89 episodes

Sexvangelicals is a podcast that explores the intersection of religion, relationships, race, and sexuality. Join Jeremiah and Julia for hard conversations, lots of laughs, and celebrating the resilience of the human spirit. Let's heal together!

Sexvangelicals Jeremiah Gibson and Julia Postema

    • Health & Fitness
    • 4.4 • 14 Ratings

Sexvangelicals is a podcast that explores the intersection of religion, relationships, race, and sexuality. Join Jeremiah and Julia for hard conversations, lots of laughs, and celebrating the resilience of the human spirit. Let's heal together!

    Episode #87: Sexual Fluidity, and How Anger Helped Access My Sexuality in Ways that My Arkansas Homeschool Didn't Want, with Maddie Upson, part 2 of 2

    Episode #87: Sexual Fluidity, and How Anger Helped Access My Sexuality in Ways that My Arkansas Homeschool Didn't Want, with Maddie Upson, part 2 of 2

    Happy Pride Month from Sexvangelicals!
    We kick off June by talking with our new Marketing and Communications Director, Maddie Upson, about her experiences navigating queerness inside and outside of religious contexts. This is one of the most riveting conversations we’ve had about queerness on our podcast. Check out our conversations about:
    Jenga Pieces (14:00): Julia uses the metaphor that deconstruction is like removing pieces of a Jenga Tower; eventually, it all comes crashing down. Maddie shares, “The first time I went to a party and someone offered me alcohol, I’ve been prepared my entire life for that. The Church said like, they're gonna try to get you to do drugs and you just gotta stand strong. And they [the partygoers] were like, okay. And they just bopped off. And I was like, well, this wasn't the spiritual haggling that I had expected as they led me to believe. And I started realizing these, like non-believers were way more respectful of my decisions than most of the Christians I grew up with.” When Maddie saw that people weren’t forcing drugs on her and her Christian values weren’t being attacked, a Jenga piece was pulled out. 
    Capacity during Deconstruction (20:00): Julia reflects on Maddie’s story and explains how during the deconstruction process it’s understandable and normal that she did not have the capacity to explore her sexuality. “So it is such a good point that you just didn't have the capacity to engage bisexuality or queerness and that wasn't a cop-out or, any other negative thing that was just where you were at the time and all your other capacities were utilized in other ways. You didn't have anything else left for that.” Deconstruction takes up a lot of our mind's energy and space, and there is no shame in making realizations about ourselves later in life, there is no such thing as “being late.” 
    Hair Cutting and Patriarchy (25:00): Maddie shares, “I buzzed my head and I was like, I'm not pretty anymore. But not in a sad way, right? Like I am still attractive, I can be so many other adjectives now. That person in the mirror belongs to me.” The Church and mainstream culture seem to agree on a few things: the idea that women need long pretty hair and make-up seems to be one of them. Of course, the amount of make-up and clothing varies, but the expectations set on women by the patriarchy are harmful and limiting to our self-expression. 
    Labels (39:50): Jeremiah summarizes, “Queer is all-encompassing. Whereas bisexual, like still in some ways is a word that centers around the gender binary. You're either attracted to men, you're either attracted to women. Oh, you could be attracted to both. Maddie, what you're talking about that given all these different types of attraction that happen is like my levels of attraction are situational, are circumstantial.” Labels can be constricting, and not that they are bad, they’re not, but a lot of people do not fall into the gay, straight, or bisexual labels, but find themselves identifying more with the term “queer” or just sexually fluid. It’s okay to not have a label. All that matters is practicing safe and consensual sex with whomever it may be. 
    Coming Out (45:00): Maddie shares, “Coming out can imply that this is something really important that you need to tell people and you're gonna have some questions and you're gonna have to be ready for them, instead of just being. It also implies that the default is heterosexuality.” Coming out shouldn’t be an expectation of queer people; nobody owes anyone an explanation for their sexuality. Coming out may be meaningful and important, however, it should not be the expectation of every queer person to inform everyone in their lives that they are queer. We do not need to divulge every piece of information about ourselves, especially with sexuality, because we may be sexually fluid, and there should not be the expectation that every time we date someone of

