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Tag: Premarital Sex

Is it a Sin to Kiss Your Boyfriend?

kissing

Every day, without fail, women somewhere in the world search for “is it a sin to kiss my boyfriend?” Thanks to the post, Hey Girlfriend: Is it a Sin to Kiss Your Boyfriend?, this blog is the number one Google search result. I can’t remember the last time I looked at search logs and didn’t see a handful of female visitors coming to this site to find out whether it is okay to swap spit with their boyfriends. I say female visitors, because I’ve never seen someone come to my site as a result of a “is it a sin to kiss my girlfriend” web search. It seems that women have a lot more angst about kissing their boyfriend than boyfriends do kissing them. I’ve often wondered what it is that drives women to seek out anonymous Internet advice about boyfriend kissing. Are these women being pressured by their boyfriends to be physically intimate? Probably. Kissing is very much a part of the human experience. Sadly, as with most things that are pleasurable, Evangelicals have deemed kissing between unmarried men and women to be a sin. Let me explain how Evangelicals come to this “Biblical” position.

First, Evangelicals believe that, thanks to Adam and Eve’s eating of the forbidden fruit in the Garden of Eden 6,017 years ago, the human race is, by nature, sinful. Born into sin, every human being is at variance with God. The Bible says that infants come forth from the womb speaking lies. We don’t become sinners, we are sinners. The Bible says human hearts are deceitful and wicked, so much so that none of us can truly know our heart. Because of our fallen nature, we desire to fulfill the lusts of the flesh. At the top of the Evangelical lust list are a variety of sexual sins: fornication, adultery, homosexuality, bestiality, incest, masturbation, petting, spooning, and looking at a woman with lust in your heart. Believing that inappropriate physical contact with the opposite sex (there are no gays in the Evangelical church) is a gateway to serious sexual sins such as fornication and adultery, many Evangelical sects, churches, pastors, and families adopt strict rules governing physical intimacy between unmarrieds. For those not raised in Evangelical churches, they will likely find the remainder of this post beyond belief, but rest assured that what I share next can be found in countless Evangelical churches and homes.

I attended Midwestern Baptist College in the 1970s — the era of free love. While hippies were smoking marijuana, listening to rock music, and exploring their sexuality, the unmarried students at Midwestern were expected to maintain a six-inch distance from each other at all times. If you have not read the post, Thou Shalt Not Touch: The Six-Inch Rule, I encourage you to do so. It goes into great detail explaining how the puritanical leadership at Midwestern made sure students kept their distance from each other. Most of the students at Midwestern came from Independent Fundamentalist Baptist (IFB) churches that also had some sort of prohibition against physical contact. During my teenage years, I was a member of Trinity Baptist Church, Findlay, Ohio and First Baptist Church, Bryan, Ohio. Both churches frowned on teenagers and young adults touching one another. Violating the no touch policy resulted in scoldings and separation during church services from your boyfriend or girlfriend. Sometimes, the pastors would spend time during their sermons rebuking sexually aware unmarrieds for their inappropriate touching. Time was also spent during youth group meetings drilling it into the heads of teenagers that God did not approve of them intimately touching each other. It should come as no surprise then that when unmarrieds were unable to abstain from acting on their sexual desires, they were often filled with guilt and fear. And I’m not talking about having sexual intercourse. More than a few teenagers found themselves ridden with guilt over holding hands with their girlfriend during church services or putting their arm around their boyfriend when no one was looking. Of course, there was certainly plenty of rounding-third and sliding-into-home sexual activity going on. In recent years, I’ve had the privilege of becoming reacquainted with several friends from my high school days. The stories they tell about their own sexual experiences during our youth group years are certainly different from mine. I’ve concluded that pretty much everybody in youth group was sexually active except me. I was a good Baptist boy who played by the rules. While I certainly held hands with girls, put my arms around them, and kissed them, I (barely) maintained my virginity until my wedding day.

There are several verses in the Bible that Evangelical preachers use to justify their hands-off rules. 1 Corinthians 7:1-2 states:

Now concerning the things whereof ye wrote unto me: It is good for a man not to touch a woman. Nevertheless, to avoid fornication, let every man have his own wife, and let every woman have her own husband.

It is good for an unmarried man to NOT touch a woman, God says. Didn’t Jesus himself warn that just an inappropriate look at a woman can cause men to commit adultery in their hearts? From these verses Evangelical preachers justified their no-touch rules; rules, by the way that most of them didn’t keep when they were young unmarrieds.

