The Powerful Men of Evangelicalism Suddenly Care about Sexual Abuse of Children? Prove it.

*All opinions are my own and in no way represent those of my employer.

For years now, activist bloggers, including the Wartburg Watch, Boz Tchividian of G.R.A.C.E., and I have posted again and again about the rampant sex abuse of children in churches and church leaders horrific responses to sexual abuse of children in their congregation.

See these posts for examples:

Here are some of my posts that I have written on the topic:

However there is little evidence that the powerful in the church (and shouldn’t that phrase be an oxymoron?) take sex abuse of minors seriously. In fact, many of the most heard voices in the Evangelical community continue to cover sex abuse and even make jokes about the cover-ups. Recently, while SNAP (Survivor Network of those Abused by Priests) protested CJ Mahaney’s inclusion as a speaker in the 2016 Together for the Gospel Conference , Al Mohler, the head of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary and regarded as one of Evangelicalism’s most influential people, took the podium and used the opportunity to make a joke at the victim’s expense. He stated “I told C.J. that in getting ready to introduce him I decided I would Google to see if there was anything on the Internet about him.”, referring to the activism online calling out Mahaney for years of covering up sex abuse. There are far too many  cases to list here of powerful men in Evangelicalism who have attempted to cover up the crime of child sex abuse or rape or who have sided with the perpetrator showing little to no concern with the victim, but here are just a few:

  1. CJ Mahaney’s cover up of the widespread sexual abuse of numerous minors
  2. Doug Wilson’s victim blaming and siding with a child rapist and presiding over the marriage of a known pedophile to a church member and asked for leniency after the conviction of the pedophile and then presided over the pedophile’s marriage to a church member.
  3. Ken Ramey’s insistence that a mother of a developmentally delayed youth who had been raped so severely he required medical attention keep quiet about the situation and to submit to a church mediated reconciliation process and put her under discipline when she refused. See  sources here and here and here. (This has been updated for accuracy. The child is not developmentally disabled but is delayed and the mother had already contacted authorities/medical attention by the time they met with Ken Ramsey as opposed to him requiring her not to call).

In fact the number one reason that churches end up in court is because of sexual abuse of a child. (Credit Church Law and Tax)

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However despite all their covering of their own behinds, patting each others backs and  recklessly disregarding victims to the point of making jokes at their expense, suddenly all these people seem to care about is the SAFETY of CHILDREN from sexual assault. I should be happy about this right? Isn’t that what I have been asking them to care about all along? Except the way they are going to protect children is to not allow transgender people to use the bathroom of their choosing.

Seriously.

Although transgender people, especially transgender women, were far more likely to be victimized than the general population, at a rate of as high of 66% being victims of sexual assault in their lifetimes, they feel that further putting transgender people in danger will help to make children somehow safer. They used the argument while transgender people wouldn’t be perpetrating the abuse, cisgender males would take advantage of dressing like women to perpetrate on women and children in women’s bathrooms. This point was made especially clear with Libby Ann’s blog Conservative Rhetoric and Transgender Bathroom Battles. (As a side note the emphasis is on a fear of transgender females rather than transgender males, who would, under the South Carolina law would be forced to use the women’s restroom. Most likely this is due to the predominate patriarchal culture’s belief that a male having feminine traits is horrible while a female having male traits is accepted, since male traits are seen as superior or naturally desirable).It is especially ironic that many in the far right, who traditionally believe in less government control are asking for more laws and more government control in regards to this issue. For years, transgender people have been using bathrooms that correlate with their gender and nothing happened. Suddenly, in the far right there is an outcry for states to make new laws, even though videotaping, spying, and any form of sex abuse in a bathroom is already against the law. It seems those in the far right want the government out of their private business unless it’s someone else’s business and then it’s ok, especially if they are a minority. Since when does one have to carry a birth certificate to go pee? And what if one is born with genitals that are not easily classified as either male or female, which is fairly common. For instance, Nate Sparks points out that the rate of people who are born intersex is more common than being born with red hair.

