S3 E12 - Sex, God, & The Conservative Church with Dr. Tina Schermer Sellers, PhD

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 Christianity's War on Sex

Christianity is the most adhered to religion in the United States with roughly 75% of Americans identifying as Christians. So, whether you're Christian or not, you know someone, have been taught by someone, or have been influenced by someone with Judeo-Christian values.

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After seeing a massive increase in the number of students coming to her with crushing shame, confusion, and dread around sex as a professor at Seattle Pacific University, Dr. Tina Schermer Sellers got curious.

Why the sudden influx of young people experiencing so much shame around sex?

The more she researched, the more she learned that it was in large part due to the way these kids were taught about sex, virtue, chastity, and purity in their homes and churches growing up.

This didn't feel right to her. Sex isn't something God wants us to be afraid of. It's something we should celebrate and cultivate in a way that reinforces our relationship with God and those we love.

So, she began to ask questions...

How did Christianity take the gift of sexuality and turn it into something people seem so afraid of? How has Christianity contributed to our culture’s ignorance surrounding things like eros, sacred sexuality, and the human body? How can we help people to heal from years of religious sexual shame and faulty teaching, while still respecting their faith traditions? What does a cohesive, faith-based picture of intended sexuality look like? What are actual, intimate sexual practices that couples can share that will build a sex life that is wholly integrated with their spirituality? And what practices can single people do to heal and develop a loving and celebratory relationship with their body and with God? 

This interview, and her book Sex, God & The Conservative Church (get a free chapter here) expand on her findings, and the cure for Religious Sexual Shame (which just recently got an official definition).

"Sexual shame is a visceral feeling of humiliation and disgust toward one’s own body and identity as a sexual being, and a belief of being abnormal, inferior and unworthy. This feeling can be internalized but also manifests in interpersonal relationships having a negative impact on trust, communication, and physical and emotional intimacy. Sexual shame develops across the lifespan in interactions with interpersonal relationships, one’s culture and society, and subsequent critical self-appraisal (a continuous feedback loop). There is also a fear and uncertainty related to one’s power or right to make decisions, including safety decisions, related to sexual encounters, along with an internalized judgment toward one’s own sexual desire."

Please leave your thoughts, insights, and ideas in the comments below.


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About Dr. Tina Schermer Sellers

Tina Schermer Sellers, PhD has had a distinguished career as an educator, sex therapist, family therapist, speaker, author, consultant, and thought leader. She serves as an Associate Professor of Marriage & Family Therapy and Director of Medical Family Therapy at Seattle Pacific University. Her popular blog is filled with inspiring ideas on marriage, parenting, spirituality, sexuality and socio-political culture.

Dr. Sellers also founded the Northwest Institute on Intimacy, whose mission is to provide training in sex therapy and spiritual intimacy for psychotherapists and to provide a solid referral source to physicians, clergy, and community leaders. Her relentless passion for couples and families to know sexual and spiritual abundance, health and healing have won her several awards and requests for radio, TV and podcast interviews.

Click here to get a free chapter of her book!

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