Friday, May 27, 2011

I Was A Prostitute: The Truth About Sex

Last night I went to a sex trafficking awareness event.

Black and white photographs - mug shots - of broken, bruised women arrested and brought in for prostitution flashed across the screen, over and over and over. Horrifically broken women. Women who, like horses, have had their spirits broken in order to serve another man's purpose and desire.

I listened to a 30 second clip of a young woman pleading and sobbing with a judge for mercy in his ruling on her 31 solicitation charges: "This isn't me. I'm not this woman. I don't want to be this. I don't want to do this anymore. This isn't me. Please, please help me. Please."

Don't punish me for what I did, because this isn't the woman I wanted to be.

But I feel like I have no other option.

I beg of you to be the man who stands in my defense.

Sitting on that cold, wooden bench, watching this girl beg for someone to understand that Prostitute wasn't her name, I was shocked to find that the ache swelling in my heart was an ache I'd felt before. The same pain I've felt many times. An ache I could see written on the faces of every single girl and woman in that room.

Why could every woman identify with the sobbing prostitute in the court room?

I have begged for someone to see me as the woman I want to be; not as the woman I've fallen into being.

I have been the woman condemned by the sex I've allowed, agreed to, and willingly sought out - but later, desperately cried out for someone, anyone who will understand that this isn't the woman I want to be. This isn't me.

But a small part of me feels like I had no other option. It was out of my control. I said yes, but did I really mean it?

Desperately wanting a man to stand in my defense. To fight for me, before he wants sex.

"I used to think prostitutes were the criminals. Not the victims. Everyone has a choice, right? She had the option of not agreeing to sex. But look at these women's faces. When you judge thousands of domestic violence cases, you learn what victims look like and what they don't. And every single woman brought in on a solicitation charge looks like a victim. I started studying statistics on women charged with selling their bodies. Every single woman has been the victim of another crime: domestic violence, abuse, incest, molestation, abandonment. But we prosecute them as the criminal."

So this judge made the decision to start viewing prostitutes not as criminals, but as victims. A second chance.

Sex taken from them. Not given. Even though they said yes. Even though they received something in return.

Every time I had sex I said yes to it. But I have always felt like something was taken from me. Even though every single time I thought I got what I wanted or needed that night.

Do you have a choice? And is that really the question? Is it really the word Yes or No that matters?

Did those women have the choice to say no to giving up their bodies in return for something else they desperately needed to make it through the day?

Do you? Do I? Out of the overflow of the heart, so the mouth speaks.

The ugly truth of prostitution is that those women don't really have a choice. The majority of them have been trafficked, and if you're familiar with trafficking, you know that it is kidnapping and slavery in it's most brutal, gruesome, despicable, evil form.

The ugly truth of prostitution is that those women exchanged sex for what they needed to get through that day alive, according to their past, their perspective, and the men who shaped their lives.

And the ugly truth of my sex life is that in the past, I have given every inch of my body in exchange for what I needed to get through that day alive, according to my past, my perspective, and the men who shaped my life and my culture.

That is why every woman in the room could relate to the desperation, pain, judgement, guilt, brokenness, and plea for mercy expressed by the prostitute.

Because I believe that as a woman who has had sex with men who did not commit their life and love to me, I am as that of a prostitute.

As are you, if you have also slept with a man before he married you.

I am not judging you. I am fighting heart and soul in your defense.

Because I know that you feel like you were the victim of another crime. A father who left. A man who broke your spirit. An emptiness that never ceases. Pain inflicted on you by another. A culture that tells you sex is all you're worth. Men who have degraded, devalued and destroyed women through pornography. A society that has lied to you about sex since the day you were born. The victim of men who refused to fight in your behalf; men who refused to fight for you. All of you.

Because I know that when you said yes, you thought he would stay. Because I know that when you said yes, you knew he wouldn't.

Because I know that you were in search of something other than sex, just as I was.

The truth is that when we want sex, we want passionate intimacy. We want a man to want us. We want him to actively, physically demonstrate his intense desire for us - over everything else he could be doing at this very moment.

We want closeness. We want to feel needed, wanted; to feel like we both fully satisfy and are satisfied by another.

I'm not eliminating our desire for physical pleasure, or to put it bluntly, saying that "women just want to be wanted, we don't care about getting off."

No. What I'm pointing out is that when we crave sex, we are craving things that can't be delivered by getting ourselves off. Otherwise we would be forever content with that.

And this is how we identify how powerful sex is.

I am not jaded when it comes to sex. I am not pandering abstinence because traditional Christianity labels all self-indulgence as "sin."

I want it. I enjoy it. It frustrates me when I cannot have it. But I have learned that "sex will satisfy me" is a lie, and comes at great cost.

Beloved woman, would you still be turned on if the man in your bed said:

"You're sexy, but I might decide another woman is sexier later."

"You are beautiful, but not enough to make me yours forever."

"I love you, but I can't promise I'll protect you, in fact - I'll probably hurt you instead."

"I love getting you off, but if you get pregnant, I might not be the dad."

"I love your body, but only because you're hot. And I'm watching porn when I'm not with you."

"I want you more than anything, but just tonight. It will be different next week."

"I came over because you're easy sex and I don't have to really love you to get anything."

"I want your beauty and your warmth and your body, but nothing else."

Whether or not the man you are sleeping with is saying these things out loud, these statements are being branded into your mind, body & heart every single time you have sex outside of marriage.

Because they are all true, when sex is had without a diamond on your finger. There is no guarantee that a man is staying, that he loves you and is committed to you - and so these statements are inherently true. And there is nothing that the best intentions can do to alter their truth.

