In this powerful force that is YouTube, ‘BACK CHAT LONDON' continues a niche trend of taking our everyday friendship-group conversations and debate about life to the live net. This YouTube series shows a group of five ladies and five gentlemen from good-old-London-Town, who give their thoughts on the difficult questions surrounding young adult life today. One topic that sparked discussion asked: Should ‘body count’ play a part in a man choosing his wife?

So we at Handmaid thought to break open the conversation under the Christian eyeglass, so to speak. So yes ladies (and gentlemen): let’s talk about sex!

Before getting into the nitty-gritty; a disclaimer: We only delve into the topic insofar as to respond to the thread of conversation in the Episode on BkCht Ldn. We are in no way suggesting all men/women share these beliefs values and experiences in one household/friendship group. We are commenting on ideas shared by a group of people who arguably don’t represent all young adults to the fullest. Yet some of these thoughts are more common amongst our generation than one would care to admit!

Also to note, this topic is a HUGE topic and there is so much to say- theologically regarding Church teaching and also coming from our life experiences. So we are simply opening up the conversation and bringing it into the light!

So, should ‘body count’ (the number of people one has had sexual-relations with) be considered when you’re a young individual finding your spouse?

The unanimous answer amongst the gentlemen on the episode: Yes. They would all want to know their girlfriend’s ‘number’, and all expect it to be as low as possible if they are to be wife ‘material’. On the other side of the coin: they thought it was absolutely natural for a guys number to be through the roof and didn’t think this should change the way there girlfriends viewed them. As for the women; there was more of a split between promiscuity = wrong- for men and women (and so body count matters); and the recognition that guys in today’s society are accepted for their promiscuity whereas women are more readily judged- so be ready to just accept that your husband will have ‘a past’.

Interesting themes that threaded throughout were a) The acknowledgement that society today accepts that there is promiscuity amongst young men and women alike; and that casual sex is looked upon with indifference. And this is agreeable - as we grow up  we experience sexuality displayed everywhere we go, a dangerous weed rooted in society today. The issue to be found therefore is in the acceptance of this ‘norm’; as young self-respecting women of ultimate worth, we are the ones with the power to reject this way of thinking in society! We as humans- and particularly as women- are the pinnacle of God’s creation. And we women are precious specifically in our womanhood; and to recognise our worth as women is the key to standing against the pressures that we feel from society, from those around us, friends and lovers who conform to these misguided notions of ‘sexual liberty’ that promiscuity wrongly portrays.

Then b) There was a consensus that guys view sex as ‘sport’, a recreational pastime they could detach their emotions from, whilst ladies naturally have emotional attachments to their sexual partners. And this is a notion that needs to be demolished. Sex is not a commodity for physical satisfaction. It is not a sport. This leads to the most damaging theme of the conversation that reflects many relationships of today: The implied notion that relationships will involve sex before marriage.

This is where we can fall into confusion; we all-too-often take the topic of sex out of the context in which it was created: Love.

God made us for Love. And the specific type of love relevant here is that vocation between a man and a woman who get to know each other, become close friends, confidants, and avow a special companionship with each other that affords them to lead each other closer to God Himself. This we call: the Sacrament of Marriage. A sacred union where two become one; and sex becomes the pinnacle of this expression of love between spouses. An act that is open to love, and open to life. Sex, in this purpose that God created it for, is good, is satisfying! But when we take it out of Love and Marriage, it becomes reduced to the distorted commodity we see all too much of. It becomes a ‘body count’.

So our response is: no. Body counts should not be the topic of consideration when it comes to sex in relationships/marriage discernment. For women or men. We should be talking about our attitudes towards sex, our beliefs about its purpose. We should be promoting our higher sense of self-worth body AND soul, and chasing love in a pure way within unmarried relationships (a little thing we call chastity).

And most important of all; we should not be judging anyone for their number. We are all sinners, and we all fall short of grace. If promiscuity is a wound, a pitfall someone is subject to, we should be meeting our brother/sister with love, encouragement, understanding; not judgment.

So the problem is (as one participant astutely put it) the wrong question is being asked.  As young people we should be asking questions about Love: and how sex relates in-context. As young Christian women practicing chastity; we challenge you to call men out to these standards we value and hold dear. Those we attract with this attitude will be the ones who will rise to that standard. But one thing is clear- we need to hold those same standards to ourselves! May God grant us the wisdom, courage and steadfast will!