Sixteen year old Joe has two first degree felony sex charges involving a 12 year old “consenting” female. Joe attends church on Sunday and his youth activity every Wednesday. He has a leadership position in his youth group. His parents are also active in the Church. The court has ordered Joe to complete a Sexual Behavioral Risk Assessment. I’m doing the assessment. Oh yea, he’s on the school honor roll.😇
Joe wears a white shirt and tie to my office. He’s very polite and calls me “sir.”
I started collecting Joe’s sexual history by asking “How many girlfriends have you had? How many dates you’ve been on?” He replied “No girlfriends. Never dated. My religion teaches me I should wait to date and only group date.” I move on to my favorite question, “What parts of girl’s body is wrong for you to touch?” 👉 It’s my favorite because it tells so much about a person’s understanding of sex. Joe was silent for a minute then he said “I don’t usually say those words.” I reminded him it would be okay to tell me. He responded “Privates.” I asked “What names do you use for a girl’s privates?” He became noticeably anxious. There was more silence. He responded “Do I have to say it?” I reminded him the judge expects him to answer all my questions. He eventually said “The part between her legs.” At this point I gave up! I went on to the other questions: “Have you ever engaged in sexual behavior?” He replied “No.” Then the question “Have you ever had sexual thoughts or feelings?” He quickly replied “No.” 😂
It’s pretty easy to do a sexual history on someone believing they have no sexuality. So I completed the typical 1 hour interview with Joe in 20 minutes. 👉There are some advantages to his inability to recognize his sexuality.🙂 Oh yea, I almost forgot the final question “In your opinion when is it okay for you to do a sexual behavior?” He answered confidently: “After my mission for my church and after I’m married.” 👉I didn’t have the heart to tell him he probably wasn’t going on a mission with 2 first degree felonies.
Over the years, I have learned to recognize this “Sex is bad and dirty and I’m not sexual till marriage“ pattern. This pattern typical occurs with “Hyper religious families” who never talk about sex. 👉 Notice I didn’t say “hyper spiritual”.
Of course, I know Joe’s lying. I’ve read the police report telling of the sexual touching he had with his 12 year old neighbor. I confronted Joe about his sexual behavior by reading him his police report. He explained: “That wasn’t sex! We were just messing around!” 👉 Great, I say to myself we’re making progress – he at least said the word “sex.”
Joe’s story seems so ridiculous, you probably think I made up this story. I didn’t! There are lots of questions generated by Joe’s story. For example, How in the heck can Satan successfully get Joe to appear so healthy in all aspects of his life but the sexual one? Or how about the question, What does God count as “sex?”
Let me get on my soap box about one important lesson we can learn from Joe’s story.
Once a person goes through puberty they will have sexual thoughts, feelings, and urges. Doesn’t matter if you go to church or if you’re religious. Doesn’t even matter if you are aware of your sexuality or even can name body parts.😕
Joe, like many good Christian kids, has learned sex is bad and dirty and should only happen in marriage! 👉Think about this statement “something bad and dirty” that should only happen in marriage. And the problem extends from not only “sexual behavior” is bad and dirty – but thinking about it, learning about it, talking about it, just saying the words, is also bad and dirty. DON’T DO IT!!
Some parents believe
and teach as if their children aren’t sexual or aren’t supposed to be until their honeymoon. Joe and his parents act as if somehow Joe’s sexuality will lie dormant until he gets married at which time sexual arousal will magically appear. 😵
We are sexual beings created in the image of God. Sexuality can not be compartmentalized and ignored while waiting for marriage. Clinically, I believe Joe’s problem in many ways is more serious and difficult to treat than his non-religious hyper sexual peers. Our sexuality is something that is always there once we go through puberty, even if acting out these sexual behaviors is not.
Will, a friend of mine just made this whiteboard teaching some of these concepts. We’re using this as part of our Foundation’s #virtuestrong project:
If you have older children I would challenge you to watch this video with them. At the end ask them “What’s one thing you learned?” If you feel too uncomfortable in showing and having a brief discussion with your child – Get help!
I do NOT want any more clients. I’m getting to old and very inpatient. 😂