Even if you are content with going through with sex, and sacrificing what you know you want or deserve in order for temporary companionship, comfort, "love," or physical pleasure, you WILL start to believe certain things about yourself, other men, and other women.

You will start to believe that you are no better. That men are no better.

It will alter your view of sex, love, relationships, and men. But most importantly, it will alter your view of yourself.

It will name you Prostitute when your precious, broken heart begs a man to see you as the woman you always wanted to be.

We are a generation of women who have been convinced by the men in our lives that sex is what we have to give in order to attain what we need to get through life.

I crave Something, and men have convinced me that sex will fill it.

Be honest with me. When you tell yourself that you want sex, did you come to this conclusion by yourself? Or is it the product of the men in your life and the culture you live in? I challenge you to sit down and wrestle through this.

Are you the criminal, or are you the victim of a broken world, in dire need of Love in it's true form?

Women, we have sold ourselves.

And it is breaking us.

The human body is not built to withstand regrettable sex. We are not built to give everything before he has stepped up and committed to give us everything back. This is why you feel like something has been taken, even though you said yes.

Women, you are not built to have sex with a man who has not committed his heart, mind and body to you for the rest of your life.

I beg of you to join me in saying No.

Saying No to the lie that sex alone will satisfy what you crave.

Saying No to men until one of them loves you enough to promise to give, not to take. For the rest of his life.

I beg of you to sit at the foot of Jesus with me as Prostitute. As he gives us new names, and fights in our behalf.

Men: This was written for women. It is my great hope that you will be a man who stands up and defends the value of women, and resolves to protect a woman's identity as well as her body, spirit and heart. A loved and respected woman is of infinite value to you. My man writes on sex & pornography. Read more here. And yes, we are waiting.

Men & Women: I run Good Women Project, and we are doing a giveaway of the book Love & War by John & Staci Eldredge. Go leave a comment here if you would like to enter to win.

Are you following me on Twitter? Do that here: @laurenlankford

Be a fan on Facebook. It's the best way to keep up. Do that here.


Lindsey@ A New Life said...

See. This is why I love you.

Beautiful, real, raw, and TRUTH.

mrsgregwillis said...

What an amazing perspective. You put into black and white letters what it has taken me years to spell out in my brain. I became what I call an "emotional cripple" because I was carrying a child whose father only wanted me for sex and punishment and in turn, I turned to a man who didn't want to give me everything in return. Today, I have found the real man, the one who promised to give for the rest of his life, and he is an amazing, unconditional loving father, husband, lover, and friend. Thank you so much, Lauren, for sharing your words. I will sit at Jesus' feet with you, gladly, any day. <3

Anonymous said...

amazingly woven words. thank you for speaking in a voice that may be heard.

Anonymous said...

well said

kelly summers said...

this is the most wide-open, vulnerable, real, powerful thing i've read in so long.
there are so many more things in my head i want to say about this but i just can't get them out now.
thank you for writing this. i love you.

McMel said...

Beautifully written. Eye opening.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for writing what is inside of my heart.
For exposing what was in the darkest parts of my "closet" and allowing light to shine in so I may be healed...

Loren said...

Thank you for your vulnerability, Lauren. Bits of my own experiences with sex outside of marriage are triggered in your writings. Insights that I have gained as a man who didn't wait. Wisdom that came from my own heartache and glimpsing a tiny sliver of what my choices did to those I "loved." I pray that I become truly a man after God's own heart. A man that affirms and brings out womanhood in a godly way. Again, thank you.

Anonymous said...

WOW! I know this. My heart was splattered all over this post.I was Prostitute too, from 13 to 23. Ten years and degradation and brokeness. Ten years of searching for connection. Ten years of craving love and finding loneliness.
I am married now, but the devastating effects of casual sex before my husband, left our intimate life in ruins. Left me handicapped for authentic intimacy within my marriage. Christ has rebuilt and restored and healed, He is so good. I really enjoyed this, thank you for such a great delivery. I too share this passion.

Anonymous said...

wow. "thank you" seems trite after such a beautiful, vulnerable expression of your heart, Lauren. but... thank you. this... THIS... is truth.

Jenn said...

I assume this was written as a mini-manifesto of sorts, your declaration to the world and an attempt to elicit the GIRL POWER sentiment.

But I can't help but read it as pandering, condescending and so misguided. Sex is not the problem. Men are not the problem.

I am definitely not a victim.

This entire piece assumes that every woman's ultimate goal is marriage followed by a life of monogamy. What if that is not my decision or my path? Am I doomed to a life of Prostitution because I choose different? I don't believe so. I'm privileged to know many women that I call close friends who are some of the strongest, most independent and inspiring people I've ever known. Am I supposed to feel bad for them because they willingly engage in premarital sex?

It's such an archaic notion that sex is reserved for marriage and marriage only. I absolutely believe that women should feel empowered to say no to a man for sex, and to feel worthy and demand the best treatment and utmost respect from him. But I also absolutely believe that a woman has a right to say YES to sex, just as a man does.

In an age where 50% of marriages end in divorce and the sanctity of marriage is marred by abuse and infidelity and two men in love don't have the same rights as a heterosexual couple, I find the institution of marriage to be unappealing. I couldn't care less about some ridiculous and ancient "symbol" of having a diamond on my finger. It's naive to accept that as a token of his fidelity and commitment and to use that right there as a marker for when to have sex.

Anonymous said...

I can't believe the way God works.
This week at my church a woman pulled me aside and point blank said, "I've heard a rumor that you are seeking guys out for sex. I just want to know if you're ok."
This has been my life for the past two years, seeking sex, because I thought I wanted it, knowing that everyday that I woke up from this I would feel terrible, used, and unworthy. It's affected my relationship with God, friends, family.
And this week, all I could think about was the fact people were talking about how much a "whore" I was, but they couldn't see how much I was hurting.
Thank you for these words, and the truth that they speak. I wept when I realized someone out there understands and knows and has to sit at the feet of Jesus with me.
Thank you so so so much.

