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Sex is not the same as intimacy

[trigger warning: sexual abuse and rape]

Sex is a gift, it is not a right or a need. In my own experience, I gave myself away emotionally long before I gave myself away physically. It’s how a woman is wired. I felt something and I “gave my gift” to the person I wanted to maintain some sort of intimacy with.

That’s what I wanted – intimacy – not just sex. It took me a long time to come to that realization because of the many years of abuse I endured and the destructive behaviors that stemmed from that trauma. But I did find hope. And I believe you can, too.

Early sexual abuse nearly destroyed me

Do you believe that sex is a need? Do you believe that you can live a fulfilled life without having sex?

My earliest memory of sex is when I was three years old. I was molested by an uncle, and he showed me pornographic magazines. I remember standing on a chair in the dusty kitchen in our old shotgun shack in Alabama. He put me up in that chair so I would be a “big girl”. It was broad daylight, the middle of the day and he showed me things and taught me things that no three-year-old should experience.

I was later raped and sexually abused repeatedly by four people in the foster home I grew up in. I remember thinking I would never be free. I thought I would never be able to have a normal relationship. My body betrayed me in so many ways – once exposed to sexual stimulation there is a natural physical response that my brain could not comprehend. I felt so ashamed for so long.

Destructive behaviors became the norm

These experiences fractured me. My uncle was caught in the act and then I reported my foster father when I ran away after high school graduation. The justice that was served brought some closure, but I needed healing.

My decisions – the behaviors that I chose to engage in later that I could not blame on another person- harmed me more than anything that they did to me: masturbation, prostitution, homosexuality, promiscuity, abortion. In our “sexual liberation” we have proven that the penalty of sin is death – or at least I have. Death to relationships, dignity, health, and even my own child.

Sex was designed to be a good

Despite my traumatic experiences, I still believe that sex is good and I believe that God created sex for our good. I believe that His desire for our bodies is that we are blessed and fulfilled.

Do you believe you can be spiritual and be sexual?
Do you believe you can be sexual and be holy?
Do you believe you can be sexual and be pure?

I do. I believe all these things. But I did not always.

Every warning from God concerning sex is to keep us from destruction, not to keep us from having fun or being fulfilled. God’s motive is love, not legalism. He does not want us to experience the heartbreak that has come our way because of immorality. But many of us are riddled with the shame, guilt, pain, and consequences of sexual immorality – whether it was something we consented to and regretted or an act that was committed without our consent, like molestation, abuse, or rape. We feel like we cannot tell others what to do because there is immorality in our past.

The rules around sex are there for freedom, not constraint

Sex was God’s idea in the first place. He wants us to enjoy it to the fullest according to his design. We must have sexual and emotional integrity to avoid the pitfalls that come with immoral behavior.

The problem with most of our plans to remain sexually pure or faithful is that they only include physical boundaries. But we can jeopardize our emotional integrity long before our body becomes vulnerable to temptation. Girls, we must focus on keeping our emotions in check. When we guard our hearts and keep them pure and faithful, we will protect our bodies as well.

To maintain integrity, we must let go of some of the “freedoms” we have to dress how we want, talk how we want, think how we want and act like we want. We do this to serve others in love. Modesty is a lifestyle – we put our character and integrity on display, not our bodies.

Sex isn’t a basic human need. Really.

Some of you may be thinking, “Come on, Pam. It’s 2021. Sex is a basic human need.” But is it? No. It is not. Sex is a gift. Despite all of what the Scriptures say in support and celebration of human sexuality, the Bible makes it very clear that you can be fully and entirely human without ever having sex.

1. Jesus, Jeremiah, John the Baptist and Elijah never had it.
2. Sex is natural for human beings, but not necessary.
3. A person can live a full, blessed, rich, useful, meaningful, God-glorifying life without ever having sex with anyone.

Sex is good but it is not ultimate. There are countless other humans who live their whole lives without it, and they did not die because of it. On the contrary there are countless others who have sex outside of God’s design and die because of it.

Hope exists

Many of us have violated God’s law and design for our sex lives. We’ve done all of the forbidden things. So, is there any hope? Why don’t we just settle the past and silence the accusations right now.

Many of us feel “worthless” because the “prize” of virginity was taken from us or we gave it away. But purity comes from Jesus. We are made clean only by accepting His atonement for our sin and forgiveness for the sins of others, so they are not retained. He says we are worth it all.

God paid a high price for you. You are valuable. Just like a $100 that gets passed around, stomped on, crushed, wadded up or torn does not lose its value, neither do you. Your value is established by your Creator, not by what you do or what happens to you.

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