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Time for “The Talk” MAG
I had a profound revelation a few years ago: Sex must be pretty darn awesome.
Obviously I'm not speaking from experience. Virgin with a capital V right here, everybody, and uber proud of it too. I've never even kissed a guy, though my friends lament my tragically sheltered life and inability to understand the sheer joy of tongue-wrestling. I'm sorry, but the fact that I haven't swapped spit with some acne-faced, slimy-tongued, hormonal A-bomb doesn't bother me, and I promise this isn't a case of sour grapes speaking.
Of course, everyone who has kissed (including my parents) disagrees with me. My dad is the first to say that when he and Mom dated, they spent the majority of their time trading globs of ice cream mouth-to-mouth or parked in empty lots sucking the skin off each other's faces until their lips were chapped.
I was 11 when Dad gave me The Talk. Yup, that talk. I was going to public school for the first time, and he thought it was time. Normally the first sex-chat is awkward for both parent and child. Most of my friends never even had The Talk with their parents. They learned from watching TV, looking up forbidden words in the dictionary, and attending slumber parties where the ones “in the know” were the stars of the night as they erroneously informed their peers about sex.
But Dad being Dad, I don't think he thought twice about telling his little girl about sex. I learned several things that enlightening night.
1) “Have you noticed that men and women kind of fit together like puzzle pieces? There is a reason for this!” He showed me an outdated children's biology textbook that illustrated sex as two trains moving toward one another at the speed of light, the male train with a scary looking ramrod and the female train with a gaping hole in her engine. I'll add here that both trains had terrified expressions on their faces. What were the editors thinking?
2) “You know how I told you the mailman delivered your brother? Well, I lied.” He then went on to explain the whole sperm-egg thing. I didn't understand most of this at the time, but we went over it again in health class the following year. Nothing like sitting in a room full of giggling 12-year-olds watching a video of poor little sperm swimming desperately through a toxic wasteland to get to Big Mama Egg.
At the conclusion of our chat, after a shell-shocked moment, I looked at Dad, did some quick math, and said, “So, you and Mom had sex … three times, then, right? Once for me, once for Mak, and once for Z-man?”
Why couldn't I have kept my mouth shut? Dad went on to illuminate Fact Number Three:
3) “Sex is incredibly fun! Crazy fun! The funnest thing on earth!” I pointed out that “funnest” was not a word. He said I was missing the point. Dad said he and Mom had had sex lots of times … because it was fun.
I couldn't understand. Sometimes I still don't. Sex? Fun? Getting attacked by a sweaty, icky, drooling train-boy is fun? How can that possibly be?
But the more I looked, the more I saw how obsessed our society was with sex. It was everywhere: music, movies, TV, magazines, books. In sixth grade my friends would giggle over trashy novels with graphic love scenes, daring each other to read explicit passages. The music we listened to was full of sexual innuendo. Every time I went to the grocery store with my mom, I would surreptitiously scrutinize the magazine covers, displaying scantily clad models and bold print that read “What Men Think About Sex,” “How to Improve Your Sex Life,” or simply “Sex Sex Sex.”
Even now, we regularly drive by a huge billboard of a woman's bronze, bulging breasts advertising a tanning salon. While browsing in the movie store, I constantly see DVD jackets with pictures of women holding bowling balls in place of their breasts or posing erotically. At the library there's a whole section devoted to romance novels with pictures of half-naked couples clamped in vice-like embraces, the men shirtless and sometimes the women too. There are magazines devoted to naked women and men (who hasn't heard of Playboy and Playgirl?). There are hundreds of thousands of pornography websites. Our society idolizes people like Kim Kardashian simply because she has a bust big enough to kill a man and she's curvier than macaroni.
Sex drives people to do incredible things (I have “The Iliad” in mind – ten years of war for one super sexy chick), and it drives people to do horrible things – rape, kidnapping, and murder – for just a few moments of pleasure. And so I came to my revelation: Sex must be pretty darn awesome. Which led to my second revelation: Why shouldn't it be?