    • 56 min
    Episode #86: Sexual Fluidity, and How Anger Helped Access My Sexuality in Ways that My Arkansas Homeschool Didn't Want, with Maddie Upson, part 1

    Episode #86: Sexual Fluidity, and How Anger Helped Access My Sexuality in Ways that My Arkansas Homeschool Didn't Want, with Maddie Upson, part 1

    We have big news! We hired a new Marketing and Communications Coordinator, Maddie Upson, and we’re excited to introduce you to her in a two part episode.
    In this episode, Maddie describes her experience growing up in a homeschool connected with the Evangelical Church in Arkansas, including:
    Fitting into the Church (8:00): Maddie explains that her church and homeschool had one major goal: to keep people (men and women) in their “godly” roles. “You are assessed at how well you can read the implicit rules and you get rewarded if you stay within those rules and you will get kind of smacked down if you’re kind of to out the line. It's really about how well you can read the room and you're rewarded for that.”
    Conversations about Sexuality (14:00): Maddie describes the gender roles she learned: “For men and women, the messages specifically about gender and sexuality was more about what wasn't said. It was very common to like to talk about men and boys are visual creatures. They are addicted to porn. It's on us [women] to not just enforce our purity, but theirs as well, and how we dress, how we act.” Maddie speaks about how not only did Church leadership, but parents, expected girls to be the monitors for boys' sexuality. 
    Anger (23:00): Julia talks about how anger can be used and geared towards justice and is not something to be demonized.“ Certainly like any emotion, people can misuse anger just like they could misuse anything. But I wish that in all spheres, in and outside of the church, we could actually be able to embrace anger for the important role that is necessary, particularly in terms of justice. And it sounds like from a very young age, you had experiences with anger that were demonized, and then eventually you got to the point in which you said, okay, no, I'm no longer going to wait for the boys to bait me.”
    Anger and Boundaries (25:00): Maddie explores the power of anger when someone disrespects your boundaries. “Anger's such a powerful emotion because it allows you to carve out space and hold your boundaries in a way that shame and fear can kind of incapacitate you. While there are pros and cons, anger is one of the few emotions that really, I think, shores you up and you can push it back on things. A boundary's been violated. And so I think I came to have like a really, maybe an unhealthy, but still like very strong relationship with my anger because it protected me and it would help me create space for myself when people were trying to take my breathing room.”
    Anger and Changing the System (33:00): Jeremiah suggests, “While anger has the capacity to bring more immediate change or at least call for immediate change to the systems that exist that aren't working…That's something that 30-somethings, 50 something struggle with. Do I change the system? And if I do change the system, what are the consequences? And do I want to deal with the consequences of that?” Maddie responds, “I think that especially for women, anger is a necessary thing. And I honestly wish in the church, more women were able to feel free, to feel angry because there's a lot to be angry about.” The church controls our bodies, our tongues, and our “purity,” so why shouldn’t we be angry?
    At the end of the episode, Maddie talks with us about cheese, the black market, Boston, and her love for Wonder Woman.
    We’re so thankful to have Maddie on our team! Let’s heal together!

