Side Effects, Katy Perry, and the Forbidden Fruit

My last post “Talk about Sex” generated some tremendous dialogue and initiated more questions than I have answers for.  Clearly I hit on a hot button by openly discussing why I talk about sex within the church community. 

What I hear people saying loud and clear is “we need this conversation and we need more of it.”

I hear you.

And since I’m not one to shy away from a tough debate, giddy up, let’s talk about this, in-depth and with radical honesty.

Before we begin though, I want to lay some ground rules.  There are many points I want to address on this “oh so sensitive topic” and I won’t be able to do it all within one post.  I would be glad to oblige if I didn’t have three kids, two jobs, ministry and a husband. 

I know.  I know.  I need some cheese and crackers with my whine, but please be patient with me.

I also want this to be a two-way conversation, not a diatribe.  So play along.  Feel free to engage and comment.  I feel vaguely safe from all the haters out there who violently disagree with me, mainly because we are online and you can’t yell at me, but take it easy on the punctuation marks and the name-calling.  I have a list of alternative bad words if you need to be creative.

Ok…now we have some ground rules.  Here are some of the topics I want to cover.  If you have suggestions too, I am wide open.

  1. Waiting is HARD to do.  (Give me a REASON to be pure)
  2. How far is too far?
  3. Why does the church ignore singles?
  4. Why is sex important to God but not Sr. Pastor’s?
  5. The bumbling buffoon and the media (Counteracting the stereotype of the incompetent male)
  6. Wives –the ministry of intimacy.
  7. Talking about sex with our kids


Shall we begin?  Let’s start with “Waiting is HARD to do”…  And we’ll begin tomorrow. 

Totally lame right?  I lead you to begin a great conversation, and then I leave you hanging.  It’s sort of like what we do with our kids.  Every day they are bombarded with images of blatant sexuality.  The world says it looks good, feels good and it’s so easy to get.   

But then we –as good Christian church people tell our kids, “oh by the wait, just wait another twenty years for it.”

Your boner is bad.  Sex is wrong.  And for God’s sake, “do not touch yourself.”

And then my Jr. High kid turns on the radio and Katy Perry says, “Forget that nonsense. You won’t die if you take a bite of this yummy sexy hot red apple.”

Of course we might think twice if they showed us all the side effects of pre-marital sex… you know, like the disclaimers on the pharmaceutical ads?  “This drug will help you with your depression… could cause dementia, diarrhea, increased sensitivity to noise and loss of desire to do anything fun…” sounds awesome!  I’d rather be depressed.  (See 10 Worst Prescription Drug Side Effects to laugh your butt off)

Actual Side effects of sex before marriage include: Unwanted pregnancy, emotional scarring, abortion, HIV, HPV…which leads to ovarian cancer, genital warts, STD’s and the slow but gradual ripping apart of your soul, so that one day when you do find “the one,” you won’t actually be capable of emotionally connecting with a human anymore and porn on the internet and masturbation will be your “go to gal” instead of a real live complicated woman. 

Wow…that sounds appealing.

But what if I told you there was a good reason to wait?  And it was a compelling reason that doesn’t suck?

Would you wait for dinner if you knew you were having a filet mignon and sushi or would you go ahead and feast on Cheetos every night?  And never, ever be really satiated?

What about waiting for ten million dollars?  Would you work for five or ten years to collect a fortune or would you settle for a thousand bucks today?

But we’ll get to that tomorrow.  And maybe it will be worth the wait ♥



The Birthcontrol Pill in Jr. High?


In line at Starbucks the other day, my seventh grade son grabbed a caramel macchiato from the barista, winked at me in gratitude, and headed out the door for the patio.  A group of Jr. High kids passed on the way out and gave him a subtle, but clear, “what’s up” in the form of a nod and cool appraisal. My son casually nodded his head back in response.

