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Friday, January 26, 2007
Pomosexuality
The mainstream definition of the word Pomosexuality refers to the fluid nature of our sexual orientations. While it is convenient to sort everyone into a handful of different groups - homosexual, bisexual, heterosexual - Pomosexuality argues that these words and categories cannot do justice to the complexity of human sexuality. Like many other things in life, sexual orientation isn't a black and white, either/or experience for many of us. I generally don't discuss this with other Christians, but my own orientation has been known to slide up and down the Kinsey Scale.


Several years ago I came across this article, of which I will quote the first paragraph:

The Church's response to sex is a thorny issue. I don't think we can pretend that our present culture is any more or less obsessed with sex than any other or previous culture, but the issue is evolving constantly. The consequences of sex particularly have changed in the last 30 years, pregnancy and social stigma may be out, but Aids and Chlamydia are certainly in.


The author of this article doesn't seem to define Pomosexuality in exactly the same way as I attempted to define it in my first paragraph. Rather than referring exclusively to the slippery nature of sexual orientation, this article talks more about what the church's response should be to what are often referred to as sexual sins: the premarital sex of an engaged couple, single Christians who occasionally have safer sex with a fuck-buddy or one-night stand, the adjustment some couples make after marriage when sex is now "ok" instead of being "sinful."

What do you think?

How much change (if any) needs to occur in the church regarding issues related to human sexuality?

I'll share my opinion later. ;)

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posted by Lydia at 6:07 PM ¤ Permalink ¤


13 Comments:


  • At 1/26/2007 09:16:00 PM, Anonymous BarBarA

    Hmm, do I really want to be the first to comment on this?

    Its not only an interesting topic in general but very much so to me personally. My personal belief is that sex one of the most powerful things in life and, like a gun, when not used correctly and for the right purpose - can cause serious damage or death. That sounds dramatic, because it is. I became sexually active at age 13 and it took over my life for many years.

    I agree that its not a black and white issue for everyone. I don't know why the church is so afraid of addressing issues related to sex. The Bible is clear, but like all sin, I can easily justify having as a single woman. (I may die without it right?).

    I think it needs to be talked about but I am so enmeshed in my personal sexual issues I can't even begin to know what should be addressed.

    All kinds of sex is happening among Christians today. Struggling with same sex attraction or any type of homosexuality is not uncommon. That's not my core issue but I know many Christians who deal with it.

    Sorry to go on and on, maybe I need to write my own post on the subject!

     
  • At 1/26/2007 10:28:00 PM, Blogger Nancy

    Lydia: I agree that human sexuality is not so neatly divided into two categories, homosexuality and heterosexuality. And even if you feel you are one or the other, you might, given the right circumstances engage in behaviors not associated with your main identity. Sexuality is complex and diverse. A powerful part of our identity and vulnerable to as much abuse as it is a channel for beautiful human expression.

    So why is it, do you all suppose that sex is such a hot topic for the "religious"?

     
  • At 1/26/2007 10:53:00 PM, Blogger Crystal

    I've been lurking for some time around here and I chose now to comment. Way to jump in in the middle of a potentially controversial topic, right? ;)

    I think the answer to the question "why is this such a hot topic" is in the paragraph right above it... it's complex and diverse, it's a powerful part of our identity, it IS powerful and mysterious. It can build us up or ruin us, gives us strength and leaves us completely vulnerable. I think sexuality gives women in particular an enormous amount of power and, at the same time, is one of the ways that we can be hurt the most.

    I do not, however, think that the answer is to throw rules, regulations, and stigmas at it, which is kinda what I feel like the Church has largely done up to this point. We say "the Bible is clear", but is it? Where? I've seen it clear on adultery, seemingly clear on homosexuality (although I know a few scholars who'd beg to differ), and absolutely unclear on premarital sex. But we have a tendancy to act like we have the instruction manual to the whole thing, don't we? We try to figure it out, pin it down to a formula, lock it up in a legal institution, box it, sell it, film it, write books about it... we make gods out of it and then we turn around and diminish it, like we can't find a balance.

    It just alarms me I guess how I've seen a lot of Christians treat sex and sexuality. I hear a lot of hammering about how "sex is only okay between a man and a woman, and only within the confines of marriage", and I have to admit that I'm not sure I'm not buying the party line. While I definitely see it as a thing to be cautious with, and respectful of, I cannot tell you precisely what I think that means, nor what I think it should mean for anyone else. What I DO think, is that we need to stop being afraid of it as a church. I think that we need to stop putting our feet down on every conversation that brings up a question of "is this really wrong?". I think we need to not only be more open to TALKING about sexuality, but fto the fact that we ARE sexual creatures... and to stop seeing that as a BAD thing (even if we are single.) God created sex and it's mystical and frightening and beautiful and all at once incredibly important while still being very necessarily in the background. And I think that we can make an idol of it just as easily with our fear of it, as we can with our addictions to it.

