When I was in seventh grade, our church youth group leader led a three week series on sex and love which concluded with him passing out “pledges” for us to sign promising to wait until we were married to have sex. They ran out before I got one so I never actually signed it.
To my young mind, “wait until you’re married to a woman” seemed like simple, easy guidance. (I didn’t, at the time, realize just how unrealistic it is: 90% of Americans have sex before marriage—even when looking at older generations or evangelical Christians.)
When I began to realize that I was attracted to guys, I had to figure out what to do with that. What is the faithful expression of these feelings and desires? Where could they lead? What is forbidden?
Regardless of your sexual orientation or gender identity, at some point we all must ask of ourselves: when, if ever, do I want to have sex?
We receive complicated messages: in society, men are told to have lots of sexual conquests, while women are supposed to remain pure (but not too withholding, otherwise they’re frigid, it’s a lose-lose predicament). Queer people are told there is something sick, sinful, perverted about our sexual desires (and gay/bi men are told there’s something dangerous about theirs). While asexual people are told there’s something broken with them for not experiencing sexual attraction at all.
Some types of Christianity act as if “the answer” is clear, simple, and easy: do not have sex until you’re heterosexually married.
But it’s not that clear, simple, or easy.
If you believe — like we do at Queer Theology — that being LGBTQ is not only “ok” but an important part of the diversity of God’s creation … then one question that comes up is “what about sex?” It’s a question we are asked over and over and over again by email, on Twitter and Tumblr, and inside Sanctuary Collective.
Some LGBTQ Christians take the entire worldview that they learned from anti-queer Christianity and just tweak it ever so slightly, deciding gay sex is ok as long as you are gay married. Is that what we should do?
Over the past 15 years, Fr. Shay and I have each wrestled with big questions about faithful sex and sexuality. We’ve read, studied, and prayed. We’ve talked with hundreds of Christians around the world about sex and sexuality. We’ve engaged in everything from celibacy to ethical sluttery. We’ve definitely messed up: hurting ourselves and others along the way. But we’ve learned so so much and we are excited to share all that with you.
This month at Queer Theology, we’re taking an unashamed look at sex and sexuality: If and when it’s ok to have sex, how to build a sexual ethic for yourself, healing from purity culture and navigating respectability politics. We’ll share how the spirit of God has moved in our lives, what has been healthy and helpful (and what hasn’t), and offer practical advice for how you can live into a healthy, life-giving, faithful sexuality. Make sure you get it all by joining our mailing list (box below).
If you have specific questions or topics that you’d like us to cover, leave them in the comments or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Photo copyright Matt Kulisch Photography. All rights reserved. Used with permission.