Freak dancing is okay, right?

FREAK DANCING
Heather – What do you think about freak dancing? I want to live chastity, yet so many friends do this at dances. -Seriously Confused Guy

Dear Seriously Confused,

I’ll never forget my senior year mixer.  I was president of Student Council, one of the coordinators of the mixer, and then I found myself “freaking” on the dance floor with a guy I had never met (and didn’t even after).  I remember, for a moment, thinking it was cool that this guy approached me – I took it as a compliment.  Then, I looked over and saw our club sponsors, teachers who respected me, looking at my dancing with concern and disappointment.  I’ll never forget it.  Although I realized my behavior was wrong, I didn’t know why.  Now I know why.

First of all, freaking is different for guys than girls.  Most girls have no idea what they are encouraging in a guy’s mind.  They believe what they are doing is just sexy and cute.  However, for many guys, freaking brings about sexual thoughts – subconsciously if not consciously (and can do the same thing for some girls, as well).  Rubbing sexual body parts (genital area or bum) is practically simulating sex with clothes on.  Dancing seductively, as you described, even if you’re not in physical contact with a girl, is insinuating only one thing – sexual activity.  To use an analogy, consider slow dancing.  Now some people slow dance with friends or mom or dad, but two teenage boys would never slow dance with each other.  Why?  Because the way they are dancing means something – a male/female connection (even if it’s friendly).  Even when girls “slow dance” with one another, they typically don’t stand and hold each other like a couple would.  How you dance sends a message.  Freaking says that you want to be physically sexual or that you’re okay with a girl being physically sexual with you at the moment.

Visually, freak dancing can start to wear away at the bonding power of sex in our hearts.  Even though we may not be having sex or even doing sexual things, freaking shows body parts moving together, in obviously sexual ways.  The more we do this or watch this type of activity, the more we believe that moving body parts is what sex is all about.  Yet, this is certainly not the case.  Sexual activity is created to bond two people together, especially their hearts (like the duct tape analogy, which perhaps you have seen on a REAP Team retreat).  All the grinding, with little to no intention of attaching to someone’s heart, makes us focus on the physical part alone.  Yet, great physical “moves” is not what makes sex a cool thing.  It’s the bonding power of the heart that separates sex from other activities.  Therefore, if you want to think (and help others to think) of sex as “all about the physical moves”, then grind or watch grinding on the dance floor.  It’s a sure-fire way to tell your brain that sex is merely physical stuff.  I don’t know about you, but that’s not what I want to do – I want to think of sex as the most powerful physical, emotional and spiritual gift I possess.

I’ve been to nightclubs in the last few years, but I’ve stopped going to them unless I have a big group of good friends to surround me.  I made this choice because I hate it when guys sneak up behind me and start doing their thing.  I feel used.  I typically stop dancing, turn around face him, put my hands on my hips and look at him like he’s an idiot (yes, a little bold, I know).  He gets such a strong reaction from me because that’s how much I don’t want to be used, even just in his brain.  Granted, there are many girls out on that dance floor who don’t mind it, in fact, they might take this guy’s grinding as a compliment – like I did in high school.  Other girls might go on the dance floor and do it to guys.  However, I know that it’s very difficult for a guy to respect me if he’s thinking about sex as I'm dancing.  Many girls don’t realize this and believe they’re only cute or pretty if they get lots of guys to “freak” them.  What a shame.  They have no idea that they are much more valuable than being used in a guy’s mind.

Another thing to consider is the type of people that truly enjoy this activity.  The more you grow up, the more you’ll notice that those who are respectful and mature do not resort to this type of dancing.  Towards the end of high school, I realized that if I was freaking, guys that I didn’t want around would be interested in approaching me on the dance floor.  That was very uncomfortable.  If you want to impress a cool girl, show her moves that weren’t stolen from the latest music video – anyone can grind.  Can you respect and honor a girl, even on the dance floor?  Even if a girl chooses to not respect herself, I ask that you would be above taking advantage of her insecurities and respect her regardless.  Respectable girls will start to seek out guys who know how to respect women, and they’ll be fun to dance with because you don’t have to worry about respect, they’ll help you respect naturally.

Also, think about the example you set for other guys.  Since I’ve started living chastity, I’ve noticed that other people look to me to set an example.  Even if you’re friends don’t yet know of your choice to respect women, they’ll learn by what you do - either respect of sex or disrespect of sex and women.  For both guys and girls watching me dance, I don't want to give off the impression that I'm encouraging sexual activity, even in someone's mind.  It might also give off the impression that I'm okay with sexual activity right now, when I'm not - that's for my husband in marriage.

I choose to be very particular with how I dance.  I like to have fun dancing with guys, especially swing dancing, but I don't want to give people the wrong impression of who I am.  You can have a lot of fun on the dance floor without “freaking.”  Dancing tastefully comes in many forms.  It depends on the music and the crowd.  Personally, I love swing dancing because it is almost always respectful and fun!  Trust me, if you want to impress girls, guys who know how to swing dance well are often very valuable to girls.  Sometimes friends and I just jump around to good music.  Find what makes you most comfortable.  I’ve learned a lot from wedding receptions with my cousins.  We always have a great time dancing and there is never anything inappropriate.  If I’m in a crowd that makes me feel uncomfortable, by the way they are dancing, I either step away for a moment, or try to do my own thing.  Most importantly, I try to dance with friends who believe the same things I believe…that’s almost always a very good time!

When you dance tastefully (while still having fun), you respect your own sexuality and girls.  And, you might even encourage your friends to choose something better, more respectful.  I truly respect you for seeking wisdom through all the tough decisions of being a teenager.  I will say a prayer for you today and hope that things go well for you at Homecoming.