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Archive for August, 2010|Monthly archive page

men are sexual+women are emotional=recipe for disaster?

In gender roles, marriage, relationships on August 21, 2010 at 12:15 pm

Growing up, one of the messages I received about relationships, directly or indirectly, from numerous books and chapel speakers was that a man’s greatest need was sex and a woman’s greatest need was emotional security and support. Sound familiar? These messages were purportedly trying to help each sex understand the other, so that they could achieve a harmonious relationship, but the tone often seemed to suggest that both sexes had to “put up” with the other’s needs in order to get their own.

Unfortunately, this kind of language makes it all too easy for men and women to reduce their identities to specific types or roles and also allows each sex to judge the other based on stereotypes. Having spent three years working with university students, aside from having been one myself, I’ve heard more than my share of worries and frustration about guys “crossing the line” or “only thinking about one thing” and girls being “so emotional and irrational” and “clingy”. This not only makes each sex sensitive toward those issues, it also makes guys who are very aware of their emotions and girls who are very aware of their sexuality feel awkward at best and like something is wrong with them at worst.

Moreover, even if its true that men are more sexual and women are more emotional, going into a relationship with that mindset will probably only lead to frustration with neither partner really getting what they need. Men will expect sexual fulfillment from someone who has not cultivated an understanding of and appreciation for sexuality and women will expect emotional fulfillment from someone who has not cultivated an understanding of and appreciation for emotion. This sounds like a recipe for disaster to me.

Ultimately, I don’t think this kind of language is useful to individuals or couples. Why do we need to label and categorize so definitively? You are handicapped if you do not see yourself as both a sexual and an emotional being, whether you’re male or female. To be a holistic human being, both aspects of yourself must be understood, accepted and integrated in your identity.

What’s your experience with this kind of language? Are these categories useful to you?




In body, what I was taught on August 12, 2010 at 12:26 pm

My formal sex-ed consisted of exactly one week in Junior High. We filled out the obligatory anatomical charts and if we didn’t already know where babies came from, they let us know. That was about the sum total, other than the fairly regular chapel sessions about waiting until marriage.

When I look back at how my Christian high school treated sex two words come to mind: shame and embarrassment. Our bodies were out to betray us and we had better make sure that didn’t happen.

Sex was applauded as a beautiful thing in the context of marriage, to build intimacy and to make babies. No one really wanted to talk about how desire and pleasure are part of being human and powerful and very enjoyable.

I wonder what would have happened if my sex-ed teachers had celebrated our bodies, praising them for how beautiful and mysterious and powerful they are and asking us to use them wisely, instead of exhorting us on their dangers. I probably would have made all the same decisions I did about my sexuality, but I would have made those decisions from a place of confidence and empowerment, rather than from fear or anxiety.

What did you get out of your sex-ed? I’d love to know.


what you’ll find

In personal on August 9, 2010 at 6:47 pm

Now that you know why we’re here, we thought we’d let you know what you can expect to find. Here’s a taste of what’s to come:

Spirituality: clearly this is a big part of why we’re here given the title of this blog. We think the connection and interaction between (any kind of) faith and sexuality deserves a lot of exploration and discussion.

Self-knowledge: by self-knowledge we mean everything from getting to know your own body better to knowing your own mind and heart. Yes, this will include frank (and celebratory) conversations around female anatomy.

Relationships: ah, love. And lack thereof. And drama. And joy. We’ll be writing about communication, dating, marriage, gender roles and all those hot button questions like, “how far is too far?” and “what would Jesus do?”

Interviews: we know we aren’t the only ones that love to talk about sex and faith, so we’ll have a line-up of fascinating perspectives and stories from a wide variety of women. Let us know if you’re available for us to interview!

Book reviews: we love to read. You know what’s awesome about reading? Coming across new and interesting ideas. Don’t worry, our book reviews will be short and sweet to let you get back to your own reading.

And along the way, I’m sure we’ll be throwing in personal rants and raves and little snippets of interesting sex and faith related items. Excited? Don’t want to miss any of the fun? Subscribe to our blog via RSS or email or follow us on twitter and you’ll get it all.

Why we’re here

In personal on August 1, 2010 at 10:11 pm

We felt that authentic conversation around sexuality was severely lacking in the Christian subculture we’ve experienced.

We love talking about what makes us human, especially the parts that are difficult to pin down, like spiritually and sexuality.

We want to engage with other young women on issues of identity and body in a constructive, thoughtful and yes, empowering way.

We want to provide a space where all the questions you’ve never dared to ask are welcomed and treated with respect.

We want to continue to explore the myriad of ways family, religion and culture influence the way we interact with our sexuality.

Hello world!

In personal on August 1, 2010 at 7:52 pm

We’re finally here and ready to begin this adventure!