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There are a few things Asian Americans don’t like to talk about. Sex is one of them.

There are a few things that Christians have to be sure to talk about. Sex is one of them.

This is a dilemma in which our culture should not be allowed to win. The church needs to address this and keep addressing it. This article published today says that a whopping 95% of Americans had premarital sex. 95%! And if you think I’m just bashing Americans, think again. In 2001, 49% of Beijing high school students thought that premarital sex was OK. That was in 2001. Imagine their attitudes about sex now almost six years later. And the numbers don’t stop there.

Check out this online poll where it lists 36% of its respondents listed the ages of 16-18 as the time of their first sexual experience. Almost 40% just between those two years. Read the comments on the right also to get an honest look at some of the feelings involved. And the dialogue on this Google Group seems to be even more telling for Asian Americans specifically. And another study from earlier this year that concludes, “Like all adolescents, Asian Americans are at high risk for the consequences of sexual activity. For this fast-growing population, there is a crucial need for preventive programs that are culturally sensitive, inclusive of family and gender-specific.” South Asians are definitely not exempt from this discussion either as I’m sure Sam George at Coconut Generation knows. Here, here, and here are concerns for our South Asian brothers and sisters as well.

We cannot leave this to the public sphere as, “Politicians spend the most effort on things that don’t matter like condom use and education instead of lowering the rate of sexual activity and number of partners at the expense of being culturally sex-negative.” And as responsible, culturally-aware Asian American Christians, we have to understand that the immigrant generation’s “Silence Speaks Volumes”. It is incumbent then that the moral voice within our demographic must speak.

While campus ministries can help stem the tide because they work directly with this crucial age group, 2nd-generation churches must be able to address this topic head on. We must be willing to create environments where we can talk about this, confess, repent and cry out for healing. This cannot be a browbeating session to “guilt” people or a place of condemnation. The ethnic church has the unique opportunity to be a dispenser of grace and be willing to open up the doors of our culure in ways that Christ knows how, but our own parents don’t. I know it’s taboo…but how can we instill our generation about the significance of their destiny if we do not talk about the potential stumbling blocks to it?

About David Park

Christian 2nd-generation Korean American; Atlanta Georgia; more details to come.

5 responses to “Taboo

  1. djchuang

    Sex is not going to be a topic that conveniently goes away, as much as some people might wish it would do just that. It took more than a decade for more evangelical-type churches to teach about healthy sexuality from the pulpit, and hopefully, it won’t take that long for the next generasian churches to speak the things that are so out there in mainstream culture – we cannot be silent about it! The tragedy is if we the church do not speak about it, people only learn it from mainstream and web media; they certainly don’t learn about it from their parents.

  2. Josh

    I’ll be quick to agree to that. Being 20, sexual temptation is still a battle I struggle with sometimes, and it only gets worse with media etc. as time goes on. There’s a pretty big need for older men to teach younger ones how to prepare for resisting such big waves of…sin, as well as teach them how to be real men. The sexual drive of teens is one of the strongest in a person, and one that the world taps on the most; why isn’t there equal or better defense against it on our part?

  3. yucan

    Thanks for the post. A definite need for sure. And since it’s in the Bible, even better…

  4. I liked Lauren Winner’s book, Real Sex. The deeper discussion about meaning, and particularly the discussion of “community” as part of the whole question was quite thought-provoking. The chapter on Lies the Church Tells was also quite good!

    (found you over on Reyes-Chow, btw)

  5. Thanks LL for the book recommendations. Yucan, I’m glad to see that you’re addressing it at your church. But aside from preaching and making the case didactically, I think Josh, you’re making the point that men and women you know and whom you trust, need to be willing to talk about it openly. Is that a safe assumption?

    I think that we should speak to the dark corners of life not just from the pulpit, but in the living rooms and at the kitchen tables of our homes. My hope is that many of us who have made mistakes or seen the results of sexual sin and its pains would be given permission and encouraged to speak. I have a friend whom I speak with weekly about those temptation issues and how our sex lives are. offers software for accountability, but we all need to be able to foster this dialogue with someone. I can assure you, it’s very uncomfortable, but it’s a sense of freedom that I think is worth it.

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