    So, um, that's my opinionated two cents. *waves* Hi! =)

     
  • At 1/27/2007 09:08:00 AM, Blogger anne

    Well, Lydia, I'm just still laughing at the "fuck buddy" term you threw in there, and appreciating a forum that not only allows such freedom of expression but doesn't blink an eye.

    We've had spiritual talks at my church about sex, and some were quite detailed. We even had a "Porn Sunday" based partly on materials from www.xxxchurch.com. We haven't had any official teachings during our gatherings about homosexuality or bisexuality, though. Actually I'm rather glad of that. The main thrust of our weekly teachings is to draw us closer to God and to be transformed by Christ. Sex is such a tantalizing part of life, and yet the church can get so caught up in it that more important issues (in my opinion) can fall by the wayside. I will work out my own beliefs about sexuality in regard to orientation and practice, but I look to the church to help guide my spiritual formation and help create in me a heart full of love and compassion for others.

    Somehow I guess I just have it in my head that God's not nearly as concerned about consensual sex as we humans are in general and some Christians are in particular.

     
  • At 1/27/2007 10:32:00 AM, Blogger Michele L

    This has been an interesting topic in my life this year. I just recently felt "OK" enough to open up to some in my church about my past.
    I think the position on sex in my family and in the churches I grew up in, created a huge "issue" in my "sex" life. I lived with a large amount of shame for many years due to my feeling "that God was very upset and disappointed with my choices". It was all within, however, because most of my family and never in my churches, did they know my background.

    As a brief, I too began having sex at 13. I went from the "church" youth "who will never have sex before marriage" to giving it up at a playground near my home for fear that "that boy" would reject me. (This happened right after my mother remarried, and we felt abandoned by her, and right before my father remarried...I think I just wanted to feel loved).

    Anyway, I soon "found" porn. I told myself that if I was "fun" and learned great techniques "it would empower me" (I think again just wanted to feel loved not rejected). That began a 10 year struggle. It got to where I couldn't have the intimacy without "help". I dated my husband for 7 years before we we're married. He was the best thing that happened to me. However, I remember the pastor who counseled us before marriage asking if we have stayed "pure"...we completely lied. I was to ashamed and fearful of being found out. (I have felt bad for years over that)
    All my life I heard that my marriage "wouldn't be blessed" if we had sexual sins. By the time I rid my house and life of porn, I really didn't know what was natural/normal.
    In my family oral sex, sex toys, etc. were not acceptable. My husband loves to have fun, but it has taken me a while to work through it.

    Thankfully this year, I broke down and shared with a pastor and his wife. The responses were very helpful. I finally felt redeemed.

    I now have a different outlook. I too, am not so sure that God is as worried about sexual things as much as we are. I do agree that it can empower us or destroy us. As I have been through both, but I also think God can redeem anything!

    Being older and at a different stage, I know God knows why I made the choices I did. There were many factors, and at that age, I didn't understand my actions like I do now.

    I wish the "church" would find a more "loving" position in these matters. Regardless of "orientation" etc. we should be embracing these "issues". I realize that this is one of the "closet" issues in the church. It is a huge struggle for so many, probably more that we realize. I can only hope that we can work toward a more loving acceptance of where people are and come along side, instead of shame and reject.

    I think a majority of the "sexual thing" in church is fear, control issues, and flat out "making a pure Christianity". It is also easier to point the finger elsewhere than inward. We have all experienced "acceptable sins" (ie, gossip, gluttony, lying etc.).... I think it makes us "feel" better (even subconsciously) to know "others" sins "are much worse than mine". If I focus there, I don't have to look at myself.
    (Note- I personally feel that some things considered "sin" may not actually be. I just feel even if you do feel that way, our attitudes need to change in how we handle those things.)
    Sorry for the blab...personal subject for me. ;)

     
  • At 1/27/2007 12:43:00 PM, Blogger wit4life

    It's interesting that you talk about the Kinsey scale. It doesn't seem to be broached in Christian circles. Taboo is quite powerful suppressant.

    I think Christians associate (general) attraction to others as far more black and white brush strokes than life turns out to be experientially. I think some of us could have the tendency to bounce on the scale, especially as women, as we become connected to others. That emotional tie can be very strong, and deep, and even, yes confusing. It doesn’t seem like in Christian groups, that is seen as in the realm of normal, but rather problematic or sinful, (or potentially sinful.)

    If we are more honest, transparent relationships are complicated, especially when they are very close, intimate, if you will, (emotionally) and we may be attracted to others on a multifaceted level. What we end up doing, will determine whether our relationship will turn into a type of false god, or not, or help point us to the One true God. I think the greater issue here is not sexuality, it is about who is truly on the throne of our hearts, and what of our will are we willing to give to him. It’s the same struggle we face at other gates of our hearts. But with regards to “orientation” if you can honest fit it there, we give it big weight, because, it’s sex. We are highly saturated with this predilection in our culture, and I think preoccupied.

