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Love And The Purity Culture | Dr Sean McDowell #597

Everyone gets the full show …

Dr Sean McDowell joins me to talk through the impacts and influence of the purity culture on marriages and young people today.

What messages about love and sex did you receive growing up? Or still hear today?

And how do these impact our lives and marriages now?

Learn more about Dr McDowell here –

Enjoy the show!

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Announcer: You are listening to the regular version of Sexy Marriage Radio,

Corey Allan: Welcome to the show. I'm Dr. Corey Allan, alongside my wife Pam. Each and every week, we explore the wisdom and skills of just some smart people and today is no exception.

Pam Allan: Yeah, I like surrounding myself with people that are smarter than me.

Corey Allan: I understand that. We explore topics that every relationship faces, and we seek to offer a framework and practical advice that you can use to build a deeper understanding of how relationships work. And then we help you frame your conversations to propel you into being more passionately married. If you're new to the show or you're looking for a simple way to tell your friends about SMR, check out the episode starter packs, collections of our favorite episodes organized by topic, and they help new listeners get a taste of everything we do here on the show. You can find all of them at If you got some feedback for us or something we've missed because we miss things, right Pam? I mean, where we say things and it's heard the wrong way. I miss some things. I'll go ahead and own that. My wife never misses anything. Send us a message or call the show at (214)702-9565, or email us at So coming up on today's regular free version and extended version, because everybody gets the full show today-

Pam Allan: Wow, what a deal.

Corey Allan: ... we're joined by Dr. Sean McDowell, and we dive into his book Chasing Love: Sex, Love, and Relationships in a Confused Culture. And it's a fantastic conversation about how teachings on the subject of sex and purity and the way the church has handled it, it just can create some problems and beliefs that we bring going into a marriage and then discover, "Whoa, that's not quite what I thought it was."

Pam Allan: Yeah.

Corey Allan: So all that's coming up on today's show. So joining me today for Sexy Marriage Radio is Dr. Sean McDowell. And you've got a lot of books out there. You've got a history of prolific writing in your family. You've got a history of prolific speaking in your family. So we could go all kinds of different ways, but where I want to dovetail and hone in with you, Sean today, is you wrote a book Chasing Love: Sex, Love, and Relationships in a Confused Culture. And that's where I want to go, and I'm glad to have you help navigate this conversation, Sean. So welcome to the show.

Sean McDowell: Thanks for having me. I've been looking forward to this since I saw the invitation come through. I'm like, "Sexy Radio, sounds fun."

Corey Allan: Well that's kind of the hope is that, I mean, we all could live sexy lives. I believe that the Sexy Marriage Radio Nation are the sexiest people on the planet, and it's largely because it's a mindset. And some of it is also a path that we're on that generates and creates some really good things. It's interesting because to kind of set the stage for our conversation, Sean, this might help the audience too is most of the message of Sexy Marriage Radio is really aimed at people that have been married long enough to where the shine has come off and the marriage has hit the ground running in a sense. One of the phrases I came across years ago was, "The moment you wake up one morning and roll over and wonder if you made a mistake, that's when marriage really begins."
That's all of a sudden like, "This is not what I was led to believe." You are tackling this with the younger generation on just what are some of the frameworks of what this really is, rather than what's proposed by the world, and I'm guessing that was a lot of the impetus for this book.

Sean McDowell: Yeah, that's exactly right. Partly what motivated me are Scotty, Shauna and Shane, my three kids who are 18, 15, and 10, and just seeing how much this conversation has shifted, seeing the messages they're getting from Hollywood, on social media, from their friends, from their culture, and kind of feeling like there wasn't a single biblically-based book well written that didn't propagate some bad ideas that we saw coming out of what's been called purity culture. And that's just biblical but straightforward. So I kind of wrote it for my own kids really to start off with and have just found there's a lot of people hungry for a message like this. But second, I also wrote it for other parents just as a tool to have these conversations with their kids.

Corey Allan: Right. So let's set the stage because not everybody might be aware. I mean, most of the people at Sexy Marriage Radio are going to be familiar with the purity culture or the fact that the church has done a horrific job with this topic of sex and sexuality by just not touching it, at least that's my experience, my opinion. It's been way too silent, which I think human nature becomes, if we're silent on something, we immediately go negative with it. Well it must be bad. We can't talk about it. What's your experience with this, because I catch me up too on how you've seen how the purity culture and the way we've handled this in the history as a brotherhood, if you will, has impacted life.