Anonymous said...

I can't even begin to put into words what this post is doing inside of me right now. I am a virgin because I truly believe we are supposed to wait until we are married to have sex. In the past two years, I have struggled more with this decision than any other time in my life. I want sex. I felt I needed sex.

Thank you for reminding me that I don't. That sex outside of marriage is dangerous emotionally and physically. Thank you for your transparency.

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Laughing Momma said...

Amazing words. I waited and it was worth it. I wouldn't trade have traded my wedding night for anything. But that is not the end...the lies and perceptions of what sex is and how we should have it are just as dangerous and destructive after marriage. Guard your heart from this world, while giving it wholly to your mate. Seek truth and with wild abandon speak truth to the next generation.

Anonymous said...

Wow. In light of a failed hook-up attempt last night you just peeked into my heart and spoke what I am feeling. Thank you.

Tiffany said...

Wow. Wow wow wow. This was an amazing post.

Unknown said...

Thank you so much for penning these words of truth.

Anonymous said...

This post is so very powerful in more ways than one. I sit here stunned and without proper words to describe my feelings.

Shani said...

I sit here stunned, as many other commenters. But my amazement is far from admiring. As a married woman, who enjoyed her fairly impressive share of pre-marital sex and never for a second felt like a victim for it, I'm extremely offended by this post.

I don't even know where to start.

First off, let me say that your understanding of marriage seems to be quite confusing. In the day and age when literal drive-thru marriages exist, I have a hard time subscribing to your understanding of marriage. Marriage is not a golden ticket that will make you enjoy sex and no longer feel like a victim. If a piece of paper - which is what marriage truly is - changes your relationship with your significant other at this capacity you're describing, your relationship has bigger issues to deal with. You seem to describe men as these villains who don't value you, your body, or your feelings when "sex is had without a diamond on your finger." I'm offended on behalf of my husband, all the men I've ever slept with and felt adored by, and, for good measure, all men who've ever committed to a woman without slipping that diamond ring on her finger.

"We are a generation of women who have been convinced by the men in our lives that sex is what we have to give in order to attain what we need to get through life."

If this is the way you've felt your entire life, it's time to find men who value your for more than what's between your legs. Did I come to the conclusion that I crave sex all by my weak womanly self? You bet your ass I did. Women are sexual creatures too, and you saying that women don't really want sex at all is simply archaic and anti-woman. If you don't feel that you crave sex for sex's sake, there is nothing on this earth that gives you the right to get on your high horse and claim that those of us who do just want to get off once in a while, are prostitutes.

I am incredibly lucky to get to share my life and sex with an amazing man, who adores me and slipped that diamond ring on my finger, so I guess in your eyes, I'm living an exemplary life. However, we had sex before marriage. A lot of it. On the second date, in fact. Regrettable? Hell no. Could I have said no and he still would have respected me? Absolutely. Love and sex have absolutely to do with each other. Sure, in many lives they run parallel to each other, but I beg of you not to condescend in this manner ever again. You're judging others for being able to act in a way that you could not withstand.

But what bothers me most about this post is your treatment of men. I'm friends with amazing men who love their partners (yes, men and women) unconditionally, as sexual beings, but wouldn't even consider marriage. The bond of commitment can exist without the legal commitment. And for those same-sex couples I am lucky to know, it will have to exist without the legal bond. Sex is a physical act, which can grow to a beautiful intimate experience. But don't think for a second that men are incapable of selfless intimacy without having made promises in front of a priest, a justice of piece or a city clerk.

Please don't deride my life choices as "Prostitution" just because you choose to live your life in a certain way.

BRB, going to go have sex with my husband, who would love, respect, adore and never "take" sex from me even if we weren't married.

Anonymous said...

As a woman who waited until marriage to experience that first time having sex, a lot of what you said in regards to it being worth the wait rang true to me.
And although no sex was ever had, a lot of my innocence was taken by a man from whom I was craving approval, love, and acceptance only to find out I was his "thing" on the side. I felt those moments of desperation, and I can still feel the hurt he left.

I read these comments from women who apparently do not understand sex and marriage from a believer's stand-point, which changes everything, and wasn't sure how to respond. Both from married women, I can also related to some of what they are saying- especially in reference to your line about how you feel when "sex is had without the diamond on your finger". Sex inside marriage is still manipulative. In this culture, we ARE fueled by it- to have it, want it, be proud about it, and let people know and not be ashamed we are having it. It gets to our minds, whether Christian or not. It effects the dynamic, the love, the trust that is supposed to be present. .
I'm not being clear and doubt I could put it all into words at the moment..

I guess I'm saying- I appreciate your words, Lauren. Just be aware, that it's not all honky-dory because you get married - though it could be, it is not a guarantee.

Unknown said...

I love you Lauren and I love what you write. I pray that before heaven comes, I can sit down with you and just share life. I'm so thankful you're my sister.


lydia said...

Having been to some sex trafficking awareness events myself, I can imagine that the intensity you felt during and afterwards flowed into this passionate post. It is a difficult thing to learn about (let alone experience). I shared of you thoughts from that experience with us.

However....As a feminist, social worker, and Follower of Jesus with a messy sexual past, I was uncomfortable as I read this piece. I support the use of strong/provocative language to draw attention to an idea, but your use of Prostitute here is inappropriate and offensive. I think I understand where you were going with it- and I agree. I cared little for myself or my body in the past. But to call my self a Prostitute? That sounds too much like the other words I used to call myself: "dirty" "damaged goods" "slut". And NONE were something Jesus would EVER call me. Even just to make a point.

