I have taught sex classes to Christian men and women for over 6 years. I have also written pretty detailed instruction articles on the blog for everything from oral sex, to frenulum orgasm, to how to enjoy intercourse. Along the way I have wrestled with what topics I should address and what felt like too much. At what point would I lose my audience because I wanted to educate and provide answers? Where is the line between respectful instruction and graphic detail? How do I vulnerably share the struggles and triumphs of working on my own sex life without letting people into my bedroom?
The lines for teaching about sex require careful discernment and humility. Though you may never teach sex classes, I believe that only ways Christians can take sex back from the world, is by talking about sex. Like Juli Slattery says in Rethinking Sexuality, instead of letting the world disciple us about sex, the church, meaning us, need to disciple others about sex. We have to learn to talk about sex and walk the tight rope between helpful information, and going too far.
Providing the Whole Story
From the first class I taught, I always believed that women needed the whole story about sex. How could I just tell women how wonderful God intended sex to be in marriage without providing answers about how their body worked, or how to make sex fun and creative. As part of the class,women are emailed a short article about sex every day. Some of the articles get, shall we say, “pretty detailed”. I don’t send the articles to try to convince the women to participate in certain activities. Rather I send the articles to educate and empower them. I want them to decide with their husband what to enjoy in their marriage bed. I want to open their minds to consider the amazing freedom God gives us. We cannot provide answers to the spiritual aspects of sex without providing real answers on how to create a mutually enjoyable experience.
Some of my favorite books about sex are secular books, Orgasms by Lou Paget and She Comes First by Ian Kerner. I like the books because they provide detailed suggestions for technique without becoming graphic. Using black and white sketches they make sense out of positions and acts in order to enjoy each other. They depersonalize the information while still capturing the importance of relationship. When I teach or write, I try to provide important details that will help you to create the experience you want with your spouse. I don’t need to personalize instructional details.
Connecting with Stories
One of the most important principles we need to understand about sex is that it is a journey. I do not have everything figured out, and I never will. Through vulnerably sharing my own struggles, I hope that you will connect with my story of constant growth. Snowboarders say, if you don’t fall once in a while, than you aren’t learning anything new. The same is true in our sex life and in intimacy with God. If you don’t feel bruised once in a while, than you haven’t stretched yourself. If you don’t feel scared out of your wits once in a while, then you don’t really need God. I share my struggles because I want to spur you on to experience the highs and lows of going for it.
I consider how I speak and write about sex to be a reflection of Christ that is within me. If I am going to maintain credibility with church leadership or even other Christians, I have to understand that I must handle the topic of sex with the utmost care and humility.
But learning to communicate respectfully about sex is not just an issue for me or other Christian bloggers. If we are going to start talking about sex in the church, then we all need to figure out how to walk this tight rope. The best resource for a young bride in the church should be sitting down one on one with a married friend. Women struggling to enjoy sex, should find encouragement and guidance from married girl friends. Guys looking for answers should find Godly men willing to move beyond joking to have a serious conversation packed with answers. We all need to learn to talk about sex in respectful ways.
So next time I would like to share some of the practicalities that I have learned about talking about sex in the church.