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Josh Harris's 'Sex Isn't The Problem (Lust Is)'


JaChelle Sugar

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Recently I had the, erm, privilege of borrowing Josh Harris's book' 'Sex Isn't The Problem (Lust Is)' (also published as 'Not Even A Hint'). Let me just say it is a snark GOLDMINE. Italics are my rephrasing the first chapter (the first-person tense is Josh's), and bolded indicates phrases verbatim (or almost verbatim) from the book. More to come.

Masturbating is teh badz because Bible. It's unrealistic to promise you won't masturbate, unless Jesus. God demands not even a hint of sexual impurity (which masturbating totally counts as), and you can't do that yourself, but Jesus will help you stop touching yourself because it's lust and lust is bad.

Love holiness, hate lust. Lust automatically always brings shame and guilt and will totally control you.

It's ok to have a sex drive just so long as you dutifully squelch it until marriage (unless you're gay, then you're fucked either way, pun intended).

Imposing rules on yourself trying to please God is useless and legalistic, but let me impose a bunch of rules on you later in this book because Jesus.

Let me tell you a story about the time I tried to stop masturbating. It didn't work. This is a totally PG-rated book that in no way calls up images of me miserably rubbing one out while pleading to Jesus to help me stop doing this terrible terrible lusty thing that I can't help doing and how so totally ashamed I am of me and my failures to not touch my scary scary dirty penis. And how I probably cried every time I came.

Now, lust is 'craving sexually what God has forbidden'. Lust isn't having sexual feelings. However, all sexual feelings before marriage must be dismissed as quickly as possible otherwise it's lust because anything sexual before marriage is against God's rules. Oh and romantic fantasies are lust. Also, feeling temptation is lust. Not giving into the temptation, or reveling in it, but simply feeling the temptation is lust. And lust is bad y'all because lusting is making something more important than God.

Lust is worse now than it has ever been! 'Lust may be the defining struggle for this generation'. Be pure pure pure! Look, here's a story about a GIRL who's into porn! Yes even girls have sexual feelings! Porn will make you miserable because Bible! Shame shame shame! Anguish! Guilt! Lust and porn make these things happen every time! 'It makes your faith feel hollow'!

Remember though, you don't have the willpower to not lust. Only God can make you not lust and you have to let him. So if you're lusting, either you're failing at willpower, or you're failing at trusting God the right way. Either way, you're failing. Embrace Gods standard for holiness! That's how you stop lusting! God's standard of holiness is 'not even a hint' of lust. So, the solution to not lusting is to not have lust! Simple, right?

God isn't demanding an impossible standard to be a meanie, he's doing it because he loves us and because he can. God says no sexy actions and no sexy thoughts! This is God's plan for sexual desire, not my personal interpretation of it. God wrote Song of Songs which is 'dedicated to celebrating pure sex in marriage'. Never mind the myriad verses indicating incest and same-sex love, nope.

Time for a CS Lewis story! Lust is like a red lizard that an angel offers to kill but you won't let the angel do it except when you let the angel kills it, the lizard turns into a stallion which you then mount and soar into the heavens. So you see, getting rid of lust is a one-time thing--just 'let' God kill it and then your life will turn into a weird story with heavy homoerotic overtones.

Time for a John Piper quote! '....We must swallow up the little flicker of lust's pleasure in the conflagration of holy satisfaction.' What? That doesn't sound like a complicated and overly-wordy innuendo!

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Wasn't the Song of Solomon supposed to be written either by or for King Solomon? If so, the king had many wives and concubines so the purity would be all on the young woman in the book.

What is up with the fundie fear of masturbation and sexual thoughts? I didn't need my husband to be sexual pure when we met. We actually each had lives BEFORE we fell in love so of course, he would have had girlfriends before me and I had boyfriends before him.

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We must swallow up the little flicker of lust's pleasure in the conflagration of holy satisfaction.' What? That doesn't sound like a complicated and overly-wordy innuendo!

Yeah... I'd rather spit

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Yeah... I'd rather spit

:lol:

Why do so many fundies use long winded phrases to say nothing at all and yet still manage to sound like a twelve year old's idea of clever sexual innuendo?

Lust is like a red lizard that an angel offers to kill but you won't let the angel do it except when you let the angel kills it, the lizard turns into a stallion which you then mount and soar into the heavens. S

What the heck? That sounds like something that a person on 'shrooms would say. (maybe a horny person on 'shrooms)

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What the heck? That sounds like something that a person on 'shrooms would say. (maybe a horny person on 'shrooms)

You beat me to it. I was going to say that sounded like something Hunter S. Thompson would have written.

