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For the Love of the World
Index

Sex
One chapter you don't need a fancy headline for to get people's attention.

5/7/2009

Universal Church of the Kingdom of God James Ingram - One Hundred Ways

They say the most powerful sexual organ in the body is the mind. That actually does end up being the point of this chapter.

Ever notice that all you have to do is see the word sex or hear it mentioned, and your heart beats a little faster. It's hard to ignore. It's everywhere. You could say it's a weapon, because it actually is, and I'm going to explain to you how.

I want to start, though, by stating that I'm no prude about sex, any more than  I am promiscuous. I just think I have a healthy attitude toward it, what it is and what it means. If anyone thinks this is going to be or wants it to be about moralizing, judging and pointing my finger at anyone, you'll be disappointed.

Sex is a very normal thing, as an expression as well as being important for procreation. But, it's rippling effects are enormous.

I think I have a slightly different perception of things like sex, love, marriage and so forth not because I'm old fashioned, a Christian or any of the normal factors people can call upon. I believe I have a more objective view of certain aspects, particularly sex.

Here's why.

I grew up with four sisters. They were all older than me, as much as 10 years. I watched them grow up, go through their phases and "being trained" in their roles as women. This was back in the late 1950's and early 1960's, and then, with my youngest sister, until about 1973.

I watched as  they broke the rules and got punished, things I wouldn't do because I saw them get in trouble for it, I saw them play sports and become women and date guys and all the sorts of things that go with being good looking teenage girls, very Christian and very human. With a strict Dad and a Mom who understood his point, and theirs.

In an innocent way, I have a bit of a running reputation for liking girls ever since I was very young, but as friends. And, at least until my later teens, typically having some kind of what people would call a girlfriend or someone I'd hang around with a lot, and I treated that person or those people like really special friends. Don't get me wrong, I hung out with the guys too, played all the sports, typical guy stuff.

But, I think some people get a little confused about how and why it would be that as a boy, I could whip out a new Barbie Doll evening gown in about 5 minutes. Back then, Barbie Dolls were the rage, and the girls were always playing with them, and living in the hills amongst girls, we'd be playing, and they'd decide they wanted to make a new dress. That was really boring because I had to sit around and wait for them to finish the dress, and they were slow. So, I figured out a pattern in my head about how to make certain dresses, and all they had to do was give me the material they wanted and voila, evening gown or whatever. 

The real point is, I got to observe girls turning into women, listening to them talk and watch as they went through their changes, and eventually, their marriages and children. And I always enjoyed the things I learned from them, even though it had no context for me except to understand how they thought and thought about things. It was like getting to participate in things that guys aren't usually exposed to because they're guys, and you teach guys and expose them to guy stuff.

I used to wonder things like, how come my sisters have to do the dishes every night on a rotating basis, but the guys don't? Not like my brother and I, 9 years older, didn't have our own chores. I just didn't understand why the chores were separated the way they were. It was years later before I realized it had anything to do with teaching people to play "roles" in the world and in relationships.

It must have been around the time I was 10, though, that I realized my body wasn't developing like the other boys, and they did too. They were very cool about it. I came to realize that, like, in football locker rooms, they would surround me so no one could look at my body in order to prevent me from being embarrassed, which I thought was interesting, because I was never embarrassed in the first place, at least until they started doing that.

I didn't realize until years later that I have a birth defect that caused me to not go through puberty until I was 19, when I went to a specialist who diagnosed the problem, administered hormone therapy, and put me through puberty in about 6 months. At that point, at 19, I looked about 13 years old.

But, when I was starting high school, and everyone was dating and people's bodies were maturing and all, mine wasn't. It starts to sound like I was a kid with a physical problem, growth and maturity, who maybe didn't fit in because of it. That's not true. I still hung out with girls, I was totally interested like most guys. I was popular in school (I now look back and realize), very social, the whole works. But there were 2 ulterior situations that did inhibit me from doing some things.

First, most of my high school life, I lived way back in the hills, about 40 miles on an old logging road in Maple Creek, California, on the Big Bend Ranch. There were no phones, no electricity, not even mail delivery , and I knew about girls and phone calls and all the things you do as a teenager when interacting with friends, let alone people you want to date, and the road was actually a dangerous road and you had to be realistic about your physical condition when driving it in order to be safe. There were 500 foot cliffs on the sides of some of those tricky corners. I didn't think too many girls would want to end a date at 9 PM on Friday night so I could make the drive home safely without falling asleep at the wheel. It might seem like a reasonable expectation to have of someone who cares about you, but I was a teenager, and few people had to deal with that kind of consideration in their lives.