Please continue to speak out passionately for women to guard their hearts and bodies. But please also consider the assumptions you make about what that could mean for different people, and the language you use. It seems you are alienating some you are trying to reach.

Katie said...

I love this post SOOO much. Thank you for being so open and vulnerable. It is so powerful for me to read the stories of other women who have struggled with and overcome the same thing that i struggle with. So thank you :)

Anonymous said...

Thank you. Thank you, thank you, thank you. This means more than I could ever say and I'm just weeping...thank you.

AnitaWilson said...

Fantastically written. I'm forwarding it to our youth pastors. Teens need to see this and understand. I'd love to hear how a young man would approach the same subject. What pressures they must feel in order to fulfill society's masculine role. How to teach a young man to truly respect their girlfriend. Good stuff

mariam said...

i dont know what to say im so impressed with your words , lauren ,, really this is why your blog is my favorite you are so honest and True you are a real human being not a barbie doll thank u thank u thank u and please keep it up
Love u

Melissa Mason said...

I posted this on FB. This is a heart wrenching truth that needs to be told over and over again. Great post.

Chase said...

I know you've received some push back with this post, but I admire you for boldly writing this to challenge perspectives. I love the heart behind this post. Thank you for being vulnerable, for sharing, and for being a voice.

Whaley Bear said...

You speak the language of every woman's heart. Thank you for always choosing to be honest, but more than that thank you for the love you're speaking into the lives of women all over.

Nisha B.

Anonymous said...

I've never read anything you've ever written....have no clue who you are. But this post made my heart leap out of my chest. I was praying for words to talk to my children about purity (when the time is right)....and saw this. I printed it and will have it ready when the Lord says. These words are so powerful and such a precious depiction of the Lords heart for His daughters and His longing for us. This is such a healing post....I shared it with some friends & they were blown away. Thank you for exposing your heart & past for the sake of freedom.

Bridgit Smith said...

Found you through Twitter.
This is such a powerful post. So many woman and girls need to read or hear this message! And probably many others who want you to remain silent. But we both know that in silence addictions, dysfunctions and self-hate grow!
Our nation is in a "War against Women." Thank you for leading the battle on behalf of all those who cannot yet, speak for themselves.
Count me in on sitting at the feet of Jesus with you!

Brittany said...

I feel like you wrote this for me. I am the prostitute. The broken. The bruised.

Joy Eggerichs said...

You are an incredible writer. I wish I had your gift! This is an incredible call to action, freedom and Truth.

Tricia said...

Thank you, Lauren, for sharing this about yourself. (I'm a new reader, just found your blog tonight) I know it's not always easy to put yourself out in the public eye, and open yourself up to criticism.

I think you're definitely right - as a culture, we've missed the mark with our views of sex. It's become less meaningful, less of a commitment. I know that isn't what God had intended in the plan for sex within marriage.

I really think it's important for readers to know your perspective - to know that you believe in the sovereignty of the Word of God as the truth - that it's not just about waiting to have sex because of the evil guys out there, but because it's what is commanded in the Bible. If God's truth is what is guiding your life, you live by his rules, and non-Christians don't have the same beliefs.

I think you have a very powerful message, reminding girls and women that sex is precious - sex within the confines of a commited marriage - with a man who is worth your time (and those other guys sounded like they weren't) - is different than outside of it. But, I also believe that every person must be responsible for their own choices - and you do have a choice. No one is responsible for your actions but you.

Thank you for posting this, and sharing your message!

Anonymous said...

Lauren, this is a post I had to share with others. This is what I wish the church would've said to me about sex when I was a kid. I've been married almost 13 years, and my premarital sexual past still hurts. I've had sex when I said yes, and unfortunately, sex when I also said no. What always struck me as odd, was that both hurt me the same. It all felt like something had been taken from me, and through all of it, I felt out of control. The pain still haunts me to this day, and I continue to pray that the Lord heal those wounds. I know that He will. I also know that He had a purpose for my path. If nothing else, I'll know how to discuss sex with my 2 girls, and hopefully spare them the pain I've gone through. That makes it worth it, for me.

Thanks for this perspective and for the frankness that lacks in today's church. Don't let the naysayers keep you from writing like this. There will always be women who think we need to prove we're "empowered" by harming ourselves in deep ways.

Mary said...

If you've ever taken a literature class, you've probably spent some time discussing the classic virgin/whore dichotomy, which is basically that often in classic literature, female characters are either virgins or whores, with no in-between. It's an interesting literary concept, but I am completely dumbfounded and so sad that any woman today could still feel that way about her own sexuality. You were clearly speaking from the heart, and I don't doubt that this is truly the way you feel, and the way that many women feel, but it must be so hopeless for you to think that every woman feels that way. I hope you will believe me when I tell you they don't. Many woman have truly satisfying and wonderful sexual relationships outside of marriage, myself among them, that are in no way damaging. Sex is about give AND take, and it can be fun, and liberating, and loving, and incredible, and even if you walk away from the other person that night or years later, that doesn't have to reflect back on the wonderful time you spent together. Not ending up together doesn't have to make it dirty or hurtful. Did you come to that decision on your own, or was it your father, your mother, your preacher, the media, that told you so? For some people, waiting until marriage is the right choice and they will be happy with that choice. But it is not the only choice.

