Category Archives: Sex

Hooking up less difficult than admitting love?


Listened this am to NPR’s Morning edition and a story on “hooking up.” Definitely worth your listening for the 8 minute story. Here’s a couple of amazing thoughts (not quotes) from female interviewees:

1. The hook-up is all about the tension, build-up, and the sex.

2. Dating actually costs too much money; hook-ups are much cheaper

3. Talking about being in love is more embarrassing than talking about one’s sex life (hooking up) on the radio.

4. Dating a guy means bringing him into your circle of close friends and the preference is to have the hook-up but do nothing that could harm real friendships

5. It is vulnerable to be needy of love. Not so of sex.

Scary stuff here. Think about it. Taking your clothes off and sharing genital sexual activity with an acquaintance puts you in a less vulnerable position than asking someone out for a formal date?  Can someone explain that one to me?

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Filed under Cultural Anthropology, news, Psychology, Relationships, Sex, sexuality

Inside adulterous love: “It’s all about me!”


There’s no denying that forbidden love lust generates massive pleasure–even if it leads to equally massive despair, guilt, and/or destruction. If it didn’t, few would allow an affair to develop and continue risking all that is dear to them (respect, trust, family, friends, even job). Like heroin, the pleasure within adultery screams to be experienced again. Often those caught up in this kind of pleasure feel they have found their soul mate, their completion as a person. But let’s take a look at this “love” for a moment and the lies told.

1. “You complete me.” Sounds like it is a compliment to the other, right? Nope. It is all about how the speaker feels. That is the focus. Very self-indulgent.

2. “I can’t wait to be with you again.” Again, the focus is on what you do to me.

3. “You get me.” Ditto #1 and 2.

The funny thing is, if you were to remove the “love” phrases being bantied back and forth in an affair from their context, you see how self-focused the expressions of pleasure and satisfaction are despite the pretense of care for the other. But both parties delude themselves that it is real love as long as the “drug” lasts. As long as both feel that the other exists to bring them pleasure it feels like mutual love.

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Filed under adultery, deception, love, Relationships, self-deception, Sex

On Churches and sex offenders


It seems to be an increasing question these days: What should the church do when a sex offender finishes their sentence and wishes to return to church or join anew? I’ve written here on this before but want to return to the subject because it is controversial. Of the questions I get relating to this are,

  • Shouldn’t the church be a place where all sinners are welcome? 
  • If a sex offender is disallowed in church aren’t we removing the one thing they need (Christian community?)
  • Should victims of abuse have so much power as to say who can and cannot attend church?

Instead of answering this questions, I think churches need to have frank conversations about the following areas:

  1. Repentance. What is it? What are the fruits of it? What are signs of either inadequate or false repentance?
  2. Protection. There are more than 60 commands in the Old and New Testaments about protecting vulnerable members of society (widows, orphans, aliens, etc. ). True Religion, James says, is one that looks after the vulnerable. What does it mean to protect them. Is it enough to tell them that they are safe even though they do not feel so? Do we ever consider giving them power and some ability to say what they can tolerate?  
  3. Forgiveness/Restoration/Redemption/Reconciliation. These terms are sometimes used synonymously. They should not be. What does it mean to forgive? Does it mean I should act as if it never happened? Where does this idea come from? Restoration to God? The Body?
  4. The Church and access to it. As Christians we are called to meet together for worship and the teaching of the Word? What are the options we might think about that meet this calling but value that same calling for everyone? Can the “church” come to the sex offender? Is he willing to not demand rights to be in church but find ways to worship with other believers while also being concerned about the welfare of others?

That’s a start. If churches would be willing to explore these issues and delay answering the questions I noted at the beginning, I think they will have a better chance of ministering to all. And if either victims or sex offenders are so impatient that they will not allow the body to study the matter, then that probably says something about the interest to care well for all the sheep. If the offender becomes impatient and demanding, whining and complaining, then we have to question his/her interest in being ministered to. There may be other reasons they want in the church. As Anna Salter discovered in her interviewing many many offenders, some offenders see the church as a place of protection from scrutiny due to naivete.

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Filed under Abuse, Christianity: Leaders and Leadership, church and culture, Repentance, Sex

Risk factors for pastoral infidelity


Today, I listened to a CD of Dave Carder at last year’s AACC convention. He is the author of Torn Asunder, a book about affairs. I’ve not seen his newest book, just out in April, is entitled Close Calls. Both available on Amazon.

