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Monday, December 14, 2009

Origins

I sometimes wonder when exactly this sensitivity, and sometimes burden, towards sexuality and virginity first occurred in my life. And though I wouldn’t say there was one specific time or overwhelming revelation, I can pinpoint a few instances where I potently remember a “tug on my soul” that helped formulate my understanding of sexuality and probably was a strong determinate in the paths I did or did not go down through my youth and young-adulthood. Perhaps these stories will give you better insight into where I am coming from with all this…

Family Life
-Though this isn’t a specific circumstance, my understanding of how a man should treat a woman, especially one’s wife, was greatly influenced by the example of how my father treated my mother and three sisters. Firstly, he treated them (and family as a whole) as if they were the most important thing in his life behind God; they were always a priority. Secondly, he always treated them with respect, never laying a finger on them and if he ever got too “loud” with them, apologies would follow. Thirdly with my sisters my father passionately, sometimes too passionately, protected them from guys (they’re all happily married now btw). The combination of these outward expressions of love, protection, and priority developed in me a keen sense of the sanctity of marriage and relationships with woman in all stages of life.

Youth-league football
-In 6th and 7th grade I played youth league football. Most of the players on my team were a year older than me in 7th and 8th grade respectively though (ironically, the only other kid my age on the team was Shawn Witten, older brother of Dallas Cowboys star tight end Jason Witten). Anyways, being the sexually charged junior highers, I distinctly remember two instances that affected me while on that team.
The first was at a team party in which some of the guys were passing around an issue of Playboy magazine. Now I was still a sexual ignoramus at this time (didn’t learn how babies were made until I was 16) but I clearly remember feeling a sense that it was wrong to look at women in this context and that it was somehow demeaning to them in my pre-pubescent mind. And though I didn’t really know what I was passing up, I did so anyways – enduring the inevitable teasing that followed.
The second experience was driving home in a van from a game with some other players. One of my teammates was telling another kid of his sexual exploits the previous weekend and how he was really disappointed that this girl he was making out with hadn’t “developed” at all yet (in more detail obviously). I heard the whole story but remember in mind to be mildly perplexed that I wasn’t as interested in the story as the other guys were. It was the first time I think I felt ok not feeling like “one of the guys” or part of the “locker room talk”; a sort of virgin “survival” trait that would stick with me for many years.

Freshman year
-I occasionally got a ride home from school from a senior friend of mine. One day he had asked me if I had a girlfriend yet. I was so vexed by the question. How in the world could I have a girlfriend with all the homework, practices, and cartoon and video game playing I had on this 14 year old’s docket? It wasn’t I was offended at the idea; it just had never crossed my mind to “date” up to this point in my life.

Junior year basketball
-My junior year I was shooting free throws with a teammate during one casual Saturday morning practice. We were talking about girls and he started talking about sex and eventually he asked me if I had ever “seen the sights”. My obliviousness to the query was apparent, and after some friendly teasing and amazement on his part, I came to realize he was referring to female genitalla. To my sheltered mind, the thought of seeing the “sights” was so jarring, so foreign to me that it shook me a bit. Yet the assumption and expectation of my friend that I already had, basically the normalcy of it all for a regular 17 year old kid to have seen the “sights”, shook me a lot.

High school crush
-I had a high school crush most of high school (what kid doesn’t?). I had the blessing of eventually becoming friends with her and going on a few dates (our first being my first date) at the end of my senior year and in college some. Well one of those summers in between there, I was hanging out with some people who were close friends with this crush of mine. The one guy, knowing my fondness of this girl perfectly well, went on to describe (in painful detail for me) circumstances of intimate nature involving this girl and one of his friends – whom she was dating at the time. Hearing this story literally wrenched my soul and for the first time in my life I felt personal anguish, and anger, towards impurity (and PABs, but that’s for another post…). It was the first time also I developed a sort of “savoir” complex in the sense that from that day forward I never wanted that girl, and any girl I met for that matter, to ever be able to say she never met a nice guy that treated her with absolute respect and purity in her whole life. It became my mission to prove the old adage that many disenchanted girls and women unfortunately adhere to that there are no “good” guys out there.

