by Remi Omodara
“Go toward the difficult. That is where you will experience the most growth.” This quote, from Stewboppage Resident Director Landon Crecelius, can apply to a wide range of topics. One that resonates with me is the issue of talking about sex.
The Christian belief is that sex before marriage is a sin. The Church, parents and even schools stress the idea of waiting for what God planned to be enjoyed between two people in a marital relationship.
Having premarital sex is often viewed as one of the “ultimate sins,” or one of the worst things someone can do, and because of that people refrain from talking about it.
Matthew Franck, a FirstThings.com blogger, said college campuses can better be described as multi-versities. There are so many different beliefs and opinions and we don’t know who is right or wrong for sure.
We go to a Christian university. However, not all of us are Christians and we do not all share the same beliefs about sex before marriage. Because the dominant religion at Whitworth is Christianity, people with differing opinions may find it hard to engage in conversations about sex with others. Even those who believe sex is wrong may still be having it.
Research professor Janet Rosenbaum of the University of Maryland School of Public Health did a study on religion’s effect on abstinence, finding that, on average, those with strong religious backgrounds are sexually active by the time they are 21, regardless of whether or not they took a purity pledge.
Whether you are a virgin or not, the issue of sex still applies to you because even those who identify themselves as pure still battle impure thoughts and surviving the wait. So why do we pretend? We act like sex does not exist. People are scared to talk about it and when they even hear the word, they cringe.
Imagine if someone sat down to eat with you in the dining hall and the first thing out of their mouth was, “I lost my virginity last night.” How would that make you feel? It may create awkwardness between you and that person. I am not saying that sex should be talked about over a dining hall meal. I am simply saying we should create an atmosphere where sex can be openly discussed.
Those who have had sex often feel they will be judged. Maybe they want to talk about it, maybe they don’t, but revealing that intimate detail about their life seems daunting in a Christian environment. I think that as Christians, we have done a good job of labeling those individuals. We point fingers and condemn those that we feel are morally wrong.
Typically, they are labeled as wrong because they have committed one of the “ultimate sins.” However, those who do the labeling are often struggling with sins, too. They’ve remained virgin, but they have impure thoughts. People don’t share information about what they are struggling with because they wonder what someone might think of them.
Since sex is not talked about, the people who are feeling shame or finding their disposition difficult to live with (virgin or not) have limited places to turn to. Some carry around the weight because they fear judgment so much. Why does it have to be like this?
By staying silent about sex, we fail to support one another. Maybe the person you are thinking about talking to is struggling with the exact same thing you are. We shy away from conversations with even our closest friends because we think talking about certain things may be awkward and we are afraid we will be judged.
As we learn from each other, we can become more open-minded. Just because someone doesn’t have the same views as someone else doesn’t mean they cannot support each other. We tend to think that our vulnerability will cause someone to think badly of us. But this is where a good conversation can occur and people can learn to understand each other more and more.
Just because we can’t see eye to eye doesn’t mean we can’t be friends. Difficult conversations can help us grow in ways we thought were impossible. If someone is Christian and doesn’t share the same beliefs as you, you can still love them. In doing so, Whitworth can become a community of compassion, support and love.