Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Call Ripley! Christians and sex

So I was catching up on Savage Love the other day, and I came across this little jewel: Dan Savage, in honor of Rick Warren's Saddleback Church, is trying to get "saddleback" defined in common parlance as a sex term inimical to said church.

I voted for number 5:
"Saddlebacking" should be the term for the phenomenon of Christian teens engaging in unprotected anal sex in order to preserve their virginities. "After attending the Purity Ball, Heather and Bill saddlebacked all night because she's saving herself for marriage." Please, please adopt this definition!
Colorful as some of the others are, I think that 5 strikes the perfect balance of irony and user-friendliness.

Reading through the archives, though, I was struck by a rather curious fact. A pair of facts, really: 1) Abstinence-only education has led to teenagers thinking that anal sex is not sex and has no risk of STDs, and 2) Gay teens, in an effort to prove how straight they are to their peers, are impregnating one another in record numbers.  (Both issues discussed in the DTMFA-a-Thon.)

So, just to recap the effects of Christian prudishness: gay kids are having straight sex, and straight Christians are sodomizing each other. Clearly, not teaching kids about "bad things" stops them from doing those "bad things." Actually, in that light, maybe it's not so surprising that Christian methods are proving counterproductive to their goals, after all.

I feel a great swell of sympathy for the gay kids who feel the need to prove beyond a shadow of a doubt that they're not who they are. They're forcing themselves through acts which ought to bring with them the very height of human pleasure as some kind of twisted penance for being different from their peers - a penance which they should never feel the need to pay in the first place. Not only that, the children they bring into this world as a product of these unloved acts are... well... no, I can't say that they're all unwanted, and perhaps some of them will be loved dearly and raised well - but most of them are likely to wind up unwanted, in a dysfunctional house, in orphanages, or in foster homes.

As for the Christians, this is further evidence that abstinence-only education both does not work and is tantamount to criminal neglect. The idea of "virginity" is a primitive notion in the first place, predicated as it is on the genetically advantageous desire for a male to hedge against the risk of raising an unrelated child. We're beyond this, scientifically speaking, and ought to be beyond this, culturally speaking. "Never having had sex" is just not a virtue, plain and simple, and we as a people need to recognize this! Furthermore, the legalistic idea that anal sex somehow "preserves virginity" (by which Christians can only mean "leaves the hymen intact") is asinine.

Truly, these children are suffering for the wrongdoings of their forebears. This is the second time today that I've referenced the Bible, but I think it's appropriate here.

Finally, on a lighter note, Dan's remark on the logical consequences of this view (that anal sex "preserves virginity") is fucking priceless: "I've been preserving the shit out of my boyfriend's virginity for 14 years now." Fucking.  Priceless.


Zach L said...

I think I can safely say from an experienced standpoint that Not Having Sex is the suckiest not-virtue to have ever.


Jack Phillips said...

I remember in our sex, values, and human nature class Horvath said a lot of people define sex in a way that sex is ONLY penal vaginal intercourse. I go to the other crazy extreme where sex is equivalent to a kind of mental state - I won't define it now because I don't recall how I do - but needless to say the problem with my way of defining sex is that eating ice cream with another person in a qualia-sexual way then becomes sex, which lots of people find weird. I wish there were a God just so we could have access to his dictionary. Euthypro related problems aside, I don't like inter-subjectivity tainting my definitions of terms.

This turned into a rant.

Also, we voted for the same definition of Saddlebacking.