Sex and The City

Go to fullsize imageBy Bindu Adai-Mathew

We almost managed to do it…Almost. Sorry, ladies…some of you are about to get uncomfortable. But did anyone think what I was thinking? How can we go an entire  whole month on talking about boys without talking about the one subject that is synonymous with boys…SEX!

Well, actually that’s not entirely true…JMathis alluded to sex in Gotta Love Those Pesky Boundaries blog and AbbyA discussed it in My 10 Cents on Sex Addiction: No Shame or Guilt Included.

But if I am to believe what someone told me recently—that men think about sex 80% of the time—then we have to talk about sex. Again.

And not just men’s issues with sex. But ours.

So what do you think about sex?  If you’re like me, depending on whom is around when the topic comes up, I may internally blush, wring my hands for a few seconds, and then try to act non-chalant. But if I’m around a close girlfriend or two, I may perk up and delve into the topic most comfortably.

Growing up in a conservative, Indian family, I was raised to not even think about boys, much less sex. Couple that with being raised in a Southern Baptist church where dancing, drinking, and sex were all equally taboo and you have a recipe for a naïve prude. And in hindsight, I was naïve in many ways, and in some ways, I was probably also a prude.

Fast-forward through high school to a couple of years after college, and Sex and the City (SATC) was the show to watch. I, along with many women, enjoyed watching every aspect of the topic of boys and sex being dissected and discussed to the umpteenth degree. I thought of watching the show as a guilty pleasure, a fun escape, but as I watched, I also took it with a grain of salt…kind of like watching one of those stunt/daredevil shows with a strong “do not try this at home” disclaimer at the end.

As much fun as the show was to watch, I didn’t take it seriously. After all, no one really lived their lives like that…right?! At least not respectable girls, right?! And definitely not Christian girls, right?! (Okay, don’t choke! In case you couldn’t tell, I was being sarcastic—although many years ago, I was naïve enough to believe the first question I just posed.)

Fast-forward a few more years, and it’s the first season of The Bachelor. At the very end of the first series, it comes down to the final two women and the Bachelor. On each of his last two dates, he and his date are given a key to a private hotel suite, where they can continue to get to know each other.  As I watched this, I remember feeling shocked! I had to double-check that this was not HBO, but primetime local tv! And then as I watched as each woman accepted the offer to spend the night with the bachelor, I was truly aghast! How could either one accept, knowing that he would also be sharing a room later on with his other date? Or were they even more naïve than me to think they were the only one?

Fast-forward a few more years, and now you have shows like Jersey Shore that have taken that sexual freedom and lack of discretion up another few notches.

But whether I’m watching television or just observing the world around me, I can’t help but wonder (in true Carrie Bradshaw-style) was SATC, the Bachelor, and all these shows influencing American culture or was it just a reflection of it? And while everyone seems to think we are “evolving” in our thinking towards sex, aren’t we just really devolving into our baser animal instincts where we separate the emotional and spiritual aspects of sex from the actual physical coupling?

It isn’t much later that I get one of my answers when a co-worker confesses to me that  how much that show influenced her decisions regarding relationships and sex. It was a great show, she told me, but she just wishes she didn’t look at it as a guidebook on dating.

For all her sexual freedom, she didn’t feel so free…in fact, she admits, she ended up being enslaved to some of her relationships and felt trapped for many years.

So what should our attitude towards sex be?

For these answers, I go to the source himself. The creator of sex. God.

Are you cringing right now? People often cringe when the Bible is brought up in relation to sex. They often think of the Bible as being anti-sex. But the opposite is true. God and the Bible are very pro-sex.

Don’t believe me? In fact, there is a whole book in the Bible devoted to sex: Song of Songs! Go read it! It celebrates sex…within the context of marriage.

Ah yes. I said it. Sex belongs within the boundaries of marriage. Yes, call me old fashioned. Call me narrow-minded. Call me close-minded. But yes, I believe that’s where sex belongs. It’s also where the Bible says it belongs. And for good reason.

Disease. Unwanted pregnancy. Undue emotional baggage.

Sex comes with a price. The world will tell you that it’s fun, that it’s really no big deal, that there are no strings attached, and that everyone is doing it. But the Bible will tell you the opposite. The physical act is a spiritual bond you share with a person. And we all personally know someone who as a result of having casual sex, ended up with an STD, and/or an unwanted pregnancy.

Whatever your views on sex, I encourage you…don’t listen to the world…don’t even listen to me….open up your Bible and see what the Manufacturer’s Manual has to say about it. After all, YOU deserve the best…why settle for eating at Taco Bell every day when God would rather you experience a gourmet meal?

