Friday, December 19, 2008

Does your church teach on marital sex for the adults? And do they offer any type of sex-ed for the teens?

As Christian Orthodox, GR and I attend Liturgical church services so during each service we have an Epistle and a Gospel reading. At least 95% of the time our pastor addresses what is in those readings. But earlier on Sunday mornings before our Liturgy begins we have an adult Sunday School class for those who are interested where a number of teachings are rotated/repeated. One of the teachings is on the topic of marital sex and it is widely received throughout our church.

I am from am Italian/French background. Somewhere before, I think I have mentioned that there is a large following of Arabic and Greek Christians in our church. These ethnic groups seem to have an extremely healthy view of sex so there is rarely any embarrassment when the topics are brought up.

How does your church view marital sex? Is it ever the basis of sermons or taught in adult classes?

For two years before they go off to college, our high school juniors and seniors attend a Sunday School class where they openly discuss sex and many other hot topics and they talk about where our church stands on these topics. There is a policy where no one is to repeat what's said within the classes, (ie, gossiping among friends). This is because the kids are asked pointed questions by the teachers and they are expected to answer honestly. To my knowledge our church has been successfully doing this class for about ten years. I say "successfully" because attendance is very high. The kids in this age group love the way the teachers approach the topics.

Our teens of all ages also attend anywhere from 1-3 yearly retreats where guest speakers cover similar topics. I still remember that during one such retreat a couple of years ago, some of the kids were slightly embarrassed because the visiting priest made a comment to them like, "There is nothing better than regularly enjoying sex with your spouse when you've kept yourself pure as a single," only he was a little more descriptive about it. (Most of our priests are married, btw.)

Does your church offer any type of sex-ed for the teenagers?

19 comments:

Cocotte said...

Growing up, I attended a non-denominational "mega-church." Although I do not recall sex as a topic during the actual church services, we did have a wonderful sex-ed program in both junior and senior high and I believe it was repeated at intervals (maybe every other year). It gave a very healthy view of sexuality and I still remember some specifics that the youth pastor talked about (this was 30 years ago for me!)

Currently, we attend a Missouri Synod Lutheran church, which is historically a conservative denomination. However, it's a modern worship service and the pastors speak on "hot topics" quite frequently, with sexuality being brought up A LOT! My husband and I find it informative for both us and our children and have never thought anything was inappropriate. Unfortunately, I've learned through my small group that my husband and I are in the minority. Many feel that the frank talk is "over the top" and are embarrassed by it and do not think their children (ages over 5th grade are included in the service)need to hear this. I have spoken up a couple of times about it in our group; people are accepting of my POV, but generally ignore me. A few of them have complained to the pastor. I don't know the specifics of his responses.

I guess what I'm trying to say is that the church is really just the people who attend and they can influence what is taught more than the pastors and the denomination itself.

scotty said...

Our pastor teaches verse by verse through the Bible so when the subject comes up, he talks about it. He just recently went through Song of Solomon, though I missed the few weeks he was there so I'm not sure how explicit or not he was.
As far as our youth, they had a "purity conference" this past year and I believe they address sexuality regularly, though I don't think there's any 'program' as such. DH and I actually attended the youth purity conf and we thought they did a great job - very frank talk with the kids (our dd being one of them!)

luvmygirls said...

I mentioned the pre-marriage weekend I do just recently in response to another blog on here. I've had two of my former youth, one of them now married, e-mail me separately, and both of them mentioned the pre-marriage weekend. The single one is dating the man she thinks she will marry and our weekend has helped shape her thinking. As for sex-talk, that's just hard in a denomination that at one time says it's so important to discuss, but many of the churches or members say that we don't need to be TOO frank. ARGH! I don't even feel that I can really make resource recommendations without being seen as liberal or perverted by some of our youth parents. Of course it's obvious that they aren't talking about it.

midwestman said...

I have never seen any type of marital sexual topics taught in any church I have attended (this includes a Baptist, Southern Baptist and Independent Fundemental church). The subject comes up occasionally in sermons but not really any further than sex between married couples is God ordained and should be done in the spirit of Corinthians.

