I don’t know about you, but I can fall victim to my own grumpiness sometimes. It can be over some pretty dumb things too. My grumps can creep in when I haven’t eaten something in a bit, when my partner isn’t answering my phone call for the hundredth time, or when my dog got into my snack I left on the couch for just a second unattended!
Grumpiness comes in all forms.
When I was in high school, there was a time I was laid up due to a rather painful back injury. I was fortunate to have family and friends stopping by. They’d come by to visit to see how I was doing, to support me, and on occasion they’d drop off a care package. The care packages would contain DVDs, gift cards, and snacks inside. My favorite snack was Hot Cheetos. When I was younger I could down an entire large bag of Hot Cheetos in one movie viewing and be just fine. Nowadays one small bag must be followed by a glass of milk in hopes the heartburn, I will inevitably have, won’t be too bad.
Anywho, part of recovery for my back was to simply get up and walk around as much as I could. I’d leave my care packages down stairs to motivate me to have to walk all the way downstairs and back up if I wanted any snacks. I know that sounds like a minuscule task, but the amount of sensitivity and pain my back was giving me was crippling. It would take me 20 minutes to get down and back up as fast as I could. This isn’t a testament to how large my house was, instead it is how slow I had to move in order to nurse the pain that radiated with every small step. So there I am at the top of the stairs. About to make my painfully slow journey downstairs to get a bag of Hot Cheetos.
At the same time, I’m hopped up on pain meds, one symptom being the potential to cause mood swings.
I make my way downstairs and through the house to the kitchen where a care package is. I open my care package to find not even one bag of Hot Cheetos is left. I’m dumbfounded. I knew there was at least one more bag left. My mind races for an answer. It must have been my sibling… My blood begins to boil! I head back upstairs as fast as I can (very slowly). Lucky for my sibling, they aren’t in the house. My grumpiness slowly turns into a blind rage as I make my way back to bed with no Hot Cheetos to eat. I grab the phone and call.
When they answer I start right away with, “DID YOU FUCKING EAT MY HOT CHEETOS!?”
Timidly they answered, “yes...”
My suspicions are confirmed and I lay into them with all that I’ve got. My rant ends with, “Don’t even think about coming home unless you’ve got a bag of Hot Cheetos for me!” And hung up. I was a complete dick.
Thankfully, my overblown temper simmered down. By the time they showed up with my bag of Hot Cheetos, I was able to apologize for my outlandish behavior. After this, I started to wean myself off that pain med in order to gain more control over my emotions. I think it is fair to say that our grumpiness does not always justify our actions.
Though, when I do get grumpy, one thing that helps me get out of that toxic mindset is physical touch. My top love language is physical touch. The most impactful experience of love I experience is through physical connection with my loved ones. The anxiety that comes when driving over to the in-laws for the day subsides when my partner reaches to hold my hand or the feeling of their nails softly scratching the back of my head on the way. The stresses from a long day of work can be washed away when walking through the door and being embraced by my partner. The intimate touch of my partner taking me in their mouth or feeling the softness of their naked body pressed up against mine completely erases any stress or pain of the day, even if only for a moment. Someone’s caring touch has the power to heal and can even change the entire trajectory of the day.
Jesus was touching and healing people all throughout the Gospel!
Jesus came across sick people, injured people, and even dead people. With a simple phrase or a gentle touch, Jesus healed people from their ailments all the way to bringing Lazarus back from the dead.
“Jesus was not able to do any miracles there except the healing of some sick people by laying his hands on them.”
-Mark 6:5 (ERV)
“Jesus went into towns, cities, and farms around that area. And every place he went, the people brought sick people to the marketplaces. They begged him to let them touch any part of his coat. And all those who touched him were healed.”
-Mark 6:56 (ERV)
“Jesus and his followers came to Bethsaida. Some people brought a blind man to him and begged him to touch the man. So Jesus held the blind man’s hand and led him out of the village. Then he spit on the man’s eyes. He laid his hands on him and asked, ‘Can you see now?’ The man looked up and said, ‘Yes, I see people. They look like trees walking around.’ Again Jesus laid his hands on the man’s eyes, and the man opened them wide.”-Mark 8:22-25 (ERV)
There is no doubt in my mind, touch can be incredibly healing. Jesus was doing it, and told His disciples to go and heal as well. Some Scripture portrays people clambering to get to Jesus once word began to spread that He was healing people everywhere He went. A story of a woman fighting and pushing her way through a crowd just for the mere chance she might touch His robe. Another instance when Jesus was in a home that was so packed full of people. A group carried their sick friend up to the roof, made a hole, and lowered him down so he could be healed by Jesus. Jesus’ healing touch is riddled throughout the Gospel with stories of people seeking it out with wild persistence.
