(Real) Love Conquers All

I suppose there a lot of other things I could be blogging about right now – like Doug Phillips being sued for molesting his children’s nanny, or my current perspective on Easter – but tonight I write about love.

 

I’ve written some about my first marriage and how IFB shaped my view of love here, here, and here. My first marriage tanked pretty quickly. I had no prior experience with an actual relationship, thought you were supposed to marry your first love, and believed that there would never be another person who would tell me he loved me and wanted to take care of me. I went into the relationship with a very low level of self-worth, which turned into me letting my then-boyfriend-and-eventually-husband push me into things I wasn’t comfortable with as well as letting him run me down and treat me like a child (not that children should be treated that way). I had gotten myself into an abusive relationship with a racist, misogynistic, mentally ill guy who believed the world was run by lizard aliens called the Illuminati. Yeah…. He was an expert liar and I was blinded by love, only to be blindsided by the craziness after we were married. After a few months of abuse, an opportunity to get out came, and I chose to leave. As hard as it was at the time, I’ve never regretted my decision and am so thankful to have my life back. Other ex-fundies have talked about experiences like this and refer to marriages like mine as “starter marriages,” because so many ex-fundies lack the real-world knowledge and experience to start in healthy relationships.

When I left my first marriage I was terrified of my ex, had even lower self-esteem than before, and was struggling with depression. Love had betrayed me. Marriage was supposed to be an ultimate goal that, once obtained, meant you were safe for life, but my marriage had dissolved due to things I had never dreamed possible. I lost a lot of things in that relationship, but the experience I gained changed my life for the better. I knew I would never marry someone without living with them first – no more prudish views about what I once considered a pretend marriage. No more promises made about abstaining from sex before marriage – sex was great and even sacred, and it didn’t make sense for me to hold back that part of a relationship until after I had married someone. The legality of marriage was huge and scary – something I didn’t fully grasp until my name was legally bound with the name of someone else whom I needed to divorce. For awhile I toyed with the idea of never entering into a legally-binding marriage again. A couple’s commitment to each other was sufficient for me, so why add the hassle of getting married? What was so important about this marriage thing anyway? Was it outdated and unnecessary? 

Then I was swept off my feet by someone else (also an ex-fundie). The origins of our relationship are complicated and tangled, but that’s not relevant to this post. We went through the gaga-eyed honeymoon phase like every couple, but on the other side of that phase we were still happy and very much in love. We had our issues, like learning how to communicate with each other effectively, but instead of him shutting me out or me burying my concerns, we figured it out and our relationship grew stronger. He has built me up, piece by piece, until I’ve reached the point I’m at now. I’m finding my independence and am becoming confident in who I am, what I can do, and how much I’m worth simply because I’m a person. I have built him up as well and helped him find balance in life. We truly function as a team, which means so much to me. We have found the meaning of love and are living it out one ordinary day at a time.

He and I were married this past weekend through a beautiful (and legal) Celtic handfasting ceremony. We debated whether marriage was relevant to us (he had been married once before as well). We decided the positives outweighed the negatives and began to plan our wedding. Along the way we added to our family (he has a son we are raising) and announced to the world that we were expecting a baby (it’s a boy!). Pretty much everything about our wedding was non-traditional, from the ceremony to my baby bump that made me feel like a goddess at the wedding. Neither my husband nor I went into the ceremony expecting it to change our relationship. We’d lived together for over a year already, so why would a ceremony change anything? Saying our vows in front of a carefully-selected group of people, surrounded by symbols of love and support, we both found ourselves forever changed. It was a beautiful experience and has added to the bond we share. My faith in the concept of marriage has been renewed, and I’ll probably write further on the this topic in the future.

A thought that has come to mind in recent days is this:
My heart is not a bag of Skittles that is capable of being emptied. My heart is capable of an infinite amount of love.

The bag of Skittles analogy is one I picked up at a fundie camp during my teen years. It was a lie, but I didn’t know that then. It was only after I hit rock bottom and then found love again that I realized how amazing my ability to love is. Love grows and changes and can be spread out across your whole life. I love my parents and many people from my past. I love my husband. I love his son. I love the son that is growing within me right now. I’m growing to love people in our new community. All this love and no worries about an empty Skittles bag.
Love conquers all.

Pairs Figure Skating… Sermon Illustration?

This article, which was shared with me by a friend, began to pop up in my twitter feed today: An Olympic Lesson for Husbands and Wives.