Preachers also used what I call the kitchen-sink verses to prop up their preaching against sexual sin:

Abstain from all appearance of evil. (1 Thessalonians 5:22)

Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world. (1 John 2:15,16)

Neither give place to the devil. (Ephesians 4:27)

Those raised in Evangelicals churches know that these verses (and others) were often used by preachers to label virtually anything and everything sin. (Please read The Official Independent Baptist Rulebook and An Independent Baptist Hate List.)

Young women in particular were psychologically abused by Evangelical preachers who felt it was their duty to make sure that the women were virgins on their wedding day. Preachers shared horror stories about women who engaged in premarital sex. Virtually all the preaching was directed towards women. After all, they were the gatekeepers. It was up to them to keep their legs closed when horn dog young men came sniffing around. Men are weak, the thinking goes, so it is up to Susie to make sure that both Johnny and Susie are virgins on their wedding day. And the best way to do this is to not have physical contact with each other before marriage. Just remember, the preacher says. No girl has ever gotten pregnant without holding hands or kissing a boy first! I kid you not, handholding was viewed as some sort of gateway, a gate which, once unmarrieds walked through it, would lead directly to them being given over to fornication. I know this sounds crazy, but this line of thinking is still quite prominent today. This is why so many unmarried women do Google searches for “is it a sin to kiss my boyfriend?” They likely attend churches that prohibit physical contact between unmarrieds. Yet, when they are away from the prying eyes of their pastors and parents, these sexually aware young adults engage in various forms of sexual intimacy. Fear and guilt follow, so they seek out “help” for dealing with their “lustful” desires.

Here’s my advice to those who are psychologically and spiritually troubled over holding hands with their boyfriend or girlfriend. Your feelings and desires are normal. Sexually aware people naturally desire physical intimacy. The key is to embrace your sexuality and act responsibly. This means you will have to ignore what your windbag preacher is telling you. It’s highly unlikely that any of the adults who are telling you that physical contact is a sin practiced what they preach. These hypocrites should spend their time teaching unmarrieds sexual responsibility. Most young adults will have sex intercourse before they are married. While your church may consider this a sin, those outside of the Evangelical church view sexual intimacy as a normal part of the human experience. Educate yourself about sex and make sure you always use birth control. I realize your preacher likely has said that using birth control is you preparing to sin, but I think we would all agree that unwanted pregnancies are a bad idea, and the only way to avoid them is to use birth control. Don’t allow the puritanical sexual standards of others to dictate what you will do. It’s your body, your life. And as far as kissing your boyfriend is concerned? Kiss away. A kiss is just a kiss. It can lead to more intimate behavior, but it also can be just that — a kiss. Remember, you, not your church, parents, or preacher, are in control of what you do sexually. Those who demand that you maintain your distance from the opposite sex are stunting your development.

Part of growing up is the exploration of our sexuality. This includes masturbation. Anyone who tells you that masturbation is a sin is someone you need to stop listening to. Like the desire for physical interaction with the opposite sex, masturbation is a normal, healthy behavior. I guarantee you that most of the married adults in your church masturbated before they were married. And I think I would be safe in saying that some of them still do. Masturbation is a great way to release sexual tension, especially when one is not ready to have sexual intercourse.

What I’m saying here is that it is all good. Sexual want, need, and desire are very much a part of the human experience. I encourage you to embrace your sexuality and enjoy all the pleasure that comes from doing so.

Quote of the Day: Massachusetts Puritans View of Sex by Jason Dikes

puritan-america

Sex outside of marriage, however, was regarded very differently. The Puritans followed the teachings of the Old Testament in believing that adultery was a sin of the deepest dye. They defined an adulterous act in the conventional way as extramarital sex involving a married woman (not necessarily a married man), but punished both partners with high severity. Their criminal codes made adultery a capital crime, and at least three people were actually hanged for it in the Puritan colonies.

