Lets talk about Sex… Part I
- Your Mom, (says nothing about sex at all…ever…)
- Your Dad, “I will kill Johny if he ever touches you!”
- Your Sunday School Teacher, “Sex is beautiful and spiritual!”
- Your YM YW leader, “sex is an awful sin! stay away!”
- Your Girlfriends, “EW sex is disgusting!”
- Your Guy Friends, “sex is everything, you are a virgin?!… you are lame.”
- Your Health Teacher, “if you touch each other, you will get an STD, do you know what an STD IS?!!!!”
In the words of the famous Harry Potter character Professor Umbridge “Your previous instruction for this subject has been disturbingly uneven.” These messages are hard to make sense of. As an LDS youth I’m guessing you more than likely have predominantly heard two things about sex:
1. that its gross, sinful, and shameful, and
2. that it is the most amazing, beautiful, and spiritual thing ever. How confusing is that?!
These messages are exaggerated, not to mention the fact that they completely contradict each other.
So where do these messages come from?
One reason for the message that sex is gross, sinful and shameful is that lots of adults feel uncomfortable talking about sex. Often in our homes we are not taught how to talk about sex, and then we grow up and have babies, and we still don’t know how to talk about it. When there is silence around something, it implies that it is “off limits” or shameful, or too awful to even mention! So I will be using the word “sex” a lot in my writing, just to send the message that we don’t need to be ashamed of sex, or talking about it. PS when I say “sex” I am using it as a blanket term for any kind of sexual act or physical intimacy. I would guess that most of you are already talking to each other about sex. You are not living in an insular, protected bubble, and sex is part of life.
One of the reasons we get the message that sex is amazing, beautiful, and spiritual is because there is truth to it. Sex can be a PART of something that is amazing, beautiful and spiritual. Like when you get to know and trust someone REALLY well, like well enough that you are willing to stake your life on them and hitch your wagon to theirs. You get married and create an awesome team together, and you have sex as a way to connect and strengthen that team. And then if you are able to and decide you want to, you can use sex to make babies. And having a baby has been the most amazing, beautiful, and spiritual thing that has ever happened to me hands down.
We often put too much emphasis on sex, whether that be building it up or degrading it. The reality is that we are sexual beings, God created us that way. We all have to figure out how to navigate being sexual beings in a way that is healthy. It is not healthy to see sex, or your body, as disgusting and shameful. It is also not healthy to have the expectation that sex will be the most transformational and amazing experience of your life, or that you must have sex to be happy.
You have the media telling you that you can’t control your sexual desires, and that if you don’t have sex you are not “chill”. These messages are not only untrue, but are really quite dangerous. Peers may try to pressure you or convince you that you can’t live without sex, that you literally need sex to live (you don’t by the way). This is ironic because when surveyed, 81% of teens do not think teenagers should be sexually active. (NCTPTP, 200).
Women in particular are taught in the media that it is normal and healthy to objectify yourself and to get attention for your body. Remember that your body is the amazing tool God has given you to navigate through life, learn lessons, and create other humans. It is not a toy to be looked at or used for someones personal gratification. I will never forget the day I had my son, I am still in disbelief that my body (along with God) created something so complex, beautiful, and perfect.
Is it easy to get attention for your body? Yes. Every makeup company, clothing company, plastic surgeon, television show, movie, and magazine are intent on proving to you what needs to change about your body, and that you won’t be happy unless you look a certain way. Why do they do this? Because if they can prove to you that your body is not ok, they can make money selling you products that are intended to make you look different. Don’t even get me started… I could rant on this for hours!
So…What is the Law Of Chastity? The Law of Chastity is all about having sex or doing sexual things in the right context. I want to talk about the ideal context, and the not so ideal context for doing sexual things. The truth is that sex itself is a fun thing, it is sometimes even amazing or spiritual. It can connect people, if it is practiced in the right context.
Boyd K. Packer said, ““Through the righteous exercise of this power, we may come closer to our Father in Heaven and experience a fullness joy, even Godhood. The power of procreation is not an incidental part of the plan; it is the plan of happiness. It is the key to happiness.”
The Ideal Context for doing sexual things is this:
1. You are in a committed and trusting relationship (AKA marriage)
2. You have given full consent for any sexual action (yes, consent counts in marriage too)
3. You are using physical intimacy the way it was intended, for you to build connection with your spouse (or possibly build a family).
The not ideal context for doing sexual things is:
1. You do not have commitment or trust in a relationship
2. You are being pressured or coerced into doing sexual things
3. You are using sexual things to get someone to like you, to be accepted, or for your own personal gratification.
Now that we have some definitions down, we can dig in more to the ideal, and not ideal contexts. I will be posting in part 2 more about the non ideal contexts, consent and coercion and in part 3 about the ideal context as well as building a healthy relationship and communicating about a physical relationship when dating. Stay tuned, and remember:
“The end of all activity in the Church is to see that a man and a woman with their children are happy at home, sealed for eternity.” Boyd K. Packer