Questions on: Single, Saved & Sexin’

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I’m breaking this up in 2 parts.  (Questions 1-4) and (Questions 5-7)


“Premarital virginity, for example, was incumbent only upon females; there is no indication that males were expected to be virgins at marriage, and there is no provision in the Hebrew Bible for lifelong virginity.”  (reference Deut 22.13 – 21) –Oxford Companion
“Our faith space, personal and communal, can only be liberatory when it permits us to be fully human, sexuality and all.”–CAH

My friend and fellow blogger over at Total Life Prosperity recently posted pieces of this article:  Single, Saved, and Sexin’[source].

Incidentally, I also finished the book “God and Sex:  What the Bible Really says” by biblical scholar Michael Coogan and thought I would tackle both the book and article in tandem.

It is no secret that I’m interested in the integration of sexuality + spirituality and the history of sexual mores within the context of religion.

The commentors over at the original post kinda scare me.  Their venomous replies and comments about someone else’s body and sexuality were telling.  I cringe when folks try to tell others what to do, “in Jesus’ name” because most times they look like ambassadors of doctrine rather than disciples of Jesus.  Where’s the Love? lol.

So, after reading the post, the book, as well as what the commentors had to say, I had quite a few smarty pants questions.

Why are we so fixated with what we perceive as sexual ‘sin’?
“[Jesus] seems to have been more concerned with interpersonal dynamics and with humans’ relationship with God than with sexual mores.”  — Michael Coogan

We, us in the religious community, place a HIGH premium on ‘sexual’ sin.  We are overly obsessed and overly concerned with our sexual organs—and what other folks are doing with their genitalia.  [Please, do a bit of research on the origins of our sexual sin obsession to check that out. Think Original Sin, etc]

In unrelenting and passionate terms, we list all of the sexual stuff that we believe God hates.  Premarital sex and homosexuality are the biggest hot buttons.   Then we try to back up our disdain for the hot buttons by misquoting and misinterpreting scripture.

We rattle off a sexual sin rule book–but how many of us even understand the original rules and codes [i.e. the original, cultural context and meaning of the Levitical codes, Paul’s letter to Corinth, Jesus’ teaching on divorce]

We boldly lament: God has to hate sex because…clearly it’s in THE BIBLE.  And the bible is…[the infalliable, complete, word of God] the inspired word of God?

But, is that, really, the real deal???

Why do we make Human Stuff [morality], God stuff [holiness]?

Morality as defined as: is a sense of behavioral conduct that differentiates intentions, decisions, and actions between those that are good (or right) and bad (or wrong). From wiki

Holiness: as defined as set apart by God? [Holiness is not a set of legalistic rules]

They are not the same thing.  So, why do we do that?

What is the ‘sexual’ sin of fornication, really?

Welp, did you know there is no word in the original Hebrew bible that defines how WE presently define fornication.    The original Hebrew and Greek words for fornication are Zanah and Porneia [where we get the word p0rn from] [Source Here] It’s original definition had to do with harlotry, idolatry [Here]

In fact, “When the writers of Scripture wrote of ‘porneia’ they did not have in mind singles sex, but the kind of temple prostitution that was rampant in Corinth and many other cities of the ancient world.” [Source]

The New Testament Canon preserves two of Paul’s letters to the Corinthians. Corinth was a rich and populous city that catered to pleasure-seekers and idolaters alike.  Paul’s converts from the city represented a cross section of the populace. There were,   “fornicators [prostitutes], idolaters, adulterers, sexual deviants, thieves, drunks, slanderers and swindlers” (I Corinthians 6:9-10). A smattering of more elegant types – Crispus, Erastus and Chloe – completed the picture.

Want to read more? [Here]

Hey, where are the male virgins in the bible? Oh wait, there were none. #swindle

“Premarital virginity was incumbent only upon females; there is no indication that males were expected to be virgins at marriage, and there is no provision in the Hebrew Bible for lifelong virginity.”  (Deut 22.13 – 21 for  reference) –The Oxford Companion to the Bible

Additionally, Mike Coogan wrote:

“We find frequent references [in the Hebrew Bible] to women who have not known a man, but never to a man who has not known a woman. In all of the laws concerning marriage and rape, a man’s previous sexual history is never an issue, only a woman’s.”

How is this even so?  Why the pre-martial double standard?

Well, it’s because a woman was the property of the men in her life:  her daddy then her husband.  A woman’s untouched vajayjay was a premium. Nope, she did not own her body or her love box.  Instead, it all belonged to her pops–then her hubby.  And that hubby had to pay for her love [via a bride price, or a dowry].

