The Duggars are in the news again for more sexual indiscretions on the part of their eldest son Josh. The Christians who supported them are either backing away slowly or making excuses. The critics are laughing their asses off and screaming "I told you so". I don't want to write about the Duggars though, but rather the pervasive problem of sex in the Church.
First, in order to understand how something like this could happen to a family that seem so "pure", one must understand the depths to which the church goes to when it comes to sexuality and sin. When I was a kid, my mother used to teach a class called True Love Waits. It was only for girls. I don't recall there being any such program for boys. "Everything about your life revolves around one issue and that issue is Lordship." Who is your Lord? The limits you put upon yourself sexually. These will all reflect the essential question in your life--Who is your Lord? The implication here is that by having sex outside of marriage, you are basically being a disobedient Christian girl. I believed this. Thoroughly. Unwavering. To believe anything else was to say that Jesus and God did not matter to me.
As part of this class, there were a lot of manipulation techniques utilized to encourage abstinence...as if disobeying God wasn't enough. The first were fear tactics, like describing the process of birth in the horrible of ways. They would describe all the terrible things that could happen, the complications, and then warn you that even have sex one time will probably lead to pregnancy. There may have even been some indication that God would give you a "messed up" child because of your disobedience, even though this goes against the Bible. What about birth control you ask? Well, in my conservative Christian circle, birth control was looked upon with extreme suspicion. Some believed that it was basically abortion while others believed that not allowed sperm to get to an egg was "spilling your seed upon the ground". Solution: Tell girls not to take birth control because by taking it you are basically saying that you are going to have sex. No birth control = babies. Therefore, you won't have sex. Because babies are very very scary remember.
Then comes the used candle scenario. Did you know that anytime you have sex, it is like lighting a candle? Each time you light your handle it burns down more and more so that by the time you get married all you have left is a stump. And who wants to marry a stump? As someone who has now had sex, I think a better analogy would be that sex is like solar power, a consumable and renewable resource that can have cloudy days and run low some days, but can be just as awesome as it was last week as it is this week. Are there bad relationships and sexual encounters you should avoid? Sure. But that isn't what is being taught here. We aren't teaching girls how to guard their hearts and avoid abusive relationships. We are teaching them that any sexual congress is bad. Before marriage, of course.
Then there is the whole porn thing. I have a sister-in-law who adamantly believes that porn is adultery. I do not see it that way and I haven't in a long time. It started when I was a teenager. With the background that I had with sex education (virtually nothing), I was curious. I looked at porn. I found it interesting, enthralling, informative (probably in the wrong way), and tantalizing. Some of the things I saw, I knew would never happen to me if I married a "good Christian man". And so porn was that fantasy world that staved off my sexual urges. Don't get me wrong, Sex addiction and porn addiction are very real things. Numerous (non-religious) studies have been done stating that porn, on a base level, damages libido and can destroy sexual desires. It also gives people a very fake version of sex. A minor example: Men start expecting all women to be shaved because that is how most porn stars are. The churches solution though is to turn porn and sexual attraction in general, the desire to have sex, into a sin. Single and not getting any? Well, don't you dare turn on your computer. Or touch yourself. Of course, there is this double standard where it is expected that men will look at porn but not women. I never had anyone talk to me about me other than my parents, who were only asking because they suspected my brothers were looking at it. It is also assumed that men will masturbate, but young girls should not. I cannot tell you how many "good Christians girls" I know who have never touched themselves in any way. Or so they claim. I think they are lying.
Herein lies the problem. With a person's sexuality being tied in so closely with their spirituality and sin, it is no wonder that these people act out in negative ways. If you are never taught about sex other than don't do it, those children will begin to seek it out for themselves. If you are lucky, the child simply looks at some porn or reads a book on it. But what about people like the Duggar's who restrict any access to sexual education that the first time they are told about what to expect is probably on their wedding night. Perhaps they may have read a book on it. But there are those who will begin sneaking it, they act our their sexual tensions to the detriment of those around them, they are curious but their curiosity leads them to hurting others, they are sexually precocious. Then they get married and their inexperienced wife or husband is now completely out of their element. He doesn't even know what a clitoris is, let along how to stimulate it. She doesn't want to give a blow job because that feels dirty. In fact, everything feels dirty because all your life you have been told it is.
Christians love the phrase "everything is permissable in the marriage bed", which is supposed to mean that once you are married, anything goes. But it doesn't. See, sexuality can't be just turned on like a light switch. You don't say I do and then magically become a vixen in bed. Take it from this virgin bride. You are nervous. Your head is full of movie cliches and bad Christian advice. Perhaps you have some porn under your belt, perhaps not. No Christian tells you about positions or the fact that although having sex on a kitchen counter sounds fun, it won't work if the couple isn't the right height or has back trouble. The shower is too small for any kind of sexual encounter. There are nights when you will feel pressured into having sex and if you say no, he never wants to ask again because you had a weird freak out moment that one time.
In fact, the only thing Christians tell you to do, is don't do it. This isn't the worst advice, but it doesn't account for the fact that eventually, if you are a good Christian boy or girl, you will do it eventually.
Josh Duggar is a product of his strict upbringing. Although he makes his own choices, I am not the least bit surprised by the molestation charges nor am I surprised that he did (or was attempting to) cheat on his wife. He will not be the only one either. There are young men and women across these United States that have been so thoroughly indoctrinated into the Christian sex-cult that it ends up creating an environment where sex is unstable, secretive, shameful, and sometimes wrong. By trying to avoid the sin, it seems to breed sins that are far worse. Like molesting your sisters.
This is a personal, but secret, blog archiving my deconversion from a Christian to a non-believer.