Funny how I always remember a song’s chorus and the beat. Such is the case with Salt-N-Pepa’s 1991 song “Let’s Talk About Sex,” which was a message about “safe sex.” In today’s post, we will explore how I arrived at stewarding my sexuality and choosing sexual purity. So in the words of Salt-N-Pepa:
Let’s talk about sex for now to the people at home or in the crowd
Don’t decoy, avoid, or make void the topic
Cuz that ain’t gonna stop it
Let’s tell it how it is, and how it could be
How it was, and of course, how it should be
Let’s talk about sex, baby
Let’s talk about all the good things
And the bad things that may be
As I have resolved my faith and sexuality, I have struggled with my relational future. As a woman who spent the majority of her life in and out of relationships with other women, there was an inner tension about what, if any, my future would hold in terms of a relationship. It seemed like there were only three viable options laid out before me: date and marry a man; embrace a theology that allowed me to date and marry a woman; or remain single and embrace a life of stewarding my sexuality towards holiness.
For me and many gay identified Christians, the struggle is real – and so is the emotional divide on the issue. Many of us have sought to justify same-sex relationships and redefine the traditional definition of marriage and family. For the majority of my life, I believed that I was born gay and sought God’s stamp of approval on my attractions and desires. You can read about the conclusion I reached here and here. The bottom line is that a fully devoted follower of Christ is called to surrender and remain faithful to God’s Word in all aspects of their lives. I have discovered the Bible does not condone or justify same-sex relationships or marriage.
As a result, I am single and embrace a life of stewarding my sexuality towards holiness. When I first heard of others who had chosen this path, it seemed more like death rather than life. After all, God hardwired us as humans to enjoy sexual pleasure, right? At this point, my attention turned towards this passage of scripture in 1 Corinthians 6:12-20. Here are a few statements that stood out to me in this passage:
- Our bodies are a temple and we are responsible for stewarding them well in every aspect of our lives, including our sexuality.
- Same-sex relationships are sexual sin.
- All sex outside of marriage violates God’s intended purpose for sex.
- Regardless of a person’s desires and attractions (gay or straight), we are all called to a “holy sexuality,” honoring God by being sexually pure.
That is a lot to take in. For me, this was both freeing and limiting at the same time. It was freeing to recognize that all fully devoted followers of Christ are called to sexual purity. Both the ever-straight person and the one who deals with same-sex attraction are called to remain sexually pure. This is not just limited to physical relationships but includes other sexual sins such as lust, pornography and masturbation. Married people must remain faithful to their spouses throughout their lives and are not to engage in those sexual sins either.
Perhaps you can relate when I say that it also felt limiting when I first began processing this idea of stewarding my sexuality. Before I surrendered my life to Christ, I lived to please myself and engaged in well over 25 physical relationships and two long-term relationships with other women. Once I opened Pandora’s Box to sexual relationships, I unleashed a beast within that was never satisfied. Over the course of time, I engaged in activities I never thought I would. That inner beast needed to be fed and I found myself crossing lines I never thought I would.
From my pre-teens to my early 50s, I was never satisfied and ran on empty relationally. Although I was in a long-term relationship just prior to becoming a Christian, I felt alone, unsatisfied and longing to be known. When I began to resolve my faith and sexuality, I came to recognize that the sexual relationships and activities had taken a toll on me. I had given a part of me away to each person I engaged in a physical relationship with. I had objectified women in clubs and bars, with masturbation, and with each viewing of pornography.
My biggest discovery was that I had abused and misused God’s good gift of sex. I began to understand that I had not valued women – I had been involved with and sought them out to please myself. Most importantly, I had rejected God’s intent and purpose for sexuality and lived as I saw fit. Ugh! Remorse set in with these realizations. Over time, I dealt with it through confession, repentance and cutting the deeply embedded relational ties to each person. As I did, I saw the value of honoring God by living in sexual purity and surrendering my attractions and desires to Him.
What I thought would be a prudish and boring life has turned into one filled with joy and contentment. I am free from the drama that is often attached to unhealthy relationships and behaviors. I am no longer driven to feed the hungry beast within. There are times when I am tempted to cave, but in general, those pass quickly. I have also set myself up for success by installing accountability software on my devices, and I have a circle of friends who keep me in check. I will share more about that in an upcoming post on “Ridiculous Accountability.”
I welcome honest conversation, questions and comments.