Redneck's Wife
Tuesday, April 05, 2005
There's a new book out, called Real Sex: The Naked Truth About Chastity, that I think sounds really great. I, thank goodness, no longer have to worry about this issue :-), but I remember when I did.

Not having grown up as a Christian, "waiting for marriage" was a foriegn concept for me. I accepted the idea without question when I became a Christian, but after Erick and I got more serious, putting Chastity into practice was *ahem* a struggle. Part of the problem was the Christian literature that was around at the time. You got the impression that if you weren't pure as the wind-driven snow, that there was no going back. Like if you slipped up once, and you weren't a virgin when you got married, you had really blown it, and could never be on the same level as those who "made it."

Well, I wasn't a virgin when I became a Christian, and I felt ashamed of that. I felt like none of the Christians I knew would understand if I explained my background. Or at the very least, I felt somehow different from them, separate. It may not have been true, mind you, but that's how I felt.

And to make matters worse, it just wasn't something you talked about openly. I remember feeling so releived when a friend and I could share our struggles with sexual desires. I finally felt like I wasn't alone, like maybe someone else was dealing with the same problems.

So anyway, when I read a review of Real Sex on Independent Women's Forum, I was intrigued. The author tried promiscuity, and found it empty. Here's a quote from the review in the New York Times:
Drawing on her own history of premarital sex as a cosmopolitan, liberal single woman and delving into subjects like sodomy and masturbation, she aims her argument at sophisticated young working Christians who know the ways of the world. In her view, people are more likely to abstain from sex once they fully understand its power.

She speaks of her ’endless numbers of boyfriends’ after having sex for the first time at 15, an experience she discusses in ’Real Sex.’ She offers no silver bullets. Her solution relies heavily on the 12-step model: firm commitment, lots of uncomfortably frank dialogue and more than a little peer support from others who feel your pain....

"What I learned through having premarital sex for years in my teens and early 20s was that I made an association between what’s erotically exciting and the instability, the newness, the possibility, which is obviously the opposite of married sex," she said. "I mean, married sex can be great and wonderful, but part of what gives its greatness and wonderfulness is its security. I don’t necessarily think "routine" is a bad word."

I really like that she is just honest and up front about what really goes on, but at the same time, she doesn't water down the value of abstinence. I know that graphic talk like what's found in this book can make some Christians uncomfortable, but I think it's important to talk about it if we really want to be relevant to people who come from a non-Christian background.

This also struck a chord with me since I've been reading Mere Christianity by C.S. Lewis. Here are some of his thoughts on Chastity:
...many people are deterred from seriously attempting Christian chastity because they think (before trying) that it is impossible. But when a thing has to be attempted, one must never think about possibility or impossibility. Faced with an optional question in an examination paper, one considers whether one can do it or not: faced with a compulsory question, one must do the best one can. You may get some marks for a very imperfect answer: you will certainly get none for leaving the question alone. Not only in examinations but in war, in mountain climbing, in learning to skate, or swim, or ride a bicycle, even in fastening a stiff collar with cold fingers, people quite often do what seemed impossible before they did it. It is wonderful what you can do when you have to.

And also, and this is key:
We may, indeed, be sure that perfect chastity--like perfect charity--will not be attained by any merely human efforts. You must ask for God's help. Even when you have done so, it may seem to you for a long time that no help, or less help than you need, is being given. Never mind. After each failure, ask forgiveness, pick yourself up, and try again. Very often what God first helps us towards is not the virtue itself but just this power of always trying again.

I guess the main thing is, don't waste time being ashamed of the sin, confess it to God and move on, always asking Him for the strength to keep going. He's always there, and doesn't get tired of us asking. And we shouldn't be afraid to be open with other people about mistakes we've made in the past. It's really good to talk about this stuff. God knows all about it anyway.
Great post!!! Yes, there needs to be more talk about this. And we should all help one another with whatever things we're struggling with. I was fortunate to have some good friends when I was struggling with being celibate late into my twenties (I was married finally at age 31). If I hadn't had good honest girlfriends to share my feelings with, I might have gone completely bonkers!
Cool, Sami - thanks for opening up this topic. Sounds like an interesting book.
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I married the rarest of creatures, a genuine redneck who was born and raised in the liberal San Francisco Bay Area. I'm a technophile married to a technophobe.

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