Monday, December 18, 2006

What is Purity?

On Focus on the Family today, the broadcast was about teens and purity. I had heard parts of it before but this time it really hit me.

It seems that even though I know sex is happening earlier, I am amazed when I hear the details of what is really going on.

According to a survey, at least 50 percent of kids ages 11-18 are engaging in oral sex. To be honest, I don’t think I even heard of it until my late teens. The sad thing is that they don’t even consider it as having sex. In some places it is called Christian sex because that’s what the Christian kids do. When that was brought up, a question was asked: “Are you finding that Christian kids don’t even understand what it means to be pure today?” The answer was that many see it as a line in the sand; as long as they don’t technically have sex, as long as they don’t lose their virginity then they can do anything up to that line and still be pure.

That made me wonder how we should define purity and what guidelines should be conveyed. What we have said in the past is to save sex for marriage and that true love waits. Are we losing the battle because things have been redefined so kids are doing certain things while thinking they are still pure?

The old question was: “how far is too far?” Can that be defined? Is anything too far or is everything short of intercourse okay? Can you kiss passionately as long as you don’t use your hands? Can hands caress certain places and it still be okay? Now I’m not talking of kids whose intention is to get away with as much as they can. I’m thinking of the ones who do want to be pure and to save sex for marriage.

One thing I have advocated previously is that physical boundaries need to be in place and there shouldn’t be too much privacy. That will help keep good intentions in place.

In Real Sex, Lauren Winner spoke of the guidelines that she and her fiancĂ© put into place. There was a very public place on their college campus called the Rotunda that they would walk past on their dates. A friend gave them this piece of guidance: “Don’t do anything sexual that you wouldn’t be comfortable doing on the steps of the Rotunda.” That was their line. She said they would kiss to their hearts content on those steps.

I think that fits with my boundary idea. Before marriage, certain aspects of the relationship need to be very public. You have to admit that standing on those steps is a lot different from sitting in the back seat of a car or snuggling on the couch at your girlfriend’s apartment with no one else around.

With something like the Rotunda rule, the boundaries were on display before friends. Lauren said it established a discipline – almost like a budget. It (the spending) could be done without guilt or concern because the boundaries had been set out before with clear thought.

So what do you think? How should we specifically define things? What kinds of Rotunda’s can we establish? I look forward to hearing your thoughts. Feel free to post a comment anonymously.

Philip

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