take it anymore.  This all, in my mind, has one root problem- sin, yes, but more specifically, porn.

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Purity & Freedom, Women & Pornography

When Confession Costs You a Friendship

Michelle and Alexi had been best friends for years.  It seemed natural that they would be roommates in college.  So, off to college they went together- home away from home.

But Alexi was harboring a secret.  She was struggling with porn.

After months of silence, Alexi finally gathered the courage to confess to Michelle.

And then everything changed.

When Alexi e-mailed me, Michelle was distant.  Alexi felt she was being treated differently and she was disappointed in her friend for not being there for her.  This was the time she needed her the most.  Now what was she supposed to do?

It is a situation many of us dread: we confess and someone just walks away.  What do we do?

Is the risk worth it?

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Purity & Freedom, Women & Pornography

Choosing the “Right” Accountability Partner

If you are ‘in the market’ for an accountability partner, it can feel a lot like, well…. dating.

No, I am not kidding, and if you read the e-mails I receive from readers, you would know I am not kidding.

Maybe this whole accountability thing is not a big deal to men. At least we women do not picture it being a big deal to the men among us.  After all, porn is just a given, right?

Guys have it so easy, we think.  There is this universal understanding that guys struggle with porn, as if it is an effect of the Y chromosome.  Whenever we hear a man talk about ‘sin’ in his life, what do we all immediately think?  I know I am not the only one who immediately assumes it is a sexual sin of some sort.  I am not saying that is fair (because is it is not), but that is how we can perceive the male experience.

We picture men having a conversation about porn like we might have a conversation about shoes:

I have a confession to make.  I have 20 pairs of shoes.

Girl!  Me too!

(Come to think of it, that might actually be true for me.)

We picture that confession being met with nods of agreement and manly side hugs of understanding.  “It’s OK, man.  We have all been there.”  Then, they all pray together, text each other throughout the week, install accountability software and ask each other tough coded questions like, “How’s your walk?”

We women look at that and think, “I want accountability like that.”  

The “I struggle with porn” conversation is not quite as casual for women, at least it does not feel that way.  Instead of feeling like a conversation about shoes, it can feel more like confessing to being an ax murderer.  You just have to be careful who you tell, right?  Right!?

Well, maybe not…

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Purity & Freedom, Women & Pornography

Steps to a Steady Heart

It is time (finally) to pick back up in the Trigger series.  In case you are new (or in the likely and totally understandable event that you cannot remember what I wrote about five months ago), let me get you up to speed on what exactly we are talking about.

Have you ever been doing just fine in your walk on freedom only to suddenly find yourself knocked over by failure?  One moment you are doing fine, even better than fine- you are doing great.  By the end of the day, though, you have fallen and fallen hard.  What is worse is you do not even seem to care.

How did that happen?  What makes some days harder than others or some temptations easier to resist than others?

I can sit in a car alone with a man and not even think twice about it, but smelling a certain lotion can start a battle.  Why?

Well, the answer is triggers.  We all have different triggers, and I break them down into four different areas: triggers of the soul, triggers of the heart, triggers of the mind, triggers of your strength.

Right now, we are talking about triggers of the heart.

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Purity & Freedom

Accountability: What do you Expect?

One of the things that can trip us up the most in any area of our lives is unmet expectations.

We expect to get married before we are 25.

We expect Prince Charming to have blue eyes and straight, white teeth.

We expect people to just understand us.

We expect certain things and when those expectations are not met, we get frustrated, usually at other people. They should have obviously known how to handle this situation.  They should have just known what was expected of them.

Expectations can kill an accountability relationship, so it is important, before you start one, to know what exactly it is you are expecting.

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Purity & Freedom, Sex & Singleness

Kissing is Not Sex: Part 2

I started writing this followup to my previous post Kissing is Not Sex.

A couple thousands words later (that is no exaggeration), I realized a few things:

1. I was still nowhere near making my point

2. Thousands of words is far too long for a blog post

All of that to say that this topic is probably not succinctly covered in two little (or not so little) blog posts.  Whenever we look at anything regarding relationships, there are variables and lots of them.  One size simply does not fit all.  A relationship between two people with past sexual experiences will look different than a relationship between two virgins in their mid-30s.  Both relationships can have radically different guidelines but both can honor God.

So, how do we develop these guidelines of maintaining purity?  If they are not one-size-fits-all, how do we know what is ‘good’?

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Purity & Freedom, Sex & Singleness

Kissing Is Not Sex: Part 1

To kiss or not to kiss: that seems to be a question I get a lot.

My first kiss was some time during elementary school.  While our class was on our way out to recess, two snot-nosed boys were arguing over which of them was my ‘boyfriend.’  Mind you, I was completely oblivious to the apparent importance of this conversation.  We were about ten feet outside the school doors when one of them turned around, grabbed both sides of my face and planted one right on my lips.

I stood there stunned, while Ashley, my arch nemesis (yes, you can have those in third grade), ran to tell the teacher that I had kissed a boy. The boy and myself spent all recess sitting on a bench in the middle of the playground.  It was our punishment for ‘kissing’ even though I had informed her that this was not my fault.

I was so mad.

Innocent playground kisses aside, let’s take a minute to talk about kissing and the questions young women ask me about whether or not they should kiss before marriage.

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