A bigger issue, though, is that I was living in the last 3rd of the sexual revolution, and sex seemed to be something expected in relationships. I knew the girls I was most interested in were sexually active, and I actually know that not engaging in sexual activity resulted in the breakup of a really good relationship I was once in. I wasn't capable of that kind of sexual activity because I hadn't gone through puberty. Not because I wasn't interested, but because my body wouldn't do it. There's a part of it that, frankly, was simply so that  I wouldn't have to face the embarrassment of telling a girl I just wasn't able. And then losing another relationship. Another was the fact that I didn't think it was morally right anyway.  My mom taught me that having a sexual relationship was more special than a likely short term teenage relationship.

My knowledge that the girls I knew in high school would not likely be long-term, life-long committed relationships, as in marriage, and I believed in the idea of virginity and all sorts of things related to the sanctity of the body, particularly in relationship to the giving of oneself in marriage and fidelity. The part that represents giving oneself fully to one special person, and having that unique intimacy to give as a gift to each other upon marriage.

Sometimes, I thought I really missed out by not dating more, though I can't think of all that many girls who interested me that much. And I wonder if I'd have been sexually active if my body had matured like normal boys do. I really can't say I know the answer to that question. But, I do know that as the years have gone by, and particularly in the last 8 years or so, I've actually become thankful that where I lived and my body prevented me from being involved in sexual activity when I was young. And I'm talking about inter-course, not making out, because I did my share of that, too. :}

But I  really am glad that my "sexual activity" didn't go farther than it did. The reason is because I got to observe, often with some discomfort but always with empathy and care, a great deal of what young people go through in terms of coming to terms with their sexuality, the effects it had on their lives and relationships, as well as the influences that led to it all, and now, the way it shapes our culture, and the world. Understand, I'm not saying I wasn't involved in the "world" I observed, but I do believe I had a different perspective.

It's ominous how rippling effects occur in the world, more evidence of the inter-connectedness of everything.

Here are the premises and the influences that shaped my opinions, conclusions and beliefs about sex and sexuality early on in life.

First, it was the words of my mother. It's hard to remember, but I believe I was walking through the house one night when I was about 9 or 10, and overheard a conversation she was having with one of my sisters about sex. All I remember hearing is her saying something like this:

"I'm not going to tell you not to have sex, because I know things happen in the heat of passion, but just make sure that if you decide to have sex with someone, that it's someone that you love and loves you, and that it means something to you"

I'd think about that over the years, its sensibilities of acknowledging a preference of not having sex, giving my sister the space to be human and to forgive her if things got out of control, as well as to provide her with information and counseling that still left it up to her to make her own choices in the matter. It didn't sound to me like she was giving my sister permission at all. It was more like the first part of understanding human sexuality and appreciation for the magic and beauty of sex, tempered with the respect and privacy and intimacy and gift that presenting your body to another person really represents, not physically, but spiritually.

The thing that made the greatest impression on me, though, is when she said something that caused me to understand the difference between having sex with someone, and making love. This is what I decided:

"Having sex, making love with someone is the most beautiful and free expression of someone's love for another, fully surrendering oneself to someone else, and them to you, completely giving and sharing themselves."

I didn't hear much, and I was young, and I've deepened those thoughts, but when I heard it, it made sense to me, it made sex seems like a very beautiful act between two people, and I've very much expanded on my own personal view of how special and true it is throughout my life. I could never imagine anything else being such a private, beautiful act of love and intimacy and all the other implications of love and commitment, and the emotional ties and bonds it creates, that accompany it, spoken or not. Especially when it's done completely sourced by love.

So, I'm going to tell you a few sex stories about things I observed, things I did and how my thoughts on sex and love were created, and the results I saw from sexual "influences". I'm not doing it to tell you how you should act and feel about it. In a way, I think I can provide you with some examples of how things used to be that will give you a good basis of comparison for what you think of the way things are today. I hope I don't end up embarrassing anyone I may speak about, as I do my best not to give them away.

My first year in high school, I was in a school in Central California. The people I hung out with were very sexually active. This was in a town that was south of San Francisco, but was actually very much at the heart of the beginning of the hippie and drug and free love movement that got out of hand back in the 60's, long before it ended up in San Francisco.