This clearly isn’t about protecting children. It’s just not. It’s about fear of other people and about those in power (READ: white, cis, Christian men) marginalizing other people even more. The reality is, is while it does rarely occur, statistically very few child sexual assaults are committed by strangers. At least ninety percent of perpetrators of sexual abuse are known to the child and I suspect the number is much higher than that, due to the far greater likelihood that a child would report against a stranger rather than someone he or she knew and who had been actively grooming them. I have worked in child protection for eight and a half years. Our office receives around 50-100 reports of suspected child abuse and neglect every month and I can’t remember even one of them being perpetrated by a stranger in a bathroom. Most sexual abuse is perpetrated in the child’s home, school or church. In fact, the very cultures that these powerful men of Evangelicalism create, makes it more likely that children will be sexually abuse. For instance, according to the CDC it is more likely that sexual abuse of children will take place in environments with hostility towards women, adherence to traditional gender role norms and hyper-masculinity.  The people we should be concerned about are people that the child knows and trusts such as relatives, teachers, neighbors, and pastors.
So what can people actually do to help?

  • Teach children body autonomy. Make sure the child knows that their body is theirs and no one else. Allow your children to say no to physical touch starting from a very young age.  See some really great tips in starting to teach this are found in 5 Phrases That Can Help Protect Your Child from Sexual Abuse and starting conversations in When Kristoff asks Anna for Consent in Frozen
  • Listen and believe victims. I can’t stress this enough. Our entire culture is primed to believe adults over children especially when it comes to sexual assault and most often churches and pastors take the side of the perpetrator rather than the victim.
  • Report to proper authority immediately. This includes the police and CPS. Do not let this be handled “in-house” in churches. Sexual abuse of a child is a crime  not just a sin. And in many places, not reporting it is also a crime.
  • Stop victim blaming. Sexual abuse of children is 100% the perpetrators fault. Full stop. No matter what the victim was doing, wearing, or drinking. If there is no consent (and there can’t be with children due to their age) it’s rape.
  • When there is doubt, over protect. Even if the accused is innocent, there is absolutely no harm in putting additional safe guards in place. There is no reason for anyone who has been accused of sexual assault to be alone with a child at any time, even if that person is thought to be innocent. Most people who are not predators actively try to make sure they aren’t put in a position where they are alone with a child. If someone tries to isolate children, then is defensive of their position, the community should be on high alert and should never allow that person alone or in a position of power over children.

If you really want to stop sexual abuse, start the conversations at the top, call out those who are protecting perpetrators or covering up abuse, call for longer sentences, over protect, believe victims and teach consent and body autonomy. However marginalizing transgender people and making it more unsafe for them in a public restroom is not in away safeguarding children. It’s just another way the powerful have twisted information to make it seem like they care, when they are actually just using it as an excuse to discriminate.

 

 

 

 

 

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18 Reasons You Shouldn’t be a Judgmental Ass to Pregnant Women or Mothers Who are Not Wearing a Wedding Ring

  1. Perhaps, if she is pregnant, she is experiencing water retention that causes swelling and she can no longer fit her rings.
  2. Perhaps her wedding ring is being cleaned or repaired.
  3. Perhaps her wedding ring has suddenly started to turn their finger green or cause an allergic reaction.
  4. Perhaps she takes the teaching of the Bible literally when it states “Do not adorn yourselves outwardly by braiding your hair and by wearing gold ornaments” 1 Peter 3:3a
  5. Perhaps she is a widow.
  6. Perhaps she is a surrogate.
  7. Perhaps they are not her children and she is the nanny, babysitter, auntie etc.
  8. Perhaps she is not pregnant and you are being a judgmental ass about her weight.
  9. Perhaps her husband has deserted or divorced her.
  10. Perhaps she is a rape victim that has chosen to have the baby, which, if you are pro-life, you should be supporting and if your are pro-choice, you should believe is her right to chose.
  11. Perhaps she was accidentally artificially impregnated like Jane the Virgin and has decided to have the baby, which if you are pro-life, you should be supporting and if your are pro-choice, you should believe is her right to chose.
  12. Perhaps she is Mary, the mother of Jesus.
  13. Perhaps she has left or divorced an abusive or adulterous husband.
  14. Perhaps she is pregnant or has children from a long-term relationship but isn’t married and has decided to keep the children, which if you are pro-life, you should be supporting and if your are pro-choice, you should believe is her right to chose.
  15. Perhaps she is pregnant from a short-term relationship but isn’t married and has decided to have the baby, which if you are pro-life, you should be supporting and if your are pro-choice, you should believe is her right to chose.
  16. Perhaps she is pregnant from a one night stand, but has decided to have the baby, which if you are pro-life, you should be supporting and if your are pro-choice, you should believe is her right to chose.
  17. Perhaps she is pregnant and has multiple children from multiple different fathers, but has decided to keep the children, which if you are pro-life, you should be supporting and if your are pro-choice, you should believe is her right to chose.
  18. Perhaps none of the above is any of your business, because it is her life, her decisions, and her body.