When we walked outside to join my husband and baby, I suggested my son might want to go and hang with his friends.  His face lit up and he sauntered over to the group, shared some high fives and sat down.  These were friends from school I didn’t recognize.  They appeared to be more mature than his usual sports buddies; it was a co-ed group and the girls looked about sixteen, though I knew they were barely teens.  

The kids were also unsupervised, raising instant red flags in the back of my mind, and so my husband and I watched them curiously.  We tried to look cool and blasé, but were staring none the less.

One pair in particular stood out, a boy and girl who looked a little too friendly with each other.    Completely oblivious to the world, the kids couldn’t keep their hands off each other.  The girl leaned back into the boy’s arms. Her bottom snugly tucked into his lap and his arms wrapped tightly around her waist.   Katy Perry’s Teenage Dream played in my head. 

It was an intimate act that suggested pure sex.  Generally, those kinds of lap wiggles are reserved for the bedroom or private Jacuzzi.  Clearly, certain  boundaries had already been crossed and if they weren’t already sexually active, then they were getting close. Either way, it was inappropriate and shocking. It was a blatant “get a room” kind of move that makes people uncomfortable.  I was even more surprised at their audacity, as if they were unaware of social norms and space, or parents in particular.

And there sat my baby boy in the midst of these horny teenagers.  My sweet and innocent little angel corrupted by tarts and P Diddies.  (Ok, possibly an overreaction, but I am relatively confidant my son is still pure) And I got scared and a little sad.  Because, the truth is I can’t protect him from a culture that is hyper sexualizing everything down to tennis shoes.

On the way home, I questioned my son about his friends.  He mentioned the affectionate couple was dating.  I strained to remember what dating in Jr. High meant.  All I could remember was spin the bottle at parties, holding hands and possibly a first kiss for the kids who were going out. (Where “out” was, we will never know?)

 After a little research, from the Culture and Media Institute, I discovered the average age for a youth in the United States who is sexually active has now dropped down to age fourteen. The general consensus among the public seems to be reluctant acquiesce.  In Portland Maine (2007), the school board voted to allow birth control pills to be distributed to children as young as eleven.  Maine also dropped the age limit for sex to be considered illegal down to fourteen.

More disturbing than these statistics are the disparity of messages we are sending our teens.  “Don’t have sex, but if you do, here is how you put a condom on a banana.”  Hmmm? It’s as if no one believes saying no is an option. 

Why can we Just Say No to drugs but throw in the towel on children having sex?  Clearly, there will still be defiant and curious kids that will engage no matter what, but the message is still the same…avoid at all cost.  I am concerned why this message is applicable to one and not the other?

The morning after the Portland school board approved the measure allowing birth control to be distributed in the school, NBC’s Today Show featured Meredith Vieira and Dr. Nancy Snyderman, the network’s doctor-on-call. 

As Dr. Snyderman said, “Middle school kids are having sex!” Rather than letting that be a call for contraception, shouldn’t it be a wakeup call to our culture? If 11-year-olds are having sex, there are greater problems that need to be addressed than any pill can ever hope to cure … or prevent.

I agree with Dr. Snyderman in the bigger issue our culture faces. I would suggest that in the absence of a compelling reason to not have sex, we have just raised the white flag.  If no one will fight for teen abstinence and purity in light of the constant sexual barrage by the media, then we have already conceded. Why should any kid care if no one is willing to take a stand?

After we gently questioned our son, my husband and I walked home from Starbucks with him and talked openly about sex, love and what God has to say about it.  And that day, we took a stand; ready for a battle we may lose, but willing to fight against a culture where sex sells and little girls take birth control pills with their chewable vitamins.

Wanted: Secret Agents

Seal of the Central Intelligence Agency of the...

Image via Wikipedia

Many words come to mind when I think of the CIA— espionage, clandestine operations, INTELLIGENCE, authority, strategy and adventure.  Strangely enough, “desperate” is not a term I would ever have associated with this government agency. 

