Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Sexual Misinformation: A Thin Line Between Complacency and Ignorance

Recently, I read a news item online about the results of a survey. Turns out, many young adults are not as savvy as they think about sexual matters. Among the points discussed, many folks between 18 and 35 actually believe that having intercourse standing up will somehow reduce the chances of getting pregnant.


I'm sure many religious liberals would express shock that this level of ignorance exists in America today. But, we shouldn't be. After all, our Federal government has been pushing so-called "abstinence-only education" around the country. When you fund programs which actually discourage condom use and promotes stereotypical views of gender, we should expect that many of the youth continue that process of self-deception.

What I really wonder about -- or worry about -- is how liberals unwittingly contributed to the problem.

Liberals express strong beliefs in education, and in openly discussing sexual issues. The flip side of that is the belief that, because you are more knowledgeable and open than others, that this is enough. Unfortunately, that's not always the case.

I've often wondered, for example, how many congregations go through the process of becoming a "welcoming" or "open and affirming" congregation to LGBT folks, feel satisfied with that process, and then do nothing more. I wonder about clergy who preach one sermon a year about sexuality -- perhaps the same ones, slightly edited and updated -- yet do little in promoting education and social justice in that area.

The fact is, in a culture filled with mixed signals about sexuality, gender and relationships, we cannot and should not be content with an occasional class or public pronouncement. The process of learning and transformation is continual, and at times even painful.

Social conservatives often oppose such measures, citing a fear of a slippery slope that, once one aspect of "traditional morality" is questioned, it is inevitable that the entire package is challenged. It's time to admit that they are right -- and, more importantly, that it is essential. Jesus said: "Ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall set you free." That means confronting the myths and misconceptions which have kept so many enslaved by fear, shame and misery. Including ourselves.


  1. I asked my UU minister in CT what the reaction would be if I wanted to bring my two boyfriends to church with me. She said she wanted some time to think about it . . . and then never got back to me. She is openly gay, and has worked in the sex education field. And yet, she never got back to me.

  2. Call her on it. Remind her that you asked this question, expected an answer, and never got one. Remind her that silence can be soul-wounding, too. Remind her of all the reasons why you come to church, and why you trusted her with this. And be prepared to answer her questions about polyamory.

  3. Anonymous, yes do call her on it, but also realize she may just have forgotten.

    If she pushes you off, ask her when she could get back to you then hold her to that.

    Remember, what people don't know scares them, but once they really know something it won't scare them.