Evangelicals have a sex problem.

The big three Evangelical sins are sex, drugs and rock ‘n roll. But the greatest (sin) of these is sex.

Growing up Evangelical, sex was taboo. You weren’t supposed to talk about anything sexual. No questions about sex; no mention of sex; no sexual thoughts; no movies with sex, no music about sex, no innuendo in regards to sex. If you are a girl, don’t wear anything that might make a boy think about sex (by the way, that’s impossible). If you are a boy, you have to avoid girls as much as possible and you can’t touch them in any way unless or until you marry them.

But for all the sex we were not allowed to talk about, the pastors made up for it, especially the youth pastor. They talked about sex a LOT. They brought it up in every second or third sermon. At least two to three times a year we would have “split sessions” where the boys and girls of the youth group would be split up by gender to talk about sex. This talk would be more specific and have a little more details.

Nearly two decades of Evangelical sex teaching can be summed up like this:

Sex is bad before you’re married and boring after you’re married.

This obsession with sex (and avoiding it at all costs), has created a generation of Christians who are sexually broken because of how we have taught them to view sex.

Here are at least four ways that Evangelical sex education has impacted the larger Evangelical culture:

Just Get Married Already!

We have encouraged marriage primarily for sexual reasons so we have a lot of marriages that should have never happened and now we have to work to fix them.

Evangelical sex education teaches that you can only have sex with someone when you’re married to them, and we have been so dogmatic about this being the only way that many Evangelical young people (particularly males) were quick to marry a girl that they really liked because then they could have sex with her. Sex really IS that powerful of a motivator.

This is also the reason many Evangelical young people get married so early. They have held out from having sex for so long and cannot take it anymore, so they get married to be able to finally have sex. So many Evangelical marriages have begun this way and ended terribly because of it.

Divorce is Not an Option

Many of these young Evangelicals got married to have sex and then they were left in miserable marriages that they had entered into for the wrong reason. But Evangelicalism has put a stigma around divorce that remains to this day. Divorce was frowned upon for nearly any reason, except, in some circles, adultery by one of the spouses. If you were an Evangelical who was stuck in a loveless marriage (or worse), you did not think it was right for you to get a divorce so you stayed in your miserable relationship.

When I was growing up, our church building had a chapel and the main sanctuary. If you had been divorced and wanted to get married again, you could only have your wedding in the chapel. Apparently, the sanctuary was too holy for second marriages.

Sex Rules

We have created irrational sexual rules that have led to the unnecessary sexualization of many relationships. Specifically, I’m referring to things like the Billy Graham rule, which says that a man should never be alone with a woman who is not his wife. There are all kinds of problems with this rule, but one is the idea that the man is so sex-crazed that he won’t be able to not have sex with any woman if he is alone with him.

This idea comes from the sex education that Evangelicals conduct. This education has taught many guys that their sexuality cannot be contained and because it can’t be contained they cannot have rich, monogamous relationships with the opposite sex. This has been a significant detriment to the Kingdom of God and, frankly, has led to the continued suppression of women by the Evangelical community.

Shame On You

Evangelicals have developed an environment of shame and guilt that has discouraged confession and authenticity in the area of sexuality.

Evangelicals have turned sexual sins into the worst type of sin. In many Evangelical circles, you would be more easily forgiven if you were an alcoholic or drug addict than if you had sex before you were married.  This has caused most sexual sin to go underground. These sins are kept a secret, and often only come to light when you get caught.

It is no wonder that so many Evangelicals I know are so sexually broken. I too am sexually broken and it is part of the reason I am now an eXvangelical.

About Matthew Thisse

Matthew Thisse is a Jesus follower, single father, associate pastor, and corporate trainer. He is a former Evangelical and a failed fundamentalist.

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