When cases of adultery occurred, it was not uncommon for entire communities to band together and punish the transgressors. In the town of Ipswich, Massachusetts, for example, a married woman named Sarah Roe had an affair with a neighbor named Joseph Leigh while her mariner-husband was away at sea. Several townsmen warned them to stop.When they persisted, no fewer than thirty-five Ipswich neighbors went to court against them and gave testimony that communicated a deep sense of moral outrage. In this case, adultery could not be proved according to New England’s stringent rules for capital crime, which required two eye-witnesses to the actual offense. But the erring couple were found guilty of “unlawful familiarity” and severely punished. Joseph Leigh was ordered to be heavily whipped and fined five pounds, and Sarah Roe was sent to the House of Correction for a month, with orders that she was to appear in Ipswich meetinghouse on lecture day bearing a sign, “For My baudish Carriage,” written in “fair capital letters.” In this case as in so many others, the moral code of Puritan Massachusetts was not imposed by a small elite upon an unwilling people; it rose from customs and beliefs that were broadly shared throughout the Puritan colonies.

In cases of fornication the rules were also very strict. For an act of coitus with an unwed woman, the criminal laws of Puritan Massachusetts decreed that a man could be jailed, whipped, fined, disfranchised and forced to marry his partner. Even in betrothed couples, sexual intercourse before marriage was regarded as a pollution which had to be purged before they could take its place in society and — most important — before their children could be baptized. In both courts and churches, the Puritans created an elaborate public ritual by which fornicators were cleansed of their sin, so that they could be speedily admitted to full moral fellowship.

Puritan attitudes were almost maniacally hostile to what they regarded as unnatural sex. More than other religious groups, they had a genuine horror of sexual perversion. Masturbation was made a capital crime in the colony of New Haven. Bestiality was punished by death, and that sentence was sometimes executed in circumstances so bizarre as to tell us much about the sex ways of New England. One such case in New Haven involved a one-eyed servant named George Spencer, who had often been on the wrong side of the law, and was suspected of many depravities by his neighbors. When a sow gave birth to a deformed pig which also had one eye, the unfortunate man was accused of bestiality. Under great pressure, he confessed, recanted, confessed again, and recanted once more. The laws of New England made conviction difficult: bestiality was a capital crime and required two witnesses for conviction. But so relentless were the magistrates that the deformed piglet was admitted as one witness, and the recanted confession was accepted as another. George Spencer was hanged for bestiality.

….

This hostility to unnatural sex had a demographic consequence of high importance. Puritan moralists condemned as unnatural any attempt to prevent conception within marriage. This was not a common attitude in world history. Most primitive cultures have practiced some form of contraception, often with high success. Iroquois squaws made diaphragms of birchbark; African slaves used pessaries of elephant dung to prevent pregnancy. European women employed beeswax disks, cabbage leaves, spermicides of lead, whitewash and tar. During the seventeenth and early eighteenth century, coitus interruptus and the use of sheepgut condoms became widespread in Europe.

But the Puritans would have none of these unnatural practices.They found a clear rule in Genesis 38, where Onan “spilled his seed upon the ground” in an effort to prevent conception and the Lord slew him. In Massachusetts, seed-spilling in general was known as the “hideous sin of Onanism.” A Puritan could not practice coitus interruptus and keep his faith. Every demographic test of contraception within marriage yields negative results in Puritan Massachusetts. The burden of this taboo rested heavily upon families throughout New England. Samuel Sewall, at the age of 49, recorded the birth of his fourteenth child, and added a prayer, “It may be my dear wife may now leave off bearing.” So she did, but only by reaching the age of menopause.

— Jason Dikes, Adjunct Associate Professor of History, Austin Community College, Massachusetts Sex Ways

The Sounds of Fundamentalism: Premarital Sex Will Kill You by Pam Stenzel

pam-stancil

This is the one hundred and thirtieth installment in The Sounds of Fundamentalism series. This is a series that I would like readers to help me with. If you know of a video clip that shows the crazy, cantankerous, or contradictory side of Evangelical Christianity, please send me an email with the name or link to the video. Please do not leave suggestions in the comment section.  Let’s have some fun!

Today’s Sound of Fundamentalism is video clip of Pam Stenzel trying to scare the sex out of a group of teenagers.

Video Link

Shacking Up: Most Americans Approve of Cohabitation

dangers of premarital sex
The Dangers of Premarital Sex according to the married Catholic Ada Eze

According to a June 2016 Barna Group study, two-thirds of Americans believe it is okay for couples to live together without the benefit of marriage. The study found:

The majority of American adults believe cohabitation is generally a good idea. Two thirds of adults (65%) either strongly or somewhat agree that it’s a good idea to live with one’s significant other before getting married, compared to one-third (35%) who either strongly or somewhat disagree.