    • 52 min
    Episode #85: The Sex Ed We Wish We Had: Mutual Pleasure, with Nicole Marinescu

    Episode #85: The Sex Ed We Wish We Had: Mutual Pleasure, with Nicole Marinescu

    We wrap up our series on The Sex Ed We Wish We Had by talking about the final sexual health principle from the work of Doug Braun Harvey and Michael Vigorito: Mutual pleasure.
    And we’re excited to have our editor extraordinaire, Nicole Marinescu, share her experiences of navigating mutually pleasurable experiences in an age of Tinder, virtual communication, and the growing influence of EMPish (Evangelical, Mormon, and Pentecostal) communities.
    Nicole provides a simple definition for mutual pleasure: “Caring about the other person or persons that you are having a sexual experience with.” We also talk about the following:
    Gen-Z and Independence (4:00): Nicole talks about how in growing up with the internet, Gen-Zers have become a ‘hyper-independent’ generation, which can be great in many aspects; however, hinders us in aspects of community, relationships, and mutual pleasure. “When you have this level of independence, working with one another was not a skill that was taught even in elementary school. Independence is a beautiful thing, but when you're not kind of taught to work with people in your community, the people around you, you're not really gonna apply that as you get older. You're not gonna apply that to dating, you're not gonna apply that to sex.” Julia adds “What we know from research is that Gen Z folks are having less partnered sex. Now solo sex and masturbation are fantastic, so keep doing that. But it doesn't sound like your generation has learned good relational skills to move out of the independence into a partnered state in which you can both talk and engage pleasure together.”
    Tinder (8:00): Nicole shares, “Tinder is an app that commodifies not just sexuality, but the people that you are reduced to your height and the one or two pictures that you have, and you are something that you just say yes or no to.” Jeremiah responds, “That's not mutual. That is one person asserting themselves, asserting their sexuality at the expense of another person. Social media impacted and inhibited the ways and the skills with which people who use social media at high volumes communicate effectively. It also inhibits the ability to move into empathetic spaces in response.”
    Pleasure (25:00): “I think we find pleasure in the excitement and in this wonderful human connection that you don't have with most people,” Nicole says in response to a question about the difference between meeting people virtually versus in person. Excitement is pleasure to a degree because it not only adds to a potential sexual experience, but it aids in our ability to empathize. With sex and romance becoming more virtual, we lose that excitement and in turn, lose some of our ability to empathize. 
    Relationships During Times of Transition (31:00): Nicole explains how she and her partner create space for happiness and mutually pleasurable, not only during times of transition, to connect. “I’m talking about specific things we both like, that make us both happy and we'll do that. We'll cook meals together and that makes us so happy. We get to connect and it's not sexual, but you know, we're laughing, we are both following the recipe really poorly. It's a really good point of connection for us.” Julia adds, “The pleasure within sexuality requires a lot of time and intention and communication. That is not easy. Pleasure also exists outside of sexuality.”
    The Church and Community (45:00): Nicole describes, “The community element of church is something that I think we're missing in a lot of other spaces. But the community element of the church also comes with a lot of guilt and shame. And they tell you, oh, you can talk to us about anything. We can give you guidance, but you talk to them about something and it's. ‘What? That's wrong. No, no, no.’” The Church can and has damaged many people’s ability to be vulnerable by showing them that many of their questions will be met with shame, which in tu

    • 57 min
    Episode #84: The Sex Ed We Wish We Had: Shared Values, with Jimmy Bridges, part 2 of 2

    Episode #84: The Sex Ed We Wish We Had: Shared Values, with Jimmy Bridges, part 2 of 2

