Thank you, Covenant, for hosting Dr. William Struthers as this year’s WIC Lecture Series speaker. His series entitled, “Sexuality and the Brain: Christian Faithfulness in the New Millennium,” was highly instructional—a necessary and truth-speaking presentation. So I thank you for the opportunity to listen and generate discussion on sexuality.
I am not writing to critique, complain, or incite unfruitful discussion. I am writing to publicly validate some feelings of misrepresentation. Per the 2014-2015 academic year, approximately 58 percent of Covenant College’s undergraduate population consisted of women. As part of the majority, I think it is important for women to hear from other women about their sexuality.
Men are able to speak into women’s lives, and may say the exact same thing as a woman would tell other women, but the information will never come from a mutual understanding and perspective. Women need other women to affirm their sexual struggles. A sexual encounter you have as a female will never be affirmed in the same way a male’s sexual struggle is affirmed within the church, because the men are authoritative over sexual matters and are expected to struggle in this area.
It is damaging to assume that women struggle less with sexual sin, and more with relational and emotional matters. This perspective leads women to adopt a sense of shame because the church communicates that their role is not sexual sin, and is outside the bounds of forgiveness. Is the church really more comfortable with condemning gossip than they are willing to address masturbation or pornography as it pertains to women? Is it inappropriate for women to address women on these matters?
While I think it is beneficial to hear from a man speaking to a gender diverse congregation, there are struggles a man cannot be the authority figure on, because he is not a woman and has not experienced them. This will not change, no matter how empathetic you are to women, or how devoted you are to understanding female sexuality.
It is alarming to hear stories from friends of women who do not even know about their own sex organs, and are afraid of them. We have been failed by the church to be educated on our own anatomy, left to figure things out on our own and from culture. None know more about women than women, so I encourage you—begin discussions. Do not be satisfied with one-sided perspectives when it comes to your own body; ask questions. Pray for God to reveal His love to you so that you may understand His desires for your body.