I know some people are very sensitive to the word whore (and not just because there’s a silent “w” at the beginning of the word that doesn’t make any sense), so I want to be clear about my use of it. I grew up reading this word in the Bible, which has left me okay with it. Of course, the use of whore was from the King James Version (KJV), which I haven’t used since I won my first NIV Bible around ten years old (yeah, I was even a brown-noser in Sunday school, which makes me a special kind of geek). The KJV (not to be confused with the KGB) is an outdated translation that gives us the old school readings as seen in the following verse: “Thou hast also committed fornication with the Egyptians thy neighbours, great of flesh; and hast increased thy whoredoms, to provoke me to anger.” (Eze 16:22) I now use the New Living Translation (NLT), which reads as follows: “Then you added lustful Egypt to your lovers, provoking my anger with your increasing promiscuity.” That’s the same verse. That’s a very different sounding verse; can you see why the KJV is outdated? In general, it seems the newer Bible versions tend to replace “whore” with “prostitute.” When I looked up the definitions, they are essentially the same as both are someone who use sexual prowess to gain something like money or power. Oddly enough, I’ve always avoided the word slut because it seemed very derogatory, but according to Google it means “a woman who has many casual sexual partners,” or as Wikipedia says, “a woman… considered to have loose sexual morals.” Fun note, a tramp is “a woman who has many casual sexual encounters or relationships,” (Google) or it’s a term for a homeless guy; how those two things were connected in one word is beyond me.. For this post, I’m going to use whore because all these words pretty much mean the same thing and using this one is like an ode to my childhood.
Early in my youth pastor days, I asked a sixteen year old visiting my group for the first time what’s new in his life and he started clapping. I was naturally confused; is this like a Morse code thing? Is he unable to speak and communicating like a horse? Nope, it turned out what was new for him was he had just been diagnosed with the clap. If you don’t know (I didn’t), the clap is a slang term for gonorrhea, and if you don’t know what gonorrhea is (besides an impossible word to spell without spell-check) it is a sexually transmitted disease that can cause men to “have a yellowish discharge from the penis accompanied by itching and burning.” You’re welcome for that image (today’s post is full of fun random facts). Two years after this discussion, I was talking to this same guy who continued coming out to my group (we were clearly not a judgmental group… or we didn’t have morals – either way) and I asked him, “At what point is someone a whore?” He thought about it for a moment and then said it’s when someone has had a hundred different partners. He was still about twelve off, so he was okay. Fast forward to present day and I’m left wondering the same question: At what point is someone a whore? In my practice I hear different stories including those that started with hook-up APPS and how teenagers are moving in with their boyfriends or girlfriends and parents let this happen, and I can’t help but wonder what being sexually immoral means anymore in our society? As someone who wasn’t allowed to watch the TV show Friends until I was eighteen because of how sexually loose the characters were, I grew up pretty sheltered (for the record, I appreciate that I was sheltered), but our society doesn’t seem to have any respect for sex or being sexually moral. It doesn’t seem like our culture respects people who keep their list of sexual partners less than a handful. Television and movies certainly promote the idea that the perfect night ends with having sex with someone we know or just met, but is this really what we should believe? Is that healthy? It’s certainly a way to share the clap, but that’s not on my to-do list.
What I do know is people are sensitive to being called a whore, but at what point is it not an insult but a fact? I once talked to a guy who was having regular sex with a married woman. When I suggested the idea that one or both of them were being a whore, he was adamantly opposed to it. That was a title meant for people with serious problems, but he and his sex partner were fine. To him, this was “love,” so it was okay. But was it? If he heard someone else say this story would he be like “Yeah, that’s true love”? I know denial is something we all can struggle with, but at some point we need to let a spade be called a spade even if we’re the spade.
The other week I made a stupid driving mistake and the only reason I didn’t get into an accident is because the other driver made a smart move to avoid me. In that moment I was stupid. I felt guilt, waved to apologize, and paid more attention to the road. When someone is being a whore, they should be able to accept what they are. Why is it offensive to them? (Person) “I don’t subscribe to the traditional Christian definition of being sexual moral because I’m not Christian, so if that makes me a whore, I’m okay with that.” Last year a police officer told me that she’ll regularly go to a call where a girl is wanting to press charges against a guy for sexual assault when the girl had met the guy at a bar, willingly went back to his place, willingly took off her clothes, willingly got physical with him, but then the next morning she was upset with how far it went. At what point is it the woman’s fault for going back to his place? At what point do you call the guy stupid for bringing a stranger home who could steal from him, kill him, or press charges? At what point is either of these people being whores?
Our society is incredibly confusing to me. I know my line on sexual behaviors, but I’m old fashioned. I wish I could figure out what our society considers “sexually moral” because it seems like what is sexual moral is whatever you are doing; people always seem to justify their own behaviour and claim that it’s the other people who are the problem: (person 1) “I only have one night stands with single people, so I’m not bad.” (person 2) “I only have sex with that married person because they’re mistreated by their partner, so I’m not bad.” (person 3) “I only have sex with people of age and not children or animals, so I’m not bad.” See how that works? As long as we can point to someone else being worse, we can justify our actions, but is that having any sexual morality?
Our society promotes not taking responsibility for our actions and blaming others, but until we do, we can’t be better. When I was stupid, I owned it, so I could be safer. If you’re loose morally in some way, own it and either be content you’re being a “whore” or become what you think is appropriate. Titles don’t have to be insults. Instead, they can be clues on how we can change and be what we really want to be.
This week may you consider what being sexually moral means to you.
Rev. Chad David, ChadDavid.ca, Learning to love dumb people