    Today’s episode discusses one of the most challenging dynamics that we see when doing sex therapy with couples where one/both grew up in a religious context:
    How do you navigate value conversion, the paradigm shifting that happens during therapy, when two people convert their values at different paces?
    Jimmy Bridges, PhD, therapist extraordinaire at This Space Between, joins us for part two of this extremely important conversation. Jimmy, Julia, and Jeremiah talk about their process of value conversion in their former marriages—spoiler alert: it wasn’t pretty for any of the three of us—as well as:
    Empathy (5:20): Jimmy explains, “What I'm mostly encouraging folks to do is both get to a place where they're able to really like step into the shoes of the other person. And then that works both ways because it helps with pacing. I think the biggest issue that leads to harm is we're trying to move too fast. Be cognizant of how it's impacting the people connected to you and learn how to step into the shoes.”
    Finding similarities (10:30): Jimmy continues, “More than not, there's probably more alignment than we think there is in this process of huge transitions, either religiously or like relationally. I think how it gets enacted—behavior versus principle—I think can sometimes confuse us into thinking, oh, my partner's really different than me because they like practice this in a different way. But the value itself might still remain the same.”
    Anxiety and value conversion (15:30): Jimmy describes processes that impacted his separation from his ex, “I wish I would've advocated for what I was wanting more because there was a fear of like, “Ooh, how is this gonna be perceived?” But I didn't even think at that time, about this is why it's important to me. This is what I do with like couples all the time. Connect it to why it's important to you.”
    Navigating gender roles and therapy (18:30): Jeremiah notes that adherence to gender roles can interfere with the process of therapy, to which Jimmy responds, “The dilemma of a therapist is how much do I put myself in a position where I'm actually not being culturally competent? Right. And instead, use my position of power to say, Ooh, okay, I can't actually go forward with respecting all of your cultural values if some of those values are going to go against the treatment goals that you came in here asking me to help you with.”
    The impact of enmeshment (29:20): Jimmy notes, “I think there is quite a lot of enmeshment that occurs relationally because it's being in a way socialized into you from being in an enmeshed church. I think communication skills become more important when you come out of a culture like that are like developing tolerance when you're in the space of tension, so distress tolerance. Find some internal reminders that the family isn't going to collapse. If we're hearing someone talk about something different, that harmony can still be maintained in the face of differences. And what that looks like in communication is something as simple as, “Let me see if I've got you so far, are you saying this, this and this?”
    At the core of our work at Sexvangelicals is the process of value conversion. If you’re interested in working with us, please give this episode a listen!
    Let’s heal together!

    • 37 min
    Episode #83: The Sex Ed We Wish We Had: Shared Values, with Jimmy Bridges, part 1 of 2

    Episode #83: The Sex Ed We Wish We Had: Shared Values, with Jimmy Bridges, part 1 of 2

    Last week, in our episode with Kara Haug, we talked about honesty as structures that provide accurate information to individuals and groups about sexuality and relationships. This week, we talk about how to navigate honesty within a relationship, where two people may have similar or differing perspectives, needs, and values. The language that we use to describe this sexual health principle is “shared values”.
    Doug Braun Harvey, founder of the Harvey Institute, writes:
    “Values are a source of identifying one’s sexual standards and ethics. Values differences, when honestly and vulnerably shared between partners, can lead to closeness or painful distance. Either way, it is a conversation that brings reality and clarity where couples may have previously chosen avoidance and deception.”
    We invite our colleague Dr. Jimmy Bridges to talk with us about how to discuss values in relationships. In part 1, we talk about the ways that conservative religions discourage discussion of values using our own experiences—ours within Evangelical circles and Jimmy’s within the Mormon church. We talk about:
    Language of Sex Ed (8:00): Jimmy says that he was taught about “plumbing,” to which Jeremiah responds, “The language of disgust that's connected with plumbing is where sewage goes. It's where waste goes.”
    Shame around Masturbation (11:00): “I think most folks, most kids feel [shame] about masturbation. Like you don't need any faith tradition to feel shame about masturbation if you grow up in the United States,” Jimmy describes. The shame around masturbation led to shame around sexuality, and ultimately, himself: “I got pretty good at repressing a ton of like sexual urge, sexual desire, sexual exploration, sexual identity exploration, to where I thought I was getting a good sense of who I was and building this like really strong identity, but the reality was I was losing myself.”
    Values (23:00): Jimmy shares, “The value of confrontation, self confronting, taking ownership of how I behave and the impact that that has on the world and the people around me actually guides a lot of like what I do in my own personal life and also in my professional life.” Jimmy speaks about how his own values have evolved as a person who has moved through many different religions and as a therapist. and Jeremiah notes “So the idea of value conversion then suggests that values aren't static. Values have the capacity to grow, to evolve.”
    Therapy and Power (26:00): Jimmy describes that therapists have to be aware of “power and the influence that a therapist and power or position of privilege holds in guiding and shaping people's values.” This can become especially dangerous for folks who grew up in religious contexts, because “coming from religious structures, we are just ingrained in giving our autonomy up to the authority and asking the authority figures to make these decisions for us.”
    Tune in next week for part two of our interview with Jimmy, where all three of us talk about our experiences navigating shifts in values in our marriages.
    Let’s heal together!