Now It Gets Personal

My first love was a gay man. A charismatic and flamboyant flirt, he was my best friend through those awkward teen years between 14 and 18. He had devastating brown eyes, a raunchy sense of humor and a vicious wit. He could take apart the biggest jock or the most authoritative teacher with a sentence or two, but he put up with me and that’s saying a lot. I was an annoying, awkward, painfully shy, and self-righteous good girl.

I remember praying desperately that God would somehow let me marry him.  We actually “went out” for about a minute the summer I was sixteen. When he broke up with me I was crushed but we remained good friends throughout high school. The summer before I left for college, he said he had something to tell me but I needed to guess. When I eventually guessed that he was bisexual, he said yes. I now realize how difficult that had to be for him and how scared he must have been under his bravado.  I told him I loved him and accepted him but I thought that gay sex was wrong. He told me he couldn’t believe how well I was taking it. We stopped a coffee shop and talked it over before work. Outwardly, I played it cool. Inwardly, I was freaking out.

At lunch, I  found one of the youth leaders and told her about my friend’s revelation in between sobs. I was horrified that my friend may be entering a life of sin. She comforted me and suggested I meet with the assistant pastor who gave me a booklet about overcoming bondage. I know I read through it but I don’t know if I ever gave it to my friend. I didn’t really believe even then that he could change who he was.

We hung out a lot that summer in between work. We had dinner and coffee together. He asked me moral questions about sex to which I had no answers. At the end of the summer he gave me a packet of torenout pages of magazines that he had written advice for college on in black sharpie and even added a few perfume samples to freshen the air of my dorm room. I still have it. Later, he came out as simply gay.

In college, I began to research what science knew about homosexuality. The etiology of homosexuality became important to me. I thought if could figure out what caused it, I would know if it was moral or not. At first, it was my opinion that homosexual feelings developed from a propensity to characteristics that caused a person to act more like their opposite gender and  other people calling them gay so that it eventually became a self-fulfilling prophesy. As I studied biology more , it became obvious that sexuality is not nearly as simple as one would guess. A dynamic and fragile interplay between genes, hormones, and chromosomes takes place in the womb, which more often than one would guess, don’t quite go as expected.

I met a friend in college who was activley trying to get the PCUSA to accept gay and lesbian clergy. We argued theology and I accompanied him to a candle light vigil protesting violence against GLBT students. I felt like a fraud at that vigil since I still believed that homosexuality was wrong, however I strongly believed in preventing violence against anyone. Eventually, through my conversations with my friends, I realised that the Bible wasn’t nearly as clear on the subject as I had once thought. There were only a few scriptures dealing with homosexuality. Compared to those dealing with fear, pride or materialism, scripture on homosexuality is only microscopic amount. The first scripture was Leviticus 18:22 and was found along side of laws that Christians no longer follow, such as the ban on eating pork or shellfish, having sex while menstruating, wearing clothes made of mixed fibers, or getting tattoos. The ones in the New Testament (Romans 1:18-32) all  had to do with prostitution and idolatry. All except one. In 1:Corinthians 6:9, the word arsenokoitai, a word that Paul probably created (he had a perchance for making up words),  had something to do with unequal sex. That could mean a lot of things: pedophilia, marrying an unbeliever, non- consensual sex, homosexuality, or temple prostitution. It seemed like a bad idea to base an entire theology on a word that no one could verify the meaning of. Eventually, I started attending a Gay Strait Alliance and became a straight ally. My dorm room was officially a safe place for GLBTQ people who needed a shoulder to cry on or a place to come out.

