“Give Me Sex Jesus” Debuts on Vimeo

By Julia Feeser

give me sex jesus

Patrick and Bonnie, a married couple who appear in the film and saved their first kiss for marriage.

A few weeks ago, a documentary was released on Vimeo called Give Me Sex Jesus. 

Give Me Sex Jesus is a fascinating look at the rise of purity culture during the 80’s and 90’s and how this movement impacted young people growing up during that time. The film highlights the stories of several different people, all ranging in age, relationship status, sexual identity, and sexual orientation.

In popular culture, the lingering effects of the purity movement are just now coming to light as those who were teens during that time are now adults navigating their sexuality. I find myself reading article after article (mostly by women) describing how the purity movement negatively impacted their views of sex, caused a confusing amount of shame, and often didn’t accomplish the intended outcome of waiting until marriage.

I was someone who had some exposure to purity movements through a conference I attended with my youth group at 15 years old. During the conference (which included a lot of flashing lights and popular movie clips) I learned from an energetic twentysomething about why waiting for marriage to experience sex was the best choice I could make and would keep my “purity” in tact. After the conference, I received a silver ring I could wear as a reminder of the promise I had made to wait.

I ended up wearing my ring for a few years, finally taking it off my junior year of college. It wasn’t that I had decided not to wait anymore, but I realized the ring was really just a ring, and the promise I was making had grown into a deeper purpose rooted in obedience to Christ.

Even though I wore a purity ring, I always struggled with the idea of “purity” itself. The rules and ideas surrounding purity felt cheesy and naive, and not at all practical for real dating relationships. To me, to be pure meant my virginity was in tact and I would inexplicably be overwhelmed with the desire to run through a field of wildflowers wearing a white dress, not caring about boys in the slightest bit (but I cared about boys, a lot).

While I have experienced first-hand the struggles created by purity movements (both in my own life and the lives of others), I truly believe that the idea behind purity movements came from a Christ-centered place and somehow became less about honoring the beauty of sex and more about an attempt to manage sexual sin in the lives of others.

Give Me Sex Jesus highlights one movement in particular; True Love Waits. 

True Love Waits was an abstinence-based movement founded in 1993 that promoted sexual purity, which they defined as abstaining from sex, sexual thoughts, sexual touching, pornography, and actions thought to lead to sexual arousal. The main component of their program was the signing of abstinece pledges by teens as a symbol of commitment to remain “pure” until marriage.

True Love Waits came under criticism for a couple reasons.

First, a 2003 study of the results of this program found that 6 out of 10 college students who had taken the pledge had broken it. Second, True Love Waits (whether inadvertantly or not) created a culture of rigid sexual rules that reinforced that all sexual activity was deeply sinful and devalued the person engaging in this sexual activity.

However, even though True Love Waits has received a lot of flack over the years (some of it justifiable and some not), I truly believe that the original intention for True Love Waits and similar purity movements came from a desire to give young people the means to experience sex in the best and safest way possible: marriage.

Looking back on movements like True Love Waits, we now have the opportunity to grow from where they faltered; leaning into conversations surrounded waiting not through a set of rules or pledges, but purpose in Christ.

It is not about signing a paper card, hoping this signature will still be relevant to us through the years and relationships we encounter.

It is not about adhering to strict rules regarding physicality, but rather understanding ourselves and the holiness God has declared already exists within our desire to be physical.

It is not about a fear of what we may do wrong, but rather a freedom in knowing waiting for sex isn’t really about waiting for sex and more about obeying God’s design for sex because we know He made it good, and we long for what He has declared to be good.

You can watch the full documentary below:

Why Sexual Integrity?

Why sexual integrity? This is a question that is commonly asked by those that hear about our ministry. People ask why we don’t just use terms like sexual purity or abstinence? Which is a great question and worth responding to.