I ended up being around them because I had been recruited out of English class one day and asked if I wanted to be in a play. I ended up in a lot of plays, and I believe it was originally because I looked like a little kid, and they needed someone to play a child. And, other than the drugs and sex, these people were actually very good people, though heavily influenced by social trends of the culture of the region.

One day, I got curious about this thing called sex. I'd been interested in girls, but never engaged in sex, and wondered what those words they were saying meant, and what exactly they did to each other and why.

So, I got out my Bible, I'd heard about Song of Solomon, and read it. That was my first sex education. I think I was 12, and was already a songwriting romanticist, and between that and what my Mom had said and other things, I took it as a beautiful story of seduction and the ultimate bonding of a man and woman, and I was entranced. Then, I got out the Encyclopedia Britannica and looked up the anatomy, figured out what most of those words meant, and was left with only a couple of questions. The most important was, what is pre-mature ejaculation?

I mean, it sounded like you either did it or you didn't. So I asked my step father what that and a couple of other things meant - he seemed to know a lot about sex - and he answered my questions very well, followed by a lecture I didn't appreciate at all about how, now that I knew these things, not to treat it like something I could use. In other words, don't do it.

Now, I can understand his concern, but my curiosity wasn't because I wanted to do it, I just wanted to know what it was about, partly because I was in most ways a normal boy growing up, and partly because I didn't want to be embarrassed when other people talked about it and I didn't know what the words meant. Given that you'd think your parents know you, I was offended because I thought he knew me well enough to know that I wasn't ever out to do mischief or "wrong things".

And mind you, when I was watching my friends being sexual, and I don't mean making out or hugging and stuff, it wasn't that I approved. It was just what they did. And it did make me wonder what it was I didn't know.

I didn't say that part about being offended to complain about my step-father. I said it so parents would take note that your children want to know that you respect them, and that they can count on you to teach them about things that are important in life. I didn't ever talk to my step father again about anything like that after I had to listen to his lecture. Just  like lots of other things I heard unnecessary lectures about, those lectures weren't about me and the way I typically conducted myself, it was about his own knowledge of what he did when he was my age. And I wanted him to talk to me based on who I was, not his guilty conscience. Even though I was interested in things he wanted to teach me without seeming suspicious or accusatory.

I saw some interesting things.

I saw one girl who seemed very nice, whose parents were friends of my brother, who had a reputation of sleeping with every guy she met. I watched. Sure enough, it seemed like she had a new boyfriend every few days, and the guys she was with were people who everyone knew were sexually active. After a while, I heard that some of these guys were paying her to be "their girlfriend". Guys from affluent families. I believed it more and more as I observed things happening.

There was this one girl who was sort of the innocent, guileless type. Not stupid, not naive, guileless. One of the guys turned her into a total neurotic mess, and it was clear he was using sex as a way to control her, telling her her willingness to have sex and let's say, more kinky kinds of sex were an indication of her love for him, and she was constantly in tears. The truth is, I had a big crush on her. He actually seduced her a day or two before I had planned to ask her out myself. And then I had to watch that happening. At one point, still friends, she came to me one day needing advice. About his demand for sex, and her wanting to have a deeper relationship, and so I told her that if the relationship didn't seem right, then she shouldn't be having sex with him. Because sex should be an extension of love and not the other way around. She told him about that advice, I assume as if it was evidence that she had reason to be upset. It didn't go over well. He used it to dominate her more.

Years later, I had reason to know her again. I hate to say this, but it's my belief that relationship caused that woman incredible self-esteem problems that very negatively impacted her life more than 20 years later, including still having this same guy, married, wanting to continue a sex only relationship with her, and her taking on someone as a "sex-buddy",   a guy who was married to someone else. And I still believe she views her value to men as first being determined by her sexual abilities. It was hard to deal with when I finally realized that was still part of her self-image and so influenced her outlook.

The thing is, you could say that was about having sex, and the dangers of having sex too young and all, and I'd agree with you. But the real story is in recognizing that sex itself wasn't the bad part. The bad part was that she was young, hadn't fully formed her own opinions and feelings about being confronted with sexual situations, and despite the fact that I know she mostly thought of it as a negative influence in her life the way it happened, in other words, in  her own mind it was wrong, the fact was that she, like most young adults coming of age, wanted to be loved and be with a guy, and she got taken in by a guy who may actually have cared for her, but was very good at manipulating people, and got carried away in at least this case. It seems to have generated a lot of pain in the life of a woman who is very sweet and loving and kind.

If you were to ask me, she mostly exhibited the signs and symptoms of a woman who had never resolved or came to grips with  being the victim of rape. Sexual and emotional abuse.

