… or How To Heal Religious Sexual Shame?
“Whether a person is sexually active or not, sexuality generates energy, creativity and beauty.
It’s a gift from God that we’re invited to receive and enjoy.”
Janell Williams Paris in The End of Sexual Identity
Instead of enjoying sex as a wonderful creative gift from God, most Christians are taught to repress their sexual desires, feelings and actions in an attempt to avoid sin and avoid the hungers of their body altogether. They find themselves living in an oversexualized culture with an undersexualized spirituality … both culture and faith are a severed body from a severed heart. The Hebrew people believe the body and the soul are in an interdependent relationship – both equally important – both in need of each other. The soul in need of the body to give the soul its ability to express itself. Without the body to carry out the wishes of the soul, the soul would be without an ability to voice itself. The body, on the other hand, is in need of the soul to give its actions meaning and purpose. When the body acts for pleasures sake alone or in self-serving ways alone, it finds itself feeling empty or frantically addicted. It is only when the body is acting in pursuit of love through carrying out the missions of the soul, that it finds itself satiated, content, and at peace. Sexual desire lives within the same reciprocal relationship of body and soul … it finds its sweetest and most fulfilling expression when it is serving abiding love – love for self, other and God – dancing in the sweet pleasure of sexual intimacy.
Christianity never developed a sex positive sexual ethic and instead has evolved and devolved a sex negative sexual ethic … most recently with the Christian Purity Movement – True Love Waits – that began in the early 1990’s. This movement caused immeasurable religious sexual shame and abuse for millions of teens and young adults who now are working very hard to heal and reclaim the gift of their sexuality. To facilitate their healing and to encourage those still lost in the oppression of the Purity Movement, we launched a community built project called Thank God For Sex www.thankgodforsex.org
Thank God for Sex is an online community of solidarity for people who’ve experienced religious sexual shame. Who want to hear stories of healing. Who want to claim God’s gift. It is a COMMUNITY BUILT website that has new material being added all the time … filled with videos and written stories of individuals who’ve experienced religious sexual shame and who later learned God never intended them to feel that way. In their own words, they tell stories of how over time they discovered a new way to relate to their bodies, sexuality and God. These stories shed light on an array of circumstances; hurtful messages from society, pain from purity-movement churches, shame about bodies, fears about intimacy, abuse, confusion, etc. Most importantly, the site shows how people figured out a more affirming story about sex and what that story or new belief system is or is becoming. The website also has a blog that will feature posts from writers all over the US who are writing on this issue as well as a resource page filled with information on sexual health and a new sex positive Christian sexual ethic.
We hope this becomes a site where people share their stories and find a community of solidarity, support, grace and healing … and can eventually Thank God for Sex!!