People believe some really wacky things about sex!
Let’s talk about misperceptions people have about sex, and then next week–for Valentine’s Day–we’ll spend a whole week talking about how to make sex awesome! So last week, on Facebook and Twitter, I asked about misperceptions about sex, and I got some great responses. (Seriously, if you’re not following me on Facebook, come on over! There’s always lots of great stuff there!) Of course, there’s the pretty basic misunderstandings about sex: Yep! It’s pretty sad when people are having sex and they don’t even know how their bodies work! But let’s look at some others that young adults may have, especially within the church.
1. Sex is all about “the deed”
Sex is when his penis goes into her. That’s sex. That’s it. Well, not exactly. Yes, for the most part that is what people mean when they say the word sex, but it also encompasses a lot more. I’ve known people who have done EVERYTHING but fully penetrative vaginal sex, and they’re so proud that they made it to the wedding as virgins! People are missing the point. Sex was created to connect us spiritually, physically, and emotionally, and any sexual contact will start to do that.
- Why God Wants us to Wait for Marriage for Sex
- The Good Girl’s Guide to Great Sex (all about what sex was created for!)
Also, believing that sex is just that one deed can do some serious harm to you. As one woman said on Twitter:
An exclusive understanding of sex as penis-to-vagina intercourse…exposes folks to STIs
2. You really shouldn’t talk about sex
There is often a really strong belief among youth groups that sex is only something you talk about at purity conferences or when you’re getting the “don’t have sex” talk at youth group. As a result, all young people hear about sex is, “don’t have it, and try your best not to want it, either.” But what does that actually accomplish when it comes to teaching about healthy sexuality? Sex isn’t something that needs to be hushed up. There is nothing inherently wrong with sex, and teens should be able to talk about sex in a healthy way. Also, there’s another problem with not being able to talk about sex. As R.L. Stollar said to me on Twitter:
That it is something shameful or dirty that we shouldn’t talk about. This made it much more difficult for me to process my childhood abuse.
3. Everything will be like it is in the movies
When you’re married and you have sex with your spouse, everything will be like in the movies. You fall into each others’ arms, and it’s easy–everything flows. You never have to talk about sex because it will be perfect. If you have to talk about it, you ruin the movie-moment magic. Well, sorry kid. That’s not the case. Although there are definitely movie-magic moments, sex in marriage often requires a lot of conversation. Along with that, somehow movies and TV shows never seem to show the reality of what happens AFTER sex. One woman tweeted to me:
Every time I watch a tv scene where they have quick sex with NO cleanup I’m like “LIARS” haha…can be surprising if you haven’t thought it through and media is your only picture of how things happen.
You’re telling me WHAT goes WHERE?!
Talking about sex with your kids doesn’t always go smoothly.
That’s why we created The Whole Story, our online course that walks parents through the tough conversations and does the hard parts for you!
- 10 Ways Hollywood Warps Our Expectations about Sex
- What Does It Really Mean to be Attracted to Your Husband?
4. That the core of sexual ethics is waiting until you’re married.
We don’t talk enough about what God designed sex for–or why God made us the way He did. As Rachel Darnall said to me on Twitter:
That the core of sexual ethics is “just get married first.” No discussion of what sex is for, how to respect and care for your spouse in your sex life. As long as you’re married, any selfishness or even cruelty is permitted, because you’ve “kept the marriage bed pure.”
Yes! Sex is supposed to be about spiritual intimacy, too, and about giving to one another, rather than just getting one’s sexual needs met.
- Can We Talk About Men’s and Women’s Sexual Needs in a Healthy Way?
- 31 Days to Great Sex (A Challenge to discover truly intimate sex together)
5. What feels good to me will feel good to my spouse
Sometimes it will, sometimes it won’t. Sometimes it does one day, and then it definitely doesn’t the next. But the idea that everything in sex needs to be mind-blowing to both people at the same time or else it’s not “good sex” is simply ridiculous. Women and men are made differently, which means different things will feel good to the man than feels good to the woman.
On top of that, each individual will have different preferences, since our bodies are not only different from people of the opposite sex, we’re also not the same as people of our own sex! You need to talk and take time to explore to figure out what feels good for each of you. And taking turns is not a bad thing! This has to be one of the best (and funniest) videos explaining just what the difference is between men and women when it comes to sex:
- My Husband Doesn’t Understand How Important Foreplay Is
- 9 Tips for Great Sex for Her
- 10 Ways to Make Sex Feel Amazing for Your Husband
6. All guys struggle with porn and masturbation, but it’s not normal for girls to want sex
Often the way that churches and youth groups talk about sexual temptation makes it sound like all men lust, or all men will have a lifelong struggle with pornography. But that’s simply not the case. Yes, many men will struggle with pornography. But so will many women. And many men will struggle with greed, selfishness, and a whole host of things–but the purity message of “all men lust, so girls let’s not tempt them” is stated so many times that I’ve actually known guys who didn’t struggle with porn start watching porn because they felt there was something wrong with them since they weren’t currently struggling!