That was all about setting and maintaining personal boundaries, and the importance of knowledge and the wisdom of guidance so necessary to putting foundations in place for young people, foundations that are most often established by examples and candid conversations with children about what being a human being means and is like, and not giving in  to the idea of a parent who feels guilty because "I did it as a kind, who am I to tell them they're wrong"? And even if you think something that requires good judgment isn't wrong, it would be best to discuss those kinds of things in a way that explains what the choices and results of those choices are.

You could also say it speaks to the idea of the need for wholesome communities.

Through "meeting up" with that woman again, I also found out that at my elementary school, I was oblivious to the fact that some of the girls in the 7th and 8th grade were turning tricks in the bushes at recess. I had no idea, but it explained a number of things that happened there, and the way some people there were acting.

The truth is, in each of these girls turned women, I have to tell you, I don't believe that any of them were left with a healthy attitude about themselves, about what it was like to actually be treated with love, about sex being an expression of love. Not that they haven't overcome a great deal of it over, time, but it left scars. Scars that shaped the intimacy of their relationships, and their ability to make such personal commitments.

Over time, I was glad that I wasn't sexually active in high school because it would have hurt me to know that I could have cause someone that kind of pain or scar, out of naivete or inexperience, or just the result and being young, and not really able to make a commitment suggested by sharing yourself with someone else.

And isn't it interesting that the freedom supposedly offered through sexual liberation and women's liberation was equality that was simply once again channeled into a means of domination, on purpose or not, generating further hostility amongst the sexes.

It's part of why I wondered what it was like for guys, going through puberty. These days, as even girls are so affected by the hormones in our environment that girls are "coming of age" sooner, I thought, you hear about raging hormones, and then guys getting too aggressive, acquaintance rape, people crossing the line.

When I was 18, I went to a doctor who gave me hormones to "put me through puberty". At one point, I calculated that I was getting at least 10 times the normal amount of hormones that guys going through puberty do. I was getting pretty horny. Imagine going through puberty in 6 months.

This is embarrassing to admit, but I hope you understand I think it's more a matter of me attempting to act responsibly.

One day, I heard a report on the radio about a guy picking up women down at the boardwalk and raping them. Sinxcee I was young, there was a problem in that town with people being picked up and murdered and raped, and I thought about all the times I saw people, including young women in bathing suits - hitchhiking on OCean Street and down by the Boardwalk, and then I'd start getting sexually aroused.

So I went to the doctor and told him I refused to be that jacked up on hormones that I would even think things like that. He said he couldn't reduce the dose and   get the necessary results, and that I should get a girlfriend.

It really hadn't occurred to me before, and I have to say I was a little surprised that my doctor would recommend that, not really being consistent with my beliefs and all.

Not to be graphic, but since we are talking about sexuality and sex education and related issues, two nights after writing the previous paragraph, I realized that no one ever told me about masturbation. I'm not blaming anyone, I never asked about it, but if someone had told me, I can't help but wonder what a difference it would have made in my life. As a parent, I would think I'd want my son to know about such things, for the right reasons, with a full discussion of appropriateness and sexuality that was about more than just the physical aspects of sex and contraception, with the ability to convey that the right and wrong about sex isn't what's important, but the reasons why the parent, based on the values they'd prefer to convey to the child,  believe in what they believe in, regardless of their own conduct in the same period of life. A passing down of heritage and values and sanctity.

But I took my doctor's advice, and this woman and I had a great time, but before long, I realized that, despite the fact that I never heard a complaint from her, the entire relationship was sexual, it didn't particularly satisfy me intellectually or emotionally, and I didn't really want just a sexual relationship, so I broke it off, feeling horrible, that I'd used her, even if she did enjoy the relationship... I was glad that I was honest with her and that I would never want to have a relationship because of sex again.

In my deal with God, there's this thing that happens that if I wonder what something is like, it tends to happen to me. I wish I'd realized that years ago. :}

That whole situation and sequence of my life taught me a great deal about human nature, what it's like to have those youthful hormones raging through you, and the kinds of things that put bizarre ideas in your head when you're least expecting it... like violence and sex on TV, or news headlines and reports that make you aware of things to do you never would have dreamed of.

That give you the knowledge of sin.

Think about that. Things that influence you to do things, or over time, get you to find things acceptable that you didn't used to... are because something or someone has given you the knowledge of sin. And the permission to sin.