Sean McDowell: So part of my experience here is that my father, who maybe some of your audience would be familiar with, Josh McDowell, in the 1980s led the first global sexual purity campaign called Why Wait?

Corey Allan: Okay.

Sean McDowell: And as far as I remember, this is basically while I was growing up. So I'm hitting puberty while my dad is writing books, making curriculums around the world. And the big impetus to that was he said a couple things. Number one, coming out of the 60s and 70s and into the AIDS scare, there were concerns with a message of the culture we had to respond to. But more so what he saw was the primary message within the church was negative about sexuality, sex is bad. Or, like you said, they just totally ignored it. Either way we're dropping the ball. So he's like, "Let's take this on." And his approach was for every negative commandment in the Bible such as thou shall not be sexually immoral there's two positive ones to protect and to provide. So this was probably 80s into the 90s and really purity culture started late 90s into the 2000s.
So that kind of piggybacked off of what my father was doing, but went some different directions. So all that is to say there's some nuances I might approach differently from my dad and we've talked this through. But as a whole, my parents talked with me openly, they talked honestly, they talked early about issues of sexuality. And although I've made plenty of mistakes in my life and had to correct myself like everybody, I'm really grateful for that. And to this day see the fruits and benefits in my marriage of that kind of conversation. Now in the church, I've seen a lot of abuse of this that we could talk about and where I think some of purity culture went bad. But my background is if parents will talk openly, if they'll talk honestly, if they'll go to scripture, it frees kids up because the Bible has something to say about all areas of life, especially sexuality.

Corey Allan: And so let's do that then, let's talk about the negative side of this, of the impact and then let's also talk about the other side. Cause I'm on the same page in the sense that as parents, we need to be the primary outlet or source for this kind of information. I believe that of just it needs to be modeled in a sense of healthy ways I conduct myself in marriage, healthy ways I model for my kids, healthy ways I talk about this subject, healthy ways I'm not afraid of this subject because all of it is anxiety producing. I mean we just had this roll down in our family two weeks ago.
I have a 17 and a 15 year old and the 15 year old asked the girl out to homecoming, first time, first date, first official. And you could see the angst on his face, I think I'm going to do this, and he did. And he got into it and it was fun. And then he came home from it. And then I saw the angst of now what do I do? I'm not quite sure what I've just gotten myself into. And I'm like, "Oh, I so understand that buddy. I was there too. I was scared to ask her out. And then when she said yes, I got even more scared," because it's like uh-oh, now what am I opening up? So when you're talking about the aspect as a whole though, the negatives that you've seen from this that we were trying to overcome or combat, what do you see?

Sean McDowell: So one of the things that purity culture has been called is the sexual prosperity gospel. And the message that was given was if you just don't have sex outside of marriage. But that never was really defined, by the way, you just don't have sex outside of marriage. And we know that's a whole nother conversation. But with kids, you've got to define it.

Corey Allan: The word sex means all kinds of things, depending the different people. Absolutely.

Sean McDowell: A hundred percent. That if you don't do that, there was kind of a script that said when you get married, you'll have awesome sex and it'll be endless sexual bliss and you'll have a lot of kids and a wonderful marriage. Well, that happened for some people, but for an awful lot of people it didn't. So I interviewed a woman by the name of Rachel Joy Welcher, and she wrote what I think is the single best critique of purity culture. If you haven't had her on the show yet, you would be fascinated to interview her. And it's called Talking Back to Purity Culture. And she followed that script. She did everything. Her pastor, her parents blessed it. But then if I'm not mistaken, maybe five years into marriage, her husband becomes an atheist and leaves her in her 20s.
Now that doesn't fit the script of what the church promised right. Now some people will leave the church. You know what? Emotionally, that's understandable. But she's like, "Maybe I was given a sexual ethic that doesn't match up with what Jesus taught." Went back to square one. So part of the problem of purity culture is it made things formulaic. It was the kind of prosperity gospel that the same evangelicals who preach this are quick to denounce the financial prosperity gospel. And it just sets people up for failures. That's one problem. Another one is sometimes it focused more on the behavior and dress of the girl than it did the guy. So it communicates the message that the girl is a sex object. And in discussions about modesty, it can kind of put a shaming message that a girl is responsible for the sexual behavior of a guy. And that's imbalanced and it's not right and can unnecessarily create some shame. So I think there's just better ways of talking about each one of those.