 Rachel Held Evans replies:

Dianne Anderson replies:

I love reading Dianne Anderson’s twitter posts. Kudos on her blog post too. When I first read John Ensor’s post, I thought it was a joke. My friend had the same reaction. Watching my partner’s face as he read it was priceless. In short, this article is hilarious… except someone wrote this in seriousness and people somewhere will agree with him and pass this on as good advice. Future sermon illustration? *shudder*

How IFB Has Shaped My Life: Part One

My IFB background has shaped every aspect of my life thus far. I used to accept fundamentalism’s dictation of my actions without question. Those days are long gone, of course, but fundamentalism is still doing its best to shape my life. Being raised in a lifestyle that involved attending church three times a week (and more if there were revival services), attending church-school five days a week (K-4 through 12th grade), and being heavily involved in the church and school as a family did an excellent job of instilling IFB principles into my very person. I attended and then worked at a summer camp run by Baptists; I then went on to a Baptist college where IFB principles were further entrenched into my thinking. When I made the decision to leave IFB and Christianity as a whole, I did not fully understand how much my former beliefs would continue to impact me in the future. Perhaps the largest way it has impacted me is in the areas of relationships, love, and marriage.

Conservative Christians focus on keeping themselves pure, which usually means no sex before marriage. My seventh grade Sunday School teacher had us (all girls) sign slips of paper promising to keep ourselves pure before marriage. At some point during my teen years my Dad took me out to a special dinner and then had a brief, awkward conversation with me about keeping  myself pure before marriage. I promised him that I would and he presented me with a purity ring. Camp speakers and staff spoke extensively about young people keeping themselves pure, lest we give ourselves away piece by piece until there’s nothing left for our future spouse. I took this phrase to heart and prided myself in the fact that I had not dated a long string of guys. I wanted to wait for the right one and date only him and then get married and live happily ever after. Doing things correctly was supposed to guarantee a blissful marriage, after all. Prior to leaving IFB, I had assumed I would meet a wonderful, Christ-centered man and then we’d embark on some dating/courtship hybrid that would end in sappy vows at the altar. My own parents had both dated and done things the “normal” way, but I knew that Dad hoped I would choose the courtship route. He bought into the concept of a father is responsible for daughter until he hands that responsibility off to her husband at the alter. I didn’t like or accept that at all, though, and he didn’t really push it. I think he’s too awesome of a guy to truly buy into male headship/ownership of females. He certainly never treated my mother like he owned her. Anyway.

In college I spent a lot of time reading and praying about godly standards for relationship. Sermons, chapel messages, classroom discussions, dorm discussions, and dorm devotions were full of thoughts and mandates about purity, dating, marriage, etc. In that sort of atmosphere there was no escaping the fact that most people are or will be in relationships; if they aren’t presently in a relationship, they probably wish they were. I was no exception and sincerely wished for a relationship. When I voiced those thoughts to friends I was told that I should be making the most of my singleness by serving God. “Serving God” meant focusing on prayers, reading my Bible, and working in a ministry of some sort (so I wouldn’t get discontent and go off on my own and find a suitable partner instead of waiting for God). Whole books and special studies are dedicated to using your single years for God’s glory while you wait for God to bring you a spouse or, heaven-forbid, learn to accept that you’re meant to focus on God rather than a husband. One pamphlet floating around amongst Baptists is particularly disturbing – Stay in the Castle. It tells the story of a King (God) who had a daughter (you). The daughter was told that her knight in shining armor (your husband) would come on a special, unknown day and seek her hand in marriage – she just had to be patient and wait. Well, the daughter, like any curious young woman tired of being locked up in a castle, slips off to the village one night and falls in love with the excitement going on there. The commoners aren’t so bad – she even meets a nice boy. She and the boy fall in love and decide to be married, despite her father’s sad disapproval of her defiant choice. Some months later, as her back aches because of the child she is carrying in her womb, she sees a glowing knight ride up to the castle, only to be sent away because his princess didn’t wait for him. Talk about emotional manipulation! Do what your father (earthly and heavenly) tells you so you don’t end up married to a poor drunk, lest you bemoan carrying his child and missing out on the life of luxury you should have had. Christian literature on relationships is pretty awful, in my experience, and any claims of Christian psychology should be viewed with great skepticism. Anyway. These things illustrate some of the major influences on my understanding of/views on relationships.

