Sex & Singleness

Thoughts on Online Dating

Online Dating

Happy February!  All you singles, get ready.  It’s coming.  Brace yourself for the cheesy commercials with the catchy jingles.  Let’s talk about online dating.

Most importantly, I do not feel there is a Biblical yay or nay in regards to online dating.

The question “Does online dating glorify God?” is about the same as asking if salted caramel gelato glorifies God.

(It better, because it’s what I am eating right now)

I think there is a balance.  There is a balance between obsessing over it and shunning it like it’s the devil.  That is a balance we have to maintain in all areas of our liberties.  Our freedom to do something can quickly morph it into an idol.

In most Christian circles, we combat that by just labeling it as ‘bad’ so people will stay away from it.  This leads to judgment, legalism and a whole lot of rules with Scriptural scoliosis.

We get some Scripture, twist it all around and make things straight up sinful.  If you date online, you are no longer trusting in God.  You are usurping His power and authority, etc.  It’s right there in the first epistle to the e-harmonites. Continue Reading…

Sex & Singleness, Women & Pornography

Stop Handling Sexual Assault “In House”

Sexual Assault in Church

This has been such a prevalent issue over the last couple years, both in a national scale but also a local scale.  There was a scandal in my own home church and larger denomination.  There’s the ongoing Catholic church scandal.

Lately, it seems like it has intensified.  It feels like I’m reading a new story every week, and it’s not just churches.  The military has issues.  Boarding schools are in the spotlight.  And don’t even get me started on Josh Duggar / Bill Gothard.

Sexual assault is everywhere.  It’s a sick, sad truth.  It makes victim of young and old, male and female, rich and poor, drunk and sober.  But there is a pattern, at least as far as I have seen, and it is disturbing.

We insist on settling things in house, and, even worse, as Christians, we use the Bible as an excuse to do so.

Continue Reading…

General, Purity & Freedom, Women & Pornography

The Secret to Setting Goals (So You Can Actually Reach Them)

Your Goals

It’s that time of year.  That time right after Christmas, when we have eaten too much and spent too much and we make a resolution to stop eating so much and spending so much.

A new year symbolizes new beginnings, new dreams, new hopes, and second chances.  It’s a fresh slate and we determine to make the most of it.  So, we set up goals- New Years Resolutions.  There are the ‘tangible’ ones: losing weight, running a marathon, getting $5000 in your savings account.  Then, there are the intangible ones: being a nicer person, spending more time with family, developing a better routine, breaking free from porn/alcohol/drugs, etc.

Whatever your resolution is for the new year, you have more than likely been down this road before.  In fact, you might be sitting here reading this thinking of all the resolutions you didn’t successfully accomplish this year.  It can be frustrating, discouraging, maddening even.

As you look ahead you might be filled with a sense of defeat.  You don’t want to dash your hopes and give up on your dreams, but if last year is any indication, you’ll never make it.  So why even bother, right?

Perhaps it is time to change your goals, but not in the way you may think.

Continue Reading…

Pornography, Sex & Singleness

Thoughts on Donny Pauling (and a message for us all)

Thoughts on Donny Pauling
It’s late… way too late for this morning person to be up writing, but sometimes, your heart just won’t let you sleep.

You could call this a post I never wanted to write.  In fact, when I wrote my last post about victims, I fully intended (and still do) on writing a followup about the suspects.  Because, sometimes, unfortunately, those suspects are wrongly accused, and that can be completely devastating for them.

It was a new thought pattern for me.  I’m a victim advocate.  If a woman (or man) is brave enough to step forward and claim assault, then we need to be compassionate enough to believe them.  That’s how I feel.

But when you believe the victim it automatically renders the accused guilty, which can be a problem, especially if you know the accused, and especially if the accuser is wrong.

Just a year ago October, I sat in my pastor’s office, crying hot tears of anger.  Our church had recently “survived” a lawsuit involving alleged sexual abuse at the hands of some of our members.  During the member’s meeting summarizing the case, the lawyer had done a remarkable job of stating that accusations were unsubstantiated and improbable.  I could respect that.

Then our senior pastor got up and called the accusation lies, and all respect went out the window.  I sat in my chair trembling in frustration.  Improbable and unsubstantiated are understandable terms.  The accusations were nearly, if not over, 20 years old, so yes, that was completely understandable.  Calling someone a liar was absolutely unacceptable.

And then, two months later, my whole worldview got flipped on its head.  Someone else had been accused of having sex with a minor, and this time I knew him.

Continue Reading…

Women & Pornography

A Voice for Victims: Speaking Up For Victims of Sexual Assault

A Voice For Victims

Every 107 seconds, an American is sexually assaulted. (source)

It seems in this year alone, sexual assault has been all over the news.  From the UVa rape story scandal to the Josh Duggar incest scandal to Bill Cosby’s scandal, it’s simply everywhere.

Sexual assault is becoming a very real, albeit horrific, fact of life.

Should it be that way?  Absolutely not.  Is there one factor to blame for all of it?  Probably not.

You could blame pornography for being a wretched teacher when it comes to women.  Truth of it is, women actually don’t exist solely for the pleasure of men.  And we actually don’t mean “yes” when we say “no.”

You could blame the epidemic of fatherlessness, because when little boys have little to look up to, they have little to look forward to.

You could blame the Christian Purity culture for reducing men to nothing more than a set of primal impulses that “they can’t control” or conservative Christian culture for making a “man’s world.”

I don’t know who to point a finger at, but I do know who you can’t blame.

Continue Reading…

Women & Pornography

When Should I Tell My Boyfriend About My Porn Problem?

 

“Don't worry about a thing,every little

If there were a list of top-ten most frequently asked questions from girls who deal with pornography, this would be one of them.  Through e-mail or in face-to-face meeting, many young women have shared their love for a certain Prince Charming, and then asked, “When am I supposed to tell him?”

The message from the culture around us is confusing.  Some suggest discussing physical and sexual boundaries on the first or second date.  Others suggest waiting until you are engaged or married to discuss anything sexual. Then, there are still others who suggest never telling him at all… ever.

So let’s look at each of these options, because really these seem to be the only ones: Continue Reading…

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.

Continue Reading…

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.

Continue Reading…

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.

Continue Reading…