Corey Allan: Absolutely. Because the other side of this, and this is what I've seen and come across more and more regularly now, is it also that framework where the woman is responsible for managing a man's drive, if you will, or his desires, it also paints men as we are just barely above a canine in the sense that we can't control ourselves at all. That left to our own devices, there would be no moral compass involved. And that's demeaning to both sides of the equation.

Sean McDowell: I think that's right. I mean, I remember hearing when I was a kid, my dad said, he goes, "Son, if a lady walks naked in front of you, you're still responsible for what you do with your eyes and your body and how you treat this person." And I was like, "Okay, I can't shift the blame to anybody else." And so I think when it comes to issues like modesty, there's better ways of talking about this.

Corey Allan: That's great.

Sean McDowell: We love God with our minds and we love God with our bodies. How do I dress in a way that respects myself? How do I dress in a way that loves my neighbor? Just framing it that way I think is more biblical and it's more healthy than saying, if you happen to wear a two piece at camp, that's the sin that falls. And I'm not saying it's not ever wise to have standards, but you see the point where I'm going. There's better ways of talking about this than maybe we've done in the past.

Corey Allan: Right. I mean that's the framework I love I think the most is it's personal responsibility that there's situations that occur that are beyond what I can control, but I'm responsible for how I respond to those things. How I engage in those things. How am I aware and looking out for those around me? How am I caring for those around me? Or how am I tending the garden of what's around me and the people that are around me? Cause I think all of that impresses upon each of us to do our part and also be aware of those we are around.

Sean McDowell: Amen. I'm with you on that. And that responsibility goes across the board, men, women, young, old.

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Sean McDowell: And part of what the sexual revolution tried to do is say, sex is not a big deal. Kids are going to do it anyways. And sometimes in the church we bought into that idea, well they're going to do it anyways. Our defining characteristic, one of the positives of purity culture is it did make the point that what we do with sex and sexuality is a big deal. It matters. That's why the Me Too movement is so devastating or the Me Too movement is bringing out acts that were devastating because there's something about who we are and what we do with our sexuality. But it erred on the side of making it too big of a deal in the way that I think the sexual revolution at sometimes did. The bottom line is, like you said, we're all responsible for our behavior. We can say no, we can love people, we can resist. Let's get back to that.

Corey Allan: Yeah. And that's the idea. You made the comment earlier, your dad, your parents saying even if a woman walks in front of you naked, you're still responsible for what you do. One of the most impactful statements I heard, and this was actually in my church where when I was in middle school or high school, they actually did a sex ed class in Sunday school for several weeks. And one of the ladies that was a nurse that was handling parts of the anatomy and the biology of things, she made a comment that might have been offhanded even, but it stuck that she said, "Fellas, not every erection has to end in ejaculation."

Sean McDowell: Wow.

Corey Allan: And it's like, good point. That is a completely valid point because sometimes we think of, "Well, I'm aroused, therefore I must see it all the way through." Rather than, "No, I don't need to. This is a natural reaction to stimuli. But what I do with it and how I see it through is what matters on character and integrity," that you're describing too.

Sean McDowell: I think that's right. Oftentimes students are told it's too late, I can't stop. And one example I'll say to students, I'll say, "Well if you're making out with your girlfriend and your parents walk in, can you stop?" Yeah, you can stop fast. So I'm not saying this stuff is easy and it's just simple flipping a switch because we condition ourselves by the choices that we make. If you've never, to use your example, had an erection and not gone all the way in some fashion, then it becomes harder because you've conditioned your body and we need to recondition our bodies. That's where discipline and grace comes into play. But we err on the side, like you said, of just saying we have no control as well.

Corey Allan: And I think that's part of, tell me if you've seen this too. This is part of the reason why a lot of times the church or the brotherhood as a whole doesn't want to touch this subject because there's this ethos out there of, well if we're talking about it, then it's going to make it all the more tempting to want to go be a part of it. And that's one of the biggest misconceptions in my mind is like, "Wait, if I talk about something sexual and the whole concept of sex and sexuality with a adolescent, that's how they're going to think about it? That's the only reason they're going to think about that? Really?" That makes no sense to me. It's like, "Shouldn't we be equipping the world they're already living within?"

