Dannah Gresh: Two-ism & Sexuality #ThinkTank

Dannah Gresh, a best-selling author and sought-after speaker. Her best-selling titles include And the Bride Wore White and 2010’s best-selling CBA youth book, Lies Young Women Believe co-authored with Nancy Leigh DeMoss. She says the most important book she has or will ever write is What Are You Waiting For: The One Thing No One Ever Tells You About Sex, which traces the Hebrew language of sexuality from Genesis to Revelation answering every question a heart could ask. She has long been at the forefront of the movement to encourage tweens and teens to be modest and to pursue purity and is the founder of Secret Keeper Girl a live tour event for tween girls and their moms.


Everything from our sexual ethic to our view of male and female is really messed up. Katy Perry… she’s ours. She’s our fruit. I don’t want to talk a lot about the sensationalism that’s out there, but I want to talk about what One-ism looks like in the church.

Here’s how I think One-ism affects our daughters. One-ism invites us to worship celebrities. This celebrity culture destroyed Marilyn Monroe and I believe it will destroy our daughters, as well. Marilyn was 30 when she was at the top of her popularity and she appealed to the 20 year olds. But marketers decided to broaden their audience and their bottom line and so in the 1980s we had Brooke Shields (“Nothing gets between me and my Calvins”). And today, we have the Tween market, something that didn’t exist a few years ago. Today, they’re marketing to seven year olds. We have Miley Cyrus—also raised in a Christian home—and products from Abercrombie & Fitch designed to sexualize girls ages seven to fourteen.

The American Psychological Association went on a rampage a few years ago, talking about dolls looking sexy and street smart. The Bratz dolls (fishnets, etc);Barbie’s gone a little bit crazy lately (the “Black Canary” comic book character Barbie). Playing with dolls creates self-control in little girls. So when they play seduce the boy, they’re just being set up for future behavior. Today, the top rated show among 8-12 year olds is Desperate Housewives, where in the 1980s it was the Care Bears. The APA says about this that when they want to buy the products, practicing seduce the boy, they’re most at risk for eating disorders, early sexual debuts, etc. By the time they’re married, they’re so broken by unhealthy body images and behaviors that they cannot function in healthy sexual relationships.

As for the boys, One-ism feeds our self-centeredness. Have you noticed that our boys are not called to be leaders—and what we have now are boys who are growing up into “adultescents,” they’re not maturing, they’re not taking responsibility.

The average age of exposure to pornography is age 11. Androgyny doesn’t just look like boys being put into Girl Scouts; it might be through emasculation, through belittling them.

So maybe in the church we need to stop focusing on counterfeits and need to focus on the truth—and I don’t think we have a great understanding of the truth in the Church. The counterfeits are everywhere and we’re not talking about the real thing. One of the worst kept secrets in the church is God’s language about sexuality, and I want to introduce you to the language of sexuality that God uses, which is found in Genesis. Reading Genesis 4, I read, “Adam knew with his wife and she became pregnant” and the Hebrew word there is yada. It means to know, to be known, to be deeply respected. Not one mention of the physical. It moves past the physical and perhaps into the spiritual. And this word shows us the two deepest needs of men and women. It shows the woman’s need, her desire, to be known. Men need to study their wives—know them, study them, understand them. Men need to be respected. And God forbid we should teach true sexuality and not live it.

There’s another word used in Scripture: Sakab—to exchange body fluids. It’s purely physical. This is what the world sells every day. Why is a different partner every night not satisfying, why is pornography not satisfying?

This is what I believe about yada and Two-ism: this word gives us a biblical foundation for what sexuality is meant to be and a grounding for the church to explain it. This word is used many times to describe the intimacy between husband and wife, but it’s used more to describe the relationship—the nearness—between God and man. (Psalm 46:10)

Yada declares God to be distinct and unknown by us, but it also draws us up to be known by him. Piper: The ultimate reason we are sexual is to make God more deeply knowable.

What’s wrong with having “friends with benefits”?

“Friends with benefits” seeks to scratch an itch without the emotional benefits. Sex releases dopamine—and what its purpose is to drive you back to the source of pleasure. “Friends with benefits” is oxymoronic. You cannot have sex with someone without it getting emotional, and when it ends, you get hurt. Oxytocin is also released during climax is sex—the purpose of oxytocin is a bonding chemical. A chemical bond is created, telling us, “You are one.”

“The desire to connect is not just an emotional feeling. Bonding is real and almost like the adhesive effect of glue—a powerful connection that cannot be undone without great emotional pain.”

Gen. 2:25; Eph. 5:13; 1 Cor. 6:16: “The two will become one flesh”

Is homosexuality a sin?

Bypassing the inflammatory passages, we need to really turn back to Genesis. One-ism declares that there is no difference between men and women, the result is androgyny. We need to get back to the image of God, helping those who struggle with same sex attraction to see that they are made a little like him.

What’s so wrong with porn?

You cannot know or be known by the pixels on a computer screen. And when the chemicals of sexual released during climax, they were bonding with their screens. When researchers asked men in NYC to fast from porn for a while to see what would happen, the result was they had sexual desire for their wives. The same happened with women.

When the Mona Lisa was stolen in 1941, those who were entrusted to protect it did nothing, assuming that it was taken out to be photographed. The greatest picture of the gospel is one man and one woman, where the husband tells his wife that she’s electrifying and she remembers to stop nagging and start respecting him. How many pictures like that do you see in your church? I’m not saying we’re not doing anything, but we seem to be asleep. Find the [girls with views like Rachel Held Evans] in your church and don’t condemn her, but love her. Build an emotional bank account in her heart so that one day she might ask you what submission looks like in your heart. Teach your daughters about what it means to be made in the image of God and turn her away from celebrity culture. Teach your sons to turn off Call of Duty on the Xbox and take up their call of duty in the Kingdom of God. That’s what we need to do. What we do in our private lives really matters.

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