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God has to be sick of Christians asking to take the sexual thoughts away from them when he gave them to them for a reason in the first place.

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I taught a course on Human Sexuality at my small Christian college last Spring. Harris is big there, though starting to face backlash among students who are older and/or have had more life experience. We, understandably, discussed lust and lust-related issues a great deal in the course, particularly masturbation. I--after clearly stating that my opinions were my own and not necessarily those of the college or denomination--spoke against lust being treated as a one-size-fits-all kind of sin. I argued that to do so is to reduce varied creations of God to automatons. I then said that what is lustful for one person may not be so for another, and that most of life exists in those grayer areas; we must use faith and God-given discernment to discover what lines we feel we ought not cross, and we must strive not to judge those who have different lines than we do, but instead to respect them as fellow creations. It was tough for some of my students, even those who freely admit that they feel they were created as sexual and relational beings, to hear this from an authority figure. They were used to blanket, easy prohibitions. One of them said, "Professor [My name], I had so many questions when we started this class, and now I have even more, but I think that's good." That was a great day for me.

TL;DR: Lust isn't the problem (Legalism is)

Edited for clarity and transitions.

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Wow. The universal terror and revulsion of sex and sexuality among Christians is a psychologist's wet dream. If they spent as much time obsessing about helping the poor or living their faith as they do about badbadbadbadbadbadbad thoughhhhhts, it would be a better world.

The misery engendered by a group of people obsessed with the fruitless attempts to change human nature is legion.

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Recently I had the, erm, privilege of borrowing Josh Harris's book' 'Sex Isn't The Problem (Lust Is)' (also published as 'Not Even A Hint'). Let me just say it is a snark GOLDMINE. Italics are my rephrasing the first chapter (the first-person tense is Josh's), and bolded indicates phrases verbatim (or almost verbatim) from the book. More to come.

Masturbating is teh badz because Bible. It's unrealistic to promise you won't masturbate, unless Jesus. God demands not even a hint of sexual impurity (which masturbating totally counts as), and you can't do that yourself, but Jesus will help you stop touching yourself because it's lust and lust is bad.

Love holiness, hate lust. Lust automatically always brings shame and guilt and will totally control you.

It's ok to have a sex drive just so long as you dutifully squelch it until marriage (unless you're gay, then you're fucked either way, pun intended).

Imposing rules on yourself trying to please God is useless and legalistic, but let me impose a bunch of rules on you later in this book because Jesus.

Let me tell you a story about the time I tried to stop masturbating. It didn't work. This is a totally PG-rated book that in no way calls up images of me miserably rubbing one out while pleading to Jesus to help me stop doing this terrible terrible lusty thing that I can't help doing and how so totally ashamed I am of me and my failures to not touch my scary scary dirty penis. And how I probably cried every time I came.

Now, lust is 'craving sexually what God has forbidden'. Lust isn't having sexual feelings. However, all sexual feelings before marriage must be dismissed as quickly as possible otherwise it's lust because anything sexual before marriage is against God's rules. Oh and romantic fantasies are lust. Also, feeling temptation is lust. Not giving into the temptation, or reveling in it, but simply feeling the temptation is lust. And lust is bad y'all because lusting is making something more important than God.

Lust is worse now than it has ever been! 'Lust may be the defining struggle for this generation'. Be pure pure pure! Look, here's a story about a GIRL who's into porn! Yes even girls have sexual feelings! Porn will make you miserable because Bible! Shame shame shame! Anguish! Guilt! Lust and porn make these things happen every time! 'It makes your faith feel hollow'!

Remember though, you don't have the willpower to not lust. Only God can make you not lust and you have to let him. So if you're lusting, either you're failing at willpower, or you're failing at trusting God the right way. Either way, you're failing. Embrace Gods standard for holiness! That's how you stop lusting! God's standard of holiness is 'not even a hint' of lust. So, the solution to not lusting is to not have lust! Simple, right?

God isn't demanding an impossible standard to be a meanie, he's doing it because he loves us and because he can. God says no sexy actions and no sexy thoughts! This is God's plan for sexual desire, not my personal interpretation of it. God wrote Song of Songs which is 'dedicated to celebrating pure sex in marriage'. Never mind the myriad verses indicating incest and same-sex love, nope.