For me, waiting until I was in love and felt ready was the right choice, and six years later I don't regret it at all. That was a great guy. He waited for me. He respected me. He loved me. He left me too, but not because he only cared about the sex. He left because I was immature and wasn't making him happy. So I grew up some and I tried again. I was not harmed by that. It was the right decision for me. And tonight when I go home to my boyfriend, who I love more than I have ever loved anyone, and I have sex with him, it will feel incredible. It will be full of love and adoration and beauty. We will be generous and silly and passionate. Or maybe I won't feel like having sex today, and instead we will talk, and enjoy the endless other things that we love about each other. And if someday we find we aren't right for each other, even if some day he leaves and breaks my heart, that will not dirty one moment of the happiness we felt in the years we loved each other. So please believe that you and other woman can feel that too, that you can be that strong, that men can be that kind and respectful and loving, with or without a legal commitment. Marriage does not make a cruel man kind. Marriage will not save a harmful relationship. Marriage will not make you love yourself if you can't do it on your own.

Please try to love yourself on your own. I promise you deserve that.

Anonymous said...

this is bullplop. i can have a diamond ring on my finger and a man can still be watching porn every second that he isn't with me. I can have a man pledge to adore me until the day he dies and he can still cheat on me with 100 women. marriage is a social construct, a legal status, not some magical force that binds two people together exclusively. sex is what it is because our society deems what is appropriate and moral. a woman can have sex with hundreds of men and still be happier and healthier than a woman who is married and has only boinked her husband.

Ryan said...

Part 1:
This got terribly long, I apologize, I am incredibly passionate about this topic.

A note to those who are not understanding of where Lauren is coming from, particularly to the commenter directly before me.

I think there is a large discrepancy between what most of our Western culture think marriage to be and what it was intended to be.

Marriage came out of the Jewish/Christian faiths and has been warped into what we know it to be today. It IS an institution mandated by God (not a social construct or legal status) to be between one man and one woman, for all of their lives. The more important part of this is that it IS before God, not man, and the blessings for living this way listed in the Bible are great. It has however become a secular institution with many holes, problems, and to be honest I'm not sure why secular people even bother.. I'm not saying I don't think those outside our faith should, but if you don't believe in God, seriously, why bother? Living common-law (at least in my country) is actually a better position (financially) to be in. It doesn't make sense to me.

Why do I bring that up? If you don't know Jesus/God, I don't think what the author is trying to say is going to make much sense to you. She is not out to tell everyone if you've had sex with anyone outside of marriage you are a prostitute. She is speaking to Christians. In the Bible the word used for any sex outside marriage is often the same word used for prostitution. It's not condemning, just a fact. But the real point is that sexual immorality in any sense is not what God intended for us. It at some point WILL lead to deterioration of self, isolation, and hurt, and the fact is that there are many hurting "non-Christians" who will finally be able to relate to her pain and be able to put a finger on why. But it's all more about relationship with God then getting hung up on the word "prostitute".

There is a story in the Bible where Jesus meets a woman at a well. He asks her to go get her husband. She answers she doesn't have one. He tells her he knows because the fact is she's had 5 husbands and the guy she was currently living with was not actually her husband. She is amazed he could know that. At that point he doesn't tell her she is a wicked, evil person (or a prostitute) but rather he starts talking about worshipping God with her, in "Spirit and Truth". He actually makes a great promise to her offering her this! She recognizes his graciousness and goes and tell everyone about him.

He speaks truth, but the point wasn't to shame her, the point was to amaze her with love. Yes, to get back to obeying the law it would have required repentance and change but the fact was still not in fact that. And she might have been "happy" for all we know, but the real point was that Jesus offered her something even greater.

God knows we WILL be happier, more fulfilled, have more peace and grace and joy when we live as he asks us to, but he asks us to believe in HIM first. Imposing all these things on people who do not share our beliefs is not something I believe Lauren set out to do.

I don't think anyone outside our faith can understand the depth of relationship that can exist between two married Christ loving people when it is as it should be (and to address the comments about spouses who watch porn or cheat on you, I would argue that doing so habitually is so un-Christlike that I would question their salvation. At the end of the sermon on the mount - Matthew 5-7 - Jesus talks about people who claimed his name, but in reality never knew him at all. You can't fool God.). It is incredible. I marvel at it. When I see people who are married for 60+ years and their eyes still sparkle for each other, and they are the only person the other has ever had. That is truly beyond words. And God wants that for all people who actually choose to get married.. He wants everyone who enters a relationship to know that kind of wonder and love.

Ryan said...

Part 2:
Side note:
The above commenter who stated: "A woman can have sex with hundreds of men and still be happier and healthier than a woman who is married and has only boinked her husband." I ask you to prove this. I understand you may have been exaggerating, and 3 or 6 is a far cry from 100. A few mistakes or incomplete relationships to find the "one" you are seeking is understandable outside of our faith. But if you really can have "sex with hundreds of (people) and be happier and healthier" then really, what is the point of being in a serious relationship? Why does everyone not do that? Personal preference? Further to marriage: Why commit to just one person for life? Why do it in a church? Why at all? The truth is some research would actually prove quite the opposite.. 1 in 4 young women have an STD? Young women are finding sex less fulfilling and joyous then ever? (Interesting research behind that one, and it has to do with the rise of femininity, I’m certainly not against it, but the fact is there are less educated men then ever in our system and women have to work harder then ever for sex). This doesn’t sound like a happy system to me. The research is actually quite depressing.

Back to the this blog:
Why get offended or question when a Christian lady who's belief in God has convicted her of something to share to those who might be hurting? She is relating her pain (and the pain she knows other women will have experienced) to prostitution. Honestly, I see the connection. We all desire to be fulfilled. When we give our bodies away (even willingly, out of love) we are hoping to be loved in return. Often that love is not.

