This series has been incredibly popular on the blog, there’s a real interest and connection with all the stories that have been shared. Here today read the fourth story in our stories of Christian sex culture – a story of wonderful sexual awakening without judgement or regret…
“Growing up I was one of those girls who was lucky enough to have Jesus as my boyfriend. I wasn’t plucked off the shelf by a hunky evangelical in my teens and by the time I reached 21 I was my own worst enemy, convinced I was horribly unattractive, and thus destined to be the funny one, chummy with the guys, always ready with a oneliner and a bright smile. Perhaps because there was no alcohol or perhaps because we pretended to be spiritual and above ‘base’ things like lust and attraction, there were a few of us who were never lucky enough to be picked by one of the nice Christian boys at university for chaste coffee dates and evening walks after Bible study. I went on a few dates with other guys, but to my regret now, these didn’t go anywhere because I was holding out for a (Christian) hero.
At the age of 25 I had never been kissed except for a fumbling kiss during a game of spin-the-bottle aged 14. During therapy I began to unpack some of the unhelpful understandings of sex and relationships bequeathed to me by the evangelical church. There was the notion of ‘the one’- ie the God given partner that we should wait and prepare ourselves for. Demureness, faithfulness and the ability to rise early in the morning and prepare breakfast were all features of a Proverbs 31 woman (a favourite Biblical text on womanhood). At 25 I kissed an evangelical and for the first time felt stirrings of desire. At 27 I was introduced to the young man who become my first real boyfriend, and lover. From the ages of 23-27 I experienced major pain at my a-loneness. It wasn’t just the fact that I was single, it was the fact that I had never experienced intimacy. I felt at odds with my peers, and with no sense of what desire or tenderness felt like.
When I decided that I wanted to have sex, or, my preferred term, wanted to make love to and with my boyfriend, this wasn’t a one act wonder. It was a journey, and although there was a definite moment where I no longer felt like a virgin, in reality the whole process of learning to physically love and be loved was magnificent. I didn’t feel like God was judging me, in fact I felt that I knew more deeply who I was as a whole, sexual person, in front of God. That relationship ended, but what we shared was in a context of trust and care and respect, and I am incredibly grateful for it. I believe it provided healing for some of the messages that I somehow imbibed from my growing up- messages that our bodies were dirty, that sexual thoughts were wrong, and that in order to be sexual or a wholly loved and lovely person you had to wait for a man to decide so.”