All this time, although I didn’t realise it and before this term was created, I was a Side B Christian. Side B Christians believe gay people cannot change who they are attracted to but have the obligation of not acting on their attractions. They believe being gay isn’t a sin but gay sex is. I realized that clearly people cannot help who they are attracted to. I can’t change my sexual preference and I can’t change which men I find appealing. The fact that I find Adam Levine, Liam Neeson, and Ryan Gosling hot but Mark Walberg, Brad Pitt and Channing Tatum kind of meh is completely out of my control. Trying to convince me that Channing is hotter than Adam is useless.  I still thought acting on the attraction was wrong though. Just like a married man being attracted to a woman who is not his wife is not a sin but is simple biology but using her image for fuel for the spank bank later is a sin. This is why the etiology of homosexuality is unimportant in it’s morality. My biology may make me attracted to any number of men, but it’s my choice of what I do with that attraction.

Eventually, however,  I realised I no longer believed that a committed, lifelong homosexual relationship was a sin. This put me firmly in the Side A camp, which are Christians who do not believe that gay marriage is sinful.  There were several reasons for this. The primary reason was Jesus. He said  “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.” Matthew 22:38-40. I realized the reason that we follow laws such as “don’t covet” or “don’t take the Lord’s name in vain” is because it breaks the law of love. However, as Christians, we feel free to eat pork or get a tattoo because it doesn’t. Other commands, such as head coverings for women or short hair for men that are mentioned in the Bible are considered cultural and not important today. The crux came when I was having a discussion with a friend and the laws of Noah came up. He stated the reason Christians believe homosexuality is a sin while eating pork is not, is because we still follow the laws of Noah, one of which is against homosexuality. He had a point. In Acts 15, the Council of Jerusalem was trying to decide whether Gentiles should be circumcised if they became Christians. The final council decided they did not need to be, however they still seemed to restrict the Gentiles to the laws of Noah “You are to abstain from food sacrificed to idols, from blood, from the meat of strangled animals and from sexual immorality.” Acts 15:29. So if Christians should follow the laws of Noah as well as the law of love, it would make sense that homosexual acts would be immoral. However, it seems like a lot of Christians eat blood (black pudding or blood sausage anyone?). So why can we break that one and not the one against a committed homosexual relationship? The reason is that throughought history, the law of love has been the gold standard for whether an action is moral or immoral. It doesn’t seem to break this law to eat blood nor does it break it to be in a life long committed homosexual relationship.

This is why I am a Side A Christian. However, I live with and love  Christians who are Side B or undecided. The one thing we can all agree on is that World Visions decision to go back on their first decision to allow married gay people to be empoyed in their organization is devastating. For me, it’s another example of Christians marginalizing an already marginalized group. It’s silencing a voice that we desperately need to hear. For my friends who are Side B, it is creating a false hierarchy of sins as well as preventing more hands from feeding the poor. Why is it more important that someone is in a gay marriage than it is that someone is materialistic, proud, fearful, lustful, hateful, a glutton or an adulterer ?The Bible and Jesus actually speak to those things much more than homosexuality. Why doesn’t World Vision ban people with those sins? Either way, it was an incredibly hurtful decision.

Statistics and Searches for “Free Nude Pics”

Blogging statistics  fascinate me. Blogs on topics that I have researched for hours, that I have pondered for months, and I have spent days carefully crafting each sentence, often get only ten views. Alternately, my most popular blogs I wrote in less than an hour in a tizzy over something I have seen in the media.  My most popular blog ever was not about a controversial subject or something that was splashed over the media or a story that I had ever thought about writing. It was about a simple, personal, childhood memory about lesson in hospitality that my mother taught me.

Blogging statistics not only show the number of views but also show how viewers find the blog by search terms. The majority of terms are blocked and either listed as “unknown” or “encrypted” and the few that are listed my stats are expected such as  “Jessica Veldstra’s Blog” (although the number of people who know how to spell my last name is rather unexpected) or searches regarding chore wheels, CPS workers, Open Letters to Robin Thicke, and community living. Some are a little obscure such as “flower arrangements in Papua New Guinea” or “child songs based on the Dark Ages” and make me wonder what the viewer thought of stumbling upon a blog based on feminism, faith, and friendship when trying to arrange flowers or find the origins of Ring Around the Rosy.

By far the most disturbing term, one made me sick to my stomach and briefly consider quitting blogging was “jessica veldstra free nude pics”.

The best scenario that I can think of was someone was searching my name and the search engine filled in the free nude pics part. It’s a sad commentary on the state of our society that  when any female name is imput into a search engine it will auto fill “free nude pics” behind it, as if every woman, regardless of her age, education, career, thoughts, or accomplishments can be expected to have nude pictures on the internet. It shows just how much women in our society are judged on their bodies and as objects of sex and their bodies seen as public domain.