It comes as no surprise that Millennials — mirroring the sexual revolution of their Boomer parents — are twice as likely to approve of cohabitation than their grandparents and great-grandparents:

barna cohabitation 2016

It should also come as no surprise that religion is the primary reason people disapprove of cohabitation. Barna reports:

  • 41 percent of Christians think cohabitation is a bad idea.
  • 88 percent of non-religious people believe cohabitation is a good idea.

According to Barna, 57 percent of Americans have either currently or previously lived with a boyfriend/girlfriend. Again, those who are religious are less likely to shack up, but even here, a large number of Christians choose to “try the car before buying it.”

Barna concludes:

“America is well beyond the tipping point when it comes to cohabitation,” says Roxanne Stone, editor in chief at Barna Group. “Living together before marriage is no longer an exception, but instead has become an accepted and expected milestone of adulthood. Even a growing number of parents—nearly half of Gen-Xers and Boomers, and more than half of Millennials—want and expect their children to live with a significant other before getting married.

“The institution of marriage has undergone significant shifts in the last century,” continues Stone. “What was once seen as primarily an economic and procreational partnership, has become an exercise in finding your soulmate. Where once extended families lived within a handful of miles from each other, now the nuclear family often strikes out on its own. Such shifts placed a new emphasis on marriages as the core of family life and revealed fault lines in many marriages. These pressures, along with a number of other social phenomena—including women’s growing economic independence—led to unprecedented divorce rates in the second half of the twentieth century. As a result, many of today’s young people who are currently contemplating marriage, see it as a risky endeavor. They want to make sure they get it right and to avoid the heartbreak they witnessed in the lives of their parents or their friends’ parents. Living together has become a de facto way of testing the relationship before making a final commitment.

….

“However, religious leaders will be wise to notice that a growing number of their constituents—particularly in younger demographics—are accepting cohabitation as the norm,” concludes Stone. “As with premarital sex, the arguments against cohabitation will seem increasingly antiquated as the general culture accepts and promotes it. When everyone in their circles and everyone on television is living together, young people will begin to see it as benign. Religious leaders will need to promote the countercultural trend by celebrating the reasons to wait—rather than trying to find evidence for why it’s wrong (because such tangible, measurable evidence may not exist).

I suspect that most readers of this blog are not surprised by Barna’s findings. Boomers, Gen-exers, and Millennials alike have endured three generations of religious and political moralizing, all the while watching those screaming against “sin” do the very things they so strenuously oppose. Their message of do as we say not as we do now falls on deaf ears. Perhaps it is time for 2016 rewrite of God’s “timeless” moral code, one that reflects that women now have the freedom to use birth control and lustily fuck whomever, wherever, and however. Women are no longer subservient to the sexual whims of men. Sexual slavery, once the gospel of American Christianity, no longer plays well in Peoria. And this, dear readers, is the real problem, at least in the minds of conservative, Evangelical, and Fundamentalist clergy and political leaders. Women no longer need men or marriage to find fulfillment, and this scares the hell out of preachers and conservative politicians. As Barna admits, we are now well past the tipping point when it comes to cohabitation. Time will tell if Christian moralizers will finally admit this fact and choose to focus on matters of faith instead of what goes on behind closed bedroom doors.

Larry Dixon Says Premarital Sex is Abnormal, Unnatural, and Definitely Not Fun

fear and hysteria

Those of us raised within the confines of the Evangelical ghetto have vivid memories of preachers telling us that certain sins were not fun, pleasurable, or enjoyable. Smoking weed? Drinking booze? Masturbating? Copping a feel on the back of the church bus? Making out with the preacher’s daughter? Running through the third base coach’s stop sign and sliding into home? Hanging out with “worldly” school friends? Going to the dance? Going to the prom? Such behaviors are sins against the thrice holy God, says the preacher down at First Baptist Church. Hoping that good old-fashioned Evangelical guilt and fear will rob sinners of derived pleasures, these stuffed-shirt preachers call on offending parishioners to “repent” and get right with God. And just like trained seals at the zoo, these sinners dutifully confess their sins to the fun-and-pleasure-hating God, promising to never, ever sin again. Of course, these sinners know that, come next Friday or Saturday night, they will once again sin against God, choosing pleasure and fun over the Puritanical morality of their Evangelical pastors and parents.

