+

#MeToo. I think.

I imagine a watchful Jesus hanging out in the backseat drinking a Coke like my pastor says he does. But when I let them put their hand on my thigh, I see Jesus leave the car and walk away.

Now we’re kissing, and I’m having second thoughts. I don’t really like their hand in my pants, but I’ve never been taught what I’m supposed to “like” or “dislike.”  


I say “sure, let’s go to your house to hang out,” so I think that I pretty much consented to sex. Because, as a temptress, it's my job to stop them by saying “I’m saving myself for marriage.”

Even though I wish I could back out, I stay. It’s not #MeToo because that’s for people who didn’t consent to things, right?

[rebelmouse-image 19398091 dam="1" original_size="5236x3491" caption="Photo by Daniel Garcia/Unsplash." expand=1]Photo by Daniel Garcia/Unsplash.

In the wake of all the #MeToo stories, it struck me how many of them featured language such as, “They already bought me dinner, so I felt obligated to do something. I don’t know why.”

I instinctually knew why because I had similar thoughts as a pastor’s daughter who was taught to abstain from sex. I knew these victims never had a proper consent conversation because there isn’t any place for it where abstinence is taught. My parents thought that talking about consent would negate their teachings about abstinence, so I never learned how powerful saying "yes" and "no" could be.  

The reality is that teens are having sex, and teaching abstinence-only sexual education has dangerous ramifications.

We need to move past telling teens to “picture Jesus in the backseat drinking a Coke” if they are considering becoming intimate. The shame created by scenarios like this leaves Christian teens vulnerable in murky situations. While I never experienced some of the horrific scenarios mentioned in many of the #metoo stories, I nevertheless always felt like it was my fault for putting myself in sexual situations. I felt obligated to do “something” that would satisfy the guy, so he wouldn’t be upset at me for leading him on. I felt shame.

[rebelmouse-image 19477594 dam="1" original_size="6000x4000" caption="Photo by Rosie Fraser/Unsplash." expand=1]Photo by Rosie Fraser/Unsplash.

I learned that my body was not my own — but God's.

Therefore, consent would naturally lie within his control. These are not the thoughts of someone who has been taught a healthy view of their sexuality.

My sexual education consisted of my mother and father calling my brother and I into their bedroom and telling us they wanted to answer any questions we might have. After the term “boner” was awkwardly discussed, it was clear the conversation was over. I later received a book that vaguely described a "tingly feeling."

This lack of sexual education is the root of the problem. According to Sharon Hollings, who was raised evangelical, it was "just assumed that I wouldn’t be having sex. Meaning I didn’t have any advice or insight on how to handle things when I did.”

I was never taught that my feelings were paramount.

I was never taught that it was important to know what you like and dislike.

The magic of sex was that when you consented to your partner on your wedding night, you would like EVERYTHING.

Spoiler alert: You don’t.

The lack of a proper conversation about my body as my own became glaringly obvious when my parents explained that masturbation was a sin, that even thinking about having sex with someone meant you had already done it in your heart. Boy, was I a heart slut for Patrick Swayze. Throughout my adolescent self-exploration, I constantly apologized to God and felt guilt about my sexuality.

[rebelmouse-image 19477595 dam="1" original_size="6016x4016" caption="Photo by Ben White/Unsplash." expand=1]Photo by Ben White/Unsplash.

This lack of a discussion of bodily autonomy and shaming for self-exploration leads to a whole different problem.

Growing up in Christian schools, there was a running joke that you could do everything but sex. This was not something officially taught, but it was an unofficial practice among students. According to Cindy Rogers, who was raised Catholic, “I went to school with some super religious folks. They would have anal sex and still call themselves virgins.” Folk duo Garfunkel and Oates even have a song parody on the subject, “The Loophole.”

The denial of real teenage interactions leads to confusion about consent. It can lead to non-consensual sexual activity. We need a more realistic approach. The consent conversation is eliminated in abstinence teaching because of the assumption that it might encourage sexual activity.

This becomes especially dangerous for marginalized LGBTQ teens.

They're told that they are not allowed to act on their sexual preferences — ever. This puts them in even greater danger for self-blame when faced with consent decisions. If those teaching would at least offer abstinence as one of many choices instead of the only option, that would allow teens to feel they have control over the decisions facing their bodies.

My friend, who was raised similarly to me, recently put things into perspective for how she approaches the topic with her children: “If you don’t give people a healthy view of sex without the guilt factor, people aren’t going to know how to protect themselves. You won't be able to listen to that little voice that says something about this isn’t right. You need the self-esteem and confidence to go, 'Yeah, nope, I’m out.'"

It’s urgent that we put young people’s sexual autonomy at the forefront of the conversation.

Emphasizing “your body, your choice” will allow them to thrive in adulthood.

We need to move into a realistic view of life, love, and sexuality. We need teens to understand that without consent, they are the victims of a crime. That they are #MeToo and not #MyFault.

I’m pretty sure that if Jesus was actually drinking a Coke in the backseat, he would agree. I’m also pretty sure He’s switched to La Croix at this point.