Sean McDowell: So it is a really interesting point. There's two mistakes. One mistake is to say, "Oh, I don't want to talk about it because I'll implant ideas in their mind." Right? So that's avoidance. The other one is to just talk about it all the time and only talk about that. Well that's also a mistake, right? I mean the idea today with TikTok and social media and Netflix and now Disney plus and the sexualized culture we live in that a youth pastor or parent is going to err on the side of talking about sex and putting ideas in a kid's mind that are not there, that's just rarely going to happen today. I'm far more concerned that our culture has gone far more advanced and we barely even talk about it in a way that's not relevant to their questions and just leaves them kind of figuring out themselves following the script of the world.
So my parents erred on the side of talking with me young and my sisters and early in age appropriate ways. So I do this with my kids. So my son, he's 10. When he was eight we're driving to the car and he's the youngest so he hears about stuff earlier of course, and we're driving the car. He goes, "Dad, what's abortion?" He's eight years old. And he heard, I can't remember, maybe one of his older sister or someone on the playground and I could have changed the subject. I could have been like, "Don't talk about that." Inside I thought, "You know what? Here's an opportunity. My son is curious in an age appropriate way. Let's address it." So I said, "Son, sometimes women get pregnant for different reasons, decide they don't want to keep the baby." "Well why would they do that, Dad?" And I just answered in age appropriate ways. So anybody who says the fallacy you brought up earlier is just not clued into our culture and the question kids are asking today.

Corey Allan: And so Lynn, let's switch it to if that was some of the negative drawback that it has made an impact on people because there's a whole, I could speak for a big chunk of Sexy Marriage Radio's nation I think that were impacted by that message and they're having to figure it out now later. But there's also some positives when we look at how do we infuse a more positive message of what sex and sexuality is according to the teachings of scripture, according to just good upstanding people in societies because we have to offer something else too. It can't just be bad, bad, bad, bad, bad. You have to frame it and switch it to this is what it really is about. This is something bigger and larger.

Sean McDowell: It's our larger culture that says Christians are either sexual bigots or sexually oppressed. And sadly we've kind of taught sex in a way that just advances that false narrative. But if we go back to the scriptures, why should anybody be sexually pure? And the answer is be holy because I am holy. That's the Old Testament and we see it in 1 Peter. Why should we trust God? Because God is good, says Psalms 105. God is good in his character and his commands are for our good. That's why Moses says in Deuteronomy 10, "Love the Lord God with your heart, could and mind and strength and follow these commands which are given for your good." So what the purity culture did was say, "Oh, follow this scripture because it's for your good." I'm saying no, follow the scripture because God is good and we love God and love others by living according to God's design. But guess what, when we do that, we tend to flourish more because we're living as God designed us to live and we see that in our culture.
One of the things I love to do with students, Corey, is I'll say, "What would the world be like if everybody lived the sexual ethic of Jesus?" Now, before I get an answer from students, I have to define what the sexual ethic of Jesus is.

Corey Allan: It's probably smart.

Sean McDowell: That is singleness, which is a beautiful way of loving God and loving others. But if you're single, you're not sexually active. Marriage, one man, one woman, one flesh, one lifetime. You're only sexually active with your spouse. What would the world be like? And students will slowly say, "Well, there'd be no abortion. There'd be no crude sexual humor. There'd be no sexually transmitted diseases. There'd be no divorce, there'd be no deadbeat Dads." What I've done is I'm taking this biblical truth, translating it to the real world, so to speak, connecting some dots that God's goodness and God's holiness and the one who created the world wants us to experience freedom. But that only happens when we live as God designed us to live.

Corey Allan: Right. And that's the beauty of this message to me, Sean, is this idea of scriptures, and this is my personal take, married almost 30 years, undergrad in youth and family ministry. So dabbled enough and been around it enough that scriptures are not so much the rule books as a calling to something more. It sets the stage. And obviously there's some guidance and guardrails and some different things because people need this, we need these things. But most of it, I think of it is it's a relationship that calls us to more, which I think that's also what marriage is. It's a relationship that calls us to more because it's hard to stay the same when you're married. Whether it's a good marriage or not, it's hard to stay the same. There's things that evolve and change in our psyche and in our nature, if you will, that impact things.