Sure YOU are happy, and I am glad that you are. Count your blessings. I hope you are also fulfilled entirely, have perfect peace and joy and love in every circumstance, even when things are tough, even when your spouse or significant other fails you.

But I think you seriously fail to understand God's heart (and Lauren's for that matter) for the broken and hurting when you read an article like this and immediately object because you like to have sex outside of marriage. There ARE countless millions who are not being fulfilled as you are by sex, please do not be so naive. I encourage you to do some research on this topic. Actually, even better, I encourage you to go to the streets and talk to some of the girls there. Then go to the colleges and talk to some of the girls there. Who is teaching them self-respect?

I realize this is a public blog, and everyone IS entitled to their opinions, but Lauren's comments WILL help many understand why they are hurting. Telling them otherwise could be the most destructive thing you could ever do.

Do you really KNOW?

We follow a God who does KNOW.

Walking in obedience may not ALWAYS be the most "fun" (hey, yes, sex IS fun!) but it IS more rewarding. And it will prevent broken hearts and sorrow when both are walking in the humility, obedience and love that Christ calls us to (that doesn't mean it will be easy, on the contrary, marriage is promised to be hard, but the rewards are truly beyond words, and I'm not talking about just sex) … Sadly, this is not modeled by many Christians and is part of why so many (even those who call themselves Christians) have lost faith in the institution. But please, for your own sake, do not throw out the baby with the bath water. And I do quite literally mean the baby. That baby grew up, died and rose and forgives you when you ask so that you can have that peace and joy and love and completeness that will make you glow, all the time, and especially within marriage.

If you are a Christian, claim it, live it, love it.

If you are not, I beg of you to look at Jesus and ask why he cares so much about you.

Rebekah Hope said...

Amen Ryan. Amen. :)

Sam said...

You're rendering women powerless by preaching that the only satisfying sex they will have is with a man who's put a ring on it. By saying that women can only, truly be happy in sex when they're married to a man, you're eliminating all other ways in which women can live full, statisfying, healthy sex lives...or just happy lives in general.

Throwing extra-marital sex and sex for money both under the proverbial umbrella of "prostitution" is insulting for women, like myself, who enjoy having sex and don't consider themselves a "victim" and debases those horrific experiences of women who do sell their bodies to make a living.

A woman does not need to be married to have safe, fulfilling sex or relationships. I'm sorry, but this is the biggest pile of bullshit I've read in a long time. It reeks of traditional, close-minded Christianity. You are, of course, entitled to your opinion, but I wouldn't go preaching it.

Anonymous said...

Marriage is not gonna make your messed-up, abusive relationships where men "take" sex from you suddenly amazing and perfect and Shining In The Glory of God or whatever bullshit. Just so you know.

Just because a man signed some papers and gave you a ring doesn't make sex suddenly joyous and wonderful and Holy Holy Holy.

Just because you haven't signed papers and exchanged rings doesn't mean that having sex in a truly loving, committed relationship (yes, commitment can exist just as strongly outside of marriage!) will make you feel like a whore.

Unfortunately I think Christians mistakenly overemphasize the order of events instead of the quality of them. Marriage is not what matters, it is mutual love, respect and intimacy. Which may or may not occur within marriage. If waiting is what has worked for you, and any sex out of marriage has been bad for you, then that's fine. That's your experience. But you must realize that your experiences are not the same as everyone else's. And in the end, what determines love, respect, happiness, intimacy, and commitment in a relationship is not a written contract or a name change or jewelry, but the actual love, respect, happiness, intimacy, and commitment between the two people. You may find these things after marriage, but some people have found these things before marriage and had sex without regretting it. So please do your best not to use blanket statements as an attempt to shame women into feeling guilty for something they might actually feel good about.


Anonymous said...

I just found your blog through a friend on fb, and I must say, this post hit home.

It hit that bruised and battered heart I once had before God revealed his love for me. It hit that tender, albeit healed, scar on my heart that was cut, left to scab, reopened, torn, slashed, and finally healed.

Obviously, this is a powerful and true message, otherwise, I don't believe it would evoke such a response from people on both sides of the "That's me!" vs. "How offensive!" argument. And I just want to say thank you for being so honest.

And also, praise the LORD that He has renamed us, Hephzibah, "My delight is in you." That Jesus does not see us as that which the world has named us, nor what we have named ourselves. His love is big and complete, and when we see that He is enough, we will realize that it's worth it to give ourselves wholly to Him.


Anonymous said...

what is with people? how are people so closed minded? if your having sex before your married and your happy thats great. but really, why do people keep bringing up a ring and paper as marriage? thats what we made it. for all of you who think that why the hell do you get married? oh thats right, you found someone you loved. did nobody teach you what love is? oh come on, you must have heard about it? ethos, pathos, agape...? so you know the one with sex and then the one thats unconditional? COMPLETELY different! if your one of those people sitting there going i am with a man whom i love and he loves me and we share a bond and are truly happy and committed to each other, guess what, your already married! geesh. marriage is not the dumb ring on the finger and paper! its that love, trust, respect, and commitment to each other. paper and ring is just peoples way of declaring it to the world. so seriously, stop coming back with the same comments! reread it, they agree with you! as for homosexuals, good for you! if youve found the person you are going to spend the rest of your life with, i hope this makes you happy. you dont need that ring or paper to be married! it sucks they wont give you the paper(and keep fighting for it!) but go ahead and buy that ring if you want to declare it to the world! prostitute was used in a negative way because thats how lauren felt it was, as ryan said, it is just fact. if youre selling yourself for money it is called prostitution. for lauren its not right, because its not! sex shouldnt be for money! im hoping everyone will agree with that. so why are we so offended? lauren is not judging when she says prostitute. same way we talk about fat. are fat women bad? of course not! its the view of it! societies view! someone rights fat when describing a person and everyone gets mad. if shes fat then shes fat. why is that a bad thing? fat women are beautiful! i guess in my view this is lauren going i was obese, i lost some weight and im happier. no reason to be offended! she was beautiful when she was fat and she is beautiful now. prob just opened a new can of worms for those of you who would now like to argue about that. anyways, lauren i loved your post and i thank you for putting yourself out there for woman who can relate to you and needed to hear that. i know that there are women who cant relate but hope that they respect your post as from the heart as it was meant. if you dont agree please take the time to reread as i did so you are not so offended and on defense and just take the time to try to understand why and what she means with this. you may not think it is true for you but there is a hell of a lot girls this is true for and they need to hear it.