 Two Become One

“…The body is not meant for sexual immorality, but for the Lord, and the Lord for the body…Do you not know that your bodies are members of Christ himself? Shall I then take the members of Christ and unite them with a prostitute? Never! Do you not know that he who unites himself with a prostitute is one with her in body? For it is said ‘the two will become one flesh’ …” [I Corinthians 6:13-16]

God Designed Sex for Marriage

“The husband should fulfill his marital duty to his wife, and likewise the wife to her husband. The wife’s body does not belong to her alone but also to her husband. In the same way, the husband’s body does not belong to him alone but also to his wife. Do not deprive each other except by mutual consent and for a time, so that you may devote yourselves to prayer. Then come together again so that Satan will not tempt you because of your lack of self-control.” [I Corinthians 7:3-5]

 “But if they cannot control themselves, they should marry, for it is better to marry than to burn with passion.” [I Corinthians 7:9]

“May your fountain be blessed, and may you rejoice in the wife of your youth. A loving doe, a graceful deer – may her breasts satisfy you always, may you ever be captivated by her love. Why be captivated, my son by an adulteress? Why embrace the bosom of another man’s wife?” [Proverbs 5:18-20]

“Drink water from your own cistern, running water from your own well. Should your springs overflow in the streets, your streams of water in the public squares? Let them be yours alone, never to be shared with strangers. May your fountain be blessed, and may you rejoice in the wife of your youth. A loving doe, a graceful deer – may her breasts satisfy you always, may you ever be captivated by her love. Why be captivated, my son, by an adulteress? Why embrace the bosom of another man’s wife?For a man’s ways are in full view of the Lord, and he examines all his paths. The evil deeds of a wicked man ensnare him; the cords of his sin hold him fast. He will die for lack of discipline, led astray by his own great folly.” [Proverbs 5:15-23]

As always, God only wants what is best for us…He created our bodies, and he knows how they should work. Sex can be a momentary pleasure but the consequences can last a lifetime. Whatever your views on sex are, don’t let the world determine how you feel about sex. It’s YOUR body. You decide. I just encourage you to consult the being who created it.

Boys, Boys, Boys!!!!!!!!

By Bindu Adai-Mathew

Boys. Sigh. My favorite topic between the ages of 13 and 29…even now that I am thirty (cough) something, I still feel like I could write a 10 volume novel on my thoughts on boys. I spent most of my youth trying to decode the male species, only to realize later (Oprah calls them “Ah ha” moments) that it was my own craziness that complicated them in the first place. 

 As a veteran of adolescence and my twentysomething years, my first instinct is to save all you single women the trouble, the hassle, the craziness of boys. But I know it’s futile.

 I want to tell you that you don’t need boys to make you happy or to feel complete. But that’s not completely the truth, is it? After all, two of the biggest things in life— marriage and children seem to require one primary ingredient…BOYS! 

 Sigh. You know the saying. Can’t live with them. Can’t live without them.

 So we might as well talk about them. Lord knows, we don’t have anything else productive to do…and who are we kidding, talking about boys is fun!…Sometimes.

 Boys. Let’s see…(and yes, I know I’m stereotyping here, but bear with me…) You have the Nice Guy. The Too Nice Guy So I Can’t Date You Guy. The Rebel. The Momma’s Boy. The Friend without Benefits. The Friend with Benefits. The I Don’t Know How You Got into My Life but Okay, You’re Here, Now What? Guy. The Rebound Guy. The <fill in your own blank> guy, and (drum roll, please) one of the all-time favorites…or maybe it was just my friends who seemed to like him…The Unavailable Guy.

 Awww, yes. The Unavabilable Guy. You know him. The guy you meet, you think is cute, you think he thinks you’re cute. He gets your number, you wait by the phone anxiously waiting for his call only to wonder a few days later if 1) he lost your number 2) he got eaten by a bear 3) he is nursing his sick mother back to health and that’s why he hasn’t called you. or even more realistically 4) he is secretly part of the CIA and was called oversees in a secret, covert mission that is being overseen by the President himself. No wonder he hasn’t called…he is too busy saving the world from terrorists!

Ah, yes, Unavailable Guy. You wait for him. You make excuses for him. You finally realize that maybe, just maybe he’s not interested in you and that’s why he’s not calling. You promise to put him out of your mind…you go on with your life, and the suddenly WHAM! He calls. Turns out he WAS nursing his sick mom back to health! See, you were right all along.

You go out with Unavailable Guy. Unavailable Guy seems even cuter than when you first met him. (Doesn’t everything look more appealing when you know you can’t have it?) You have a great time at dinner and at the movies. He drops you off safely at home, promising to call you…

And he does. Two months later.

Unavailable Guy. Ah yes. So complicated. So mysterious. So…enough already!

I spent years counseling my friends as they dated Unavailable Guy. Like my friends, I, too, made excuses. Oh, I could tell by the way he accidentally touched your arm at a 20 degree angle, that he’s really into you…   And oh, his mom must have had another bad cold, but I’m sure after she’s better, he’ll call you again. As their best friend, I was in denial of the one truth that stood out like a blaring neon sign…Unavailable Guy was….unavailable…

 Shocker.