Larry Dixon is a professor of theology at Columbia International University in Columbia, South Carolina. In a post dealing with the sin of cohabitation, Dixon wrote:

But many today are “buying it”! They’re buying into the lies that premarital sex is normal, natural, and fun — provided certain precautions are taken. They’re buying into the lie that sexual intercourse with life-long commitment is strictly a personal matter. They’re buying into the lie that just like you have to test-drive a car before you buy it . . .
This most intimate of human social actions is neither shunned nor shamed in the Bible, the Word of God. Sex was God’s idea!

The church must wake up and realize that the majority of men and women to which it will minister will not be virgins! They will have sexual scars which cannot be erased, but can be forgiven

Let me break down exactly what Dixon is saying:

  • Sex was created by God.
  • Saying premarital sex is normal, natural, and fun is a lie.
  • Premarital sex is not normal, natural, and fun.
  • Saying sexual intercourse (who, what, when, and where) is a personal matter is a lie.
  • Saying that couples should see if they are sexually compatible before marrying is a lie.
  • People who engage in premarital sex will likely be scarred from their experiences.
  • These sexual scars can’t be erased, but the voyeuristic Christian God will forgive them.

Astoundingly, Dixon admits that most adult Evangelicals are not virgins. I am sure Dixon thinks that the root problem is disobedience to the teachings of the Bible and the moral pronouncements of Evangelical preachers. If people would just listen and obey, all would be well. Certainly that is one way to look at this issue, but I wonder if Dixon has ever considered that what he is preaching is the problem? Perhaps telling people that this or that human behavior is NOT normal, natural, and fun is the problem. Maybe it is time for the Larry Dixons of the world to be honest with people, admitting that preachers and parishioners are alike need, want, and desire sex. While people should be free to “save” themselves for marriage, doing so does not make them morally superior. Surely Dixon is aware of the fact that countless virginal Evangelicals have sexual problems after they marry — problems that could been exposed if the couples had taken the car for a test drive.

Dixon, bound by the sexually repressive teachings of the Bible, will likely continue preaching the gospel of virginity. He should know, though, that most of the students he teaches likely have varied sexual experiences. If Dixon really wants to help his students, perhaps he should teach them how to handle their sexuality and make responsible sexual choices. Telling people that premarital sex is NOT normal, natural, or fun is….how shall I put it in Baptist preacher parlance….a boldfaced lie from the pit of hell. Sex is meant to fun and pleasurable whether it is premarital or post-marital.  Further a marriage license is no guarantee that it will be.

Dixon, by the way, is not preaching anything that is not standard operating procedure at the state accredited Columbia International University. Columbia’s student handbook(pages 22, 23) states:

In keeping with the design of God and the commands of Scripture concerning sexual purity, students are required to maintain irreproachable behavior in sexual matters and to avoid situations that would unduly tempt them to compromise moral standards.

Couples should avoid being alone together in any place of residence or private area. Any sexual misconduct, including, but not limited to, adultery, homosexuality (including any same-sex physical expression of romantic affection), any form of premarital sex, indecent exposure, sexual harassment, use of sexually explicit materials for sexual gratification, and sexual abuse of children, is forbidden.

Expressions of Affection:

Hugs are to be appropriate as between brothers and sisters. Individuals involved in casual dating are to refrain from all expressions of physical affection on and off campus except for brief hugs.

Couples who have committed to date each other with a focus on the possibility of engagement and marriage should be prudent and intentional in establishing boundaries in regard to physical expressions of romantic affection. These couples are to refrain from all expressions of physical affection on and off campus except for hugs as noted above, holding hands, and a brief kiss. In addition, we strongly encourage such couples to establish accountability relationships with mature believers.

Engaged couples are also to be prudent in setting appropriate boundaries to maintain purity and a godly example. Here again, we strongly encourage the establishment of accountability relationships with mature believers. Expressions of affection on and off campus are to be limited to appropriate hugs, holding hands, and brief kisses [what about the slippery slope argument?].

Out of sensitivity to our unmarried students and campus atmosphere, married students should be exemplary models of appropriate public physical expressions of romantic affection. [Yes, you read that right. Married couples should avoid  physical contact lest they cause unmarried students to “sin.”]

Prior to 2007, Columbia did not allow dating unmarried students to have ANY physical contact with the opposite sex except from for brief hugs.

Bruce Gerencser