When I made the tumultuous decisions to leave Christianity, one of the first things I did was stop “waiting for God” and start to actively seek out a relationship. I met a man – who was not a Christian – and we began dating. He seemed to be everything I thought I wanted in a partner – smart, funny, kind, ambitious, confidant, etc. He was also my first real boyfriend, so I had little-to-no previous experience with a dating relationship. I knew that the relationship standards I had been raised with were not the norm for other people. What was the norm for “the world” ???? I had no idea. My new boyfriend  expected hand-holding, hugs, and kissing from the start. I was reluctant and taken aback by his expectations, but wasn’t sure if they were truly unreasonable or if I was just a prude. I looked to my Dad for guidance here, but he seemed to be of the opinion that my boyfriend’s way of thinking was not cause for alarm (which really surprised me and still seems odd to me now). I tried to ease up and relax some, but I did maintain certain boundaries. The boyfriend wasn’t particularly thrilled but agreed to respect my decisions. The way he treated me was far from respectful, but at the time I didn’t see it. He pushed and pushed to break down any barriers I set up. If I wasn’t as cuddly as he wanted me to be he’d pout and lash out at me verbally, telling me how things should be. If I became upset and later felt bad (which was often), I would apologize for being such a prude and then he would comment about how benevolent he was to put up with me. “Most guys would have already raped me,” he said, “but I’m was glad I’m not that kind of guy.” Being talked to like this made me feel like I was beholding to him for being so nice. I figured that, if other “normal” guys were like what he described, I must certainly have a good boyfriend. He was good at manipulating me, obviously, and was very clever with his words. Too clever, actually – he was/is a habitual liar and told me fantastic lies from the start. I was surprised when I discovered some of the lies he told, but the reasoning he gave for telling those lies seemed acceptable so I pushed it off as something normal people must do. He said and did a LOT of things that I pushed off as normal because he was very good at presenting himself as a relatively normal guy… and because I didn’t know what normal really was. He wasn’t normal, though, at any level. I would not discover just how abnormal he was until after we were married.

Looking back, I wish I had dated around in high school and in college so that I could experience what it was like to be in a relationship long before it actually was important (think marriage-important). Granted, my opportunities for dating were pretty much non-existent and guys didn’t seem interested in me. I didn’t even have great friendships with guys once I started to “grow up,” because friendships with guys were taboo. Being able to be friends with a guy is tough for me to this day. I was raised to think that if a guy was being more than polite it meant he was interested in you, romantically, and if you were more than polite to a guy you were showing your interest and being a bit forward. I had a few male friendships in college, but they were all with fundamentalists so that did little to help me gauge what was normal and acceptable in any sort of relationship. At least one of those male friendships was of a very close nature, and should have been helpful to me. It was very hurtful, though, to my understanding of the dynamic between a man and a woman, particularly between marriage partners, because of how he treated his wife (who was also my close friend). Verbal abuse and manipulation were very prominent in his relationships with other people – doubly so with those who were close to him; it was those very things that finally ended our friendship. But I didn’t learn from that experience, I guess, because I jumped right into a romantic relationship that was fraught with the same verbal abuse and manipulation I had previously escaped.

Josh Harris, Sexual Abuse, & My Opinion of Courtship (5-27-13)

Kudos to Josh Harris (of I Kissed Dating Goodbye famedom) for taking a stand on sexual abuse in the church. Read the story here. Really appreciate what he has publicly said, particularly this part:

My hope is that a person would hear me and think, “Okay, if the pastor can admit that in front of the church then I can call the police and tell someone what is happening to me. I can get counseling. I can tell my story, too.” It’s very difficult because it feels like such a shameful thing, but we need to learn how to talk about sexual abuse in the church. We need to teach people who have been abused that it’s not their fault.

I respect Josh Harris for making this stand; I know what a huge issue this is in churches, and what he has done will hopefully make a difference. i I think this is a deplorable turn of events for all involved. Allow me to explain why.

I read I Kissed Dating Goodbye as a teenager. It was one of two books my mother provided me with on relationships and sex. Well, they weren’t really about sex so much as avoiding it like the plague until you’ve said your marriage vows, but anyway. Even as a fundie teen who cared deeply about staying pure and someday having a godly relationship, I thought the message of Harris’ book was off. It’s been so long since I read it that I can’t remember what in particular it was that bugged me, but it was enough that I put the book on a shelf and never picked it up again. I think part of my issue was the premise for the book – dating is bad. I like(d) old fashioned things, but falling back to courtship in the way prescribed didn’t seem healthy. Fast forward a few years to when I’m reading Created to be His Help Meet and other Quiverfull literature. Even then I took issue with the concept of true courtship. Despite my feminist thoughts, many notions about courtship, marriage, and relationships in general were poisoned by the ideology I’d read about and even heard from teachers and pastors over the years. I consider the teachings poison because they lead to unhealthy relationships. I speak from personal experience.