For some reason, people seem to think that Christians are prim, anti-sex prudes. But when Adam was sitting all by his lonesome looking at all those happy animals with their mates, God said, “It is not good for man to be alone.” You know the story. God took one of Adam's ribs and made his gorgeous babe of a wife, Eve. Adam took one look and said, “Whoaaaa, man,” so God named her “woman.”
At a meeting of my sixth-grade youth group, Dad read from Song of Songs. For those of you who don't know it, it's a part of the Bible that's basically a really sappy letter between two young lovers. To be honest, I've never read it straight through; I'm not into lovey-dovey stuff. Nevertheless, Song of Songs was written to show us two things:
1) The kind of love God has for us and that we should have for him (not sexual, just pure and eternal).
2) That God intended sex to be flippin' awesome. He wants husband and wife to enjoy each other physically. As Dad says, “We're puzzle pieces, people! We're intended to go together!”
That was the point Dad was trying to make, but I don't know if the parents or the kids turned redder as he read to the group from Song of Songs. If there's one thing no kid wants to do, it's imagine her parents having sex. If there's one thing parents don't want to do, it's imagine their kid imagining them having sex.
And yet despite the obvious facts that, yes, God created and endorses sex, sex is supposed to be awesome, and the Bible has a whole book devoted to said awesomeness, Christians remain anti-sex, finger-wagging prudes, according to most of society. Why? Oh yeah, because there's that one little rule about keeping sex only within marriage.
God endorses sex, but not fornication.
As a Christian I always turn to the Bible for guidance, and the Seventh Commandment says point-blank not to commit adultery. Adultery isn't just someone (who's already married) having sex with someone other than his/her spouse. The Bible is speaking of non-marital sex, period.
My dad has compared sex to the Horcruxes in J.K. Rowling's Harry Potter series. In the story, every time you kill someone, you split your soul. According to Dad, when you have sex with someone you are giving a big part of yourself to that person.
However, I realize that for many people, what the Bible says does not count. I understand that, for some readers, waving the Bible and spouting verses is simply not enough. So here are the straight facts:
According to Students Against Destructive Decisions (SADD), almost 50 percent of high school students have had sex. Now get this: 50 percent of sexually active teenagers will contract an STD by age 25. If you do the math, this means that one out of four high school students will have an STD by age 25. Granted, the range of STDs is wide. Some may get genital warts. Some will get syphilis, gonorrhea, and chlamydia. Some will die. If that's not enough, teenagers are more susceptible to STDs than adults.
Additionally, more than half of new HIV infections worldwide occur among adolescents, according to the American Social Health Association's 2005 annual report. A shocking 13.5 percent of the population has syphilis, gonorrhea, or chlamydia. The U.S. has the highest rates of teen pregnancy and births in the Western industrialized world.
Finally, the facts show that 70 percent of teenage girls who have had sex wish they had waited. A majority of boys do too. A survey done by University of California at San Francisco tracking the sex lives of 618 ninth- and tenth-graders found that 40 percent felt guilty, regretful, and used after having sex.
Why would someone risk pregnancy, STDs, HIV/AIDS, guilt, depression, and pain? I mean, come on, people, who would risk genital warts, for crying out loud? If that's not the grossest thing ever, then I don't know what is.
I also think waiting for sex until marriage is a test of real love. We can learn the sincerity of our partner's love by his/her willingness to wait (or lack thereof). Does your partner love you or the physical aspect of your relationship more? It's easy to “prove” love through sex, but it's much harder and more meaningful to prove love through abstinence.
Sex is obviously incredibly fun – the funnest thing ever, as my dad says. But it's also like fire. Fire is a good thing, as long as it's kept in the fireplace. When it's not kept in the fireplace, it can burn down the house. When sex is kept within a marriage, it's great. When it's not, you get burned.