 And then somewhere in my twenties, I finally saw that episode of Sex and The City. The one that opened my eyes. You know the “He’s Just Not That Into You” episode where the girls are all out for dinner and Miranda is going on and on about this guy she went out with who seems a little distant and is making excuses not to spend time with her. Carrie and Charlotte immediately make excuses like “Oh, it’s probably work…he’s probably just stressed out and will call you when it gets better.” In the background, you see Carrie’s date, shaking his head and stating the obvious: “He’s just not that into you…”  Carrie is horrified and immediately makes excuses for his response, but Charlotte appears to have an “Ah ha” moment when she realizes the truth was staring her in the face all along. Rather than feeling disappointed, she actually looks relieved. It gives new meaning to the phrase that the truth shall set you free. Miranda quips, “If someone had told me that years ago, I could have saved myself years of therapy.”

 As I watched that episode, a lightbulb went off in my head. I got it! I really got it. So that’s why so and so never called?! Wow. So simple. And yet so true. I had spent the better half of my youth talking about boys, trying to decode them, trying to understand them. I could have saved myself years of pointless conversations!

 I immediately called a couple of my girlfriends to share my newfound wisdom. They “ah ha-ed” right along with me, and together we giggled over our silliness over the years. Yes, it was pointless trying to dissect men and their behavior, we decided. If they weren’t calling, if they weren’t setting up dates with us, then they were obviously not into us. They were unavailable, and that was it. There was nothing to dissect or understand. A comfortable, relieved silence hung over the phone as we each let those words of wisdom sink in…we felt wise, empowered…free…but soon that silence stretched until it became downright uncomfortable and awkward….and in minutes, we were grappling with something much, much more perturbing: If we didn’t have boys to talk about and dissect to death, what was there to talk about????  What could we jointly bond together with over a pint of ice cream while on a couch? Or over some glasses of pink cosmopolitans?

Boys. Can’t live with them. Can’t live without talking about them.

April Showers…Sex and the City Style

 

By JMathis

Who doesn’t have a bad night out with girlfriends occasionally? I have definitely had my share of weekends brimming with the promise of wild fun, laughter and dancing, only to find that the night ends up in: a) my car being towed, b) my friend puking all over me, and/or c) me sitting in the emergency room with a broken heel and a sprained ankle.

At the same time, did any of those events swear me off of going out again with the girls? No, of course not, because at the end of the night, they are experiences you’ll always share with your close friends, which soon become memories that everyone laughs off over drinks one day. 

And, that, is how it feels to watch Sex and the City 2, The Movie, even a year after its initial release and hours of channel surfing to fight off insomnia.

Yes, it’s a pretty crummy night out spent hanging with The Girls—Carrie, Samantha, Miranda and Charlotte—watching them slum it in forced dialogue and an overly self-indulgent script. However, at the end of the night, they’re still your ladies, and that’s why you can never abandon them, no matter how tasteless and lackluster the movie. 

Yet despite all of its flaws, the movie managed to show something that rang very real and authentic to many of us in our 30s and 40s, including myself. Each of The Girls had ostensibly “made it” in their careers and love lives, and yet they still continued to face and cope with daily insecurities which led to ongoing feelings of depression and anxiety.

Carrie, now a bestselling New York Times author, felt lost in a new marriage that seemed to engulf her identity. Miranda, even after years of proving herself as a successful lawyer, was still being shut down by more senior, male partners in her law firm. Samantha, who despite being one of the sexiest women alive, was increasingly fearful of her body’s defiant attempts in battling the aging process. And Charlotte, who after years of infertility, finally had the family of her dreams, but the daily rigors of being a mom were forcing her into a quiet despair. 

What had happened to my SATC girls? Despite having all of the outward trappings of success, they were shells of their former selves, and were trudging through their daily lives feeling dejected and overwhelmed. I had always watched SATC as a form of sheer escapism, but to find that the SATC girls were experiencing what my friends and I were currently going through was just too real, even if all the backdrops to the movie were of Christian Dior and Abu Dhabi.

This month, FemmeFuel will be peeling back the layers of depression, especially the type that hits once your life is seemingly settled and complete. Many of us landed our dream husbands, jobs and children, are active socially, are involved in church and in touch spiritually, and take up causes on behalf of those less fortunate in the community. Yet, for so many of us, there continues to be a sadness that creeps in every so often, nudging us into seasons of insecurity and lack of self-worth.

FemmeFuel is calling these feelings and times of depression and discontentment our “April Showers”. Though it is a cliché, it is our aim to keep you focused on “May Flowers”, and God’s eternal promise of springtime and beauty in your life, despite these periods where you feel overwhelmed and engulfed by the pressures of the world.

The Lord sees your heart and hears your cries at night. He knows and sees the sadness and despair you feel, even if you have masked it well in front of your family and friends. Kick off those Manolo Blahniks and Jimmy Choos and curl under the covers with us as we explore these April Showers in the backdrop of God’s best for our lives. It won’t be easy tackling these feelings, but know that you’re not alone and that we’re in this together. After all, it may not be the best of nights, but you’ll still be with your girls, and for that reason alone, it will be a night for the memory books…