College
-I remember my freshman year in college walking through a quad at Virginia Tech with two of my soccer team teammates. The one was sharing a story about a friend of his to us. Apparently his friend divulged intimate details of a sexual encounter he had over the past weekend. This guy friend of his described how he had hooked up with a girl and went into detail how when they were having sex, in the middle of it, the girl asked him if he thought she was pretty. My two friends whom I was walking with went on to joke about this guy’s answer…given the time and circumstance in which the question was posed…was it any surprise he replied to her with a resounding “yes”?
After hearing that story I think it was the first time I became profoundly cognizant of the sometimes utter hopelessness and insecurity many girls in my peer group, and society in general, operate their relational lives around; and how they so often just flail about at anything or anyone that will fulfill that deep void of worth and affirmation, even if false affirmation like this girl sought, that they lack and so desperately seek. My heart broke all over again for girls like this in ways it hadn’t yet. My understanding of the fallen world I was a resident off just got a little broader.

Jersey boardwalk
-The summer between my freshman and sophomore years of college I spent a week in Ocean City, NJ with my parents and some family members. A couple days it was just me and my parents and so I would venture to the boardwalk by myself at nights just to sit and watch people go by. Soon I became acutely aware of all the teenage kids populating the boardwalk and they’d usually travel in groups of their same gender, presumably trying to meet of with groups of the opposite gender. I observed as this sad phenomenon occurred regularly with too-young girls in too-revealing outfits trying to attract boys who were trying to act too-cool for their own insecure good and show off a too-virile persona that I know was the furthest from the truth. This was one of the first times my heart broke for the newest latchkey generation of kids whose parents that weren’t home, day care that didn’t care, and hearts lost in nowhere just trying to find something to feel…

Gladiator
-My sophomore year I saw the movie Gladiator. It was the first time I really felt the effect a movie, an entertainment medium based on a written story/script, could have on my soul. I started to write about my thoughts and feelings after that movie, ended up writing a 120 or so page screenplay shortly thereafter, and eventually all this writing birthed into my website EbbWorld v1.0 in 2003.


1 Timothy 5:2
- “Treat…younger women as sisters, with absolute purity.”

Yes it’s religious and yes it’s from the Bible, but I haven’t found better advice for a boy growing into a man regarding how he should treat any and all girls that he meets, interacts with, and even is attracted to. I wrote this verse on my heart at a young age and it followed me through my teenage and young-adult years and allowed me to deeply and satisfyingly get to know some girls via a guiltless friendship devoid of all the distractions and pressures that a physical relationship between a guy and girl who are too immature enough yet anyways brings with it. This verse literally dictated the perspective that I saw, and continue to see every girl with…as one of my sisters. And there are no girls that I desire to respect, love, and put on a pedestal of beauty and purity more then my three beautiful and wonderful sisters. What girl doesn't want to be treated with that adoration?! What an awesome standard Paul establishes for our relational benefit here!

4 comments:

  1. Hey, your reference to 1 Tim 5:2 reminds me of a blog I wrote at the beach last year. http://blog.troythoman.com/2009/06/15/sister-sister/

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  2. Yeah man, those are some good insights on 1 Tim 5:2 you got there. I especially like how you propose how it may look like yet you don't say it specifically has to look like something, implying that it's a heart issue that will work itself out in practical terms - which I tend to view. Good stuff bro.

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  3. There are probably instances that formed your views of sexuality that you don't even remember. Such as, get your hands out of your pants, when you were very young. These are all forms of "sex ed" that most people don't even recognize as such. You have been undergoing sex ed for your entire life. There is no "singular moment" that you speak of.

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  4. Good point...no doubt there were many subtle moments that formed my views on sexuality that went unoticed. It's the same for everyone I'm sure. And I'll bet how one's parents treat eachother is a big indicator also. My father always exhibited the utmost love and care for my mother - and I'm sure that exemplariry behavoir, despite him never really talking to me much about girls and relationships, was a big influence in my paradigm development.

    That said, I do believe singular moments play a big part too. I vividly remember those moments mentioned above, so they've obviously influenced me. I think all of us can point to specific sexually related moments that we vividly remember for one reason or another because of their impact in our lives at that time and beyond.

    Thanks for the thought!

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