Sermon link: http://www.marshillchurch.org/media/the-peasant-princess/let-him-kiss-me
My personal experience with frank talk about sex in the church is…absolutely none. It was always treated as taboo and “hush hush.” I think part of it had to do with my age, but I know that sex is treated as extremely private in my church. I am not sure I have ever heard anyone in my church say “sex”, let alone talk about it. When I was about 12, my parents led a Sunday School class about “preparing for adolescence.” That was basically my only experience with talking about sex that is related to the church. Because it was so private, sex seemed almost like a negative thing. I have always believed that I shouldn’t have sex outside of marriage, but when I started dating in high school, there were a lot of question marks and blanks left because the topic had never been addressed. I feel like some of those blanks could have been filled in a little if my church family had been more willing to address the topic. Also, I would have felt much less confusion, fear, and later, guilt if I had felt free to discuss sex and physical relationships.
I definitely think there should be frank talk about sex in the church. Sex is a healthy part of any marriage relationship, and I fully believe God created us to become one with our spouse in this way. It is important, especially for young people/couples, that sex is not treated as something that is bad or wrong. Obviously, there is a time and a place to discuss sex within the church body. Watching Mark Driscoll’s sermon on Song of Songs really got me thinking. His sermon was not graphic or inappropriate. It simply brought to light the fact that sex is a gift – not a god and not gross. So often the church, whether on purpose or not, makes sex out to be gross or bad. So many young people feel as though they cannot discuss sex or anything about their physical relationships with anyone. I know so many young girls who are like I was – so naïve and so scared to mess up. I also know women who are married that still struggle with feeling guilty and feeling like sex is a negative thing. This is so tragic because as Christians we are supposed to reflect Christ. Jesus would not brush this subject under the rug, so as the body of Christ, I think that we have a responsibility to young people to provide a safe haven – a place where talk about difficult topics is welcomed. Young people and adults alike need to see that sex isn’t something to feel dirty or wrong about, but something that God created for us to enjoy within the context of marriage.
I think that addressing the entire church body, like Mark Driscoll does in his sermon series, is appropriate at times. Other times, it is better to just create that safe atmosphere and foster trusting relationships. Simply providing an environment that is free of judgment is so important. Youth groups, smaller Sunday school classes, one on ones, and accountability partners are all ways that this topic can be approached. Obviously you don’t want to start talking about sex in detail with every 10 year old in the church body. However, it is important to be aware that our culture is extremely sex-saturated and that most people have a misled view of sex. Most of our culture is so bent on immediate gratification and the desire for physical pleasure that they miss the fact that sex is a gift and that it is meant for marriage. There are others who are so turned off to sex because of the church, a negative experience, or the culture we live in that they also miss the fact that sex is a gift. Neither of these situations is positive. Perhaps the body of Christ should get away from inadvertently giving young people negative concepts about sex, and focus more on encouraging a Godly view on physical relationships.