What a Christian Millennial Woman Has to Say about Sex

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I am a product of the millennial generation.

I was born in the late eighties in an age of information and digital revolution. This means that the generational cohort with whom I grew up had more access to Internet pornography, sensual media, and information on sex than ever before.

I am also a product of the Christian subculture.

I grew up in the Church where Christian leaders taught me to save sex for marriage. I learned slogans like “modest is hottest” and “true love waits.” This ideology led some millennial Christians to develop a negative connotation toward sexuality; for others, the phrase in Christian teenage praxis looked more like, “true love waits for junior or senior year of high school.”

As a millennial teenager who attended public school, I was exposed to sensual media and privy to countless accounts of my peers’ sexual experiences. As a Christian teenager, I relied upon those I trusted in the Church to responsibly appease my curiosity with accurate and reliable information. With a few exceptions, I quickly and disappointingly discovered how uncomfortable and inexperienced Christian baby boomers and gen-Xers were with talking about sexuality from a healthy biblical perspective.

Once I reached adulthood, I began to ask my married Christian friends about what to expect on my wedding night, how to mentally and emotionally approach sex, etc. Planning for marriage myself, I naively thought that I would finally receive some helpful information from those who had gone before me.

I was wrong.

Instead, I discovered the following:

1. Many married Christians in older generational cohorts are no better at talking about sex than they were when I was growing up.

2. Many millennial married Christians have just as many questions as I used to because few within the Church have wrestled with their own theology of sex.

3. More often than not, well-meaning Christian couples who are willing to talk about sex are either: too embarrassed to communicate effectively with others about sex, or too personally disclosing to prove beneficial to the listener.

4. More often than not, the Church has either: Remained silent on the topic of sexuality, or conveyed a plethora of unhelpful messages about sex (awkward at best; psychologically damaging at worst).

Thus, I sought out to find my own answers. In addition to Scripture, the most insightful information I received on the spiritual, emotional, and psychological components of sex came from reading books on the topic that were theologically sound (Dr. Ed Wheat and Gay Wheat’s Intended for Pleasure: Sex Technique and Sexual Fulfillment in Christian Marriage and Christopher and Rachel McCluskey’s When Two Become One: Enhancing Sexual Intimacy in Marriage are two great resources). However, the most helpful information I received on the physical aspect of sex came from my non-Christian friends!

I don’t know about you, but this reality frustrates me. Why, as Christians, are we so uncomfortable with our own sexuality? After all, if God created us male and female and saw that it was very good, why have we come to view sex as very bad or at least not very good?

Why, as the Church, are we so far behind in teaching others about sex as God designed it, particularly in this age of information? Between magazines, television, Internet, conversations with peers or parents, and personal experiences, all of us come to learn about sex in one way or another. Why has the Church not done a better job of helping us filter out messages related to shame and selfishness so that we might come to a redemptive view of sexuality?

I love the Church. I am a part of it. But I am burdened for many who have been negatively affected by the Church’s shortage of sound teaching and her lack of life-giving guidance in regard to sexuality as God designed it. Furthermore, I take responsibility in my generation to promote a positive, balanced, and well-informed view of sexuality based first and foremost on truths found in Scripture.

Will you?

(Stay tuned for Part II: 7 Positive Messages the Church Needs to Hear About Sex)

6 COMMENTS

  1. You go girl! Right now the church is locked in an argument about what is not right when it comes to sex without a strong, clearly articulated, positive message of what is! When I look at the same sex issue, I tend to look at it from a more logical perspective rather than biblical perspective: because of my age, I am able to frame it within in the larger context of this argument is happening post sexual revolution of the 1960’s and 70’s when sex became a recreational activity and the church was strangely silent on the issue. No wonder people are talking and peddling apples and oranges to each other.

    • Thanks for sharing your perspective, Orter! You know, I think our tendency as humans is to operate in extremes, responding diametrically opposed to ideas we disagree with, especially when such ideas touch our value systems so deeply. I think perhaps this is what you saw happen with the Church’s response to the sexual revolution. But in bringing sexuality to light in today’s context, my prayer is that as Christians, we would not cause the pendulum to swing from silence to asinine openness and acceptance; rather, that we would seek to portray a more balanced and most certainly, biblical perspective!

  2. Thank you for this insight. I too fit into that “millennial” generation and grew up in the Christian subculture, and knew nothing about sex other than a basic understanding of how it was supposed to work. My wife, not having grown up in that Christian subculture, came into our relationship and marriage knowing a lot more than I did. There have been some things we’ve needed to work through, and as a pastor I know the church needs to address this issue of sexuality a whole lot better than we learned. You’ve given me some good advice in moving forward. Thank you.

    • Hi Christopher, I appreciate your sharing your experience and insight. You bring up another great point, that beyond wrestling with our theology of sex and thinking through how to better direct those within the church, it’s imperative that we work through the affects of unhelpful messages that impact our own marriages! I’m glad the article has was helpful to you, and I hope the next post in this series gives you more to ponder as well!

  3. I agree with the need of speaking the truth about sex in the church. hands on, useful teaching, that otherwise is only available in the world, or perhaps provided by Christian specialising in sex matters. This is needed to save marriages and relationships. People from different parts of the world testify about the issue that lack of proper teaching and occurrence of negative, forbidding teaching makes marriages unhappy, driving married people to fulfil their sexual needs outside the church, committing adultery.

    I also grew up in a church telling that sex between engaged couples is sin, and also dwelling in the same house before marriage something that has created lots of unnecessary traumas. It ruined my marriage, as I wasn’t allowed to know that my wife was going to reject sex. Others have been publicly accused and slandered, or carrying lots of guilt. Others forced to separate until getting married, even having children. Just because of a doctrine with zero foundation in the Bible. The OT and NT (in Hebrew and Greek) talks a lot about adultery, incest, prostitution, promiscuity but everything that is said about an engaged couple is affirmative of their sexual pleasure, especially in the Song of Solomon, where the couple is not LIVING together, but often SLEEPING together, enjoying lots of erotic play. Note that Josef and Mary weren’t married when Jesus was born, but she was pregnant and they lived together, and without public scandal. It would be healthy to speak the truth about these things and ask forgiveness of the hundreds of thousands of engaged couples that have been hurt in the church by this false doctrine. Nowadays pastors become silent, as they see that their own children choose a different path, God-fearing servants of Jesus, and carefully acting out their sexual love to their partner while preparing for their wedding – then it is harder to criticise in the pulpit…
    So speak the the refreshing truths that can set people free!

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