Adolescence – 2
We’ve decided to write a second part on adolescence because this transition from childhood to adulthood is such a big thing, especially for a girl. Young innocence is replaced by a growing awareness of sexuality and what it means in the real world. For a Christian girl in particular there are the constant demands and pressures coming from males and from ungodly females, which add up to a significant influence and require wise choices and decisions to be made on a daily basis. The most important aspect of singleness for an adolescent Christian girl is being the owner of her body and asserting that ownership. A big part of that is to realise that she can affirm her body and all the weird and wonderful stages of development of different parts of her sexuality – both physically and in other ways – without needing to get that affirmation from any other person. The issue with complementarian theology is that it is overly focused on the assumption that a young woman should in some respects inhibit her sexual development because she can only be developed and validated by a man and only in the context of her marriage and family. They teach that essentially a woman’s body is the property of her husband and other demeaning / diminishing concepts that greatly limit a Christian woman’s ability to develop into the fullness of everything that she is capable of achieving as a feminine warrior of God.
Whilst Christian egalitarianism has focused upon the equality of women as co heirs of the gospel and also as ministers of the message of Jesus, we haven’t really developed challenges to the complementarian view of sexuality and that’s certainly the focus of this blog. The major application that we focus on in this blog is that adolescence is an important time of sexual development for a young woman and that she can become complete in that development without any sense of obligation to any future husband or to preserve any aspect of her sexuality to be discovered and developed by such a person. In fact that developmental completeness in a time of singleness without the distraction of relating to any other person is essential for successful relationships in adulthood. It enables her to be confident about her own body and assertive about setting appropriate boundaries in relationships as she works to discover the relational journey that will lead her to be able to achieve relational goals matching her personal life objectives.
For an adolescent Christian girl, the development of her sexuality and her physical body during puberty can be a challenging time. We’re not going to cover all the specifics here but we feel in the sense of the Biblical message of redemption and affirmation of our humanity as very good. That doesn’t mean we are immune to sinful lusts and temptations, but we need to take an approach that recognises that God created us in the assumption that our bodies are made for good things and to worship God in everything we do. A part of that goodness is the fact that there are areas of our bodies that develop and become more sensitive to physical touch and other stimuli. The pleasure we get from touching and caressing these areas is akin to the pleasure from our other senses, is not inherently sinful when practised in moderation, and is not a sexual activity as long as it is not shared with another person. Hence we believe it is OK for single people to masturbate and that it is healthy to do this in moderation and that it can be used like other things in our bodies as an act of worship. This point has been abundantly covered elsewhere pointing out that this is a normal stage of sexual development and that we believe it is healthy and normal for all adolescents to learn to masturbate, as it gives them a physical release from pressures in their bodies, but in addition it also is a part of getting to know and understand their body’s physical reaction to being touched in these sensitive areas and being comfortable, if they get into a marriage in the future, with sharing these parts of their body with their spouse.