Shameless Intimacy

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vanvalin_march_13By PAUL H. VAN VALIN, PhD

This article is the most editorial-like, preachy submission since I started writing for The Citizen. It is a compilation of recent Facebook posts and is full of judgmental, personally biased content.  I will return next month to the usual psycho-babble and write more scientifically about teens and pornography. Thought I’d at least warn you.

The posture of confidence is standing erect with head held high, direct eye contact, and an easy smile.  The posture of shame is a bowed head, avoidance of eye contact and trying to become invisible.  You have seen shame many times on TV when the press is trying to talk to someone about a crime or a scandal.  We saw it on February 24 when Seth MacFarlane did a song and dance number during the Oscar awards.

Pay attention Dads.  You are shaping your daughter’s identity and her vision of male/female relationships in a world that is totally confused as to who women are and how they should be treated.  Would you prefer to have your daughter’s reputation be like Jennifer Lawrence, named for NOT baring herself in movies, or like all the others who were named for public nudity? Naomi Watts looked horrified and Charlize Theron bowed her head low and avoided the camera.  However, Jennifer Lawrence gleefully threw her hands up when she was mentioned.  Two were ashamed and one was proud and happy.

You may be shocked to learn that porn is affecting the development and behavior patterns of teenage girls.  The largest group of viewers of Internet porn is children between ages 12 and 17.  Female viewing now is estimated to be 1/3 of the audience.  You all know how porn depicts women.  This is shaping their identities.

If you want to raise a daughter who understands what it means to live shamelessly, spend time with her. Help her to understand who she really is. A woman’s identity and value cannot be defined by how men judge her.  Honorable men don’t “rule”. Teach your daughter that selling her body in any fashion; sexting, “hooking up”, seductive dress, or any sexual activity to keep the attention of a male is succumbing to the “curse” and is beneath her.  Give and teach appropriate touch and well bounded levels of love and intimacy.  Honor her mother.  Above all, live a life that honors God so that you can be a living example of how to be honorable.  We can’t really teach our daughters about their inherent value when we are consuming porn.

Young people who split their souls by giving their bodies to false intimacy justify it by concluding that “hooking up” really isn’t “sex” and “your generation had different values”.  Really? We are the generation of the pill, “free love” and “if it feels good do it.” It didn’t work then and it doesn’t work now. Intimacy requires trust, safety, and commitment.

Four expressions of love come from ancient Greek. Agape in its strongest form is, “I will sacrifice, even die for you.” Phileo is friendship. “I want to know you and enjoy your presence.” Storge is “we are family.” Eros is sexuality in many forms. All are necessary for an intimate marriage and shameless freedom. Eros in any other context diminishes the capacity for intimacy and enslaves us.  How’s that for judgmental thinking?  Our society is upside down and presents all kinds of media suggesting that chastity and virginity are shameful.  Really?

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