After ensuring it was not my husband (or my roommates and close friends, who thought the “free” part of the search was hilarious and promised to fill my stats with incredibly “interesting” search terms), we came up with other possibilities, such as someone who was looking for ammunition to blackmail me (although this would be quite a stretch).

The thing is, if someone actually typed that search into a search engine, they knew how to spell my last name, and if they knew that, they probably knew something about my family or me. It creeps me out, that there is a possibility that somewhere out there, someone who knew me at least a little bit, was trying to find nude pictures of me, with either the intention of harming me by blackmail or by attempting to use my body as object.  If it can happen to a married,  quiet, chubby,  feminist and faith blogger, it can happen to any woman.

The thought made me want to keep silent. To shut up, curl up, delete my online presence, and minimize my real life one.

Every time I write I feel like I expose myself a little bit. Sometimes as I see the statistics climbing, I start to panic. I worry about grammar and punctuation. I worry that I will offend someone who is marginalized already by saying the wrong thing. I worry that my logic has holes, my writing isn’t clear enough, or I haven’t gotten my point across. I worry that someone will use my words against me. As an introvert, telling my personal thoughts can be terrifying and exhausting. I look at Rachel Held Evan’s commentd on her CNN religion blog and I worry that someday something that I write will go viral and the commenters will ruthlessly attack me, even more so than RHE. Her writing is brilliant and clear and concise and gentle and look at what they do to her!

Blogging is also freeing, exhilarating, and necessary. I want to make sure people know they should report child abuse. I want people to think differently about what the Bible says about women. I want to combat sexism and homophobia in the small corner of my world. Some days I just want to tell a simple story about my childhood or our crazy, kooky household. So I will continue to speak, to write, and  to be seen as a woman in this world.

And if anyone ever Googles my name and free nude pics again, I hope they find this blog.

The Lies We’ve Been Taught

 

My week off the blog has unintentionally stretched to two. A combination of trying to catch up with work, a busy schedule at home due to Cedrick injuring his knee (Again!), fostering a puppy, and  a little bit of writer’s block have kept me from publishing. I hope this week is better!

What I want to explore this month is the topic of lies and half-truths we have been taught and have believed and have negatively affected us. I was thinking about this topic as I was reading  the excellent blogs How I Became a Jesus Feminist and I Am Not a Sex Fueled Robot  by Micah Murray and saw how lies he had been taught, ironically by reading marriage self-help books, actually harmed his marriage.

The first two lies and half truths he mentioned. The others either I have been taught in my own life or have seen other people taught.

Men want to be respected; women want to be cherished/loved.

Men give love to get sex; women give sex to get love.

Whenever two or more are gathered, God is with them.

The wife is responsible for the emotional atmosphere of the home.

People are poor because they are lazy.

God will never give you more than you can handle.

The husband may be the head of the household, but the wife is the neck and she turns the head.

Men think about sex every fifteen seconds.

Men are logical; women are emotional.

This month I will be exploring some of these lies, but I would also love to learn from readers. What lies have you been taught, what you have discovered to be true, and how you have overcome what you have been taught in the past.

One Thing

Everyone knows that once a boy hits puberty, his hormones start flowing and he only wants one thing.
This doesn’t hurt the boy’s feelings, of course, or make him question his own integrity or self-worth, because he only wants one thing. Feelings about the injustice of this dismissal of his character or the unfairness of this stereotype don’t enter his head, because you see, he only wants one thing.
Young men can’t possibly want to change the world, obtain an education, get a car, travel the world, talk to interesting people, or enjoy nature. They are too busy thinking about one thing.
They aren’t of course obsessed with the mundane like a worrying about a pimple, longing for pizza or Twinkies, groaning inwardly about the English homework, or avoiding taking out the garbage because that one thing takes up all of their mental space.
They don’t care when a friend whispers that there parent hits them, or worry that their classmate is bullied, or stress about the possibility of being drafted in a world at war, because they are only concerned about the one thing.
Of course we don’t care about boys who are asexual (or GTBQ) because they don’t play into our worldview at all, and telling them that they should only want one thing couldn’t possibly belittle or marginalize them.
We use this as a warning, to tell our daughters “beware, don’t fall for it, you know boys only want one thing!”
Of course we dismiss that if a girl really believes that and wants to attract a boy’s attention, what is the one thing that she could use to win his affection?
It’s also a really handy excuse for bad behavior. After all, it wasn’t really rape. Boys will be boys. They can’t help that they only want one thing and she should have known that and not attended the party, wear that dress, drink alcohol, or have been born a female.
Of course, this is all sarcasm. But it goes to show, that when we reduce anyone to one thing, it hurts us all, doesn’t it?