But what am I to think when I hear an ad driving home from work the other day on KIIS FM, a local teeny-bopper radio station, advertising for CIA agents?  It sounded like an open call audition that just happened to include a polygraph test and a background check.  

Shut the front door!  Are we, the grand ‘ol USA, really that desperate to find qualified civil servants, that we have to pander to a predominately under-aged audience of Katy Perry and Lady Gaga wanna-be’s?  

Now, I work in marketing, and generally my intended audience is the one I am targeting; so what this ad campaign tells me, is that these “CIA “jobs, once so coveted that major movies and books were penned depicting their glory and honor, are now being mass marketed to teenagers getting their first job at Wal-Mart or McDonald’s.

After reading Leon Panetta’s comments on “said” radio campaign, I am now even more befuddled. The new director of the CIA (former chief of staff for Clinton and an Obama appointee), who is responsible for the ads, states that his goal is to reach out to minorities and people with foreign language skills; he is also trying to recruit more “Muslims, Arabs, African-Americans and Latinos.”

Ok, let me get this straight.  Affirmative action and lagging language skills are behind this? Now, I went to UCLA during the prime years of affirmative action.  My 4.0 GPA guaranteed that I might, (did I say might?) get a seat next to my good friend who was a quarter Indian, with a whopping 3.2 GPA.  Yeah, that was fair.  I busted my butt and he cruised on in. He didn’t grow up disadvantaged or on a reservation.  He lived around the corner from me and his house was bigger than mine.

So, is this the future of the CIA?  We dumb it down so that it’s politically correct and turn it into a late-night joke?  Call me naive, but true equality seems pretty simple, it’s when the best man or woman for the job gets the job, without racial or gender stereotypes. End of story.

 And when it comes to the protection of our country, is this the best we can do? How about stepping up the language training?  Or, possibly investing a few dollars in better recruitment tactics that appeal to minorities? Why don’t we leave those radio ads to ProActive and Geiko?

My confidence in this nation’s defense just fell quite a few notches, not that it was high to begin with.  But hey, at least our new linguistically skilled CIA agents will be able to dance to Chris Brown and Britney Spears.  If there is ever a covert op at a disco in Cairo maybe they can stun them with their killer moves.

Wisdom from the Gabba’s

Yo Gabba Gabba Live! @ the Wang

Image by bradsearles via Flickr



The Top 10… from Yo Gabba Gabba

  1. Sometimes it rains on our parade.  Stuff happens.  Life is hard.  Disappointments are inevitable.  Tears fall like raindrops.  But, when Muno is sad, his Gabba friends find him an umbrella and teach him how to dance in the rain.
  2. Don’t bite your friends!  Biting hurts our friends.  Take out your aggression on some watermelon. 
  3. I have never seen a chubby guy in orange tights rock it like Jack Black!  Who knew a sexy jig could make it on Nick Jr.?  Take note Katy Perry.  Time to switch networks.
  4. There is an inside voice and an outside voice.  Our job is to figure out when it’s ok to be obnoxiously loud and when we need to whisper our snide comments. 
  5. When in doubt, make a funny face!  Laugh like a hyena.  Giggle uncontrollably.  Pee your pants and fall down.  If you need help on this…go back to lesson #3 and watch Jack Black.  Hysterical
  6. Don’t be afraid.  Don’t be afraid.  Don’t be afraid!  Nuff said!
  7. Team work is good.  If you and your Duck buddies work together, you too could steal the University of Washington Helmut Golf Cart and light it on fire.  I’m not saying you should…I’m just saying.
  8. Just dance. My name is Sam and I like to dance!  Show off your moves in a t-shirt with your favorite Gabba.  I like Roby.  He is the little green one with the long arms. 
  9. Drawing is fun.  Find your inner artist.  Create.  Be fully alive.  Use crayons.
  10. There is a DJ who controls the music.  He pushes the buttons, teaches the lessons, and eventually puts all the characters back in the box.  Smart Gabba’s get to know the DJ!
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