Advice

Sex Advice From Pastors

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Melissa, 34

A guy just asked me out. He’s a devout Christian and I’m a devout atheist. Do you think we have any chance of making it work?
That’s such a fundamental difference that I would predict with many people it would be difficult, because your religious beliefs really go to the core of any person. So when you’re in a relationship with someone who doesn’t get you in that way it could be challenging. In other ways, you could keep one another fresh, on your toes and honest about why you truly believe what you believe.

When I was seventeen I got caught masturbating in a church bathroom. How can I get over this humiliation and guilt and just let myself enjoy a religious service?
Sex is a gift from God. Sexual pleasure is a gift from God. As long as it’s used responsibly and respectfully toward another person and toward yourself there’s nothing inherently shameful about it at all. There’s nothing shameful about masturbation, though doing it in a public place is maybe not exercising the best judgment. I would seek out a church where you know there will be open-minded people. And if you have friends who are involved in a church, talk to them and be sure you’re going to be in a community where you’re not made to feel that you have to check your body at the door. Unfortunately, communities of faith still carry a lot of baggage and believe that we’re in a relationship with God only from our neck up, but that’s not true. Read the Song of Solomon; it’s full of sexual and physical imagery. The church tried to spiritualize it and say it’s metaphorical and say it’s a relationship between God and the Church, but it undeniably affirmed the beauty of human sexuality and physicality.

melissaI’m a twenty-seven-year-old gay man, and I’ve come out to everyone but my very religious parents. On one hand, I feel like by not telling them, I’m living a lie. But on the other, I don’t want to break their hearts and I know they’ll never understand or accept it. What should I do?
There’s an excellent DVD called For the Bible Tells Me So that looks at the issue of homosexuality from a faith perspective and follows the stories of several families and how the parents responded when they found out they had a gay or lesbian or bisexual child. It also looks at the spiritual arguments, so it would give you some tools to have a conversation with your parents about why you think someone could be gay and also be a person of faith.

My boyfriend of five years just bought a house and wants me to move in. I really like living alone, but I’m afraid if I don’t move in we’re going to break up. He keeps saying things like “our relationship isn’t going anywhere.” What should I do?
If you aren’t ready to move in together, don’t force yourself into something that will only hurt both of you. You will end up resenting him for manipulating you into a decision for which you weren’t ready and resenting yourself for caving. Communicate openly and honestly, explain that you’re happy with the relationship as it is but that you’re just not ready for that step. Ask him what he means by “the relationship isn’t going anywhere.” Is there another way to move the relationship forward without moving in together?

I’m a twenty-seven-year-old woman dating a twenty-two-year-old guy. He won’t have sex with me unless we’re officially in a relationship and I don’t want to officially be in a relationship until we’ve had sex. What’s a good compromise?
First I would congratulate you on dating a twenty-two-year-old guy who’s just as interested in being in a relationship as he is in sex. I’m probably gender stereotyping, but that’s something of a rare find in young men. But if you’re with this guy and he wants a relationship before sex, I wouldn’t try to force him to do anything different. I would first recommend talking to him about why he feels this way. You might discover his reasons are pretty compelling to you, or you might not. If you don’t see it the way he does, maybe you need to move on to someone who sees it more the way you do.

Bryan, 38

A guy just asked me out. He’s a devout Christian and I’m a devout atheist. Do you think we have any chance of making it work?
You have as much chance as anybody else of making it work. The significant qualities that make a relationship work often are not connected to religious background. My girlfriend is, at best, an agnostic and I’m a pastor.

When I was seventeen I got caught masturbating in a church bathroom. How can I get over this humiliation and guilt and just let myself enjoy a religious service?
Just go to church. Get over it. Of all the things you can get caught doing in a church, that’s got to be one of the least offensive.

What’s more offensive?
Stealing from the church, insulting women, proclaiming violent jihad among others, judgmentalism. In fact, come to my church, I know just the bathroom for you to use in my church.

The guy I’ve been dating has only been with three women. I’ve been with at least thirty men, and more women than he has. I know it’s only a matter of time before he wants to know how many partners I’ve had. Should I tell him the truth and risk scaring him off, or is it okay in this case to tell a little white lie?
bryanIf he’s got a problem with that then you probably don’t need the guy anyway. On top of that, you should tell him the truth, because it’s inevitable he’ll find out one way or another. It will become obvious, like when you go out and you run into guy after guy you used to date.

