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Teaching People How to Say Yes to Sex

Posted: October 2, 2015 by Rob Voyle

I am so tired of just say No Christianity!

There is absolutely no life in those things we say no to. As St. Paul proclaims creating rules against things brings death it is the Spirit that brings life. Yet too often Christianity is reduced to rules outlawing behaviors, and within the United States rules against anything that might be pleasurable, especially if it relates in any way to sex.

And what many Christians in the United States believe it is their moral obligation to impose their morality on the rest of us. I wish they would take their no-se out of my life and business.

What we in our communities of faith need to be doing is teaching people how and when to say yes to sex or other pleasurable things or anything else for that matter. It is interesting to note that some of the highest teenage pregnancy rates are in areas that mandate that abstinence is the only thing that can be taught. Just say no doesn't work, it didn't work for St. Paul and it still doesn't work for us.

So how would we teach people how to say yes to sex, without relying on a legalistic imperative such as the "Bible says so" or "God wouldn't like it." The last time I talked to God it was clear to me that God is not an idiot and so I wonder what he was up to when he was creating such things and inspiring books like the Song of Solomon.

I think we need to teach people they are free to say yes to sex or anything when they are prepared to accept responsibility for the outcome of the behavior.

And so what are the possible consequences of sex?

• Pregnancy
• Disease

Now its relatively easy with a reasonable degree of probability to prevent pregnancy and disease, however nothing is ever certain and so we do need to consider and be prepared to accept responsibility for these potential outcomes.

But there are two other outcomes we need to consider.

• Fun and Pleasure

Sarah's response, in her old age, to the angel who told her she would have another child responded: "am I to have pleasure again?" Apparently Abraham was no spring chicken either and as George Burns once said: sex after 90 is like playing billiards with a piece of rope. So the old couple get a twinkle in their eye and apparently other parts as well...

Personally I am a bit of a hedonist and I have no problem accepting responsibility for pleasurable outcomes. However that doesn't seem to be the case with many Christians today. The writer H.L. Menchen once said Puritanism is the haunting fear that someone, somewhere, may be happy and it clearly seems that fear continues unabated in our society. So some folk will need to accept responsibility for the guilt they may experience for giving and receiving pleasure.

• You become one with each other

Of all of the consequences of sex I think this is the one that is most overlooked and unconsidered. And the two shall become one... What this means is that if there is a subsequent break up in the relationship the people will feel torn.

Many companies frown on or forbid workplace romances, yet fifty years ago, many bosses dated and married their secretaries or young clergy married choir members or the senior pastor's daughters. Now all of that is frowned on and the participants subject to censure. What has changed?

Fifty years ago, first dates meant coffee and a movie. Now it often includes sex. And when these relationships fail we have torn people in the work place. The pain and distress of being torn, of feeling betrayed, or used, seriously jeopardizes workplace effectiveness, not only for the couple but for their fellow colleagues who get to breathe the toxic fallout of betrayal and torn souls.

Can you accept responsibility for tearing your soul and the soul of another? What do you need to do to make it safe to become one with another and accept responsibility for the wonder of that oneness?

Just say no may be appropriate for children who don't comprehend consequences but it is not appropriate for adults. Its time for our communities of faith to teach the children of God to grow up and becomes the adults of God and know how and when to say Yes! to all the blessing God sets before us.

And in the meantime to all those so inclined, please take your nose out of my life.

With love and Joy

Rob Voyle
Director, Clergy Leadership Institute

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About the Author

Rob Voyle

Rob Voyle

The Rev. Dr. Rob Voyle is a leader in the development and use of appreciative inquiry in church and coaching settings.

Rob's Approach to Training

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