The Sex Talk

If you haven’t seen the sports headlines the past couple of days you’ve missed a compelling and shocking story about Brigham Young University basketball player Brandon Davies. Davies was released from the team this week for violating the school’s Honor Code. Davies was one of the top three players for the Cougars who were ranked number 3 in the nation prior to his dismissal from the team.

What did he do to deserve such punishment? What kind of violation could this young man have committed to warrant being thrown off the team?

He had sex with his girlfriend.

I suppose it’s a good thing that such a code is not in place at all major universities or we might not have collegiate sports at all!

In all seriousness, I think that this decision by the Athletic Committee and the University is commendable. BYU is a private, Mormon institution and their code of conduct is obviously going to be stricter than most, but they could have let this slide. Davies is a good kid. He confessed that he violated the rules and all reports indicated that he was remorseful and repentant. Perhaps a slap on the wrist, a reprimand, community service, but dismissal from the team? Maybe if it was a third string player who never gets any court time and who’s absence wouldn’t affect the team any, but one of the team’s top scorers? This jeopardizes the universities chances of national prominence. What about potential recruiting? What about the money that they’re throwing away?

The University is more interested in helping a young man understand the value of purity and what it means to be a moral human being than they are in acquiring honor, achievement, recognition and resources for their school.

And that’s something that is rare.

And that’s something that is commendable.

In his book One.Life, Scot McKnight highlights the issue of sexuality as it relates to the kind of life that we were created to live:

“If you have One.Life, what do you want your love and sex life to look like when you look back on it when you are older? Someone who follows Jesus and who gives her or his One.Life to the kingdom dream of Jesus, and that means surrendering to become a moral zealot like Jesus, asks yet another question: What does Jesus’ kingdom dream – a kingdom marked by self-sacrificing love, justice, wisdom and peace – have to say about the sexual culture of today?

He then goes on to address three specific types of statistics as they relate to the issue of sexuality in our culture. The first set of statistics deals with the details:

• By the time of graduation from high school, almost 75% of high school students have had sex
• Adolescent females who are sexually active between 15 and 19 years old will have, on average, seven different sexual partners during their lives
• Sixteen percent of high school students have had four or more sexual partners
• About 70% of college students have had sex with at least one partner in the last year
• Nearly 50% of college students have had oral sex in the last 30 days
• Between 10% (females) and 17% (males) of college students have had three or more partners in the last year.

The second set of statistics involves attitudes and experiences.

• Only one third of the females report that they really wanted to have sex the first time they had sex
• While 2 out of 3 young men said it was better to get married than to go through life single, fewer than half of the young women felt that way.
o This has led to an increase in what McKnight and journalist Laura Sessions Stepp refer to as the hook-up culture.
o Stepp’s research on the sexual behaviors of young women entitled Unhooked: How Young Women Pursue Sex, Delay Love and Lose at Both shows that of 555 undergraduates studied almost 4 out of 5 had “hooked-up,” and that half said they started their evenings planning to have some form of sex with no particular person in mind.

McKnight goes on to note that “many who engage in sexual behaviors this way walk home that night, or the next morning absorbed with a sense of shame.”

Pastor Erwin McManus says that “there is no such thing as free sex. It always comes at a cost. With it, either you give your heart, or you give your soul. You can have sex without giving love, but you can’t have sex without giving a part of yourself.”

The final statistics have to do with the nature of the relationship.

• Almost none of the students studied is in a long-term relationship with the one with whom they are engaging in sexual activities.
• Sex is no longer seen as part of a serious relationship; it’s simply “hooking-up.”

McKnight goes on to argue, and I agree, that

Sex is about relationship.
Sex is about love.
Without relationship and love, sex wounds.

“Love is a rugged commitment to being with someone.”

Jesus redefines what love is. Love is “being with.” We are wired and created to “be with.” Rugged individualism, sex without relationship, hooking-up; we are not designed to live this way.

Perhaps, BYU is making a profound statement with this decision. Perhaps they are making a statement not just about an honor code or a basketball player, or even about a religious conviction, but about what it means to be human. For Brandon Davies and the rest of the young men and women at Brigham Young University a statement has been made: sex is not casual, sex is not free, sex is to be shared within the bonds of a loving, committed marriage relationship.

I think this story is so compelling and so shocking because it seems to go against the grain of societal norms.

Somehow, I think that is precisely what we are supposed to be doing.

“Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect.” – Romans 12.2


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