the sex knot - part 1

Marc and I get together with a group of Christians who speak English every week. We have been meeting regularly for about three months now, though the roots of the group go back nearly two years. I call it the English Fellowship Group in my head but it does not really have a name. There are a lot of interesting things about gathering this group in Denmark, but the main one is its inherent diversity. We have eight regular attendees that represent seven different countries, six different denominations and three separate local Danish churches. It's really amazing to have a discussion together about anything. We've been able, so far, to just spend our time talking without much structure. We are getting to know each other still, so there are topics that we just don't touch. Mostly, those topics involve sex.

In the past year, God has really challenged me to see the role sex plays in how I think about others. Because of this, I have realized (mainly through debates with people about abortion and homosexuality) that the relationship people have with the idea of sex is what often defines where they stand on a list of other topics. Now when I start debating with someone, I don't feel like they can really understand my personal position on these issues if they don't understand how I hold the idea of sex, and moreover, the struggles that I have gone through with the idea of sex in order to get to the place I am at. Sex, unfortunately for me, is not what people want to talk about when they are using the bible to prove why abortions or same-sex marriage are concepts God does not agree with.

My assumption is that people don't want to talk about sex because they don't know how. And they can't without automatically feeling uncomfortable in their own skin (I can't either, yet). It is hard to understand how you truly feel about a topic when, in public space, the first sensations you have are to cross your legs and clench your butt cheeks together. But,is that not really the beginning of the problem we have as people with our relationship to the idea of sex? we can't get comfortable enough to think about it. Maybe we like to feel sexy, but start talking about penetration and the impact of penetration on our emotional lives and we can't get out of our own way in order to enter a open and honest discussion. What do you really think about having sex? What has having sex taught you about yourself? What has having sex taught you about other people? Ok, now relax all your automatic defense mechanisms and actually try to answer.

The culture I come from (developed and westernized) has made huge strides in the last 40 years. Generally, we can now talk about the physical aspects of sex in a purely clinical way without too much nervous giggling or feeling naughty. As teenagers, we seem the most capable of being open and honest with ourselves about what we think when it comes to sex- but when you are incredibly curious about something you don't have a lot of time to waste on inhibitions. As we become adults, and the sex we have had or have not had teaches us, we seem to become more awkward. It is an awkwardness that comes from not knowing where to start. How do I describe what I have been through? It is a perpetually jumbled essay of ideas and influences that we've never learned to express. It's just a knot in our brains. And we can leave it a knot, but then we doom the generation that follows us into having a knot as well. If we choose to work on the knot, to try and unravel it, even a little, we open up more options for our children.

As humans we have two basic choices for how to learn about things: hearing how others have done them or doing them ourselves. No one ever talked to me about the emotional side or pleasurable side of sex. I learned about those things through doing them myself. I don't know anyone who hasn't learned about those things from doing. The only shared experiences I have ever heard are from peers- people in the same place as me in life, learning exactly as I am learning. I never had a person from another generation, from another walk of life explain any part of their emotional sex life to me at all. Maybe my Dad did a little bit, but definitely not before I had started learning on my own. I look back at my experiences now and I can see where learning from someone else would have significantly benefited me. I work really hard to remember this because I want to do things differently. I have a personal interest in my own child having more information than I did. But, I also feel like so many of the world's problems could be helped or even totally solved just by people learning how to share their emotional experience with sex... yes, I really did say world's problems.

Part 2 


  1. I love that you brought up this topic. I completely agree with you. I know you're not living in the US, but you might have heard about a book called Fifty Shades of Gray. It's a BDSM book that hit the mainstream and is flying off the bookshelves. A paper mill in Maine is even crediting this book for single-handedly saving the town and its economy. Everyone is so surprised by the public's reaction to this book, but I think the reason has a lot to do with what you're talking about. People have become so uptight from not talking about it that when a book about it is released, it blows up simply because people are curious.
    I think the reason older generations don't talk to younger ones about sex is because it's hard for younger people to understand gray areas. It's simpler for them to say "Don't do it" or "don't talk about it" rather than explain the whys and hows. I hope that made sense!

    1. I have heard about Fifty Shades of Gray. I think it is very interesting how mainstream it is. But mainstream culture in the US is very accepting of these kind of things, they just don't talk about it.
      If you never explain why an area is gray to a person, then of course they will have a problem understanding. It's up to the people that love a young person unconditionally to get over the worries of "what might happen if I elaborate" and open up. They will learn the lessons whether older people are communicating with them or not.


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