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7 thoughts on “Alfred Kinsey, Christian Culture, and Sexual Repression: Reexamining Old Beliefs

  1. Great blog…
    I googled ‘christian free sex’ after I had an experience where I was strongly tempted just to sleep with a girl. I know God didn’t design men and women just to sleep around but for emotionally connected one on one relationships. Still though, I feel like a fool just considering the idea of sleeping with her…I’m sure she could see in my eyes I was thinking it.

  2. One serious problem common in the Christian community is sexual disfunction. according to a ABC News article called “Losing Virginity Later Linked to Sexual Problems” those that lose their virginity later in age around 21 to 23 tend to be more likely to experience sexual dysfunction. This study appeared in the January 2008 issue of the American Journal of Public Health.

    • Hi Christian. Yes, the study said that over time adolescents who waited to have sex experience negative consequences, but sexual dysfunction is not listed among them. The negative consequences include feeling “left out” or partners becoming angry with them. While these are certainly negative experiences, there are also negative consequences to early sexual encounters. In the same issue of the American Journal of Public Health, early initiation of sexual intercourse was associated with certain risk factors like increased numbers of sexual partners and sexual intercourse under the influence of alcohol.

      Overall, I don’t dispute the idea that postponing sex is frustrating, both personally or socially. In past generations marriage happened much earlier in life. I believe this is why the abstinence message in Christian circles has not worked, by in large. The American preoccupation with sex combined with an encouragement to delay marriage is a recipe for failure. As a culture we are following the trend of other societies before us who have experienced lengthy economic prosperity: men and women lose the motivation to marry and have children. The Christian sexual ethic has remained unchanged but our cultural expectations of marriage have changed. I think the great dysfunction in the American church is that we tend to believe marriage is, as Mark Regnerus comments, “capstone that completes the life of the autonomous self.” We advise our children to finish their education, launch their careers, and become financially independent. We believe we shouldn’t rush into a relationship. Regnerus explains it this way: “Most young Americans no longer think of marriage as a formative institution, but as the institution they enter once they think they are fully formed. Increasing numbers of young evangelicals think likewise, and, by integrating these ideas with the timeless imperative to abstain from sex before marriage, we’ve created a new optimal life formula for our children: Marriage is glorious, and a big deal. But it must wait. And with it, sex. Which is seldom as patient.”

      You can read more comments on this here.

  3. I was at work last night and thinking about the depression and anger that plagued me throughout much of my teen years, and I think much of it can be linked to Jesus’s words about lust in Matthew. I often felt guilty and angry when I felt any kind of sexual urge, and since adolescence is a time when we guys feel that frequently, there was a ton of anger and guilt. It wasn’t until fairly recently that I saw a minister on TV teach that the purpose of those passages wasn’t to make us feel guilty or repress our sexuality, but to emphasize God’s grace and to make us realize how much we need Him in our daily lives. Christ may have also been trying to “show up” the Pharisees in the crowd by showing them that they weren’t nearly as good as following the Law as they thought they were. It was like, “Gee, NOW someone tells me.” 

    There really aren’t enough words to describe the emotional and mental chaos and self-loathing this has caused. Pray for me, folks.

    • In a lot of ways, Jesus’ words are meant to do both: we should feel guilt when we sin against God, but we should also know that Jesus saves to the uttermost anyone who comes to him. We should read Jesus’ words and think, “I fail to meet this standard.” But at the same time, we should finish reading Jesus’ words, “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” Jesus knows the very people he is preaching to are spiritually poor people, people who cannot live up to the high standard he is setting, but he is promising them the kingdom of God anyway.

      I can identify with you on this. Anytime you sit under a heavy dose of God’s law without hearing about God’s grace, this is bound to happen.

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