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May 05, 2005



Hugo, I'm quite curious--how does she connect the issue of teachers wearing jeans and casual Fridays to a discussion of Christian sexual ethics? These topics strike me as well beyond tangential to the larger issues. Does the phenomenon of middle-aged businessmen wearing turtlenecks once a week instead of a tie (or, perhaps even more absurdly, me wearing jeans to class today) has anything more to do with sexual ethics than the price of tea in China? I'm at a loss to imagine that connection.


You know Hugo, this is a side issue -- or maybe it's not such a side issue -- but I've been thinking about this term you keep using, "genital expression", and why it grates on me so much. I think it's because it makes it sounds like you think God gave you genitals as a sort of embedded paintbrush or musical instrument for you to express your inner feelings with. Look, you don't have to be a Roman Catholic, or even particularly religious, to acknowledge that our genitals exist for reproduction. Their other uses -- expression, pleasure, intimacy, etc. -- are only there because the primary purpose is there. I'm not going to go all Augustinian and say that is therefore the only good reason to have sex, because I think it's more complicated than that. But it does make me wonder how seriously to take the "sex is about more than just me" line if you keep insisting on calling it "expression."

Thunder Jones

I hate that she builds a straw man to tear down. I get pissed when people do that to Christian pacifism. All in all, however, it sounded like a worthwhile read. I’ll need to pick it up.

Thanks for providing such a large forum for this type of discussion. One of the best parts of Anglicanism is the ability to have faithful questioning with each other and never feel like you MUST convince the other party that your position is irrefutably correct.



Gosh darn it, Camassia, you're going to make me write another post about sex. Later.

Kristie Vosper

I picked up a copy of "Every Woman's Battle" and after 24 hours of residual paranoia, I formed an oppinon and put it on the shelf...forever. One night at a shady pool hall in Riverside (don't ask how I got there) I was talking to a girl, about to graduate from APU. She's cute, very nieve, and I struggle with my inherant arrogance that I throw down every time I am around someone that is so arrogantly conservative and nieve (I know this language makes Jesus so sad)

Anyway, she was telling me about reading "Every Woman's Battle" and she told me the most wacked out justification for not masterbating...and I quote: "if we learn to please ourselves, our husbands will never know how to please us as well as we can please ourselves so we shouldn't do it to ourselves."


I listened and said "I have heard better arguments than that, and am still unconvinced. Let me ask you something 'how will you know to communicate what makes you feel good to your husband if you don't even know? I encourage you to know your body." To which she said "aren't you a children's pastor?"
I corrected her "director" :)
I cussed earlier in the night, so I knew that I had now completely disvalidated myself as a christian because 2 items on her check list didn't we unchecked.

At the time I was reading "Be Honest-You're Not That Into Him Either" by Ian Kerner, Ph.D. A tounge and cheeck rebuttle to "He's Really Not That Into You".

Kerner in his book, which I picked up at pop culutre's bookstore "Urban Outfitters", makes a better case for chastity than many christians do.

I am forming my argument for chastity, I hope it will have more to do with brain chemistry and intimacy. I worry that we breed sexual dysfunction in our friends when we don't give them permission to be sexual. I worry about what it means when someone is 27 and hasn't has their first kiss because they are "waiting". I wonder if we're all dealing with the same amount of sex drive when I hear that...and like earlier arguments: I wonder how good the married sex will be.

Heaven will be good. We're so messy.


Sounds like an interesting read, Hugo. I'm going to have to find a copy, if for not other reason than to see how close she and I are on our thoughts of men going shirtless. lol... I instituted a rule with our 17yo son: He can walk around the house without a shirt if his sister and I can, too. For some reason, I've stopped seeing him without his shirt on. Go figure.

A lot of the disagreement about men going shirtless vs women going shirtless seems to me to be rooted in the myth that "normal" women are without the same strong sexual urges and desires that men have. It is understood that the way women dress (or don't dress) affects men; but it is ignored by many that the way men dress (or don't dress) affects women. IMO, dressing modestly is a courtesy in which we engage for those around us, as well as for ourselves.

BTW, you actually stay cooler if you dress appropriately than you do if you shed clothing. Due to skin cancer concerns, my husband has stopped wearing short-sleeved shirts as outer wear. He wears a t-shirt under a long-sleeved shirt. The long-sleeved shirt is a light cotton in the summer. He has found, here in the heat of Texas, that doing this actually keeps him much cooler than when he used to shed layers. Makes sense. That's the primary reason for the layers of clothing worn by desert cultures.



I think a lot of the problem is that we tend to confuse sexuality with sex and intercourse. There is sooo much more to sexuality than that. Our sexuality is an intimate, internal, crucial part of our being, a gift from God, a vital part of who we are.

In our culture, and many othe cultures of the world, sexuality has been hidden, dampened, demonized. We perpetuate a sin against ourselves and against others when we don't acknowlege this wonderful gift, and when we minimalize it to the carnal act of procreation.