The notion that the only real relationships are the ones that lead to marriage is prevalent amongst people who propose courtship over dating. Marriage is the assumed end result of courtship, after all; dating focuses on creating a relationship and then maybe marrying that person. To enter into courtship is like becoming engaged, whereas dating someone has far less strings attached. When I entered my first serious romantic relationship, I still had the courtship model stuck in my head. I wasn’t overly concerned about the parental aspect of things, but how I viewed the relationship was clearly impacted by my past. Once I got started into the relationship, I didn’t feel like I had the option to end it. If I truly loved him, I would stick with him, no matter what. I felt like anything short of marriage was a failure on my part. He was my first love, after all, and having no practice, I didn’t know many important things that could have saved me from much heartbreak. Saving your heart for your spouse was widely pushed onto young people, and it stuck with me. I saved my heart very well. I prided myself in the fact that I had never actually dated anyone, because I was just waiting for the right guy to along and marry me. So that’s exactly what I did, except he wasn’t the right guy and I was too inexperienced to realize it. Well, I take that back. I realized I had made a mistake a few times before actually tying the knot, but still felt I had no other option but to marry him anyway. Another common teaching amongst those who praise courtship over dating is to advocate that women stick with their men regardless of any abuse or mistreatment (read Created to be His Help Meet for a clear picture of this teaching). That teaching also influenced my reasons for sticking with the relationship for as long as I did (which was not long in measurements of time, perhaps, but eons in measurements of the soul).

My marriage was not a healthy one because my relationship wasn’t healthy enough to support marriage. He had initially asked that we live together first, but my need to have the “real” thing led me to refuse. I told him I didn’t want a trial marriage. I thought I was doing the right thing and was darn proud of myself for it too. Now I know how foolish I was to think and act as I did. Dating is sometimes knocked because it can take on the likeness of a trial marriage. Why on earth that is a bad thing, I will never actually understand. Sending people to vows of eternal commitment without any prior experience is crazy. In my opinion, courtship is a far too sheltered approach at building relationships. It is male-led, parentally controlled, highly restrictive, and is focused so much on the end goal of marriage that actual compatibility can’t be explored well enough.You must KNOW the person you want to be partnered to, and you must know him/her in ways that can’t come to light unless you’re living together. Anyone can play charades long enough to “get the girl”; it’s what happens behind closed doors at odd hours of the day that composes the true nature of a person. You can’t know those things until you’re behind those closed doors together.

I am now a strong advocate for dating and living together as a couple before making anything legally permanent. I also strongly advocate against courtship and all that it brings to the table. In my case, there were many negative factors that ultimately contributed to the ending of the relationship/marriage, but I place a large amount of blame at the feet of courtship teachings, because without them I honestly don’t think I would have been in that relationship in the first place.

Abstinance & Raw Potatoes (5-23-13)

Check it out here.

Believe it or not, this is the logical end to most purity teaching that goes on in evangelical homes, churches, schools, and camps. If you tell someone (for a long enough period of time) that something is bad, don’t expect them to suddenly flip a switch and be able to view it as good. Many a marriage has fallen on the rocks because a spouse (usually the wife) can’t shake the sensation that sex is dirty and somehow evil, therefore it is a source of guilt, shame, and stress.

Some Quotes & Some More Thoughts on Sex (4-30-2012)

‘‘The whole problem with this idea of obscenity and indecency, and all of these things—bad language and whatever—it’s all caused by one basic thing, and that is: religious superstition,’’ George Carlin in a 2004 interview. 

‘‘There’s an idea that the human body is somehow evil and bad and there are parts of it that are especially evil and bad, and we should be ashamed. Fear, guilt and shame are built into the attitude toward sex and the body…. It’s reflected in these prohibitions and these taboos that we have.’’ ~ George Carlin


The first statement is very interesting to me – I’ve never heard anyone draw that conclusion before. The second statement is what initially caught my attention. I couldn’t agree more with him, as you will know from reading my previous post. The first time I took Biology class, it was embarrassing, seeing those body parts for the first time and reading about the functions for which they are used. The principal of the Christian school I was attending taught that chapter to us, because of the silliness that teachers knew would ensue from discussing the topic of sex. I imagine silliness and embarrassment are part of any classroom discussion about sex, be it Christian or non. I think that shows that our society has made the wrong choice in how it approaches the topic of sex. 