The Spice Trade said...

I saw this posted on FB and was encouraged to read it.

I can't say I agree with most of what you wrote. Your overlays and underlays of religiosity are so obvious that those of us who do not believe similarly are left shaking our heads in amazement.

First of all, I have never been in a situation where I have had to prostitute myself. Despite my sexual history I would not dare to say that I know what it is like to be that woman.

Second, sex is not the only thing that exemplifies what you are arguing. People don't use others just for sex. They use them for their money, skills, time, popularity, weaknesses, etc. People give in for the same reasons that you admit you gave sex for (closeness, to feel needed, satisfy/be satisfied etc.) Being used in any of these situations feels awful, not just with sex. You attribute so much power to sex, which I really don't think is there.

Third, as others have mentioned, marriage is not the holy grail of sex. Sex is not necessarily bad before marriage, and not necessarily good after! Signing a paper and having a ring do not change the circumstances or who the people are. That man can still say all those things, even after marriage, and none of those beforehand.

Aside from all that, people change all the time. What was true at one moment may not be true later. I know numerous married women whose husbands have cheated on them. They stay together not because they are happy, but because of pressure from family, religion, society, children etc. I know people who have never married and yet have the "idyllic" relationship.

Fourth, I have never met a horse with a broken spirit.

I do think that there is too much emphasis put on sex in Western society. Books have sex, movies have sex, songs have sex, commercials abide by the principle "sex sells", human trafficking for sex is skyrocketing, "all boys watch porn", actors and actresses are best known for their sex appeal instead of their skills, etc. A woman's worth is too often judged by how sexy she is. We have whole pageants that are dedicated to this! This is sad, but it does have the chance to turn around; not through abstinence but neither through total sexual liberation. The Killing is a great show that appears to have chosen its actors based on skill and not on sex appeal.

The most ironic thing, though, is that your profile picture is (presumably) you with bare legs up to your unmentionables in what is clearly meant to be a seductive/sexy pose.

Will Foster said...

Thanks for letting your heart out on the issue that culture tries to define itself by. Such a disgusting reality. I too had a huge heart change after going to a Sex Trafficking Town Hall Meeting in November. It shook my world, I was in an outside of marriage sexual relationship. Realizing just how much I was mistreating this woman, but also just not loving others in my additions with pornography. I was convicted of my actions. Heart change. As a Christian your post resonates with how Christian men are commanded to treat women, and the misinterpreted thought on sex. Being a Christian, I have realized just how important it is to be a man in this society of boys out to get in a girl's pants. It's all over the media, television, and billboards. Businesses are made successful by using sex to sell their products, and the pornography industry is thriving off the lust that men (and women) have for sex. I have learned over the last few months that it isn't that as a Christian, we shouldn't look at sex out side of marriage as being the sin (hear me out). There is a deeper sin involved (and you hit it on the nail) The act of sex is worship, a gift that was given by God to enjoy and love one woman for life through marriage. Out side of marriage it is a sin because the act of sex ia no longer worship but an act of selfishness, idolatry, and self-indulgence. As men, we should treat women as we treat our sisters. Not as sex slaves, to fit our "needs." We should love, respect, and protect our sisters from boys who live for sex. Women deserve to be treated by men with love and selflessness like Jesus did for his bride (the church). He died for our sins, just like us men need to die to ourselves. In marriage, the sister becomes a wife, becomes one with her husband and the act of sex does become an act of worship to God. There definitely needs to be more men out there that defend sex for the gift that it is, rather than the act that it shouldn't be. Thanks for posting this Lauren!

nicci said...

thank you.
thank you.
thank you.

Staci said...


When you say,
"Why could every woman identify with the sobbing prostitute in the court room? I have begged for someone to see me as the woman I want to be; not as the woman I've fallen into being. I have been the woman condemned by the sex I've allowed, agreed to, and willingly sought out - but later, desperately cried out for someone, anyone who will understand that this isn't the woman I want to be. This isn't me. But a small part of me feels like I had no other option. It was out of my control. I said yes, but did I really mean it? Desperately wanting a man to stand in my defense. To fight for me, before he wants sex."


"Did those women have the choice to say no to giving up their bodies in return for something else they desperately needed to make it through the day?"

The amount of offensive material in this blog is cumbersome. How dare you compare yourself to trafficking victims who are forced into prostitution?

I understand that you felt pressured into doing sexual acts with men (and who hasn't?) but ultimately your free will has not been voilated with violance towards your well being, your life, and the lives and livelyhood of your family.

So, you say " I am as that of a prostitute." Because you have had sex outside of marriage. (I dont even want to talk about the implications of your legalism)

So you're really going to be in the business of comaring yourself to women who have had sex outside of marriage because they were moved away from their home to a different country (in many cases) and then forced with endless violence and threats to have sex to make money?