It's interesting to consider, if you're a teenager, knowing your parents wouldn't approve of your having sex as a teen.... answer this honestly to yourself, what was it in your mind that you thought that caused you to believe it was a good thing to do? No criticism, no judgment, just, what was it?

And then, isn't it true that once you crossed the line, did the thing that used to be special or meaningful become less meaningful because it's just part of a way of having relationships, like kissing, and it's just sort of expected, and even desired, once you do it and because it becomes more of  a habit or part of the natural progression of relationships these days? And less a true expression of love?

I'm not saying this is true, but I gave some thought a while back to the idea that in the theory, as if it was true, that in "old times" young women or adults, whatever the customs in those times, if they were married to a man as virgins, both of them virgins, then when they were married, they would form their own relationships, inter-personal and sexual, without any pre-conceived notions of what good or bad sex was, or whether they were good or bad at it. And so, in this regard and others, couples could form themselves and their customs and habits free of right and wrong thinking.

Back in the  50's, I'd hear people talking about how girls, becoming women and then marrying when they were young, as they were "supposed to" according to social custom, were often frigid or viewed their role in a relationship to a man as "having to" have sex as if it was a duty from the marriage contract.

Universal Church of the Kingdom of God Carole King - Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow

Part of the problem was that while they were being raised, they were made ashamed of themselves if they were sexual, or acted as if they wanted to be sexual, so girls were raised being required to be very proper. And guys were raised to be appropriate and act like gentlemen. At least, in our family. Of course, that was before birth control was anything other than the rhythm method and IUD's.

And it's kind of interesting, the rippling effects. Once you get a reputation for being sexual, there's a certain stereotype you end up with. People don't see you as  a person who is sexual. They see you as "one of those bad sexual people, slutty or sleazy"... you get the picture. And then it's expected of you, and your parents are suspicious and you feel like you're no longer a person in their eyes.

At the same time, one time when I was in high school, I decided to stay at a friend's house on Friday night after getting off the radio, and this girl came in and decided to play a joke on my parents by calling them and telling them, after I'd already called and said I wouldn't be coming home, that I was going to be spending the night with her. I just thought it would be funny to see what happened. The next day, I think my mom believed me that I spent the night at my friend's house, but my step father just had this silly grin on his face and acted really proud. This is the same guy who, 2 years before, lectured me not to have sex.

Back then, in the late 50's, people would get married, and you'd see the adults talking about this sort of thing, always sort of snickering about who gave the newlyweds their wedding manual, a book that supposedly taught them all about sex. I always wanted to see that book. When I got married, it was The Joy of Sex. It was my wife's idea. Now I wonder if she was trying to tell me something. :}

Anyway... isn't it amazing , all the mixed messages about sex? Is it good or bad, and do you dare admit the truth in public?

If I see a scene in Top Gun that I think is really romantic and cool, and think about what it would be like to live that scene, am I sick or perverted, or simply daydreaming about something I wonder about? Would I be wondering about it if I hadn't seen the movie? And, if I'm angry and I think about a scene from Texas Chainsaw Massacre...

And, if I hadn't inadvertently seen pornography on the internet and then soft porn on TV, and slowly became accustomed to it, would I have ever looked at pornography and gotten ideas from it...about sexual thoughts, appropriateness of pornography, the values I assigned to the meaning of sex in my own value and belief system? And impressions about the general morality of the public at large?

My real answer would be no, I wasn't looking for it, despite the fact that I have to admit I really did like the articles in Playboy ever since my brother subscribed to it in the mid-60's.

These days, it's possible to find ads on the internet of people displaying their bodies on sites in ways that can only be  described as desperate attempts to satisfy loneliness. Personals. You just have to know that none of these people consider how these pictures and things will be used against them in the future.

In a world where someone's making a buck telling them it's a good thing to do.

In a world where the ads make it appear that you couldn't possibly be having fun without Viagra or something to increase the stimulation of your already over-stimulated mind and body, that, like with an addiction, requires you to have bigger and bigger doses of stimulation to sense pleasure. Sensuality. A beautiful gift that's been exploited.

The Bible speaks of these times, of times of tweaking women's breasts. I originally wondered what that could be about. And It can only be a symptom of one thing, and that would be the need for so much stimulation that pleasure is derived from pain. That's an observation, not a criticism or judgment. But how could that kind of need for stimulation be good?

The thing about sexuality and human nature, part of which is pure, un-adulterated animal behavior in our instincts, is that it's purely natural but, in the human species, we are monogamous by nature. Certainly, our species allows for additional mating in case of death and so forth, but we mate for life.