Sean McDowell: That's such an interesting way to frame it, it calls us to more. And I'd follow up and it says, it calls us to more what? And I think what it's calling us to is to love other people. That's what marriage is for. It's about loving God and loving other people. The way we act in the bed, married or not, in the bedroom is an extension of how we view people. If we're simply committed to loving other people, which is the more you're talking about, it's going to follow that we treat people differently. So in my book, Chasing Love, I started off by challenging students and I ask them, I say, "Are you committed to something bigger than yourself?" Which again is kind of the way you said a calling to more. "If it is, my guess is in your life you want to love people. Your heart tells you you're only going to find fulfillment when you love God and when you love other people."
That's why when I sign that book, I always write Matthew 6:33, "Seek ye first his kingdom and then all these things shall be added unto you." In other words, the more loving God and loving other people is building God's kingdom. That is absolutely countercultural. Our culture says marriage is about finding yourself, being happy, finding your soulmate. Sex is about feeling good and then move on. Christianity says, "No. If you get married, you are actually sacrificing yourself." And in Ephesians 5 it's like, "Husbands follow the example of Jesus being willing to lay down your life for your wife." That's a high calling. So sadly in the church sometimes when we've talked about sex and marriage, it's more within the script of our culture rather than a biblical script, which I think ultimately resonates with people's hearts. We want to be about something bigger. We want to ultimately love people when it's all said and done. But it's only scripture that's going to show us how to really do that.

Corey Allan: And because I think that's that weird conundrum of people. This is what I keep coming across in my practice and with people I do life with, is when I can move myself out of the center of the universe, things fall into place a little bit better. That it's like I am not the cog that's holding this whole thing together, even though there's a part of me that wants to think and believe that way and wish other people would too. But when I can adjust that, it changes the dynamic and it gives a different meaning or purpose or goal even.

Sean McDowell: What's interesting when we talk about satisfaction or fulfillment in sex, our culture reduces it down to something that's just physical. If it feels good, do it, which is about the self. But what happens in sex when each person is thinking the way you framed it, how do I just love this other person? How do I make them feel comfortable? How do I give them appropriate pleasure? How do I just love that person? And then the other person is thinking the same, there's a deeper spiritual, emotional, relational and physical connection that takes place that can explain why as people get older, if they're still developing and working on their relationship, sex can be more meaningful than it does when somebody's 20 years old and they look like a model because your relationship has grown and you're sacrificing for that other person. Our culture doesn't understand that.

Corey Allan: No, that's not stuff that's proposed often in Hollywood or magazines or billboards or commercials at all, is this idea of the more we have evolved and grown and matured, the better life actually is. The better marriage actually is, the better sex actually is. Because I think that's when you start tapping into something a lot more deeper and profound than what you just described as it's just the physical act. It's no, this is the essence of each other, the spiritual, the mental, the emotional, the sacred. I mean there's a whole lot going on actually.

Sean McDowell: I think that's right. I think it's even something transcendent that signals toward our relationship with God. Now this might be opening up can of worms.

Corey Allan: I'm okay opening worms, let's go.

Sean McDowell: I suspected that you wouldn't be concerned with that. Here's something I think Protestants can learn from Catholics is I think the Bible talks about three purposes for sex. Number one, Genesis 1, make babies. Number two, Genesis 2, unity, oneness, bonding. Number three is to foreshadow heaven. To anticipate heaven. Now what do I mean by this? When you look in the Old Testament, it says, "Adam knew his wife Eve." In Hebrew that's yada. It's a relational term. Sex is described in relational terms in the Bible. In our culture is purely physical. Why is an interesting question. When you go back to the garden and we are made to be in fellowship with God and others, when Adam and Eve sin, what happens? They feel shame so they hide and they cover themselves. That's the response to shame.
Well, what happens in sex? You don't hide, you come into present with somebody and you unclothe yourself. Now what happens is we're meant to be naked and unashamed where you don't have to wear a mask. And amidst all of our weaknesses that we all have, which only grow as we get older in our insecurities, sex is not the only way. It's meant to be one way you could be naked and unashamed and love and be loved back, be known and know back without barriers for who we truly are.
Now when we get to heaven, my point is not that there's sex in heaven, there's not. That's more of an Islamic view of heaven than a biblical view. But sex in this life is anticipating the deeper desire of the human heart, which is to know God and know other people. So when we get to heaven, God is going to see us and we will be known by God and others will see us and know us amidst all our failures give us grace. That's the deepest desires of the human heart. So sex is one way, not the only way of anticipating the kind of future knowness we experience in heaven. Now, by the way, if I'm right about this, can we see why Satan is so intent on corrupting a biblical view of sex?

