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Shaming Sex for Marriage

by Nathanael

Sex is a really complicated thing. It’s hard. It’s confusing. It can make us feel like the most important person in the world. And it can throw us into a pit of depression.

In 1987, a Baptist church in Texas started a local abstinence campaign that encouraged teenagers to “save sex for marriage.” By the early 1990’s, the Southern Baptist Convention praised the campaign’s success and scaled it into a nation-wide youth movement known as True Love Waits. While many evangelical organizations were promoting various abstinence-only youth programs, True Love Waits rode a wave of Christian popularity and consumerism that packed stadiums with teens and prompted millions of teens to sign pledge cards to remain, “sexually pure until marriage.”

Twenty years later, the shadow of sexual shame still looms. The purity generation is now in their 30’s and 40’s. Religious leaders, therapists, and authors are now uncovering a cohort of evangelicals (and many former evangelicals) who still fail to connect intimately with their spouse, have affairs, divorce, and lead to serious spiritual and psychological damage.
It’s clear that not all marriages were negatively affected. We’ll spend this spring exploring why this is. We are engaging why many of us have disconnected our spirit from our body and attempted to compartmentalize our sexual-selves from our true selves. We are delving into the echo chambers of fundamentalism and shame-based “righteousness.” We are exploring traditional and non-traditional approaches to understanding God and our body. We’re opening up a space for our mutual personal growth toward wholeness.

I am a filmmaker. I am a poet. I am a spiritual being who is searching. I have been searching to better understand why my marriage failed. I have been experimenting to understand my phobia of sex. I’m reading the Songs of Solomon and doing yoga. I’m learning about Tantric spirituality and drinking beer while I sing hymns. I’m figuring out ways to be erotic without being pornographic. I’m learning how to be pornographic while also being holy.

I hope our listeners and my readers will join me. I hope you will be patient with me and try things with me. I’m buzzing with the energy of new possibilities as they trek down this sexual path.

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