This is a difficult topic, as are most personal topics. When one's person has been violated through harm to one's sexuality, the topic becomes even more difficult. It is difficult to put into words the growth that begins the healing of those wounds.


Caitriona, with all respect for your husband's experience, I've experimented with running with very light, cool-max jerseys and singlets. They are still warmer than running shirtless. They also chafe. Nothing feels as good as running shirtless. I wouldn't teach a class that way, mind you! But if I'm in the hills or at the Rose Bowl, I figure it's appropriate. When I've run abroad (Latin America, Italy, Austria) in warm weather, I always wear a top -- I don't want to offend social norms. But I'm grateful to live where I do, where abundant display of skin isn't risque but merely functional.


I understand your point, Hugo. Just watch out for those PYT's. It's not been all that many years that I surreptitiously watched the young men in the hay field as they shed their shirts. ;-)


Kristie said:

"Heaven will be good. We're so messy."

Amen, my dear sister, amen.


What are PYTs? I hate not knowing acronyms?


And here I thought we were about the same age. Perhaps it was just an anacronym with the teens in my area. Remember the song, "Pretty Young Things?"


Oh yes! Now I do... and I even own "Thriller". I completely blanked.

I'd like to think I can run too fast for anyone to get a good look, anyway! ;-)


LOL... those boys in the hay fields were worried about working, and not about the young girl bringing water to the field or driving the truck. Those side mirrors on 1-ton trucks work really well.


That our sexuality affects others seems an argument for freedom to me--for without our freedom, the goodness of our choices don't impact others quite the same way. Demonstrating to kids, for instance, that commitment is undertaken out of obligation and not out of joy is not good role-modeling.


But Amanda, shouldn't commitment be a combination? IME, those who make a commitment solely out of joy tend to walk away from that commitment when things become difficult, when the joy is gone. Those who stick with that commitment due to obligation can work through those difficult times and bring the relationship back to joyfulness.


(I've run in Charlottesville in the summer -- I'd die with a shirt on)

Hee. I totally don't mean to seem like I ignored the rest of this good post, but living and working not too far from Charlottesville, I got a good laugh out of this. It's tough to walk from the office to the car in the summer with a shirt on around here! Of course, since I'm a woman, I wouldn't know how much better it feels to go without, and I'm fine with it - I have lots of things that are more important to me than whether or not the men exercising outside are wearing shirts. I couldn't care less.

That said, I do think it's all in what you get used to. I work out almost exclusively in tank tops (hellooo, Old Navy) and thought I was going to fall over and die from heat stroke when I spent thirty minutes jogging in a t-shirt this week. Since I'm used to the tank tops, I can't work out well in anything more substantial.


Once, on a very hot day when I was staying near C-Ville in summer '03, I ran along Barracks road from the Foxfield race track to the grounds of UVA and back. I felt like I was breathing fire, it was awful. I would never have lasted with a shirt on. I don't know how you folks exercise year in and year out in that humidity.

La Lubu

More clothing makes you cooler? Not in a humid environment it doesn't. Having that cool breeze against one's bare skin makes all the difference in the world! And gossamer layers don't look all that fashionable or presentable drenched in sweat (not to mention the fact they become see-through!).


La Lubu, I grew up in a fairly humid environment. I know how the clothing sticks. But it's having another layer on over that that makes the difference.


Kristie said:

> I worry about what it means when someone is 27 and hasn't has their first kiss because they are "waiting".

As someone who is nearly 26 and has never had a first kiss, not because I'm "waiting," but because the opportunity, quite honestly, never really arose (I'll admit to being somewhat socially awkward in a number of ways), I worry about how these discussions on the great wonders and pleasures of sex tend to minimize those like me for whom sex has never been a live option (and trust me, it isn't a sex drive issue)? Do we run the risk of "breeding sexual dysfunction" by not allowing some people *not* to be sexual?



You bring up a good point. There is such a huge assumption in our society that people begin exploring their sexuality through experimentation at an early age, that people don't even realize that there are those among us who don't follow what is PRESUMED to be the "norm." IMO, this presumption can be very harmful, all across the board.

Amanda Marcotte

No, I don't think "should" is the issue. "Should" makes this restrictive. "Could" modeling tends to have a much better impact on people's lives. For instance, a gay teenager who has no out and happy older gay people around him/her still has lots of "should" in his/her life--you "should" be straight, married, etc.

This is a big issue to me, because I wasn't a good and useful person until I got past feeling like I "should" be anything and moved into "could"--I can be straight, unmarried, sexually active and childless and a good person who helps others. And I think I do.

Amanda Marcotte

I think I wandered off from your original point. As for the joy thing, I guess what I was trying to say is that working for something that brings you joy is often not that much work at all. Not to say that my monogamy isn't a challenge at times--I wish I could say that it was easy, but it's not--but because I frame it in terms of joy, I think my choice is a good influence on people who want to make a similiar choice but are wary. I want to be faithful because it gives my joy, and that makes others think that faithfulness can be a pleasure in and of itself.


Kyle, I don't understand how you perceive "sex is wonderful" to "people aren't allowed to be nonsexual."

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