There is a very significant reason and order to this.

It's easy to say it's to promote the family and to stabilize the social culture, all of those kinds of things are true, but it begins with the mating, the bonding of two individuals, the intimacy that is possible for them to share that creates the foundation for their future and the futures of those in their communities as well.

The greatest difference between human nature and animal nature becomes clear in the knowledge of the development and existence of the spirit or soul, and the purpose for their unique existence in the life they live.

I suppose it's Freudian that some say that people think about sex in some way every  7-10 seconds. I've thought about that a lot, and I don't believe that's true. I do believe that when viewing other people, my mind, in performing pattern recognition, identifies physical attributes of images I see that include male and female gender determination. What my mind imagines while I do that sub-conscious scanning is more a matter of free association based on the images and experiences I've been exposed to. So personally, I'd say that semantically it's true that we consider gender every 7-10 seconds, but that's not necessarily related to sexuality insofar as intercourse is concerned. Unless you're so often reminded of sex, that your mind is trained to go there when considering gender and sexuality in any way. And your mind has been trained to do that.

In the Garden of Eden, Adam and Eve didn't wear clothing until they had been given "the knowledge of sin". You could say that they weren't aware their nudity was wrong until someone told them there was something "nasty" about their bodies that they should be embarrassed about. Thoughts they might not have had if they weren't told it was wrong. Thoughts that tempted them to do things they believed weren't right, for whatever reason. For that little extra thrill.

One time, I drove down the wrong side of a two lane road just to see what it felt like. It was perfectly safe, I could see for miles in front and behind me, I knew the road really well, there was no chance of an accident. It felt weird. But it wasn't that big of a deal. The fun part was, my brother was riding with me in the car.

My brother's the guy who my parents would sit around telling stories and laughing about things he'd do as practical jokes, that made me believe other people would think it was funny, too, on the few occasions I followed his example and got in a lot of trouble. :}

He used to do some pretty weird stuff back when I was a teenager, watching him drive his sports car, an AMC Javelin that was underpowered but well torqued, and a fun car to ride in. So there we were on this road, and I thought, he'll appreciate the little thrill. You know, brother to brother mischief, something he could relate to. It just occurred to me while  writing this that he never rode as a passenger in a car with me again.

Have you ever noticed how people turn into adults, laugh about the good old days, giggle about their youthful sexual exploits, and then wonder where you got the idea to do some of the things you get in trouble for?

Have you ever heard your mom talking about her sex life as a teenager, and then got lectured and made to feel like some bad person or slut or womanizer because your "conduct" makes it appear you're becoming sexually active? And then, maybe out of hurt and rebellion, doing things like that just because if that's the opinion of the person you care so much about is of you, you might as well live up to their expectations?

The more interesting question I would actually wonder about is, have you ever had a conversation with your parent about... sex... where they told you some stories like a friend, laughing and giggling and then, where they also told you about how it's always funny to look back at the things and mistakes you made, and you laugh about it because the truth is, you're more embarrassed about the stupid things you did when you were naive, and with friends who shared that time of life with you or grew up in the same era, they can all relate to similar stories because of fashion or trends or the ways of the culture. And, then have the conversation about how it is all funny and all, but it's also important to learn from other people's mistakes, and then tell them the down side to it all, what you saw and did, what it was like, good and bad, and how you saw it shaped your life and the lives of others.

It's one way to be responsible for being human, being young, maybe making a few "funny mistakes" or just doing things you wouldn't want the kids to replicate, and at the same, share it with them in such a way that it becomes something in common, young adult to adult, so they understand what the results, not necessarily consequences, might be for the actions they take and the choices they make so they can make informed choices. It's not just about pregnancy and virginity. It's about self-respect, setting personal boundaries, making decisions for one's self without requiring someone else's approval, and more...

But that alone should comprise the bulk of what kids need to know about sex education. After that, the other info is about contraception, disease prevention and more "mechanical" issues.

It's interesting, too, to realize that once people become used to having sex as part of their relationships while dating, or even when married, it becomes something more like the next step after kissing, almost like, if things are going well then, of course you'll have sex. I don't view it as being as simple as that, but it's a pattern, something integrated into what the mind causes you to adopt as the way things are done, what's appropriate and acceptable.

