The way we talk about sex at church, you’d think no one is having it. It’s a wonder anyone of us were ever conceived!

You should spend your entire life suppressing any sexual thoughts you might ever had. Until the moment you get married, then it’s one of the most beautiful things ever. But don’t ever talk about it in public. Except maybe once a year if you’re a married youth pastor trying to be hip. Or something like that.

When I was younger, I wondered if I there was something wrong with me. I learned in church that we weren’t supposed to “lust” after women, but the other guys would talk about Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Edition and Victoria’s Secret catalogues in the youth lounge.

So it was OK for them to do that? But we’re supposed to pretend that we don’t when we’re all together?

And what was I to make of the crushes I developed? I shared recently on my Letter about the first guy I fell in love with. It was high school, and innocent. I never saw anyone around me talking openly about same-gender attractions. Was I the only one? Was I a pervert?

I observe a disconnect between stated beliefs and actions.

It happens in the church. It happens in synagogues. It happens in schools, and in politics, and over the family dinner table.

How do we really live and love?

As I journey toward affirmation, I am developing a practice of talking more plainly about life and love. Of revealing the real, messy details of my life, instead of the polished version that I think I am supposed to be. It’s scary. And liberating.

I find that as I take risks and put myself on the line, others respond in kind. Real conversation and connection can happen.

Would you consider taking a risk and breaking the silence? Would you respond to the Tough Question prompts (or suggest a Tough Question)? You can respond publicly or reply directly to my inbox.

Recommend Reading

If this post resonates with you, I cannot recommend Ev`Yan’s Sex, Love, and Liberation enough. The blog and the book.

Want to get those each week (plus some occasional, more private thoughts on sex & relationships)? I’d love to keep in touch. Drop your email address below and I’ll keep you in the loop!

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