May 19, 2010

Why I’m Not Having Sex And (or in) The City...

I’m sure we’ve all been confronted this week by the much publicized story of ‘Veronica’, the 21 year old who made headlines by announcing her intention to auction off her virginity to the highest bidder.

For us Aussies this was breaking new ground, a new low in an ever-plummeting downward spiral in the abdication of social mores. In the States however, the practice of selling off one’s virginity for anything, from paying off college fees to financing overseas trips, has long since lost its shock value.

 For example Natalie Dylan, the college student with a degree in Women's Studies, who now plans to use her ‘virginity fee’ to pay her way through a Masters in ‘Family and Marriage Therapy’!

Although shocking, the concept of auctioning one’s virginity on the open market is considered something uniquely sell-able, a commodity of ‘rare value’ in our highly sexualised and sex-saturated society, and therefore something of extraordinary value and worth. (Dylan supposedly secured a cool $3.7 million from her 'virginity auction').

One journalist put this startling new trend this way…
“Call it prostitution if you like; call it "enterprising";
even call it downright crazy.
But there are young women who’ve decided they can now market something
most individuals hold precious and dear.”
But do we hold it ‘precious and dear’? Do we value sexual purity? Do we esteem those who can remain celibate, despite living in a world that appears to be in total sexual free-fall?

Or, are Natalie and ‘Veronica’s’ laissez-faire approach to sex (even sex for the very first time) as nothing more than just a physical act, a product to be weighed and bought, a rite of passage devoid of the emotional/ relational overtures of the past?

Is the old fashioned 'vow to save one's self for THE one’, a once prized possession to be given freely within the loving and safe moorings of marriage, now deemed irrelevant and unnecessary?

One teen, in The World According to Y', describes it this way…
“We have sex from a very young age and,
unlike our grandparents, we don’t wait for our soul mates or spouses…
but basically sleep with whoever happens to be there
and at least seems kind of into us at the time”
When you read this, it becomes patently obvious that probably the greatest challenge for the Christian, or indeed anyone living in today’s society, is to live chastely.

For the single person, it’s the challenge to live morally and chastely for as long as we are single. The challenge to not have sex when it appears that everyone else is. To risk (as in the movie 40 year old virgin’) being labeled ‘freak’, ‘frigid’ or ‘gay’ for our adult virginity.

Josa Young, the secular author of ‘One Apple Tasted’, echoes this perception in her SMH article ‘Nice girls should write about sex’
“One major aspect of sexuality that is much ignored in the modern novel
is NOT doing it.
where you hang on to it for so long
  it becomes hideously significant and hard to shed.
In a time when we’re meant to have sex all day, every day,
drawing on tips from magazines and newspapers to“spice things up in the bedroom”, virginity, chastity and celibacy seem thoroughly controversial life choices”.
In the article Young goes on to outline how sex is sold to the young as a supposedly consequence free activity in a thousand flavors and textures, but in doing so empties the sexual relationship from the rich, driving emotional life force that gives it meaning.

In many ways it’s TV series like Sex And The City’ (SATC) written by women for women, that have helped usher in this new wave of feminism where how openly promiscuous a woman can be, without judgment or penalty, has become the new test of gender equality.

Interestingly, a survey conducted by the dating blog Engage, found 8 out of 10 singles believe that ‘SATC’ "made it more acceptable for women to just have fun with sex and dating and worry less about finding a committed relationship". 43 percent said the series and movie follow-ups have now made it more acceptable for women to be unfaithful.

This new wave feminism also encourages women to explore and experiment with their sexuality across genders without any significant meaning being attached to the act. After all, who can forget Madonna’s sexually charged kissing scene with Britney and Christina Aguilera to the provocative strains of MTV’s ‘Like a Virgin’, or these telling lyrics by Katy Perry in 'I Kissed a Girl'

                          “I kissed a girl

And I liked it
The taste of her cherry chap stick
I kissed a girl
Just to try it
I hope my boyfriend don't mind it
It felt so wrong
It felt so right
Don't mean I'm in love tonight
No, I don't even know your name
It doesn't matter
You're my experimental game
Just human nature
It's not what good girls do
Not how they should behave
My head gets so confused
Hard to obey”
It seems our young women, whilst enjoying and exploiting their sexual freedom to the full, are simultaneously finding themselves caste adrift on a sea of confusion and conflict about the true nature and purpose of love, sex and relationships. Now more than ever they need help, encouragement, teaching and loving guidance.

To be single, and to live on–goingly as a single person, both in society and also in the church, is no easy thing, it requires a great deal of emotional and physical sacrifice and self-control.

For the ‘Veronica’s’ who sell their virginity like a commodity to the highest bidder, or for the sexually active 13 or 14 year olds yet to discover that the best sex comes from long and loving relationship, from genuine intimacy within the safe boundaries of a committed marriage relationship, this is the goal for which they should strive, whatever their age. 

As Christians who engage with these women and young girls, we need to be helping them discover the beauty of relationships as God designed them.

For Christian women, they need all the help, encouragement, and faithful instruction they can get on how and why we’re called to keep living morally and chastely.

The command of Paul in Titus 2, to have older women in the faith take responsibility in God’s family for teaching and training younger women about how to be ‘self controlled’ and ‘pure’ (2:5) is never more relevant and necessary than it is today.

The question is, are we taking Paul's command to teach our Christian sisters seriously?

As we teach we must no longer assume understanding (even amongst our Christian girls). In my recent counsel of young women these are just some of the things I have had to re-teach…

* Exactly WHAT constitutes sex in our society
* Oral sex IS sex
* No, if you’re dating you’re NOT married, neither are you half way to marriage, you’re single with all the moral obligations that entails.
* Yes, what you wear and how you wear it still matters.
* To engage in sexual activity with your boyfriend is NOT acting lovingly towards  him.
* We need to talk about the ‘Morning After’ pill.

But as we do so, we also need to hold out to them a renewed vision of the wonder, power and beauty of all that sex can and should be within the loving God ordained boundaries of a marriage relationship.

As I follow Christ, I’m to know that my body is not meant for sexual immorality but for the Lord (1Cor 6:14), not only must I refrain from being sexually immoral, but nor is there to be even a hint of it (1Cor 10:8, Eph 5:3). Rather, I'm to seek to honour HIM in all I think, in all I say, and all I do. To be a woman who is “reverent and worthy of respect” (Titus 2:2).

As a Christian single, I’m called to remain content to wait on HIM, and for him.
.......And that’s why I’m not having sex in the city, (or in the country for that matter)!

     © Sarie King: please do not use without permission.


Verina said...

What a great article! It should be in the papers and magazines. I heard someone on a morning show recently say that if you have 16 or 17 yr old children and they say they are not having sex you are being deceived! How sad. As the mother of a 20 yr old, an 18 yr old and a 15 yr I have every trust that they are not having sex. ( And I know for certain) We talk freely and I have set them the example and we can talk honestly about it all.
It is really sad though when the Church it's self does not support God"s rules on sex. In this ever increasing liberal church theology I hear the church saying that sex outside of marriage is ok and that God didn't mean committed gay relationships when he said that homosexuality was wrong. Yes I am talking about the Church in Australia!
We really need to keep the truth out there.
Well done Sarie, Well done

Ruth Griffiths said...

well written Sarie! And so true!

Alli Street said...

Thanks Sharkie - keep blogging, am enjoying reading it :)

Gracy Wright said...

Thankyou so much for that! I wish you could speak to my teenagers!

Sally Sims said...

Another very good blog! I'd love to see these blogs being put together in a book for young people and their parents to read and discuss together. These issues are so important...keep writing!

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