If you watch TV, a good crime show is one where the cool bad guys kill the police, black people are the sleaziest criminals, Mexicans are about drugs and farm work, it's fun to do drugs of all sorts because it's like proof you can get away with something if you're famous, rich or connected enough, how to build sticky bombs that could be used in terrorist acts, and any GOOD relationship between a man and woman - or gay person - is outwardly seen as working or not working based on how fast they end up in bed together.

And when they do, we feel good about it. It's nice to see a relationship work out. It gives you hope, doesn't it?  Like, you could have a happy ending like that. And so goes our training about the ever changing model of what the American Dream is.

Back when I was a kid, it wasn't permissible to show a married couple sleeping in bed together. Good, bad or indifferent, that's the way it was.

Every once in a while I'd hear my parents talking about the idea of couples sleeping in separate beds so their being in bed together would not interfere with their prayers. Thinking of that, it's interesting when I read the Koran and it instructs us, Muslims and Christians and Jews, to spend a part of the night in prayer.

When I was a teenager, I'd say something on the air when it turned 10 o'clock at night. I'd say, it's 10'clock, where are your children? I remembered hearing it all the time when I was younger. I found out just  a couple of years ago it was because there was a rule, and general social agreement, that programming too violent or controversial for children couldn't be shown until after 10pm. There were other such agreements about "prime time" family programming.

Sometimes you hear parents talk about how they can only teach their children so much and they learn everything else from... external influences. I used to wonder why so many Christians were taking on home-schooling anymore, perceiving it as a withdrawal of society instead of the desire for their children to know truth, moral and ethical values, and to reduce their children's exposure to "temptation" and anti-Christian behaviors they do not wish to have instilled in their children, particularly at young, impressionable ages.

What does that have to do with sex? I know a little girl who at 9 years old, was quite taken with makeup and dresses and weddings and marriage and.. why is a little 9 year old girl so taken with these things? Why is that such a priority in her mind? Be honest, what effect will have on her life?

You could say it's normal, and I'd likely agree with you, if normal means doing what everyone else does. I'd more accurately say it's typical. And once again, I'd ask, what caused you to develop your perception of normal?

I don't want to belabor this, but it seems like we complain about the way things are, but never ask ourselves or seem to discuss openly - what this issue or situation would be like in a perfect world? Followed by the serious question, why isn't it like that?

Could it be pundits who scoff at those who are too naive and unwilling to accept reality, that they want us to "sin" for their profit and personal indulgence of perverse habits, or maybe kids at school who have given up hope who want other kids to party with them just because they want to have fun and are bored?

I remember hearing someone say, one day, "Who says the world is fair?" I thought about it and honestly couldn't come up with anyone, and then I thought, except God. Think about that.

I hear people say things like how thinking of things in terms of ideals, what a perfect world could be, are the thoughts of people who are naive, and I wonder if they really think God is naive.

We hear a lot of talk these days about abstinence. Like many, I wonder if the expectation for teenagers, especially, to be abstinent in the face of raging hormones, to be realistic. It would certainly be convenient if it was that easy. I say, with all the influences that lead young people to the conclusions about what is right and wrong make many reasonable things nearly impossible, especially without responsible guidance from adults.

God never actually gave us "Commandments" with the idea that we should just do them because He said so. That, too, would be a welcome convenience, except if we didn't agree with those commandments or if they didn't make sense to us, it would seem we were simply being told what to do. If I could offer one piece of advice to young people, in particular, as well as adults, is that if your relationship reaches a point where you feel that the next step is to conduct a sexual relationship, that you ask yourself, "What does having  a sexual relationship with someone else mean to me?", and you might want to ask that of the person whom you are considering taking on as a partner.

If that question is too difficult to answer, you might want to consider that your maturity, or the intimacy of that relationship, is not really ready for that next step. Sexual relationships have meaning, whether anyone tells you they should or shouldn't. They affect your life. They affect your future relationships, they affect the outcome and goals of your life, and they can cause scars. And bring a great deal of joy.

I'm not going to tell anyone that pre-marital or out of wedlock sex is wrong. I will say, if you are a Christian and understand and accept the ways of Jesus Christ and the Commandments of God as good premises for conducting one's life, and for the world to be a place of peace and love and abundance, then you would want to take on the inquiry of what a sexual relationship, or what making love, actually means to you... in a perfect world. And then give yourself that perfect world, according to your own specifications.

I keep saying, in a perfect world, because you have every right and reson to have an opinion about the way the world ought to be, just as in many ways, in a microcosm, you create that world for yourself. If you're not conducting yourself in ways that reflect your opinion of the way the world ought to be, then you can't reasonably expect anyone else to either.