Yes, we need to talk about porn and lust. But it isn’t the only sin out there, it isn’t a universal sin, and it isn’t a sin that can’t be overcome. On the flip side, girls are not told anything about sexual temptation, even though it isn’t always men who have the higher sex drive in marriages. In around 25-30% of marriages, it’s the woman. And teenage girls and young women can be turned on by a guy with a six pack!
Not acknowledging that girls have sex drives, too, can make young women feel dirty or ashamed of their sexuality. But God created them to be sexual beings, too–and that’s OK. Sexuality is not a bad thing, God created it. But when we don’t talk about girls having a sex drive, we can take something God created for good and make girls feel ashamed and dirty because of it.
7. Quitting porn will be easy when you are married
This idea stems from a misunderstanding of what sex is–porn is not sex. Porn is warped sex. Married sex won’t take away the porn habit or addiction you have–it needs to be dealt with on its own. No one would say “I’ll get over my gambling addiction when I make more money,” because the issue isn’t the amount of money–it’s the mindset around money and the way the money is being misused. It’s the same for porn. You CAN get over porn, but marriage isn’t a fix-all for porn addiction. Instead, take real steps towards freedom now so that you don’t bring porn addiction into your marriage.
- 4 Things You Must Do if Your Husband Watches Porn
- Does Your Spouse Have a Porn Addiction or Just a Bad Habit? The Difference Matters!
- 5 Steps To Actually Stop Watching Porn
8. “Making love all night” is normal.
You hear it all the times in songs and movies–they made love all night. It’s romantic, they couldn’t get enough of each other. In reality? The deed really does not take that long. Even if he can last a very long time, no one really ever wants to have sex all night. Think about that–that’s 9 hours. Yikes.
Although women can have consecutive orgasms, men really can’t. And they have what’s called a refractory period, which means that time needs to pass before they can get rarin’ to go again. And they can only do that so many times until their body just says “no more.” So making love all night? Not realistic.
9. If you do have sex with someone, it means they really love you and you’ll cement the relationship.
And, as the same commenter said on Facebook, too many guys believe that having sex makes you a man! I know many teens who were committed to saving sex for marriage in theory, but then they get with a guy and they think, “ah, but this is true love. No one else has ever experienced what we are experiencing. And so it’s only natural that we should now have sex.” It’s like they let feelings take over, because they think that if they have sex, it’s more likely that the relationship will last. Unfortunately, the opposite is likely true.
10. If you’ve had sex, your purity is gone. So there’s no point holding back anymore.
This is the problem with the way we talk about sex–we don’t talk about gossiping purity, or lying purity, or cheating purity. But when it comes to sex, if you’ve done it, you have a different label. You’re no longer a virgin. You lose part of the identity that is given to you. It’s the only sin that we have labels to separate people who have done it from those who haven’t.
The Bible is clear that having sex outside of marriage affects you on a deeper level than many other sins, but that doesn’t mean that it’s an all-or-nothing kind of thing. You can have sex and repent and be washed clean of your sin, just like any other sin. But often fear tactics are used when talking about sex to the point that when someone makes a mistake, they feel their Christian life is over. Maybe this is a better way to talk to young people who have had sex and regret it. Because Jesus’ blood really does cover all–and you are not impure.
And one bonus point:
Sex is always terrible before you’re married; and always great once you are married.
If you’re a virgin when you marry, sex will be wonderful!
Not always. But just because sex isn’t perfect on your wedding night doesn’t mean that it won’t get better. Likewise, sex before marriage doesn’t always feel bad–in fact, many young adults start having sex and then keep having sex because, “Something that feels this good can’t be wrong!” We’re trying so hard to keep people from having sex before marriage that we’re not giving them a complete picture.
We need to talk about sex realistically. Sex feels good–there’s a reason people want to do it and why it’s difficult to stop. But sex isn’t only about how it feels; there’s a lot more to sex. And God wants us to wait for sex, that is the truth. But we need to stop trying to cram sex into a simple formula, because it’s not simple. Remember–if you want a better perspective on what sex is, and you want to start marriage well, pick up The Good Girl’s Guide to Great Sex!