Eating the Poisoned Apple: How Legalism Demonizes Sex

The saying goes, “Hindsight is 20/20” but, honestly, looking back over some of the ‘rules’ I grew up with, I’ve found them more confusing that clarified.

I grew up in a conservative thou-shalt-not-talk-about-sex church.  My family was equally conservative.  Sex was something wholly reserved for marriage.  Any thoughts, discussions, questions were to be reserved for after your wedding day, or for an awkward pre-wedding heart-to-heart.  I felt ridiculously out of place growing up in that family, with my mind full of fantasy and my addiction to pornography and masturbation. I wasn’t a black sheep; I wasn’t even a sheep.  I was a goldfish.  Since starting Beggar’s Daughter, I’ve come across quite a few women who feel the same.

It’s the poisoned apple mentality.  There is this idea that you are two people- one is the single you, and the other is the you that desires sex.  You are supposed to somehow anesthetize your sex drive until you need it, and then, the promise of your Prince Charming will suddenly awaken you to enjoy marital bliss.  In the meantime, you are supposed to function in society as if you have no desires at all.

If you ask them for a Bible verse; proponents of the poisoned apple will point you to Song of Solomon where the phrase, “do not awaken love until he pleases” appears.

This approach has desperately backfired.  It has, instead of creating a generation of women who celebrate and appreciate the beauty of their God-given sexuality, created a generation of women scared to death of sex.  New brides speak of having to overcome the feelings that sex is bad, or wrong.  They don’t know how to talk about it openly with their husbands, and it’s not because they are embarrassed, it’s because they feel guilty!

Women write in to me sharing stories of how they don’t enjoy sex because they can’t seem to grasp how they are supposed to enjoy it or communicate it.  Then, they start to wonder if they are even allowed to enjoy it.  Since our bodies are designed with one specific organ solely devoted to sexual pleasure- the answer would be yes.

Is it OK for good, Godly, Christian women to enjoy sex?  Because for so long we haven’t even been allowed to talk about it.  How do you go from never being allowed to talk about it, to having open and honest conversations with your husband about it?

We are created sexual beings, not created with the potential to be sexual beings.  I highly doubt that God delights in our ‘dirty, thou shalt not’ approach to His gift to us.  The fact that this approach is causing damage to marriages and robs women of the pleasure intended for them, leads me to believe that He does not delight in our approach. Remember, sex was His idea.  When we act like it is something bad, we contradict the truth that it is, in fact, something good.

I truly believe that the best way to restore sex to where it belongs is to start talking about it, the way it is supposed to be talked about.  Stop talking about how it’s bad, because it isn’t.  It is misused.  There’s a difference.

In a recent article about raising kids in a ‘pornified’ culture, Zach Nielsen, states:

“In short, I want my kids to know that sexual perversion is the height of idolatry (Rom. 1), but also that sexual integrity is the height of beauty. This demands we talk about it, probably more than we’re comfortable with or experienced when we were kids. But it’s a new world, and a new world demands new communication to train our children.”

Read the whole article here.

The best approach to sex is to actually approach it.  We have to talk about it.  Not in a graphic verbal erotica way, but in a simple, honest and straight-forward way.  It is probably the fact of life that we ignore the most.  Don’t be afraid of God’s gift to you.  Instead, hand it over to Him.  Let Him heal you from the damage pornography and lust can cause, and let Him free you from the legalism that would be quick to destroy His desire for you.  Drop the apple and run to Him.


  1. It’s been said that you can’t “nail Jell-O to a wall”, but I think you just successfully did that in regards to this issue! Excellent post..!

    1. I should add that the church (and countless parents) needs to wake up and smell the ashes. Desperately.

  2. Excellent post!!! The hubs and I were just discussing this the other day!! It’s so important to teach your kids and you *can* without making it wrong or sound inappropriate. I often wish my parents had so I would be more prepared for when I was married. Thank you for sharing!

  3. “We are created sexual beings, not created with the potential to be sexual beings. I highly doubt that God delights in our ‘dirty, thou shalt not’ approach to His gift to us.” YES! Some of the current Christian society is scared of their own bodies and their bodies’ responses. You have written a GREAT post here! We have to be radical and open our mouths and talk in a real fashion with our children. Christian sexual subversives = equipping our kids with straight forward dialogue.

  4. Completely agree Jessica. I also wrote a blog entry about godly sexuality recently. One thing I’m still exploring is how we can express our sexuality in a godly way while being single/dating. I believe sexuality should be protected, but at the same time it shouldn’t be suppressed or something to be ashamed of. Any thoughts?