I will also say that if you respect yourself, and truly honor and respect your own feelings and beliefs, religious or not, you will set the bar of your standards and values higher than ever before, and you will be proud of yourself for being true to yourself.

If there's any single purpose for this book, in terms of value you can take away from it, it would be to have you acknowledge to yourself what is important and valued and of meaning to your self in your life, and then living as if it was true. Because it is.

Universal Church of the Kingdom of God George Harrison - 33 & One Third - 205 - Learning How To Love You

Once again, to let you know I'm not just shaking a righteous finger at anyone, because I'm not, I'll say that I'm willing to acknowledge that we get into certain personal and societal habits that won't change overnight.

At the same time, I said from the beginning, I'm not prudish about sex, and I'm not promiscuous. However, as a person in their 50's, wondering what my future will be like, re-claiming my own values for my own reasons, reasons I compromised on because of "the way things are done these days", I'm a single guy with every desire to be in a committed relationship again, and I certainly consider enjoying a healthy sexual relationship as a part of the way I make and express love to a special person I hope I'll meet someday...

But I too got into the habit of thinking, of thinking it was expected, that sex was part of a normal and natural progression of a relationship whether there was a commitment or not. I say that also stating that, except that once, I never engaged in a sexual relationship with anyone without believing that it was part of an intent to be in a committed relationship. To that extent, I accept the teachings of Jesus, that any man who lies down with a woman is married to her. At least from this time on.  All I can do is re-claim my values and live them in the future.

In one way, wanting to be abstinent before marriage is something very important to me, because I believe it communicates a real respect for a person, getting to know them without complicating the relationship with other unspoken commitments and assumptions that are easily misunderstood. I want to know that I'm in a relationship with someone because I know that person and enjoy their company as a companion and friend, who knows what the dynamics of any possible relationship might be. I just know I want a real relationship, not a relationship based on hope or expectation that a person will turn out a certain way. And certainly not a relationship patched together by a physical act that can never replace intimacy.

James Carville will be chagrined to learn that whether I am ever in a relationship with a woman again or not, and whether I make love to a woman again or not for whatever reason, I will never consider myself to be celibate, and not even really abstinent. Just choosing to make love to someone I actually know I love, and who actually loves me, and knows that when I give myself to them, they have all of me, and I have all of them, not as possessions or territories to protect, but as partners in life. (And that's almost an inside joke I'll let him explain. Whatever he says is fine with me.)

If you think for one minute that means I'm not a passionate, romantic guy, all I can say is that someday, if I start cranking out love songs for an extended period of time, you'll know what's going on. :}

The funny part is, I started thinking about that promise I just made a few nights ago while thinking about what I really wanted to say about sex, and considering, like I'm suggesting to you, all of the influences and the ways and values I wanted to put back into my life that I always felt worked best for me. I forgot that I made this deal with God, and every time I seriously wonder what it would be like to experience something, it happens to me. I sat there wondering, I wonder what it would be like now, at my age, to meet a really cool woman, and have a reasonable period of courtship or something in a more serious relationship, without it including making love. So...

I thought, it'll be hard. And then I thought, it would be funny, me knowing the promise I made to myself, and no one else knows why it makes me chuckle to myself. You know, women sometimes think there's something wrong with you if you don't make sexual advances toward them.

And then I thought, wouldn't it be cool to be able to discuss it with someone, and share the values and the same desire and acknowledge the feelings, but out of respect for each other and the incredible specialness of marriage and that beauty of making love, to make love in other ways of being toward each other and in creating a future based on true communication and understanding so that the relationship will last. So that if nothing else, there will always be that respect that's so vital and important.

The last thing I'm going to say may sound like an expression of regret or angst, but I want to assure it's not. It's about acknowledging the choices I've made in my life in order to learn from them. I can honestly say that if I had not had that first relationship, no matter the reasons I did, my life would have been much different. If anyone I was ever in a relationship before reads this, I want to assure you that I am not asserting anything about the quality of that relationship, about or the value of the relationship we shared. Nor is it relevant what conclusions I came to regarding my past choices in terms of whether I think the "difference" in my life was either good or bad.

It's simply a matter of stating what choices I make today regarding what I believe in and the actions I take from now on that reflect my willingness to adhere to my own standards because I say it is the best way for me to live.

I'd like to challenge you to state, for your own sake, what it is you actually believe in, and then choose to live those beliefs.

Like we are living in a perfect world.

 

 

 


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