    I will not say for a minute it’s easy to navigate relationships and attractions sometimes. Some of us have had neglect, abuse, or other factors contributing to the complexity or ambiguity in our relationships. Thank you Lydia for being real. And for bringing up a topic that is mystified, and overlooked. I’ve know many who become confounded by their interactions and/or attractions. You are not alone.

     
  • At 1/28/2007 12:54:00 PM, Blogger Jemila Monroe

    My friend Cheryl visted recently and we were talking about sexuality and the church; I expressed my opinion that the role of Christians in confronting other Christians with "sin" is when a behavior is obviously harmful to one or more people. In terms of consensual stuff between genuine equals, it seems to me that if people begin to feel genuinely convicted by Holy Spirit that something isn't right, they will be more likely to seek council with another believer if they already feel accepted with a loving, non-judgmental attitude. And otherwise, we will each come before God-ess to be accountable, and scolding each other/taking the speck out of another's eye is really not our highest calling as followers of Jesus Christ.

     
  • At 1/28/2007 07:50:00 PM, Blogger medium guy

    Kudos to all who shared so openly on this thread! It's really an edifying blessing to be able to read your thoughts and I consider it a blessing and an honor. I felt moved by Barbara and Michele L.'s candor and Jemila's sharp and insightful [and, hello, full of good sound common sense] approach.

    I suppose I expose myself somewhat in this arena by saying that I have been led to believe that God probably feels sorry for our often misguided approach to conceptualizing sexual intimacy and also angry at those who would use God's name to advance fear-based prejudices. I am hopeful, though, not in a secular sense but in a biblicly expectant one that more people will come to understand the true meaning of "gentile or jew, servant or free, WOMAN or MAN no more" [caps my addition, of course].

     
  • At 1/29/2007 10:34:00 AM, Blogger lydia

    My personal belief is that sex one of the most powerful things in life.....maybe I need to write my own post on the subject!

    I agree that it's a very powerful force. Sexuality is something that I believe is deeply ingrained in everyone, regardless of what they do with it during their lives.

    As for writing your own post...Go for it! The church needs more honest talk about many of the issues related to sex. :)

     
  • At 1/29/2007 10:55:00 AM, Blogger lydia

    So why is it, do you all suppose that sex is such a hot topic for the "religious"?

    That's the $64,000 question. :)

    Part of it does come from good intentions: we don't want to see the people we love getting hurt or making God angry.

    Part of it is a fear of freedom - IMO there's a small voice in many heads that worries that Christians won't behave in a Christ-like manner if everything isn't neatly divided into a "sinful" or a "holy" box. I've been guilty of it myself on occasion.

    There's also the fear of the Other or of the unknown.

    It's also an easy thing to target -sexual sins often among the more visible "sins" and most people have little to no personal experience with the sexual things they rally against.

    Most of the Christians I've met aren't actively or intentionally homophobic (or racist, or sexist, etc, etc). I've found that even some who share opinions that often sound incredibly hateful to those of us on the "other" side of the screen are speaking before they think. Or they're parroting what their parents/minister/spouse says. Or they've never sat down and dissected their words. Things aren't always as they appear. People can change. Not always, of course, but it happens enough to keep hope alive.

     
  • At 1/29/2007 10:57:00 AM, Blogger lydia

    I've been lurking for some time around here and I chose now to comment. Way to jump in in the middle of a potentially controversial topic, right? ;)

    Welcome. :)

    And I think that we can make an idol of it just as easily with our fear of it, as we can with our addictions to it.

    Exactly.

     
  • At 1/29/2007 11:04:00 AM, Blogger lydia

    I guess I just have it in my head that God's not nearly as concerned about consensual sex as we humans are in general and some Christians are in particular.

    I agree, Anne. :)

    ----

    It is a huge struggle for so many, probably more that we realize.

    Indeed. I think this is one of the things the C/church will be apologizing for in the years to come - even if most C/church people still believe that same-sex relationships or orientations are wrong in 200 years, there is still the issue of how they've been treated/are being treated.

     
  • At 1/29/2007 11:13:00 AM, Blogger lydia

    It's interesting that you talk about the Kinsey scale.

    It's an imperfect scale, but I thought it would likely be the one that most people outside GLBT circles would recognize. :)

    it is about who is truly on the throne of our hearts

    Of course.

    Thank you Lydia ....You are not alone.

    I'm just happy to have a safe place to talk about this stuff. :)

    -----------

    it seems to me that if people begin to feel genuinely convicted by Holy Spirit that something isn't right, they will be more likely to seek council with another believer if they already feel accepted with a loving, non-judgmental attitude

    I agree.

    -------------

    angry at those who would use God's name to advance fear-based prejudices

    I understand the anger (you should hear some of my rants :D), but I'm also trying to Love past it.

     

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