My boyfriend of five years just bought a house and wants me to move in. I really like living alone, but I’m afraid if I don’t move in we’re going to break up. He keeps saying things like “our relationship isn’t going anywhere.” What should I do?
If you don’t want to move in, don’t move in. Just be honest about where you are with that issue and resist the temptation to move in because the other person wants you to. Bad idea.

I‘ve been volunteering at the local soup kitchen lately and I’m 99.9% sure the cute, young, single pastor has been flirting with me. I’ve finally built up the nerve to ask him out, but have no idea how to go about actually doing it. Any suggestions?
Use email, choose a discreet location and, um, suggest a rendezvous. Most clergy are a little reluctant to get amorous on the job. So moving things to an alternative location discreetly is the only possible hope. And don’t go to his church, ever. Any ethical clergy person would be reluctant to date people in his or her congregation.

I’m a twenty-seven-year-old gay man who has come out to everyone but my very religious parents. On one hand, I feel like by not telling them, I’m living a lie. But on the other, I don’t want to break their hearts, and I know they’ll never understand or accept it. What should I do?
Go to church and out religious them.

Then what?
That’s all you gotta do. Once you prove to them that you’re more religious than they are then they can’t question anything.

Ann, 33

A guy just asked me out. He’s a devout Christian and I’m a devout atheist. Do you think we have any chance of making it work?
Of course you have a chance to make it work. The key would be to be particularly open and honest. And to practice really quality communications and to explain to one another what you believe, why you believe it, and how it impacts your life and how it would impact a relationship with one another.

The guy I’ve been dating has only been with three women. I’ve been with at least thirty men, and more women than he has. I know it’s only a matter of time before he wants to know how many partners I’ve had. Should I tell him the truth and risk scaring him off or is it okay in this case to tell a little white lie?
Always err on the side of being honest. Because when you’re not honest with the person you love you risk the opportunity of really damaging the relationship and also feeling guilty about it yourself. So if you want to build a lifelong relationship, it’s best to get off on the right foot and just tell the truth.

My boyfriend of five years just bought a house and wants me to move in. I really like living alone, but I’m afraid if I don’t move in we’re going to break up. He keeps saying things like “our relationship isn’t going anywhere.” What should I do?
Your boyfriend might have a point. Not necessarily that you should move in together, but that you might want to consider where your relationship is going with him. What do you want out of your life? A lifelong relationship with one person? To get married? Live together? If that’s what you want, then you should go through the necessary steps to have that happen, but if it isn’t what you want you should be honest with your boyfriend.

annI’m a twenty-seven-year-old woman dating a twenty-two-year-old guy. He won’t have sex with me unless we’re officially in a relationship and I don’t want to officially be in a relationship until we’ve had sex. What’s a good compromise?
So, each of you have your own set of values over issues of relationships and sex. Perhaps the best way to move forward is to actually talk about some of your and his concerns and fears in order to understand why you think and feel the way each of you does.

I’ve been volunteering at the local soup kitchen lately and I’m 99.9% sure the cute, young, single pastor has been flirting with me. I’ve finally built up the nerve to ask him out, but have no idea how to go about actually doing it. Any suggestions?
First off, folks should know that pastors really shouldn’t date members of their congregation. I’m going to assume that as a soup kitchen volunteer you’re not a church member. Which — good news for you — makes you entirely fair game. Just ask him out like you would ask anyone else out. Plus you should probably know he’s actually dying for a date.

I’m a twenty-seven-year-old gay man, and I’ve come out to everyone but my very religious parents. On one hand, I feel like by not telling them, I’m living a lie. But on the other, I don’t want to break their hearts, and I know they’ll never understand or accept it. What should I do?
I understand what you’re feeling because I felt similarly myself. But I discovered that perhaps I was prejudging my religiously conservative family by assuming I knew what they thought about my being gay. I ended up taking the risk and coming out to them, and though it may have taken a little bit of time, they came around to be wonderfully supportive. Had I just stayed in the closet I never would have given them the opportunity to know who I truly was and to know the person who I cared about and shared my life with. Ultimately, they decided that what they really wanted was to be a family to me. I would recommend praying about it and perhaps being open to the fact that maybe they love you more than you think. It actually takes a lot more courage to allow people to love you than to assume that they’re going to hate you.