Time for a CS Lewis story! Lust is like a red lizard that an angel offers to kill but you won't let the angel do it except when you let the angel kills it, the lizard turns into a stallion which you then mount and soar into the heavens. So you see, getting rid of lust is a one-time thing--just 'let' God kill it and then your life will turn into a weird story with heavy homoerotic overtones.

Time for a John Piper quote! '....We must swallow up the little flicker of lust's pleasure in the conflagration of holy satisfaction.' What? That doesn't sound like a complicated and overly-wordy innuendo!

I love you for this.

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I love you for this.

+1. :clap:

It never ceases to astonish - the energy Josh Harris and his ilk expend attempting to de-sex the human race. The arrogance, it burns.

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I didn't need my husband to be sexual pure when we met. We actually each had lives BEFORE we fell in love so of course, he would have had girlfriends before me and I had boyfriends before him.

Of course, because people who haven't dated a lot must have no lives. You know, fundies judge people for being too 'experienced' but it really doesn't help to turn around and judge people for not being experienced enough.

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Of course, because people who haven't dated a lot must have no lives. You know, fundies judge people for being too 'experienced' but it really doesn't help to turn around and judge people for not being experienced enough.

I don't judge anyone who doesn't date. It isn't wrong to not date or to not have sex. Perhaps it would be better to say that I didn't expect my husband to not experience life before we met and if that life included sexual activity I wouldn't have been upset or have felt anything at all. His body isn't mine so I don't expect him to have owed me faithfulness before we married.

You are correct, I should have been more careful with how I worded my statement.

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Now knowing that Harris was sexually abused as a child, I look at this all a bit differently. I know you can overcome abuse, but now I do feel like he's coming at this from a different perspective than others who have not been victims of abuse. Perhaps all this oversexualization is a reaction to his abuse.

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Now knowing that Harris was sexually abused as a child, I look at this all a bit differently. I know you can overcome abuse, but now I do feel like he's coming at this from a different perspective than others who have not been victims of abuse. Perhaps all this oversexualization is a reaction to his abuse.

The abuse might have added to his views but a lot of fundies have a similar way of viewing sexual thoughts and lust

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Chapter 2 for you're enjoyment

Chapter 2:

This is where I talk all about how wonderful sex drives are, and that they aren't sinful. Somehow.

It's not patriarchal fundamentalism, it's Satan, who 'wants us to believe that our sexuality itself is sinful'. Remember, sexuality=God-given. Any expression or allowing yourself to feel your sexuality in any way before/outside marriage=lust. Remember what we learned in chapter 1: the sex drive is holy and wonderful and meant to be totally squelched until you're married. (Maybe eventually I'll get around to thinking about the possibility that not everyone is meant for marriage.)

God made us sexual beings for PROCREATION purposes. Oh and procreation ONLY in marriage. Let me now describe the physical changes that happen in a pubescent child's body in way simplified, slightly juvenile language as if you readers are barely-post-pubescent tweens, and continue yammering about how wonderful sexuality is. What? Don't you feel like you''re being counseled by a peer?

Jesus (the guy we're supposed to think about when trying to squelch sexythoughts) was completely human--'a living, breathing, sweating, desiring, feeling human being. He had sexual urges and desires' but that was ok and not sinful. He was human but he was perfect! If he could do it, so can you. Remember, Jesus will purify your thought life! Anytime you start to feel a sexythought or scary boner coming on, just think of Jesus's sacrifice on the cross--thoughts of that living, breathing, sweating, naked man submitting to some serious bondage will surely deflate your erection!

Lust ruins your sexuality!

Here's a convenient checklist of what lust isn't:

'It's not lust to be attracted to someone or notice that he or she is good-looking

It's not lust to have a strong desire to have sex

It's not lust to anticipate and be excited about having sex within marriage

It's not lust when a man or woman becomes turned-on without any conscious decision to do so (but it's possible to decide to become aroused which is why being gay is a choice)

It's not lust to experience sexual temptation (even though I kinda said the opposite 18 pages ago)

The crucial issue is how we respond to our urges and desires.' Which is to say, make them go away as soon as you realize they exist! And no 'excusing sinful thoughts and actions as "just part of how I'm made" which isn't true at all' even though my own theology says humans are innately sinful I'm NOT contradicting myself.

'Shame can be a precious gift from God', especially when it comes from not having correctly neutralized your sex drive! If you break my personal interpretation of God's rules you will feel shame and guilt and that is good!

Now, talk to God about those feelings that must never be acted on or thought about! Pray for him to take your boner away until your wedding night! Hopefully then he'll give it back!

