I have had a tough time writing this series. All four parts have been so extremely spaced apart that it almost seems like I have forgotten or don’t care about this, when in reality, it’s just the opposite. I care so much about it and it’s always on my mind, but the approach is a tightrope walk between the world and the church. And, as my conclusion, that’s how it should be. Our lives, our thoughts, need to be in constant balance between the world we live in and the morals instilled in us through our beliefs. Here are my final thoughts on the subject:
I would first like to apologize for my shaming of various groups of people. Unwed mothers — I know it’s a tough world out there. I have spent the past three years watching my lovely sister struggle being a single mom. When she told me that she was pregnant, I told her that I would stick by her no matter what– if she chose to keep the baby or not keep the baby. I went to doctors appointments with her and was her birth coach — cutting the cord and everything. I have spent the past three years with my amazing niece, who is, by far, the single greatest person in my life. I am sure that things can be tough for any single parent, but one look at your child or children will tell you that it’s all worth it. My apologies for the remarks I had made in previous segments.
People who watch porn — I honestly don’t know what to say. The sex industry is something that I would not like to get into at this time, however, I will say that I have seen people struggle with porn to the point where it can feel like cheating on your significant other. I have struggled with porn to the point where it controlled my life for a long time. I am not sure how I feel about porn in moderation because, for me, it was never about moderation. It was all or nothing. I apologize if I made you feel like a lesser person for viewing pornography. I honestly can not tell what my feelings towards it is right now. This, as previously stated, will be addressed in a later article.
I would like to take the time now to talk about how awesome and amazing sex is. I feel like a lot of Christians read the scripture of “be fruitful and multiply” to mean that we should only have sex for procreation. However, God has coupled our natural drive to reproduce with a soul that connects and bodily sensations that enhance the sexual experience. I feel like I have addressed the dilemmas and drawbacks of sex and how the church addresses it (or doesn’t address it), but I have yet to say the good sides. To be completely honest, I was not sure how to talk about the amazingness of sex or even if I should, as I am unwed and that’s a touchy subject. The truth is that I have had sex and I enjoy it. If I did not enjoy it — if it were not an intensely pleasurable experience — then I would have stopped after my first time. I have had sex with people that I only liked and I’ve had sex with someone I loved. My own personal struggle is the connection that I form with the men I have sex with — the sex is amazing, but the aftereffects are emotionally painful. That being said, sex is not a bad thing. I am not encouraging you, dear reader, to go and lose your virginity immediately (if you are still currently a virgin), nor to sleep with any and everyone you can as soon as possible just to see what it feels like. I AM encouraging you to talk to your mentors, parents, peers, elders, and anyone else you trust and ask them about sex. Start open and honest dialogue with the people around you. I would also recommend striving to wait until marriage to have sex, but I realize that in today’s time, that is not feasible (even in the church). However, I will say that it’s best to wait to have sex until you have a connection with the other person. Speaking as someone who has experienced both, I will say that it’s better to have sex with a person you connect with so that open communication is easier. It’s difficult to tell and show your partner what you want to do if you don’t really know him or her. Speaking of showing…
Author Adrienne Johnston addresses some of the feedback she’s received throughout the “Let’s Talk About Sex” series as well as her final thoughts on the content.
I don’t think that masturbation is “wrong”. I had been skirting around this discussion topic because I felt the need to appease the masses, but the time has come that I made my own views known. I think masturbation is a good thing. I believe it can get to a point of overindulgence (as with many other things: food, sex, relaxation, etc). If you have a partner and it is detracting from sex with said partner, that might be an issue that you will both need to address, but for now, I will assume that you, reader, are single. I do not think that it is wrong to explore your own body and get to know yourself better. I also do not think it is a bad thing to take care of your own sexual urges yourself instead of going out and trying to find someone to take care of them for you. Again, this is something to decide for yourself. If you are not comfortable masturbating, don’t force yourself to do it. I know there is some debate about the issue of outside “sources” (read: pornography) in aiding with masturbation and I acknowledge the debate, but will leave those for another article.
Last but not least, I wanted to discuss the amazing world of birth control. I have previously discussed people that want children, but there are many that do not want children or want to wait on children. There are a variety of methods for those not wishing to have children, whether they want to wait or choose to not have children ever. The easiest and most available forms of birth control are condoms (both male and female). These are relatively inexpensive (occasionally free) and can be purchased without a prescription. The added bonus to condoms is that they not only prevent pregnancy, but also most sexually transmitted infections. I recommend that, if you are sexually active, you keep a condom handy. In addition to condoms (the most well-known of which is the male condom), there are a variety of female-controlled methods of birth control. There is the female condom, the sponge, cervical cap, and diaphragm. These can all be inserted into the woman’s vagina herself and can (with the aid of spermicide) be used to prevent pregnancy. However, out of these, only the female condom can be used to prevent sexually transmitted illnesses. If you, as a female, are not comfortable inserting something into your vagina before a sexual act and do not enjoy condoms, there are other methods as well. Currently on the market, we have Birth Control Pills, the Morning After Pill, the Patch, the Implant, the Shot, the Ring, and an Intrauterine Device (IUD). These have a variety of advantages and disadvantages. I recommend you researching and finding out which one is best for you as well as discussing it with your healthcare professional. All of these methods can be used for both those who wish to wait on children and those who wish to not have children. For those who do not wish to have children, there are more permanent methods of birth control available — the vasectomy for men and sterilization for women. Again, please talk to your healthcare professional about the risks and benefits of these methods. For those who wish to go a more “natural” route, there is Fertility-Awareness Based Methods (FAMs), Breastfeeding as Birth Control, Outercourse, and Withdrawal (the Pull Out Method). A lot of the more organic methods require one or both parties knowing their bodies quite well, so if the female is unsure about the timing of her monthly cycle or the male can not tell exactly when he will ejaculate, these methods will be less effective. As I’m sure we have all been told (and could recite along with me), with all of these forms of birth control, the only completely effective method of birth control is abstinence.
I know this is a lot of information, thought, and opinion to throw your way in my last piece. I hope this series has helped you personally as well as aiding in fostering communication about one of the more “taboo” topics in the Church. If you have any thoughts, questions, or suggestions, feel free to e-mail me (email@example.com)and I will get in contact with you. Thank you, friends, for sticking by me for this series. May God’s peace and grace go with you always.
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