If you are reading this, then you had a mother and a father who joined themselves together and created you. Many of you had parents who were married, some were not married, some may not even know both of their parents… but you have sex to thank for your existence. Sex is a regular bodily function, and the parts of the body that are involved are just that – parts of the body. True, it is those body parts that allow humanity to continue its existence through the creation of babies – a power not to be taken lightly. The making of babies has been going on for a very, very long time (obviously), but the ways in which the act of lovemaking have been viewed during that time frame are quite varied. I recently was reading some on the culture of the Celts, including their views on sexuality, and found the openness of it all to be rather refreshing. It was assumed that young people would be sexually active long before they were hand-fasted (Celtic equivalent of marriage). Even their view of marriage was strikingly different. A couple could be fasted for a year, in which they would live together as husband and wife, and then after that year they could choose to part ways or make the relationship permanent. The Celts also allowed sexual freedoms to the married people, if they chose not to remain monogamous. I wouldn’t choose to embrace that idea myself, but I do think people should be allowed to live that way if they choose to, so long as their partner is in agreement with it. Basically, the Celtic approach to sex can be summed up in the word “freedom.” The Christian view of lovemaking is quite different. Sex is to occur only between one man and woman, and only after they have been married – any other occurrences are immorality/adultery and therefore sin. In 1 Corinthians 7, Paul addresses marriage and the sexual desires of Christians. He says several times that single people are better off, and that a man is much better off if he never has sex with a woman. Paul seems to be telling people that, if you are strong enough to repress your need for sex, you are making the best decision, but if you can’t, it’s okay, go ahead and get married and have sex… but you’ll really be better off if you don’t. After so many years of religiously-driven celibacy, it should be apparent why humans need to find outlets for their sexuality instead of repressing it. I wonder what happened in Paul’s life that left him thinking this way. He had to have been married at one time, since he was a high-up in the Jewish system… I wonder if he had a bad wife or something that left him blessing singleness. 
Anyway. 

Repressing anything results in problems surfacing later. If you hold in emotions, they will explode out later in chaotic and even harmful ways. If you hold in fears, guilt, and painful past events, you can greatly effect your mental health and consequently effect your physical health. If you don’t have a bowel movement, and instead hold it all in, you will back up your system and cause your body to poison itself. If you habitually force yourself to hold your bladder instead of relieving it, you will cause problems there. Why, then, is it somehow better for you to suppress the sexual appetite that you are born with? I get that the usual problem associated with pre-marital sex is a lot of kids that often lack things like a dedicated father, financial support, a mature mother, etc. Of course, marriage does not ensure those things exist… but it does increase the likelihood. People should be allowed to choose when they make love, and they should be in charge of deciding when they bring little dependent babies into the world. Teaching people that sex is normal and good – instead of something to pretend/wish away or not speak of – and teaching them how, why, and when to partake in it, seems to be the logical way to go. The same applies to the usage of alcohol, etc. Vagina and penis shouldn’t be dirty words that kids aren’t allowed to hear – they’re the names of body parts that are very important (for many reasons in addition to sexual function). Women’s menstrual cycles, private body parts, etc. should be normal things by now, not embarrassing, gross things.  Education and freedom has helped a lot of other problems (racism, bigotry, sexism, etc), so why not apply it to sex? Their is great power in knowledge, great power for good. If everyone was properly acclimated to sex, accepting its natural place in our lives and knowing when it is appropriate, rape and molestation would decrease, and unwanted pregnancies would probably decrease as well. Victorian prudishness creates ignorance, and that ignorance is certainly not bliss when some girl starts to experiment, maybe out of curiosity about this feeling she suddenly has, and ends up pregnant and scared and shamed by people around her. Fear, guilt, and shame should not be linked to such a beautiful act as making love.  

It’s late, so I will wrap this post up now, but I will probably touch on it again in the future. 