Maybe you should think more about a/any situation outside of your circumstance before being so quick to compare... Perhaps, you should go somewhere uncomfortable and certainly more uncomfortable then sleeping on peoples couches and guest rooms and traveling on other peoples money. Or maybe, stay in school and learn about the places with real prostitution and trafficking... Or just read a book, how about anything Kevin Bales. Then I'd like to hear you compare yourself.

Anonymous said...

I realize this is an old post, but I happened to find it and felt compelled to comment anyway.

Thank you for this post. This is beautiful and I hope I can explain things this well to my own daughter someday. Let's face it, just saying, "Don't have sex until you're married" isn't enough anymore. Heck, it wasn't enough when I was a teenager. Hopefully others will learn from, and be healed by what you shared.

Haley said...

I love this. I love this. I love this.
I read this the first time you tweeted about it, back in May, and I have read it numerous times ever since. It's incredible.

Being raised in a Christian home, I have been striving for the pure lifestyle since junior high. High school was troublesome, as it is for most, and even in college, I'm having trouble saying "no" when I need to. This is the wake up call I needed. This was the push I needed to feel to say no, and to take back the purity I've been so desperate to hold onto.

I've read other's comments about how you shouldn't have compared yourself (and others) to prostitutes and sex slaves, but seriously, the post would NOT have made such a big impact on others (and myself) if it had not been for that comparison. I think you are wonderful, Lauren. You are a beautiful writer. I love your blog. You are an inspiration. Truly.


Laura Noelle said...

You have echoed the heart of every single woman and teen girl who has experienced pain, whether physical, sexual or emotional at the hand of a man who was less than God's best for her. As an abuse survivor, this breaks my heart and mirrors my self-concept vividly. Your words will speak life into so many lives as the light is shed on these dark issues. Keep speaking up--breaking the silence will set us free.

leigh ann said...

Gorgeous. So glad to have found & read this. Praise God I saved myself for my husband & was able to!
Love, Leigh

Anonymous said...

I found this blog through a friend...Thank you for providing me with the truth that I always want to ignore.

I wish people were more understanding of your words. Instead, they don't want to face the truth in their lives and blame you for it. For that, I am sorry.

Daniella said...

THANK YOU! thank you. thank you.
Thank you for being the only one who understands what i feel inside right now. This is beautiful.

The Dame said...

While I really love this post, I dont agree about the hard stance on marriage. I dont believe in marriage and I dont believe Im selling myself to men if I dont marry them first. I also dont have sex to satisfy something anymore because I did that for years and saw, as you have here, how much it takes away from me.

I believe I can be in a loving and committed relationship without getting married.

Allie said...

You. are. amazing. This was beautiful in so many ways and I'm just left sitting here trying to put what I am currently feeling into words. There are tears welling that have not fallen yet and I am even moreso convicted of recent decisions that I have made in order to not repeat past mistakes. Your words are shining into my heart and I just thank God for people like you who are beautiful and honest and raw with their innermost sticky, ugly, and complicated feelings.

Lauren, you are truly a blessing to so many women. Moreso than you probably know. Thank you.

Anonymous said...

thank you. <3

Angie said...

Lauren, what a beautiful article .. I know it was written a year ago, but I still want you to know that your honesty with your brokenness shone through what you wrote. Every woman needs to be reminded that sex will not fill what we are longing for, only God can. And sex - the way God designed it - is about giving, not taking. Thank you for that reminder :)

Anonymous said...

No, you weren't a prostitute. And whether or not someone is a Believer has nothing to do with finding the comparison between a woman who's had sex before marriage of her own free will and a woman caught in sex trafficking to be utterly unbelievable. As in, "I absolutely cannot believe that someone would make this comparison, because it not only insults women who've had sex before marriage, it minimizes the horror that sex workers deal with and have dealt with every day."
That's just appalling. I hope you eventually grow up and figure out that having sex before marriage doesn't make you a prostitute. You know who's a prostitute? Sex workers. If someone is pressured into sex, if they're tricked into it, they're victims of sexual coercion and manipulation. They are not prostitutes.
I'm....seriously, here, I'm just about speechless with horror that anyone, ANYONE, would compare a victim of sex trafficking with women who have sex before marriage. It's appalling, it's insulting, and it's WRONG.

Ona said...

Whoever said that marriage in the Bible was between one man and *one* woman needs to read his Bible again. How many wives and concubines did David have?

The writer of this blog post degrades other women by comparing them to prostitutes, plain and simple. She degrades prostitutes by pretending that having consensual sex is as traumatic as being kidnapped, taken illegally over national boundaries, and taken out of a 5x5 room only to be raped. For years, for a lifetime. What on earth were you thinking? What kind of rampant self-pity leads someone to this conclusion?

Here's a clue: the other women in the room were probably horrified by sex trafficking because sex has always been a beautiful, consensual thing to them. Not because they were married every time, but because they have less religious garbage telling them that they are literally a whore if they care a moment about their own pleasure.

Anonymous said...

Thank you so much, I'm crying reading this, but they're good tears, tears of healing and hope and just a tiny bit of regret.

Anonymous said...

Lauren your post puts words to the feelings I have had inside of my heart every time I engaged in pre-marital sex. Thank you for your truth and your vulnerability. God bless you :)

Anonymous said...


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Unknown said...

It doesn't matter what non-believers think. Moral relativity belongs in the secular world. I have spoke to plenty of women that wish they had at least waited for a loving relationship (if not marriage) and many that regret some of the encounter because the sex given freely proved insufficient to won the man's devotion. The secular world promotes harshness. Live for self, for pleasure for the moment. While I can't subscribe to Victorian notions about sexual desire, the world of hooking up ruins our ability to enter long term, tender loving relationships - as they require real work. Promiscuity is ugly, immoral and dangerous.

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