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In an episode of Friends, one of the show's lead characters, Monica, was sick with the flu. Despite her hoarse cough and weariness, she was overcome by desire and enticed her then-boyfriend Chandler by seductively rubbing Vicks VapoRub on her chest. Monica and Chandler's relationship perpetuates three common lies about sex: Sex is easy; sex is free; and sex can be engaged in with any willing partner. Evangelicals have been quick to tell the truth about the last lie, insisting that sex ought to be reserved for one's spouse. Indeed, virginity, abstinence, and monogamy are essential virtues, but not the whole truth.

Telling less than the whole truth hurts people. This is important to me as a Christian college professor, a fertility awareness instructor, and a married woman. Together with my academic colleagues and students, I strive to critique American culture with both biblical and social science insights. Despite these efforts, I sometimes find that my behavior reveals hidden belief in these lies. I sometimes see a similar disconnect between belief and behavior in my students.

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In the Magazine

November 12, 2001

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