I HATE MAGAZINES. After the past few months, I am about ready to swear them off altogether, at least women’s magazines focused on fashion, health, and sex. I’ve had it. I have no real problem seeing pictures and spreads on this season’s fashion trends or new tips on eating or living healthier. BUT, I am terribly, terribly sick of reading about sex. Maybe this is just me, but I know for the greater part of my adolescent years I would certainly read the ashamed-to-admit-it articles on sex, those pages that I believe most girls read, but never if anyone were looking or could possibly notice.
I have now had, in my first year of college, two run-ins with Cosmo. Both have left me surprisingly and unnervingly unnerved. And both have left me with the same clear and distinct question: Is beauty still found in innocence? Now I must admit, this first leads me to consider a certain well-known cliché: Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. So, this leads me to conclude that this question ought to be posed to the beholders out there. Specifically, how women view other women, and how men view women. A verse (used in the next post) from Song of Songs (6:8-9) suggests the importance (or at least non-irrelevance) of the opinions of others. Additionally, every godly woman ought to desire the praise and admiration of her husband (Proverbs 30:28-29).
As I’m typing this I almost feel burdened trying to make some sort of theological, scriptural, tactful point or argument. So, I apologize in advance for my lack of eloquence, delicateness, or any unintentional immodesty on my own behalf. In addition, I don’t know how personal this post will seem to others; again, I apologize for any offence.
My two run-ins (as I like to call them) severely disturbed me. Perhaps this should not be surprising, but I was definitely surprised. The thing is, right or wrong, I have been exposed for years now to the topic of sex, from both secular and Christian communities, and sex lost its “taboo-ness” for me a long time ago. It was wrong, yes, but on both occasions I skimmed over the pages, one on the “latest sex tips” (SO ashamed to admit it) and the other an article by a man on his opinion and analysis of “the highlight reel” (Couples Retreat anyone?). Literally, as dramatic as it sounds, I felt sick to my stomach and honestly disturbed by these two encounters with the world’s current view and discussion of sex. But why such a violent reaction?
First, both of the above mentioned articles speak of sex with any partner, no mention of marriage. This does not surprise me in any way, and yet how it suddenly saddens me. Currently I am in a relationship with a guy for whom I care very deeply. I think it very likely that this contributes to my heightened sensitivity to this subject, as he and I strive for purity within our relationship. As I would hope is not common to only me, I imagine what a future with him might look like. I think of what any marriage should look like, and I develop my picture of a healthy, fulfilling marriage (both through scripture and personal preferences).
What an amazing gift sex is supposed to be. One bringing an entirely new level of intimacy to a relationship and an act symbolic of the intimacy God desires with us. When sex is taken out of the realm of purely matrimonial commitment, those engaging in the practice would seem to substitute the act itself for the original intention. Though it may be something not fully understandable to those who have not partaken (like myself, so please note the lack of any personal knowledge on the subject), it is a pity nonetheless to see a gift of God made so cheap.
Both of the articles lead me to beg the question that if sex takes place between one man and one woman, within the bounds of marriage, would either article’s information be necessary? No “highlight reel” would be possible, thank the Lord, for this idea in itself is damaging (and I find it horrifying). And sex tips for “keeping your man happy” would not be necessary either; a woman would have no need to fear a man’s straying or leaving, and she would need no advice from a third-party, like a magazine, on the needs of her relationship, whether physical, emotional, or spiritual.
I suppose in essence I am just disgusted with the contents and ideas of the articles, and with the world’s idea of sex in general. Upon reflection I find gratitude for my inability and unwillingness, both of which are from God and not my inherent fleshly nature, to conform to this practice of the world. Sex is to be practiced and explored within marriage, and within marriage alone.
“Somehow girls are supposed to be both innocent and seductive, virginal and experienced, all at the same time. As they quickly learn, this is tricky” (Jean Kilbourne). I am still left with the same question: Is beauty still seen in innocence? Is innocence beautiful?