Let me start by saying that how we speak about sex matters. So often the ways we discuss this subject can be deceptive, wrong, misguided or fear based. Churches and homes, if not careful, can make Christian sex nothing more than choosing to wait. Thus, causing teens and young adults to think that their virginity is their most important commodity, an identity marker, in their relationship with the Lord. A recent article about Elizabeth Smart, the girl that was once held captive for nine months in 2002 near her home in Salt Lake City, UT, had a similar thought in a recent article titled, the limits of abstinence education. In short Smart says, “I remember in school one time, I had a teacher who was talking about, well about abstinence. And she said, ‘Imagine that you’re a stick of gum, and when you engage in sex, that’s like getting chewed. And then if you do that lots of times, you’re going to become an old piece of gum, and who’s going to want you after that?… for me, I thought, ‘Oh my gosh, I’m that chewed up piece of gum. Nobody re-chews a piece of gum. You throw it away.’ Now we must realize that not every program or abstinence message is the same but the analogies we use make a difference. They communicate something and we have to be careful what exactly they communicate. Personally, I think her words are important to read because they speak truth…and that can sting a little. I’ve been doing this for many years and realize the power of speaking on such a sensitive subject. My hope is that we as a ministry are doing more than just selling the value of virginity. That is not what makes someone holy. In fact, I highly doubt that the first question that we will be asked by God when we get to the pearly whites will be whether or not we were virgins when we got married. Choosing to wait must be something more than just about our virginity.

Some might think then that is why we must speak about sexual purity. Yes, I can see that but I still think Elizabeth Smarts words hit just as hard and maybe even more directly when using terms like sexual purity. Often these conversations are no different then a schools presentation on abstinence. The only difference is that we speak about the value of being ‘clean’ and keeping up a regiment of don’ts. Which, when I speak those words out loud sound an awful lot like a Pharisee. Do they not? I’ve sat through multiple ‘purity’ talks at church and never once heard the name of Jesus Christ proclaimed. But isn’t He the one that makes us pure? (1 John 3:3) I think that sometimes this point gets missed in our talks…but I believe that is the most important thing. In fact, that is where our value, our identity, should be found. Is it not?

This generation is going to have to wait longer than any other if they choose to follow God’s standards for sex. That is a fact. In the late 1800’s you typically only waited one or two years from the time you went through puberty (your body communicating your ready to create life) till when you married. In the 1950’s the time was a bit longer, maybe 5 to 6 years. Today, however, most young adults are waiting until their late 20’s to get married and they are going through puberty younger and younger. This means that if they are going to follow God’s standards then they will have to wait anywhere from 12-17 years from the time their body is ready to the time they have sex. That is a long time! And that is why our message must resonate in ways that go beyond rules and boundaries.

Remember, God is concerned with what’s in the heart. Virginity, if not placed in the right context, can be a source of pride rather than an opportunity to glorify the Creator. I don’t think virginity is the opposite of sexual promiscuity, sexual integrity is. Sexual integrity (and purity if spoken about correctly) requires something more than just physical action. It requires turning to the Lord and acting in obedience with this great gift. Over and over again our identity in Scripture is not found in what we do (like saving our virginity) but in the one in whom we find TRUE life, Jesus Christ. Thus, if we make a mistake our identity is not stolen from us because this identity is not given in what we do but it is a declaration of what has already been done. Another reason we use the term sexual integrity comes from the root of the word integrity. Integrity comes from the word, integer, which means whole or complete. Our desire as a ministry is to see individuals that are sexually whole in Jesus Christ. In a wonderfully written article, Why Virginity is Not Important But Chastity Is, the author speaks of this every dynamic. The author says, “For it is Christ who makes us completely whole again that we might love fully without shame. This is why virginity is not important, but chastity (or sexual integrity) is: because in Christ the old has gone, the new has come, we are a new creation, created in Christ Jesus to give ourselves in love as he did. That is our identity. That is what really matters.” I couldn’t agree more and hope that this truth resonates in each and every message we share on sexual integrity.