Wednesday, November 28, 2018

So I Watched Josh Harris's Documentary

A sheep outside the fence looks at the group of sheep inside the fence. Image source.
Hi everyone! So, if you've been following news about Joshua Harris, author of "I Kissed Dating Goodbye," you have probably heard that he has apologized for the harm done by his book and has stopped publishing it. Also, he's been "on a journey" to learn about where he went wrong and how his book affected people, and he has made a documentary about it.

I watched his documentary, "I Survived I Kissed Dating Goodbye." On the one hand, I feel like I should blog about it because I'm known for being an ex-purity-culture blogger, but on the other hand, like... I'm over it. So Harris has figured out it's bad that teenagers are terrified of having crushes, and Christian young people won't ask someone out because a first date is basically the same as getting engaged. He realizes that he was wrong to say that dating is always bad. But he still believes unmarried sex is a sin, and he still believes everyone is supposed to be heterosexual. There, I basically just summed up the whole documentary. You don't need to watch it.

Ah geez, should I say more? I'm like, really over it, you guys. I really don't care what Joshua Harris's opinion is about my sex life and my queerness. I'm glad I'm no longer part of a Christian culture that holds him up as a role model. This documentary might actually be really good and helpful for people who buy into "I Kissed Dating Goodbye" ideology. Help them start to take their first steps out of that. But I'm not there any more, and I can't seem to summon up the energy to re-imagine what that's like.

It feels so good to be free from those restrictions. I'm free from the idea that sex before marriage is a sin, and that opens up whole new worlds to explore, learning about myself and my own desires. I'm free from the belief that everybody is only attracted to the "opposite" gender, and only in specific ways, sexual attraction and romantic attraction that connect with the concepts of love and commitment in some correct, God-given, one-size-fits-all way. Leave all that behind, and there's a whole big beautiful rainbow world out here. But Harris is over there discussing the nuances of what specific location he now occupies inside the don't-have-sex-til-straight-marriage fence, and I just... I'm over it.

Maybe I'll just leave a link here, to something else I wrote, and that'll be the final word from Perfect Number: I’m Really Really REALLY Glad I Had Sex Before Marriage. Like, that's the nail in the coffin. There's no more debate about "is premarital sex a sin" for me after this. After years of being completely terrified of sex, I finally had sex, before I got married, and it was extremely GOOD for my mental health. And wow I am SO GLAD I did not "wait" another 2-ish years for my wedding night, only to find out actually sex is fine and not a big deal of life-changing magnitude, and all this time I had been scared for nothing. Oh and also, surprise, I'm asexual.

I'll just share one quote from Harris's documentary, because it perfectly encapsulates how he still wants people to be stuck in this limited space where you're only allowed to be heterosexual. At timestamp 1:01:40, Harris says:
I was really challenged because [author Debra Hirsch is] admitting things will be messy, but don't be so afraid of the messiness that you don't press into relationship and press into community and acknowledge that you're a sexual creature and you have desires and longings. And you're interacting with men and women, and sometimes you're a man or a woman and you have same-sex attraction, and so you have to honestly deal with that before God and deal with that in community. And it's that messiness in which you're actually going to grow.
Wow amazing how he managed to pack it into one little soundbite. "you're a sexual creature"- in other words, you can't be asexual. "sometimes... you have same-sex attraction, and so you have to honestly deal with that before God"- in other words, you can't be LGB. Like, now that I'm no longer in this ideology, I'm astonished at how bizarre it is. These people really believe everyone occupies one little tiny section of the Kinsey scale- you have to have sexual attraction, but only toward the correct gender.

(Also, guess what? Not everybody is "a man or a woman." Nonbinary people exist!)

And on top of that, supposedly the point he's trying to make is that it's okay if things are "messy." Yeah, I guess what he means is you can be "messy" as long as you stay inside one little box.

I can't be bothered with refuting this ideology any more. It just feels so old and tired and unnecessarily restrictive. Come live in the big queer world where you get to have emotions and desires. Learn about yourself and your body and how to handle your feelings in a healthy way.

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Related: 
I’m Really Really REALLY Glad I Had Sex Before Marriage
Miss me with your "we are all sexually broken" hot takes. I'm asexual.

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