When Salt-N-Pepa released their song “Let’s Talk About Sex” in 1991, it was a bold attempt to have a conversation about sex.
Instead of relying on inference and innuendo to make sexual statements, it brought the topic of safe sex and the various positive and negative aspects of sexual relations to the forefront of a conversation.
It created a stir. It exposed the fact that many of us are comfortable hinting at sexual ideas and issues, even promoting pornography and sexual fantasies; but we are not at ease having a mature conversation about the realities of sex itself and our relationship with it.
We can debate whether, in the end, Salt-N-Pepa advanced the conversation in a constructive way.
There is no debate, however, that 27 years later our culture is more pornified than ever.
As psychotherapist and researcher Jay Stringer writes in his new book Unwanted: How Sexual Brokenness Reveals Our Way to Healing, between 3 and 5 percent of all Americans can be classified as addicted to sex. That percentage, in actually lives, means that at minimum nine million persons are addicted, and as many as 16 million may be.
Stringer writes that 64 percent of persons aged 13-to-24 intentionally watch pornography at least once a week.
The statistics are troubling, and many authors through the years have used numbers like these to alert us to the crisis we are in. Stringer, however, gives us more than mere numbers, he offers us a new conversation about an age-old problem.
As Stringer discusses in this podcast with Dan Allender, it begins by “listening to our lust.”
The “audacious claim,” as Mark Laaser writes in the foreword to Unwanted, is that “the specifics of your sexual brokenness can reveal your unique way to healing.”
This approach is a desperately needed shift in the conversation that so often surrounds the discussion of compulsive sexual behavior in Christian circles. In short, lust-centered approaches are ineffective.
Instead, Stringer invites us to see that “the formative experiences of our childhood (loneliness, pain, sexual arousal, secrecy, and relational ambivalence) are all being repeated in our unwanted sexual behavior as adults.”
Stringer is “hosting” the conversation we must have regarding sexual brokenness, so yes, let’s talk about sex.