I learned about sex noises at church camp. The conversation involved at least three of us. Again, I radically altered names to protect the guilty.
Meet the guilty:
Deb: A slender, leggy, Texas equestrian. At one of her infamous sleepovers, we played strip volleyball in the yard. Then, we marched a couple of miles down the country road to toilet paper a boy’s house in the nude. We were caught by her dad.
Brit: A second, slender, leggy, home grown homecoming queen. She dated a Varsity baseball player as a freshman. As roomies at a small Christian college, we kept dorm life spicy with streaking and pants-ing episodes.
Me: A busty, leggy golfer and adamant rule follower. I was definitely in need of some support when we were running, naked, down that country road and was most certainly the last of us to have any sort of relationship to my sexuality.
The three of us were sitting in a dormitory at the University of Houston on a service trip to paint houses in the inner city. My best recollection comes down to this dicey dialogue.
Deb: (giggling) When I get married, I am going to make really loud sex noises.
Brit: (with a loud guffaw) Yea you will. I bet you will be really feisty and loud. You’ll be like, “Oh yeah, ooo, mmm…”
Me: (blushing dramatically) What are y’all talking about? You don’t really have to make noises when you have sex, do you? I mean, it just seems like there is a lot going on there already.
Deb and Brit: (simultaneous) Seriously? Aw, you are so sweet.
Deb: It’s like you can’t help it. The noises just come out, but you have to practice so that you don’t sound stupid. Like this. (loudly) Aah. Aah. Oooo. More. Yes. You try it.
Me: (emphatically) No way!
Brit: Come on. Try it.
Deb and Brit: (in unison) Aaaaaah. Mmmmmmm. Ooooo. Yea.
Me: (Deb and Brit’s moans continue) You guys. Cut it out. Seriously. Come on. Ugh. Fine. Mmmmmm. Ah. Um. Oo. Ah. Are you happy?
All laughing. End Scene.
Despite and possibly because of moments like these, I loved church camp. I was a church camp junky who kept a spiral notebook with phone numbers and MySpace screen names. I loved all of it–the service projects, daily Bible study, aimless hours playing cards in the dining hall, the pre-camp fundraising talent show. My childhood bestie and I did a bit where we stuck flashlights up our noses, killed the lights and flickered them to the tune of the Dueling Banjos. The crowd roared, and my parents got the discount for kids who participate in the fundraisers. I loved camp so much that I worked three years at a camp. Did I mention? I LOVE camp. Like, I still love camp.
The cynical New Yorker in me is horrified by images of adults hopping up hormonal teenagers on intense prayer experiences, close living quarters and too much sugar. I watched that documentary, Jesus Camp, and ugly cried. I promise my camps were different. I realize it’s like when Bill Clinton promised he did not have sexual relations with that woman. It may be technically true, but who really believed him? You’re just gonna have to trust me on this one.
What remains of my charmed Texas self believes a more intimate spiritual truth. I learned so much of my sense of service, compassion and how to live in Christian community through camp. I learned about forgiveness, friendship and commitment, and I fell in love with Jesus and the Bible. I retreated to remember that my life was more than the angst of being a loud, bookish girl. I found refuge from the sadness of my parents’ divorce. Even now, I believe that God met me at camp, and I feel the embrace of God in remembering that innocent conversation in the UofH dormitory. I’m often hard on my Christian sex education. I fancy myself worldly and educated–preferring complexity in my life of faith. Yet, in the sex noises memory, I see three innocent teenage girls exploring their sexuality. They are naïve and unburdened. They envision a simple Cinderella story and prepare their sex noises for the mind blowing and sentimental sex they will enjoy with the men they love. It’s uncomplicated. Some days, I pray for something that simple. I’m wondering if you do too.
A Hopeful Abstainer