A conservative Christian group recently shared a status on Facebook in which they asterisked out the word ‘vagina’ and apologized for the crude language. When I saw that, I was speechless, in a way. Since when is vagina (when used in its proper context) crude?
It raised a question in my mind:
Can we be too conservative when it comes to issues of sex, sexuality, and body parts?
I think the answer is yes. This hyper-conservatism earns us a bad reputation as Christians of being out of touch and sexually repressed. Seeing ‘v*****’ in a Facebook status from a Christian group actually embarrassed me, as a Christian. I could think of other alternatives that should have been censored but the actual medical textbook word? Really?
Then I realized how prone I am to do that in my own life- not in writing, but in my thought.
A couple weeks ago now, I was speaking with a farmer. He told me in the Spring they AI their cows. AI, I thought. AI? Then it clicked- artificial insemination. Well, this just got awkward.
“AI. Do you know what that is?” he asked.
“I could guess.”
He went on to explain that they cannot physically mate every cow, so they have semen stored in tanks. Yes, those were his exact words and they flowed effortlessly and unchecked out of his mouth.
I could feel blood rushing to my cheeks. I cannot believe we are talking about this. How is this so normal for him?
Days later, a friend’s Facebook status mentioned cows giving birth (not sure what it is about my life and cows lately). Her son had asked where the baby cow was coming from. My friend had answered (simply and truthfully), “Her vagina.” I felt my cheeks blush again. I cannot believe she just wrote that!
But maybe, we should do that more often. Not in a way of being crude, but just being honest. Our bodies, male and female, are fearfully and wonderfully made from the rods and cones in our eyes to the hammer and anvil in our ears, to our reproductive organs to our uvulas (the little dangly punching bag thing in the back of your throat).
Now I do understand triggers. I do understand that some words immediately conjure up (pornographic) images for us that can cause a struggle. I do understand that some conversations that come naturally for others might be a bit of a blusher for us. I write about sex, pornography, orgasms, intercourse and blushed at the mention of semen in tanks, so I get it.
Maybe, what we need, though, is not to censor out those words but to allow them to exist in their proper context.
There is absolutely nothing wrong, sinful or disgusting about the most intimate parts of our bodies. The fact that fertilization occurs when a sperm meets an egg and that sperm come from testes and eggs come from ovaries and ovaries are beside a woman’s uterus which is at the end of her vagina. That is all natural. That is how it works. That is how God created it to work.
One of the top ‘tips’ I see repeated by Christian parents is to use the proper term for parts from the beginning. Using ‘code words’ actually promotes an air of shame and embarrassment.
Perhaps that same process could ring true in the life of someone who struggles with sex. I have said it before: in our efforts to encourage purity, we often demonize God’s gift of sex.
Sex is not bad, unnatural, unhealthy, unethical, ugly, disgusting, embarrassing, shameful or ‘yucky.’
Our bodies are not bad, unnatural, unhealthy, unethical, ugly, disgusting, embarrassing, shameful or yucky. (Ok, maybe they can be embarrassing). Part of our healing process involves developing a healthy view of sex.
Imagine if you come out of a struggle with pornography or lust and you decide you are never going to talk about sex. That is the only way you can manage not to stumble. You panic to find the remote when the commercial for erectile dysfunction comes on the TV. Fast forward five years and a wedding ring later, how are you going to handle it when your husband is the one with ED? You will not even be able to have a healthy conversation with him.
Do you see the problem here? In being too conservative, we have killed the ability to freely discuss sexual intimacy within marriage. We have tried so hard to protect what we believe is good that I sincerely believe we have crushed it. In fact, I think a good number of the women who contact me would agree that if sex had not been treated like such a big secret, they would not be in this mess.
So, I am not saying go out tomorrow and find a way to use these words in a sentence. What I am saying though is to slowly let the facts and reality come in to your vocabulary.