This story originally appeared on Ravishly and is printed here with permission. More from Ravishly:

partner boost

Pacifico and Quiksilver have teamed up to provide a sustainable merch collection and clean beaches

Shared values of sustainability and adventure come together in a beautiful way

Images provided by Pacifico

Making waves in the best way

True

At last, summer is here. And for many people, that means it's time for heading to the beach and maybe even catching some waves. Surfing is a quintessential summertime activity for those who live in coastal communities—it’s not only really fun and challenging, it’s also a great way to celebrate Mother Nature’s beauty. Even after a wipeout, the cool water mixed with warm sunshine offers a certain kind of euphoria. Or, you know, just hanging back on the sand is plenty fun too. Simply being outdoors near the ocean is its own reward.

pacifico quiksilver beach cleanupLet’s protect the places where outdoor adventure happensAll photos provided by Pacifico

However, it's well known that our beautiful beaches are suffering the consequences of overcrowding, pollution and littering. What was once a way of playing in nature is now slowly destroying it. And of course, this affects beachgoers everywhere. The sad truth is—without taking action to preserve all the natural joys the earth provides, we will eventually lose them.

But there is hope. Two popular brands that both have roots in surf culture have teamed up to help make trips to the beach a more sustainable pastime. The best part? You don’t have to know how to hang ten in order to participate.

Pacifico®, a pilsner-style lager originally brought to the U.S. by surfers, and Quiksilver, an iconic apparel company loved by both surfers and beach goers alike, have created a brand-new range of clothing and accessories with sustainability in mind.

Take a look below. These threads are great for all kinds of fun in the sun, without compromising the environment.

pacifico quicksilver beach cleanupsReady to make some waves

The collection launches on July 5 and includes tees and woven shirts, boardshorts, hats, flip-flops and a special beach towel and tote bag. The unique collaboration features the vibrant, colorful designs that are the hallmark of Quiksilver combined with Pacifico elements, created to make a positive impact.

Each item has been thoughtfully curated to minimize an environmental footprint and protect the outdoors. The hats, for example, are made from NetPlus® by Bureo®, a raw material created from South American recycled fishing nets. Additionally, the board shorts are made from recycled plastic bottles, and tees are made with 100% organic cotton. Pretty rad stuff, to put it in surfer lingo.

The prices on these pieces are equally rad, ranging from $28 flip-flops to $60 boardshorts.

In keeping with the sustainable ethos and protecting the places we play, Pacifico and Quiksilver will celebrate the products’ launch by hosting two beach cleanups. The first is on July 5 at Sunset Point in Malibu, California, from 4-5:30pm, and the second is on July 9th at Deerfield Beach in Florida from 8:30 – 10:30am.

pacifico quicksilver clothing lineCleaning up and looking good while doing it

Theses beach cleanups are open to anyone over the age of 21 who’s ready to have some fun while taking care of nature’s playground.

Those who can’t make it to the beach (bummer, dude) don’t have to miss out on all the fun. The new collection will be available on July 5th at www.quiksilver.com/mens-collab-pacifico. And even if you don’t surf, never plan to surf, have no desire to even be near a surfboard, rest assured, the apparel is still cool. Plus sustainable choices are always good fashion.

Our planet provides us with an endless supply of beauty and adventure. But without more mindful actions from humanity, its natural wonders will eventually diminish. Fortunately Pacifico and Quiksilver are making it easier than ever for people to enjoy the great outdoors without jeopardizing it. That’s a wave worth riding.

This article originally appeared on 09.06.17


Being married is like being half of a two-headed monster. It's impossible to avoid regular disagreements when you're bound to another person for the rest of your life. Even the perfect marriage (if there was such a thing) would have its daily frustrations. Funnily enough, most fights aren't caused by big decisions but the simple, day-to-day questions, such as "What do you want for dinner?"; "Are we free Friday night?"; and "What movie do you want to see?"

Here are some hilarious tweets that just about every married couple will understand.

Keep ReadingShow less
Image courtesy of Meta’s Community Voices film series

Nenad Bach, founder of Ping Pong Parkinson's.

True

Nenad Bach, a Croatian American recording artist, and peace activist has led an impressive life propelled by his inspiring optimism. As a musician, he’s performed alongside Bono and Luciano Pavarotti and took the stage at Woodstock ‘94. He’s recorded with legendary artists such as Garth Hudson and Rick Danko from The Band and The Grateful Dead’s Vince Welnick.

As an activist, he was highlighted by the United Nations for his World Peace in One Hour campaign.

But in 2010 his life came to a temporary halt after being diagnosed with Parkinson's, a nervous system disorder affecting movement. According to the Michael J. Fox Foundation, it’s a progressive disease that slowly worsens over time.

Over a million people in the U.S. and 6 million worldwide are affected by the disease.

After being diagnosed with Parkinson's, Bach was invited by a friend to play ping pong. The next day he couldn’t believe how much better he felt. His cognitive abilities improved, his tremors were less intense, it was easier for him to walk and talk and he felt a greater “desire to live,” he told Upworthy.

Keep ReadingShow less

Paul Rudd in 2016.

Passing around your yearbook to have it signed by friends, teachers and classmates is a fun rite of passage for kids in junior high and high school. But, according to KDVR, for Brody Ridder, a bullied sixth grader at The Academy of Charter Schools in Westminster, Colorado, it was just another day of putting up with rejection.

Poor Brody was only able to get four signatures in his yearbook, two from what appeared to be teachers and one from himself that said, “Hope you make some more friends."

Brody’s mom, Cassandra Ridder has been devastated by the bullying her son has faced over the past two years. "There [are] kids that have pushed him and called him names," she told The Washington Post. It has to be terrible to have your child be bullied and there is nothing you can do.

She posted about the incident on Facebook.

“My poor son. Doesn’t seem like it’s getting any better. 2 teachers and a total of 2 students wrote in his yearbook,” she posted on Facebook. “Despite Brody asking all kinds of kids to sign it. So Brody took it upon himself to write to himself. My heart is shattered. Teach your kids kindness.”

Keep ReadingShow less