Corey Allan: Absolutely. And we can also see why sometimes, because just building off something you just said in this Sean, that yes, there's an element of physically speaking we are naked when we have sex. But I still come across and believe and see, I think of sex as a language. How I conduct myself in a sexual act with my wife speaks a lot about me and her and us because there's also this component of us as humans where I can be physically naked and as close as I possibly could to somebody else physically speaking but I could be the farthest away from them emotionally and mentally speaking, which then means I'm not being naked with them. I'm just going through an act. I'm just satisfying a duty or an obligation or a pleasure or something, rather than bringing all of me to the experience. Which I think that's the challenge of us growing and evolving and being called to more as we're kind of talking about today.

Sean McDowell: That's why I make this distinction with students. I'll say, Don't confuse sex with intimacy. You can have sex with somebody and not be intimate with that person. You can be intimate with somebody without having sex, but sex is meant to be a way you're intimate with somebody. So really when you say it's a language, what we don't realize is we communicate with our bodies and we communicate with our words. We actually communicate more with our bodies than we do our words.

Corey Allan: Absolutely.

Sean McDowell: We can all think about ways we communicate. A slap communicates something, right? A hug communicates something. A kiss, depending on the kind of kiss, the forehead, the cheek, a french kiss communicates something and sex communicates something. So arguably sex communicates vulnerability, trust, exclusivity. And because it's a baby making act, I would argue permanence. That's what sex communicates with the body. So if we're bodily present and don't match that with our words and with our minds, then we're actually lying with our bodies. Because it's a language, we're communicating something that's false.

Corey Allan: And that's the challenge of growing deeper and deeper within marriage, with other people, with ourselves of just this journey that we're on, of discovery of what's intended, what would be a better way, what's an actual process? Because I love your idea of the statement you made early on in our conversation of it's formulaic because I think the human nature is give me the formula. That makes it a whole lot easier because I don't have to think. I can just follow the rules, color within the numbers that I'm supposed to, in the lines I'm supposed to, jump through that hoop and I have accomplished it. Rather than when you bring an aspect of faith into this thing, when you bring an aspect of love into this thing, there's no formula. It's a process, it's a calling. It's something a whole lot deeper and more meaningful.

Sean McDowell: That's really an interesting point. I think as Americans, we like formulas, but I think there's something about evangelical Christians, we like formulas. Just go to church, read your Bible and pray. That's our solution to everything.

Corey Allan: Check, check, check, done.

Sean McDowell: I'm good. And all those things are good in themselves, but I wonder if there's not a formula because if we had a formula, we could control it. And if we controlled it, then how much is there growth and faith and a part of this journey and a part of this process?

Corey Allan: We miss out at what all it could be. Absolutely.

Sean McDowell: Yeah. I think you're onto something.

Corey Allan: Okay. Well, Sean, this has been a real pleasure and we're just going to make it all one show with this. This will be a lot of fun and it'll bless everybody. But how can people find you and learn more about the work that you do?

Sean McDowell: First off, thoroughly enjoyed this. I can see why you've been on the air for 11 years, super conversational. You asked a lot of questions people don't typically ask me. So this was fun. The time flew by. Let's do it again. I think we just scratched the surface.

Corey Allan: Perfect. Absolutely.

Sean McDowell: So keep up. Just honestly, sorry I'm taking up time, but just an honest conversation not to talk about, avoid the difficult things, but bringing it back to scripture is just so, so helpful. So I teach at Biola University. I'm a professor also at Talbot School of Theology and I write books and I'm all over social media. So one hub would just be is my website with links to everything else. But I'm on Instagram. I use Twitter. I doubt most of your listeners are on TikTok, but I'm trying to reach a younger generation.