But we’re not here to only acknowledge the touch of holding hands or cuddling. While those forms of touch are just as valid, I don’t think many Christians would argue that. I believe we ought to be acknowledging sexual touch just as valid as an act of healing.
One of my favorite podcasts to listen to is called Risk!, hosted by Kevin Allison.
Risk! is a storytelling podcast with their tagline being, “True stories people thought they’d never dare to share.” In an episode titled Give and Take, a storyteller shares a story of their own healing through sex. Now I’m not going to go through their entire story here. You should definitely pause here and go listen to their beautiful story yourself in the link below and then come back.
The story begins at (18:35) http://risk-show.com/podcast/giveandtake/
After being diagnosed with vaginismus (Vaginismus is the body's reaction to the fear of some or all types of vaginal penetration. Whenever penetration is attempted, the vaginal muscles tighten up on their own. One has no control over it.), processing their sexual assault, and hooking up with a person who showed care and concern for their pleasure, they were finally able to enjoy vaginal penetration. They were finally able to receive the joy and pleasure of penetrative sex through the genuine care of another human taking their pleasure and humanity into account when engaging in sexual touch.
I believe this storyteller experienced what Dr. Andy Root calls place-sharing. Place-sharing is when one person stands fully in the place of another in a manner that joins them together in their existence inviting them to share in theirs. This, seemingly casual, hookup involved a man taking time, compassion, and care to recognize the storyteller’s boundaries and limitations. He took the storyteller seriously and did not see them as a means to his own pleasurable end. He stood in their place, took on their limitations, and engaged in a sexual activity that recognized the storyteller’s autonomy, ultimately liberating their restrictions to penetrative sexual pleasure from vaginismus.
This is a story of healing with careful physical touch. As a Christian, I truly believe God is active in EVERY instance of healing, including ones like this. And we can get so caught up in our beliefs around who “should” be having sex with who that we miss the action of God when we reach that mountain top orgasm and that washes away the pain of the day.
There is healing when a queer person experiences queer sex for the first time and is validated in their identity.
There is healing when a poly relationship flourishes for the one who always fell into the trap of cheating before they knew they were poly.
There is healing when someone hires the care and service of a sex worker to help mend their loneliness.
God is good and God heals!
Many stories I’ve heard on Risk! have storytellers sharing stories of healing through sexual touch. Stories that involve sex workers, sex toys, BDSM practices, dominatrixes, non-monogamy, etc. can contain healing through the compassionate care of ethical sex. I believe the Church needs to be hearing and lifting up these types of stories too.
My hope in lifting up stories like these is that we can come to realize that we don’t have to be ashamed when we rub one out or reach for our favorite sex toy in order to get rid of our grumpiness. You shouldn’t have to hide the fact you hired a sex worker to guide you through your first sexual experience in order to get over the crippling anxiety you held in order to confidently pleasure your first love. You should be able to share with your brothers and sisters in Christ how you worked through trauma at a BDSM party with a complete stranger.
Wherever there is healing, there is God.
So get out there and heal the world one sex act at a time!
Bring on the power of healing with each crack of the whip. Let's find life after death when coming out of a session with a dominatrix that just revealed a part of you you’d suppressed for too long. When practicing consent, showing concern and care for the other, sexual touch can do so much good in our lives.
I tell you what, just one loving blowjob can wipe away my grumpiness, center me back to being a better spouse and parent, and remind me how much I’m loved all in one. Sexual touch has done so much more than just quell the grumpies in people’s lives. If we can experience healing through touch, then we can experience that same healing touch of Christ through sex too.
THANK GOD FOR SEX!
-The Dirty Minister
Andrew Root, Relationships Unfiltered: Help for Youth Workers, Volunteers, and Parents on Creating Authentic Relationships