Stop Treating Males Like Idiots

Our U.S culture has a habit of portraying males  as mindless, confused idiots who cannot be expected to know how to change a diaper, clean up a mess, not drool on a woman’s cleavage and couldn’t possibly have the self control to decline sex if it is offered to them.

But before we start pointing fingers at Homer Simpson, Family Guy, the Twitter defenders of the Steubenville rapists, and Huggies advertisements (all which deserve criticism) perhaps Christian culture should take a long hard look at itself.

I was raised in Christian culture.  Conservative Evangelical Christian culture. I was home-schooled until third grade and then enrolled in a tiny Christian school that was in the same building as my church. Between school, church, youth group, and extracurricular activities, I literally spent more hours in the church building than I did at home. I had a poster of Michael W. Smith on my wall. I received Brio Magazine (a publication of Focus on the Family) in the mail every month.  Brio would print modest fashion spreads and most of the clothes  I still would have never been allowed to leave the house in.  My parents read my DC Talk Jesus Freak lyrics and were skeptical about the word “freak” but they let me keep it. All the elders and pastors of my church were unquestionably male.  Some of my friends had purity rings and I signed a purity card when I was fifteen. There were a lot of incredibly positive things about my childhood and I want to emphasize that my parents are awesome and gave me an awesome gift, they taught me to think for myself, but I also want to emphasize that I know this culture well.

This culture often teaches parents not to baby proof the house; instead to house proof the baby by teaching them what not to touch. They expect toddlers to have self- control.  However, the same people teach girls to dress modestly because men cannot control their lustful thoughts if they see cleavage, an exposed bra strap, knees, an unzipped hoodie over a t-shirt, or wet hair. If a woman dresses immodestly (however that is defined) she is responsible for causing her brother to  stumble. Toddlers can have self control, but full grown men cannot (see two great blogs on this Modesty, Lust, and My Responsibility  and  Who are the Real Babies? House-Proofing and Modesty)

The Purity Culture within Christian Evangelical culture emphasizes female virginity and the patriarchal idea that the father “owns” the daughter’s virginity, however says little about teen boys or young men being able to protect their virginity or their mothers “owning” their son’s virginity (it also completely ignores LGBT teens). We see purity balls where fathers take their daughters but where are the mothers and sons going? Nowhere.  Because the assumption is that the boys cannot be taught to make responsible decisions with their sexuality, so we better teach the girls to say no.

Our males deserve more respect than that.

From the stories my husband and close male friends tell me, as teens there were plenty of times they had opportunities to have sex and they didn’t. Their reasons vary as much as the men who tell them.  They didn’t feel safe, they knew they weren’t going to have a long term relationship, or they weren’t all that interested in the girl. Teen boys have self control. We need to have more confidence in them so we actually teach both boys and girls to make positive sexual decisions for themselves.

How do we do that? Instead of starting with the potential negative consequences of sex, what about talking about how God created us as sexual beings and that is good. That sexual arousal is a biological function and may or may not be under someone’s control and is not sinful and is different from lust which is under a person’s control.

We need to tell kids how to say yes, instead of just how to say no. Sexual contact needs to be soberly and enthusiastically consented to by both parties (See Dianna E. Anderson’s blog No Touching: Consent as the First Step) We need to tell them that the first time won’t be the best time and just like anything, it gets much better with practice. We need to tell them that a sense of humor and trust in your partner is essential. We need to tell them that the great joy of learning, laughing, trusting, and practicing is best suited to a lifelong commitment.  We need to tell them that when they make mistakes with their sexuality, because they will, it is not tied to their worth as a human. They should learn from their mistake and move on, just as we learn from a bounced check or an over eating binge and try to do better next time.

I know that the boys and men I know have the capability of understanding, learning, and having self control.  I don’t want to treat them as idiots and I don’t want our culture to either.