Corey Allan: Some are. I know they are.

Sean McDowell: That's awesome. I'm sure some are. I doubt the majority. I could be wrong, but you'd be surprised these days. Bottom line is my social media's not just cat videos trying to be funny. I really look at social media as a resource to equip and challenge and encourage people on all those different platforms. So if a new conference comes up, a new podcast I listen to, a new book I've written, a helpful article, I just put it out there for people. So I don't just talk about sexuality. That's one larger area I cover. But talk about a lot of other cultural and worldview issues as well.

Corey Allan: That's awesome. Well, Sean, thank you so much for the time today. And then also just for the work and the message and the mission you have, it's desperately needed.

Sean McDowell: Honored to be here. Thanks, Corey.

Corey Allan: I guess it's probably safe to say that this conversation is fairly appropriate. I'll speak for me. The dialogue that happened today would've been good to know when I was 23, 24.

Pam Allan: Or even earlier, potentially.

Corey Allan: Absolutely. But I'm just thinking of it early in our marriage. When we're actually facing what life and married life really is, it would've been good to know, Oh, okay, those things that weren't spoken of, those things that I then deemed as wrong, bad, naughty, whatever, not so good.

Pam Allan: Oh, for sure. I mean, that was one of the biggest issues for us early on. For me in particular, well this is nasty. I'm not supposed to do X, Y, Z. Or I don't know that it was a not supposed to. I just thought, "I don't want to do that." I wasn't interested in talking about it or approaching it because it just wasn't something that I thought was-

Corey Allan: Neither of us could have done Sexy Marriage Radio back then.

Pam Allan: Oh, no. Well, how many people that are... I was 20 and you were 22 when we got married.

Corey Allan: Absolutely. But even 25, 26, 27 because some of the things he points out in our conversation was just the idea of there is such a vast void still that needs to be addressed. It needs to be flipped to where you see it as good and a blessing.

Pam Allan: It goes back to the open conversations with the kids, opens them up. And I was looking at that going well, open conversations with spouses opens it up. I was not even willing to have an open conversation with my spouse when we first got married. I wasn't willing to have that open conversation. And I'm sure a lot of people that are listening that's an issue for them as well. But that's real. And when you can start breaking past some of the little barriers to have the frank conversations, well that opens up other opportunities.

Corey Allan: Absolutely. It does. And so hence the importance of Sexy Marriage Radio and the Nation and Dr. McDowell's work and a lot of the guests and information we have.

Pam Allan: Yeah. Well, and there may be people listening that they hear the purity movement and didn't really know all the details behind it. Right? What's positive, what's negative behind it. And I think identifying some of those things help each of us identify if that's something we went through and then that kind of like lets you point a finger at Oh, that triggers, that helps me understand something from my brain. For me, for that movement to have been focused more on how the girls dress and the girl's behavior, I identify with that.

Corey Allan: Right.

Pam Allan: Of the message that was spoken to me.

Corey Allan: And let's face it, Pam, for a moment as we're wrapping up today, we'll take the church culture out of it. Everybody comes into sex and their sexuality with some anxiety. That's just a given. Yeah because there's this element of I'm heading into uncharted waters. I'm heading into something I could be really excited about but there's also this other side of the coin of I got no clue. I'm nervous, I'm anxious. I don't know. There's just all these variables at play and when it gets compounded, it's so important I think, to have messages like this that show, wait, this is something that needs to be talked about. This is something we could talk about it better. This is something that's a benefit to everyone that's involved. And it can even be a blessing to more, if we can learn to talk about it more and pass it along and be more comfortable with ourselves.

Pam Allan: Take ownership of it. Yeah.

Corey Allan: Well, if you liked the show, you can help us out by rating and reviewing SMR on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, or however you listen. Your comments help us spread the word about the show and they help others frame their conversations so that they can have a life that is a lot more passionately married. Transcripts are available on the show notes in each of the episodes pages. All our advertisers deals and discount codes are also on each of the episodes pages at Please consider supporting those who support the show. Greatest compliment you can give us is to share the show with those that you care about and have the conversations like we're talking about today in your household and with your friends. Thanks for listening and we'll see you next time.