Wednesday, April 11, 2012

How to Talk Sex

If this is going to make sense to you, you should probably go read this post by Glennon Melton on her blog, Momastery. The following is a direct response, only slightly abridged, from the email I sent her. 


Apologies in advance if this becomes a novel. I've been following your blog for some time but never felt compelled to respond more than today. Not so much about messy, complicated, wonderful sex, but about the sex talks I got. Both of them.

I am like your boy, Chase. He and I are both the result of a pair of young, idiot kids who got pregnant and, against all odds, wound up all the better for it--got married, built a family, worked it all out. But believe me when I tell you that you've shown nothing but wisdom in your hesitation to tell your son that what you did to bring him into this world was bad. I do agree, sex before marriage is to be avoided: it's full of more messy confusion and awkward entanglements than regular sex, which has enough on it's own and needs absolutely no help. I fully believe that it's better and possible to abstain from sex until you're in a covenant bond with the love you've chosen, because sex (and most other life issues and decisions) from that standpoint is so much better. In the beginning, it might be terrible. It might be awkward. Who cares, though? We've got years to figure this thing out, baby! We've got no other ideas of how this should be than what we make for ourselves; no comparison, just the simple joy of belonging to one another in every way. It's beautiful and worth the fight and how my husband and I started our marriage. Cannot. Recommend it. Enough.

How did I wind up a twenty-one year-old virgin on my wedding day? A great deal of it may easily be attributed to my first sex talk. I call it my first sex talk, but it wasn't one conversation; it was really more of an attitude, a theme, which permeated my understanding of the world and unfolded over roughly fifteen years of my life. My parents began with describing the basics, the anatomy, where babies come from, and worked up toward understanding the circumstances under which I arrived. The high schoolers finding themselves in an awkward predicament, the overbearing grandparents, the time they spent apart before they decided to be together. Then later, the financial hardships, the dashed pro-football and sheriff's department work dreams, the regret. From about age 8, I heard their speech resoundingly in my soul, "Krisann, don't have sex before you're married, because you might end up like us." I know they never intended that message, but what else could such a little heart hear? What you did was bad, so I am bad. If you had been doing the right thing, I wouldn't be here.

I really believed that. For twenty-two years, most of me believed that.

I attended a school of ministry and started to un-learn some of the negative values I'd placed on my identity. I met my husband there, and the night we got married, we cashed in our virginity cards in a way that can only be described as "perfect, for all we knew." Like I said, beautiful. I had managed to do it, though! I did it right! I held on and fought hard, despite innumerable opportunities and temptations to do otherwise, and now I was victorious. My future kids would never have to live with the shame of being wrong, like I continued to do. Go me.

I'd been married almost a year when I had my second sex talk--the one that changed everything.

I was laying around our small one-bedroom apartment one night while my husband was working, when in sheer boredom I picked up a Christian magazine. I can't recall anything about it, except that the cover article was a story featuring an anti-abortion activist who traveled around, visiting High Schools, asking kids not to abort the baby that may be meant to be their salvation.

I was bawling.

Something inside of my wounded soul felt perturbed beyond reason. Why should I feel so attached to this story; it's not like mine at all! My mom didn't attempt an abortion, she didn't continue to drink and party after I was born, and her teenaged daughter didn't walk into her hospital room after an accident and ask her to 'try Jesus', like the woman in the article described. Why did this have such an affect on me?

I can only describe what happened next as the miracle of God-thoughts. You know, when you've been thinking one thing your whole life, and a God-thought enters your brain, but it doesn't just sit there, waiting to be weighed against the rest; it systematically works it way through your memory, adjusting and healing and taking the place of a whole slew of thoughts that don't fit, now that an old one from long ago has been corrected. I think that's what we call redemption.

He said, "Krisann, your mama and dad were in a lot of trouble, so I needed a plan. A great plan, a genius plan, to make them grow up and get over their bad behavior and a ton of selfishness, and change their lives forever. You were my plan, baby girl. You were my plan to save their lives."

It broke open a whole new me. I wasn't a symptom of somebody's sin anymore, I was God's answer. I was his genius plan.

I hope when it comes time for you to talk sex with Chase, you can tell him what my parents told me in my first sex talk: that God intended sex to be reserved for marriage for damn good reason, and he'd never regret it for a day if he fought hard to keep his virginity for the one person he could give it to without any strings attached. That there was a reason it was hard to be a virgin for long; sex feels good, and our bodies, in aim of procreation, start to convince us, way before we're ready, that it's a good time to get some. That it's okay and normal and good to have a sexdrive. But that there's something worth waiting for.

I hope, too, you can tell him what God told me in my second sex talk: When we have sex before we're married, it hurts God's heart. He put that rule there to protect us from the messes and the strings and the things that cloud our ability to do the right thing. And when we break his rules and end up hurting ourselves, God usually has brilliant plans for how to help us grow up and get less selfish and stop hurting ourselves and others. And sometimes that plan is a baby, like me, and like Chase.

As an aside, I'm with Chase; bad words are misspelled words. That boy is genius. You've got a great kid there, Glennon. God's plans are working.

In sincerity and much love,
Krisann Gentry 

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