Some Quotes & Some More Thoughts on Sex

‘‘The whole problem with this idea of obscenity and indecency, and all of these things—bad language and whatever—it’s all caused by one basic thing, and that is: religious superstition,’’ Carlin said in a 2004 interview. 
‘‘There’s an idea that the human body is somehow evil and bad and there are parts of it that are especially evil and bad, and we should be ashamed. Fear, guilt and shame are built into the attitude toward sex and the body…. It’s reflected in these prohibitions and these taboos that we have.’’ ~ George Carlin

The first statement is very interesting to me – I’ve never heard anyone draw that conclusion before. The second statement is what initially caught my attention. I couldn’t agree more with him, as you will know from reading my previous post. The first time I took Biology class, it was embarrassing, seeing those body parts for the first time and reading about the functions for which they are used. The principal of the Christian school I was attending taught that chapter to us, because of the silliness that teachers knew would ensue from discussing the topic of sex. I imagine silliness and embarrassment are part of any classroom discussion about sex, be it Christian or non. I think that shows that our society has made the wrong choice in how it approaches the topic of sex. 



If you are reading this, then you had a mother and a father who joined themselves together and created you. Many of you had parents who were married, some were not married, some may not even know both of their parents… but you have sex to thank for your existence. Sex is a regular bodily function, and the parts of the body that are involved are just that – parts of the body. True, it is those body parts that allow humanity to continue its existence through the creation of babies – a power not to be taken lightly. The making of babies has been going on for a very, very long time (obviously), but the ways in which the act of lovemaking have been viewed during that time frame are quite varied. I recently was reading some on the culture of the Celts, including their views on sexuality, and found the openness of it all to be rather refreshing. It was assumed that young people would be sexually active long before they were hand-fasted (Celtic equivalent of marriage). Even their view of marriage was strikingly different. A couple could be fasted for a year, in which they would live together as husband and wife, and then after that year they could choose to part ways or make the relationship permanent. The Celts also allowed sexual freedoms to the married people, if they chose not to remain monogamous. I wouldn’t choose to embrace that idea myself, but I do think people should be allowed to live that way if they choose to, so long as their partner is in agreement with it. Basically, the Celtic approach to sex can be summed up in the word “freedom.” The Christian view of lovemaking is quite different. Sex is to occur only between one man and woman, and only after they have been married – any other occurrences are immorality/adultery and therefore sin. In 1 Corinthians 7, Paul addresses marriage and the sexual desires of Christians. He says several times that single people are better off, and that a man is much better off if he never has sex with a woman. Paul seems to be telling people that, if you are strong enough to repress your need for sex, you are making the best decision, but if you can’t, it’s okay, go ahead and get married and have sex… but you’ll really be better off if you don’t. After so many years of religiously-driven celibacy, it should be apparent why humans need to find outlets for their sexuality instead of repressing it. I wonder what happened in Paul’s life that left him thinking this way. He had to have been married at one time, since he was a high-up in the Jewish system… I wonder if he had a bad wife or something that left him blessing singleness. 
Anyway. 
Repressing anything results in problems surfacing later. If you hold in emotions, they will explode out later in chaotic and even harmful ways. If you hold in fears, guilt, and painful past events, you can greatly effect your mental health and consequently effect your physical health. If you don’t have a bowel movement, and instead hold it all in, you will back up your system and cause your body to poison itself. If you habitually force yourself to hold your bladder instead of relieving it, you will cause problems there. Why, then, is it somehow better for you to suppress the sexual appetite that you are born with? I get that the usual problem associated with pre-marital sex is a lot of kids that often lack things like a dedicated father, financial support, a mature mother, etc. Of course, marriage does not ensure those things exist… but it does increase the likelihood. People should be allowed to choose when they make love, and they should be in charge of deciding when they bring little dependent babies into the world. Teaching people that sex is normal and good – instead of something to pretend/wish away or not speak of – and teaching them how, why, and when to partake in it, seems to be the logical way to go. The same applies to the usage of alcohol, etc. Vagina and penis shouldn’t be dirty words that kids aren’t allowed to hear – they’re the names of body parts that are very important (for many reasons in addition to sexual function). Women’s menstrual cycles, private body parts, etc. should be normal things by now, not embarrassing, gross things.  Education and freedom has helped a lot of other problems (racism, bigotry, sexism, etc), so why not apply it to sex? Their is great power in knowledge, great power for good. If everyone was properly acclimated to sex, accepting its natural place in our lives and knowing when it is appropriate, rape and molestation would decrease, and unwanted pregnancies would probably decrease as well. Victorian prudishness creates ignorance, and that ignorance is certainly not bliss when some girl starts to experiment, maybe out of curiosity about this feeling she suddenly has, and ends up pregnant and scared and shamed by people around her. Fear, guilt, and shame should not be linked to such a beautiful act as making love.  
It’s late, so I will wrap this post up now, but I will probably touch on it again in the future.