    • 30 min
    Episode #82: The Sex Ed We Wish We Had: Honesty, with Kara Haug

    Episode #82: The Sex Ed We Wish We Had: Honesty, with Kara Haug

    We continue with our series on The Sex Education We Wish We Had by talking about the sexual health principle of honesty.
    Doug Braun-Harvey, of the Harvey Institute, explains:
    “Sexual health requires open and direct communication with oneself and every sexual partner. Honesty with oneself involves being open to sexual pleasure, sexual experience, and sexual education. Without honesty, sexual relationships will not be able to have effective communication or be able to uphold any of the sexual health principles.”
    How can we have honest dialogue about sexuality when we’ve been so dishonest with our kids and adolescents about sexual health?
    To help us answer this, we invite Kara Haug, co-founder of Reframing Our Stories, a business that provides sexual health education, resources and tools for families and communities to normalize conversations around sex and relationship in Sacramento. Kara talks with us about:
    Mixed Messaging (9:00): Kara shares, “Something that stood out to me was that even in the affirmation of being a dancer, that there was still a sexualization component of you as either a girl or an adolescent that you could dance in church, but literally, God forbid, your nipples show, that there was still this insidious underbelly of purity culture and gendered messaging.” Women’s bodies are treated as subjects that must be debated on, ruled upon, discussed, and punished, instead of just being treated like a human body.
    Role of Sexuality (20:00): Kara discusses her motivation for her work: “The amount that I saw how sexuality played into people's stories and how it shaped their lives and how it touched so much of our lives that I didn't realize before I think overwhelmed me. And then I just became really sad because I'm like, what we are doing is we are continuing negative cycles that don't need to happen.” The absence of honest conversations and comprehensive sex education leads to unnecessary suffering and grief.
    Gut Instincts (33:00): Kara talks about how she was taught to go against her instincts: “I was told not to trust my bodily sensations and things like that. And so that's why now recognizing how I feel like I have made decisions against my gut instinct. Every time I teach anyone, I bring in a body element, like from young to old.” To have honest and open conversations about sexuality, we need to be able to trust ourselves, and our bodies first.
    Grief (34:00): Jeremiah asks, “When families work with you, I imagine that they are often receiving comprehensive sex education for the first time as well. How do you help them navigate the experience in the grief of receiving sex ed for themselves and sharing it with the children at the same time?” We talk about grief quite a bit, and for an important reason: we need to hold space for our younger selves who did have the opportunity to have the same education as our children. It’s important to break those cycles for future generations.
    Triggers (40:00): Kara reflects, “Your children are your biggest triggers and so as soon as you feel triggered about something, you need to think about why was that triggering? And then you need to think about the root of that and then possibly be willing to get help for that,” Our children can trigger us, but it is up to us to be honest with ourselves and unpack why we were triggered. 
    We’re Going on a Bear Hunt (43:00): “Nobody likes hard feelings. We don't like them. You know, we don't like feeling like garbage. I say that and I go, but just like the book, we're going on a bear hunt. We can't go over it. We can't go under it. We have to go through it.” Kara speaks about the book, also loved by Julia, for how it is an effective tool for teaching about how we have to push through hardship because we cannot avoid it. 
    Directness and Respect (50:00):  Julia summarizes the importance of “directness and respect and not sugarcoating hard things that were happening in or outsid

    • 53 min

Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5
14 Ratings

14 Ratings

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