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I'm a Christian, married to a wonderful man, Steven, and mother to a wonderful little son. I have many interests and a few noteworthy journeys in life and I enjoy sharing them.

Friday, April 1, 2011

What's Taboo is Just Done in Secret

This is going to be a somewhat explicit blog, so feel free to skip anything that might make you uncomfortable.

Before I even begin to say anything else, let me say this--I do not support sexual immorality, lack of ethics, or anything else ungodly!

However, I also see worse things come when those things are made completely taboo, or when things that aren't necessarily bad are made to seem that way.

For instance, masturbation. Yep, I said the word. Its awkward. But that's okay. Hopefully we're all adults here. There is nowhere in the Bible that says that masturbation is a sin. There is a story about a man marrying a woman, having sex with her, and pulling out and "spilling his seed on the ground," but that was not masturbation, and the reason it was wrong was because it was his legal responsibility to give her children. I believe she was his brother's widow. Marriage and sex with your brother's widow was to make sure you could provide for her and to make sure she had children that could later on. Therefore, having sex with her just to have sex was not the man's right, and was disobeying the Law, and was punished for it. That's a far cry from masturbation.

Interestingly, masturbation is healthy, especially in people who aren't having frequent sex. In fact, men can actually get health issues if they don't get a release often enough. This isn't to say the frequently pleasuring yourself every day is necessary or even good, as it can interfere with daily life activities, but its not a sin to do it when the need arises, either. Guilt tripping over this being done, especially with young people, is not what God wants for us.

On the other hand, encouraging your kid to do it instead of just letting him discover it on his own, and encouraging or allowing the use of porn in doing so, is not smart. Porn is addicting. Some couples use it together, and that's their choice, but it brings something more than just a man and his wife seeking their pleasure into it--it brings other people into it, even if its just on the TV screen or computer. (Which is why I don't oppose reasonable use of toys, as its still just between the individuals and/or the couple.) Lack of self-control and an addiction to something sexual is not what God wants for us, either.

Its interesting to note that Utah is the number 1 state for porn subscriptions. (http://www.deseretnews.com/article/705288350/Utah-No-1-in-online-porn-subscriptions-report-says.html) They oppress masturbation and exploration of pleasure, often even within a marriage, and men (and women) seeking for a release then have to do so in secret. When you're already doing something you feel guilty for in secret, its that much easier to move on to the next step of finding an aid to get that release.

I think the same goes for sex. I hate abstinence-only sex education. Something like 85% of kids won't stay virgins through graduation. Even amongst Mormons its about 50%. Why not teach kids to be responsible and take care of themselves correctly if they choose to do it? Interestingly, Scandinavia has some of the lowest STD and teen pregnancy rates of developed countries because they do exactly that. I think they also have more kids that choose to wait because the kids are given the understanding of possible natural consequences and then given the responsibility for their own choices.

I think I've mentioned this before, but I have a wonderful friend whose wonderful mother took this approach. Her mother made my friend promise that she'd tell her when she started having sex, made sure she got the education as to the possible natural consequences, and then left the responsibility up to her. While my friend did engage in sex before she graduated high school, she waited until she was 17, got protection and birth control beforehand, thought the decision through, did it first with a man she had been with a while already and loved very much, and is still with the same man. They've been together longer than my husband and I.

This isn't the exception to the rule when you give someone education and responsibility, it is the rule. Anyone with eyes to see whose bothered to pay attention can see that there's a happy medium between controlling every aspect of your child's life and not caring what they do, and that is giving your child the best education and guidance you can and then giving them responsibility to do with it what they will.

This applies to religion too. I've seen no real joy come from the guilt-tripping put on by the many rules of the LDS church, and I've seen nothing exceptional in the happiness (or lack thereof) in the lives of the people who follow the rules as well as they can. I've seen much pain and suffering come from the "repentance process" of the church, either resulting in greater brainwashing as the individual pursues the very difficult to obtain forgiveness, or resulting in the individual becoming dissatisfied with the church and themselves.

I have seen joy in pursuing Christ and love. I have seen lives changed, including my own. I've seen people drawn out of sin, not through guilt or pressure, but through love and desire. I've seen marriages improve, I've seen tempers become more mild, I've seen love poured out on those who didn't think they deserved it. I've seen peace and healing and acceptance. I'm not saying Christians are perfect by any means, and I know a lot of people who call themselves Christians don't act like it. But when you find someone who is actually trying to follow Christ, you move away from the taboo and the secrecy and the guilt and the rules, and you move into one of the most beautiful, life-changing, healing, and forgiving relationships you could ever find.

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