I guess, there is no surprise there.  Even in our modern day, western society, the woman’s sexuality is still a prize. [as it should be?]

As an aside, I always thought the evangelical father/daughter purity rituals were a little creepy.  But after reading the book, I am disgusted with the idea that anybody, besides the woman who lives in her body, could own her sex.  Gross.

More Questions [Here]

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  1. long sigh….where do I start….you pose alot of questions…some of which never crossed my mind. I understand your questions and logic but I’m not sure if I agree…I’ll leave it at that because I don’t have much to add…*goes to my concordance to do some Hebrew/Greek studying. Looks forward to the next part tho. I’m always interested in your thoughts ;)

  2. yea…I got more questions than answers :-(

    I think I’m going to try and counter my self and my questions in another post one day soon.

    I wonder if I can convince myself ‘fornication’ as we know it is wrong, without taking some of the common scriptures folks use to say it is, out of context?

    Fun, fun fun? :=/

  3. So you touched on one of the main things that I have come to understand recently. I can only speak of my own experience and those around me but fornication as we define it looks A LOT like Idolatry. When I think about how much time (YEARS) Christians harp on sexual sins (and not other very relevant sins such as not walking in love), how sexual images are glorified in our media, how much time women think about premartial sex, the possible emotional, mental, physical and spiritual outcomes, weighing pros and cons of lovers, 2-4mth rules/ in and out of celibacy, AND being celibate/chase just to get the hubby ‘the right way’…then add the monogamous dating/relationship stuff: texting/chatting/emailing, planning dates, shacking….It seems like we spend substantial amounts of energy focusing on sexuality & relationships versus developing/maintaining a real relationship with God. People tend to spend their time on what they value most and it seems to me that what we consider fornication leads alot of people to spend less time appreciating and valuing God and all that He freely offers and instead focus on the positive and negatives of sex and sexuality. And I don’t even think that most people realize that their focus/value has tipped in the other direction….

  4. Good stuff, Moni.
    That’s interesting how you made fornication a parallel with idolatry. I kinda like that.

    But, what about the people who don’t make sex an idol, and those who don’t have those rules, and those who don’t obsess about sex? What about those folks who see their sexuality and their sex lives as #1 a gift from God and #2 a full extension of love they have for another person and for themselves. Then what? What if someone isn’t ‘idolatrous’ with humping?

    I don’t think a relationship with God and relationship with people have to happen in silos. They aren’t and really can’t be mutually exclusive, considering how we’re taught in this faith walk that relationships are important. Surely, the God relationship is first, but….discipleship is also about community and relational living [with other people]. I do believe a healthy balance can be found between the God and relationships.

    For those who can’t find that balance, it may be hard for them and sex probably can’t be an option for them. But what happens when they, let’s say–get married and have kids? When does the balance begin? To flip it, those in this community that idolize marriage [and doing 'rules they think will get them a husband] could have some interesting issues post their wedding day?

  5. Great ideas and discussion here! I applaud you for questioning faith and spirituallity. I think it is the only way to get a stronger relationship with the creator is by questioning and searching and learning more truth looking forward to reading the next part

  6. Oh soo many questions LAWD! LOL

    I think it boils down to your personal relationship. But as a human race, can we NOT make sex or sexuality a huge deal? Maybe that’s why those ‘sexual laws’ were put in place because He knew we’d get off track and unbalanced.

    The balance that we are all looking for and I’m sure that God desires for us will undoubtedly look different for all of us. I question what that balance actually IS for singles in terms of intimate relationships…isn’t God a jealous lover, isn’t He the bridegroom, are we to be in committed, covenant (idk what’s more covenant like than becoming physically one) relationships outside of God & eventually (maybe a hubby), being with someone sexually is as close as we can truly get on Earth? Is physical oneness how God designed us to express our love, if Jesus is our example of perfect, unconditional love I ain’t NEVER gonna get none again! le sigh (again more questions I have no idea how to answer)

    I totally agree with you and that the balance has to be discovered in all relationships, single, married, etc which is why I assume a lot of marriages fail (never found that balance being by themselves but just went ahead & did what was ‘right’ & timely). I’m just not sure we’ve supposed to have the answers we’d like because maybe it’s just because He said so and if I’m supposed to get this here faith walk right, that should be enough… LE SIGHHHHHHHHHHH (lol)

  7. I’m done at, “If Jesus is our example of perfect, unconditional love I ain’t NEVER gonna get none again! le sigh (again more questions I have no idea how to answer)”

    stick a fork in me and roast me, gal.

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