He presented a talk entitled, “Emerging Trends in Pastoral Infidelity.” He summarized data gleaned from 5 studies between 1987-1998. He continues to collect information that will be out this year.

Here’s some surprises in his data and risk factors:

1. suspected rate of sexual impropriety: about 40% (though this is perceived because of underreporting. Actual reporting number is 21%, though 15% admitted to lying on the surveys)
2. pastors affair partners are now more likely to be outside the church
3. 90% of pastors report being blindsided by the affair–they didn’t see it coming
4. The vast majority of improprieties are never discovered
5. Risk factors increase with:

  • History of sexual molestation, family history of infidelity, adolescent promiscuity, learning disabilities/ADHD, female friends with private conversations, conjoint ministry with opposite sex, lingering outside of ministry to share personal matters
  • Lower age in conversion to Christianity increases risks
  • Higher education increases risks as does increased bible education
  • both ministry exhausted and ministry connected pastors 

Any of these surprise you?

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Filed under Christianity: Leaders and Leadership, church and culture, Evangelicals, pastors and pastoring, Sex

Not your grandparents’ country store catalog


Yesterday we received a catalog for a country store. I’m familiar with this country store catalog as it is well-known in New England. So, I flipped through it for old-times sake. Looks like they are selling the same things as when I was a kid. Muumuus of all kinds. Several pages, in fact. Then there is the udder balm creams farmers swear will solve your cracked hands problem. Comfy slippers, pickled veggies, old-timey candies, and those little plastic bonnets for your serving bowls when you want to place them in the frig.

Then I turned the page and WHOA…two pages entitled, “intimate solutions.” Creams to enhance pleasure, to lift the breast, and even things that need batteries.

I guess they’ve determined that their target audience (boomers interested in ordering things that remind them of their grandparents and life as a kid?) might also want to enhance intimacy and yet only have the delivery person see that they are ordering from a quaint country store.

Times, they are a changin.

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Feeling judgmental about Eliot Spitzer?


Its easy to do…here’s a man who knows all the ins and outs of money laundering tactics since he used them to prosecute many criminals in his previous job. He’s also taken down several prostitution rings. He has daughters and ought to think about how he would feel if they engaged in this behavior. He has a long marriage and ought to think about she has been so violated.

He knows better and yet he spent thousands of dollars over a long period of time pursuing sex with prostitutes. And we are tempted to think judgmental thoughts. How could he… Serves him right…

But Jesus says that if you have engaged in desiring and lusting after someone not your spouse, you are just as guilty as Spitzer. That’s a hard teaching. We know secret thoughts don’t have the same consequences as actions and yet everyone starts down the path from the same place.

What his tragic story should encourage us to do is to be sober about our own deceptive thoughts and desires, pray for his family, thank God for the cross and the offer of forgiveness, and endeavor to say no to sin and yes to love of others.

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Filed under News and politics, self-deception, Sex, sin

Characteristics of an on-line predator and victim


The February edition of the American Psychologist (63:2) has an article surveying the literature regarding, “Online ‘Predators’ and Their Victims.” The authors start by making this assertion, “The publicity about online “predators” who prey on naive children using trickery and violence is largely inaccurate.” (p. 111). So, what is the truth as we know it now?

1. “…Internet-initiated sex crimes–those in which sex offenders meet juvenile victims on-line–is different, more complex, and serious but less archetypically frightening than the publicity about these crimes suggests.” (p. 111-2) The on-line predators are not usually pedophiles and are rarely violent (unless you would believe that convincing a minor to have sex is by very nature a violation and therefore violent.) And yet, child porn is often found with these offenders (maybe more teen version than pre-pubescent).

2. After surveying current literature, crime stats, and law enforcement agencies, they find that most crimes, “involve men who use the Internet to meet and seduce underage adolescents into sexual encounters.” (p. 112). Generally, these men do not deceive the minors about their age. Only 5% pretended to be teens. The deceptions that are present are promises of love and romance. So, the authors suggest these crimes usually fit statutory rape (non-forced sexual contact of an adult with a minor) rather than child abuse or pedophilia. (This assumes that the latter is not as bad as the former???)