I would love to see both an adult and late teen class taught on this subject and have been trying to figure out a way to approach it. What I really need is appropriate material to suggest. I think this would do worlds of good for many couples.

mwm

Heidi said...

Nope, not "taught", but it's joked about in a highschool manner. It's discussed openly in social gatherings, but it can often digress into the very inappropriate. It's a shame because I bet you a LOT of married couples are totally missing out on a healthy sexual relationship. People suffer for years needlessly, because although no one in our church is a prude (not to my knowledge), it's immature in it's approach to the subject.

Sounds like your church is hitting the mark and doing an excellent job! I'm thoroughly impressed!

Heidi said...

Forgot to mention, the youth most definitely are not equipped sexually within our church. It's not a priority, or it's left up to the parents.

It's a cryin' shame!

job29man said...

In our churches there have sometimes been Sunday School classes about marriage or "intimacy", and whenever the Pastor announces that there will be a special sermon about sex the house is usually extra packed.

But I have yet to EVER hear a sermon on 1 Cor 7:4 and the rest, in a regular Sunday morning service, I mean a sermon that called for authority over each other's body, and called refusal the sin that it is.

I'm still impressed with the Orthodox Jewish teaching that there must be sex to the point of DWs orgasm at least every Sabbath evening (i.e. weekly).

I do not depend on the Church to teach my children Bible or sex though (I know you don't either). I teach the kids about Bible, and about marriage and sex. We are pretty blunt about it, in an age-appropriate way.

Gemma said...

Cocotte,

It sounds like the sex-ed program during your teen years was both healthy and beneficial to you once you were married. I have to say that I can sort of understand how many in your current church would feel it inappropriate for 5th graders to be hearing sex talks that pertain to the MB of adults... I mean, if the pastor really gets into the details of things.

Cocotte said:
"I guess what I'm trying to say is that the church is really just the people who attend and they can influence what is taught more than the pastors and the denomination itself."

In your church and in many other Protestant churches that may be true. In the Antiochian Christian Orthodox Church that would not be so.

Gemma said...

scotty said:
"As far as our youth, they had a "purity conference" this past year and I believe they address sexuality regularly, though I don't think there's any 'program' as such. DH and I actually attended the youth purity conf and we thought they did a great job - very frank talk with the kids (our dd being one of them!)"

I'm always curious when I hear about the "purity conferences". Does the group which organizes those conferences have any stats out yet on the percentage of folks who were involved in it in the past as youth and who actually did stay pure until marriage? I'm only asking because some 20 years ago we were in a large nondenominational church which aggressively pushed abstinence among the teens. (It wasn't purity conference.) The youth leaders talked about it all the time with them and on the surface it seemed that most of the teens were on board with the teachings. Unfortunately though, many of those kids while still in their teens, ended up living in fornication, a number of the girls had babies out of wedlock and some of the kids ended up in homosexual relationships. It grieved GR and me to hear of the large number of them who "fell" to sexual sin before they were even married. Naturally, many of them at age 35-40 are still struggling today with sexual issues. It's so sad.

Gemma said...

luvmygirls,

Historically, premarital counseling has been so lacking in many areas. I'm guessing that what you're doing is a big improvement in both quality and amount of time spent on it, over the way PMC had been presented in the past. It seems that some churches are finally beginning to see the importance of good PMC.

luvmygirls said:
"As for sex-talk, that's just hard in a denomination that at one time says it's so important to discuss, but many of the churches or members say that we don't need to be TOO frank. ARGH! I don't even feel that I can really make resource recommendations without being seen as liberal or perverted by some of our youth parents. Of course it's obvious that they aren't talking about it."

It's probably a case where many parents see a need but for one reason or another they are too scared to approach it with the teens. I'd be willing to bet that most of the parents had such poor teachings on sex going into their marriages that they are clueless about how sex talks would affect their kids if the church stepped in to help.

My personal thoughts on that--
If the church as a whole DOESN'T step in, we will see many more generations of young Christians growing up and marrying with sexual hang-ups. It's not going to straighten up on its own, not with the huge influence of the secular world. Even kids in Christian churches who attend Christian schools are falling prey to sexual sin. In fact, I would almost say that the ones in Christian schools are hit the hardest. It's almost like they are raised and taught in such a protected "Christian bubble" that it causes them to rebel the hardest. The story I told above was about a group of kids who all attended the church school.

