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As a woman raised in, rooted in, and baptized in the church, discussing sex publicly naturally feels taboo. As “liberal” as I may be, talking about my relationship with my sexuality as a Christian woman always flowed more naturally from me in the form of poetry. I even published a poetry book on the topic, hiding my raw vulnerabilities in the beauty of metaphor and language.

But writer Candice Benbow’s recent declaration that she is a “Single Christian Woman That Likes Sex,” brought me face-to-face with my own fears about openly sharing my experiences and beliefs about sex with the world.

Her piece caused quite a stir across the internets, with some saints yelling “harlot,” and other women feeling seen. The conversation of “sex before marriage” will probably always be polarizing for modern Christian folks, as we wade through scripture seeking the word of God, unchained from the bounds of traditional white male patriarchy. Even believers can’t deny the fact that the Bible, though inspired by God, was compiled and decided upon by men who married women who were 14 years old. The word of God is unchanging, but how do we apply the scripture to the current state of the world?

I’m not here to argue the word. I understand why women wait and why some don’t, and I respect both choices. I know some people read bible verses (1 Corinthians 7:2, Hebrews 13:4, Galatians 5:19-21, etc) and debate what “sexual immorality,” actually means. It’s easy for us to pinpoint beastality, pedophilia, adultery, molestation and other sexual deviance as sin, but whether “sex before marriage” falls within those categories is continually up for debate.

But the reality of life for the average Black woman remains the same–48% of us have never been married. Statistically, if Black women make the choice to abide by the word, half of us would technically not experience sex in our lifetime. Now I know in the word it says “He will not let you be tempted more than you can bear,” but it seems wild to think that half of Black women were brought into the world with fully functioning g spots, and clits, and pleasure centers in the off chance they happen to get married. On the other hand, rushing into marriage to avoid “fornication” is the recipe for a lifetime of disaster. Marriage is not a birthright. And as much as Black women may joke about wanting to pray “Ciara’s prayer” in hopes of landing an NFL quarterback, the reality is, there is nothing we can do to guarantee we will have lifetime commitment. In theory, this means that 48% of Black women are born into a lifetime of celibacy.

I don’t have the answers. As a Christian woman I’ve learned to accept God’s mysteries as well as His will. But pairing scripture with statistics makes me wonder if experiencing sexuality in a lifetime is now a coin toss for modern Christian Black women who choose to wait.

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