3. At the present time, it appears that Internet-initiated statutory rape accounts for 7% of all statutory rape cases. Sex crimes against youth are not increasing (based on a decrease in substantiated child sexual abuse cases and reports of sexual assaults by teens). So, the evidence of marked increase is not yet found per these authors. Of course, this does not account for the marked increase in sex exposure that is very definitely happening. Nor does it account for the increase in children being spoken to in sexual terms by other folks on-line. I would want to assume this is an offense.

4. The victims are rarely young children. Instead, they are teens (and more likely the 15-17 year olds) taking risks with personal information. What actions make these teens vulnerable? Its not so much that they post identifying information about themselves (since a very large proportion do this). Rather, they send personal information to an unknown person, chat with an unknown person (only 5% do this), have unknown persons in their “buddy” lists, use the Internet to look for sexual material, spend time on file-sharing sites, have off-line sexual abuse histories, have same-sex attraction, and/or use the Internet to make threatening comments to others (this is interesting, those willing to attack others on-line are themselves more at risk for being sexualized).

The point the authors are making is that media accounts may focus too much on the younger child victim image and miss the typical offender in his late twenties that is immature and unable to relate well to peers so he pursues younger teens to make him feel more manly. If this is the case, then they argue that our prevention plans should be to increase education regarding the nature and consequences of statutory rape, to focus more on adolescents rather than their parents. This is probably a good idea. However, having parents actually know and track their kids on-line behavior is still the best bet. There is no reason a child needs to be in a chat room. period. And just because it isn’t so much about pedophiles, lets not let our guard down. Statutory rape isn’t any better just because the victim thinks they are consenting.

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Filed under Abuse, pornography, Sex

David White on “Sinners Need Forgiveness not Blame”


Check out this great (short) eassy in the Philadelphia Daily News by HarvestUSA’s David White. He addresses the all-too-common tendency for Christians to sound self-righteous when talking about sexual sins. Here’s the link:

http://www.philly.com/philly/hp/news_update/20080112_Sinners_need_forgiveness__not_blame.html?adString=ph.news/news_update;!category=news_update&randomOrd=011608074014

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Filed under News and politics, Repentance, Sex, sin

Me time? Why are men inclined to distrust their women?


These thoughts came to me while listening to a song on radio on the way from class last night. Bear with me, it takes a bit for me to get to the point. Oh, and don’t miss my little swipe at Maslow at the very bottom.

Last night I was teaching on sex dysfunctions and therapy. Though some couples struggle with physical problems (e.g., exposed vaginal nerves, hormones, prostate problems, diabetes, medication-related, etc.), many have problems that find their initial roots in (a) knowledge, (b) expectations, (c) fear/trust/control. Despite the fact that we live in a sex-crazed world, many couples have distorted knowledge and expectations about sex (how it should happen and what it should be like) that lead to hurt, disappointment, fear, and withdrawal. One of the bigger problems is the differences between men and women in level of sexual desire. Now I’m stereotyping here and not every man and woman fit, but frequently men have great desires for sex and women find it more like work, even when they enjoy it. Here’s the problem for some men. Continue reading

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Filed under Abuse, Sex, sexuality

Does your mate need a cheerleader?


In my most recent Monitor on Psychology (38:1), a news magazine for members of APA, there is a little blurb about a recent study published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology (91:5) about the benefits of enthusiastic responses to spouse’s positive experiences. “Those whose mates energetically cheered after positive events, such as a raise or promotion, later reported greater relationship satisfaction and were less likely to break up than those with less enthusiastic mates” (Monitor, p. 13).

Makes lots of sense if you think about it. You come home happy and tell a loved one about a neat experience, a success. How do you feel if they show minimal interest or even a negative response (e.g., “But what about x, won’t that still be a problem?”). Doesn’t it burst your bubble? Maybe even more than if you approached them about a negative situation and they didn’t respond as well as you had hoped. Are you then tempted to find someone else to tell in hopes that they will rejoice with you? Interestingly, the researchers found that positive-energetic responses to good events predicted relationship satisfaction better than compassionate responses to disappointing news.

So, are you a cheerleader for loved ones? Or does your logic, realism, suspicion, etc. cause you to rain on their parade?

Rejoice with those who rejoice, and in doing so, strengthen family ties.

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Filed under counseling science, Sex