'God, thank you for making me a sexual creature with sexual desires! I don't ask that you remove my desire, but that you help me to please you with it in my thoughts and actions.

God, in this moment my whole body seems to be screaming for sexual satisfaction--would you please quiet my desires? My body was made for you and for holiness, not for sexual sin. Help me glorify you with my body.

God, you made me for true and lasting pleasure! Fill me with confidence that you have good things in store for me--something much better than what lust has to offer.

God, thank you for beauty and for my ability to appreciate it. That person is very attractive. But let me look on him with purity. I don't want to covet and lust after him. Help me to view him as a person made in your image, not an object of my lust.

God, I'm tempted to look to lust for comfort right now. Please help me to find a comfort in you.'

Here's another quote from John Piper [i have a spiritual boner for him. It's ok to have those]: 'Lust is a sexual desire minus honor and holiness.'

Lust is a choice! 'When we choose lust, we are actively rejecting God.' When David raped Bathsheba and sent her husband to die, he was right in praying to God 'against you and you only I have sinned'!

Lust is insatiable! Boners only lead to more boners! Ladies, outside the marriage bed, you should only ever be wet in the context of mopping the kitchen floor! 'Lust will rob you of your ability to enjoy true godly pleasure.'

Embrace your sexuality by battling lust! Never indulge your sexuality, that's how you avoid being 'trapped in the never ending dissatisfaction of lust'.

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I think I posted this a while back in another thread, but it seems to bear repeating here. It's the sexual decision-making process according to the penitentials - and, seemingly, also according to Joshie.

flowchart%255B1%255D.png

eta: One other thought - how would Joshie and his ilk suggest postmenopausal women respond when their husbands desire sweet sweet fellowship? "Gee, honey, I know I'm supposed to make myself instantly available to you at all times - but I can no longer procreate! We can't make teh baybeez! So I'm damned if I do, and I'm damned if I don't! Damn!!!"

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Sex isn't the problem.

Rapists are.

Twisted ideas of sexuality are.

Misogyny is.

Religions that present women as the main cause of sex related crimes and sins, are.

I could go on and on. I will not, I think I've gotten my point across.

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Awesome recap.

Please tell me he either never married or married an asexual woman.

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Or maybe the woman he's married to doesn't find him that attractive and otherwise, she'd be enjoying hot and nasty sex with someone else outside the home.

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I think I posted this a while back in another thread, but it seems to bear repeating here. It's the sexual decision-making process according to the penitentials - and, seemingly, also according to Joshie.

flowchart%255B1%255D.png

eta: One other thought - how would Joshie and his ilk suggest postmenopausal women respond when their husbands desire sweet sweet fellowship? "Gee, honey, I know I'm supposed to make myself instantly available to you at all times - but I can no longer procreate! We can't make teh baybeez! So I'm damned if I do, and I'm damned if I don't! Damn!!!"

I wonder what my headship's reaction would be if I sent this to him.

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Awesome recap.

Please tell me he either never married or married an asexual woman.

He married, a woman who had had premarital sex.

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Chapter 3:

Let me tell you a true story of Raynald III. The important thing about this story is that he unable to escape his prison because he was too fat. Anti-sex rhetoric and fat-shaming go together like fava beans and chianti, amirite? Fat people could lose weight if they would just stop all that damn eating, and so could Raynald but he didn't! Lust makes you spiritually fat and imprisons you and you can't save yourselves anymore than Raynald could! Even though I just told you Raynald could if he'd just had some damn self-control.

God will stop your lusting if you let him, so you need to have the self-control to let God do his thing. It's not YOUR self-control, it's God's. As long as you remember that you'll succeed in your all-important battle. Making up rules won't help you unless you have a mystical God experience that gives you those rules.

My friend has trouble with teh ebil porn, so his spiritual wank buddies accountability group have an agreement: if he looks at porn, they all go without food. As great as this system is even it won't stop lust if you don't think enough God thoughts.

'Legalism is using any set of rules the wrong way.' But follow my rules because they're God's rules. Let me quote CJ Mahaney, another guy I have a spiritual boner for and who in no way sounds totally comical when he speaks

Christ set us free rom the tyranny of choosing how to live our own lives, to give us the freedom of following all the rules that 'Christian' leaders say he says. Remember, follow my guidelines but don't be legalistic about it, else 'holiness would seem dry and boring and lifeless'.

More CJ Mahaney quotes and some out and out proseletyzing! At least it's in this book which you chose to read instead of me accosting you as you try to live your life!

edited trying to add strikethrough

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