Gemma said...

midwestman said:
"The subject comes up occasionally in sermons but not really any further than sex between married couples is God ordained and should be done in the spirit of Corinthians."

Hey, maybe you could drum up a teaching on 1 Cor. 7 and even design some classy, tastefully done t-shirts to go along with the teaching. You never know how something like that will go over.

The adults need to be taught MB topics at one level while the teens in 11th and 12th grade need to be taught sex-ed at an age-appropriate level. And for the teens, it needs to be something that will at least carry them throughout their first few years of college years. You guys could be a pioneer church with healthy sex teachings in the area you live in.

Gemma said...

Heidi, it's time for someone in your church to offer classes on sexual topics, both for the adults and the teens. You could possibly be the one to do it. It would be a shame for your church to continue doing nothing.

Gemma said...

Job,

At least those in your church seem to have the interest on these topics. It may just be a thing where it's best taught in classes rather than during church services. That way adults can hear what they need to know and teens can hear what is appropriate for them. At least that's my thoughts on it.

And yes, in this day and age, we need to be blunt about healthy sexual topics. The secular influence makes no bones about being blunt and in our face about sinful ways to use sex. We need to be even more blunt then they.

luvmygirls said...

Gemma, I agree that the church needs to step in and I also agree that many (if not most) parents are too scared to talk about sex with their kids, possibly from poor or no teaching on it themselves. My wife says that on her parents' honeymoon, her mom locked herself in the bedroom because she was afraid of what her husband was going to do to her. From knowing them, I get the sense that they didn't talk about it much, that she didn't enjoy it, and that he is/was a selfish and ignorant lover. In our marriage, most of our lessons had to be learned together, which have been really fun! But I never had the talk with my parents (and I had four parents!), and I think my wife's talk with hers was very brief and as a response to her beginning her cycle.

I was thinking, too, that for whatever reason, the church teaches sex as almost a separate issue from the rest of Christian living or biblical teaching. As I say this, I realize that I am holding a special weekend retreat to address the issue, so I am speaking of myself doing the same. Job mentioned that his pastor announced that he was going to be addressing sex in a sermon. Why does he have to do that? Because it's a separate issue. So, how do we get past that and begin moving our God-given sexuality back in as a part of our everyday lives as followers of Christ?

Gemma said...

Really, this is brought up periodically at TMB... how marriage is spiritual, emotional and sexual. I don't see why it can't be presented that way in a church classroom setting. Do you?

lmg, if more spouses (and pastors) would learn to understand that marital intimacy is 3-fold, they wouldn't keep trying to make it 2-fold or trying to make all 3 areas of intimacy as totally separate entities, kwim?

I'm reminded of times when I sometimes see a poster write about "God" and "Jesus" as if there was no connection between the two.

This may differ some from what others here believe but in our church it's explained this way:

In who God is, there are three persons who are each absolutely unique and distinct. Each is not the other, though each is still divine with the same divine nature and form. Therefore, while being one in what they are; the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit are Three in who they are.

There are 3 functioning areas necessary for healthy marital intimacy. While being 1 in what they are (healthy intimacy), they are 3 in what they do. We can identify when one is lacking or missing from the marriage.

Sorry if this doesn't make good sense. I've had a trying day.

Patrick said...

Hey Gemma,

I was trying to get a hold of you but couldn't find an email adress anywhere on the page?

Warmly,
Patrick

Gemma said...

Patrick,

It should be showing on the top of the main page of my blog.

my blog:
http://passionwithinmarriage.blogspot.com

my email addy:
passionwithinmarriage@gmail.com

Anonymous said...

Our bishop is encouraging parishes to use the Theology of the Body for Teens program. It does a very good job of addressing both the spiritual and physical issues of sex without getting silly.

You might also be interested in Heaven's Song which is a great new book on sex from a Catholic point of view.

Gemma said...

Thanks for commenting, anon. Some of my readers may find your links useful.