I wish the church would talk more about sex. It’s in the Bible. We are quick to talk about how much God hates beer or how much God loves Chris Tomlin-err-I mean praises from His people. But God loves sex. Sounds weird and you might seem weirded out. Just hold on and take a breath. I'm saying sex is created by God for us and we aren’t jumping at the chance to talk about what a healthy sexual relationships looks like in the context of a thriving, God-centered marriage. Here’s what I have been talking about in my current contexts in my own conversations about sex:
The world CORRUPTS sex and perverts it.
Religion CONTEMPTS sex and shames it.
God CELEBRATES sex and affirms it.
So why don’t we create space in our relationships so we can celebrate what God has given us in for our community with honesty about what God created and designed us for? God gave us a sex drive. Plain and simple. God does not want to mute your sex drive like the "pings" on our iphone but instead God desires for you to master it and direct it in a positive direction to show the world how good God is and why God can be trusted with our sex lives.
I think the world sees that Christians are afraid to talk about sex. I think the church sees that Christians are afraid to talk about sex. So we resort to having to get it from Dr OZ, the internet, the latest Nicholas Sparks book, the latest Judd Apatow movie or from the latest song about how to eat cake by an ocean with someone you like. Why, when God made it clear that He knows what He made and how we are to function in our sexuality.
As a youth communicator for many years, we had our talks on sex. It’s the “ducktape illustration” of trying to pull both pieces of tape apart after they have been pressed together; it’s the “I Kissed Dating Goodbye” quotes combined with the "I Gave Dating A Chance" quotes; it’s the Jeremiah 29:11 “I know the plans I have for you” scriptures so you can rest assured your break-up is not causing the apocalypse although it feels like it; it’s the youth pastor making sure we know how great sex is with his "smoking hot wife" and the people trying NOT to use their imagination as he continues to talk about his "smoking hot wife." Now, the brave youth pastors will insert in their messages the part about masturbation but because that word can get some pastors in trouble, they would call it “lust.” I can’t even count the number of times guys have had me pray for their “lust issues” and that’s when I chose a long time ago to respond with, “So you’re masturbating, huh? Ok, let’s talk about how to deal with it….” All good intentions but many leading to vague ideas about sex with foggy Biblical thoughts about what I’m supposed to feel and why I can’t talk about what I’m hearing my friends talk about on the weekends.
Some churches have taken a strong approach in discussing marriage with their churches. This is great and the right thing to do! God knows we need stronger marriages. But marriage and sex are very different topics. Most messages focus on the relationships in the marriage with sex becoming the add-on like a 3 season porch that gets built that isn’t part of the house or foundation but is still there. Sex and marriage are not mutually exclusive but it becomes mutually exclusive in many of our messages and church sermons.
Although talking about marriage is essential, there is still an underwhelming amount of churches who are not establishing a Biblical apologetic about sex and sexuality in our culture. “Be fruitful and multiply” is something that we cannot forget as one of the first Biblical commands from God for the human race. The fact that we get pleasure from sex means that it’s not just a natural response but it’s an actual gift from God. Which is why we just simply have to stop making it the thing we “can’t talk about” and make it the subject of healthy conversations in our community so that we can learn what a healthy marriage with a healthy sex life is like.
Biblical Christianity values sex by writing about it and talking about it more than any other major religion in our world. That's why it seems to have strong guidelines to it because it is something so sacred that it has to be treated with the utmost care and concern. But in our culture we don’t value it as we should. We tend to refer to sex as “doing the deed” or “knocking boots” (boots in the bed doesn’t sound like the best idea…) or “getting lucky” (thanks Daft Punk for reminding me of this every time I hear this song at my 5K runs). What I'm saying is that we have to see "sexual activity" as so much more that just "doing it." It involves how we appreciate and live out our own God-entrusted sexuality that God created, distributed and entrusted to us as human beings.
We are all sexual beings. Our sexuality is something that we have in common with every human being despite their faith background or belief system. That’s why I really believe our sexuality in culture is prime to be the new apologetic that we as followers of Chrst can use as common space common opportunity to talk about and give a place to bring God, our origin story, our identity, how we relate, etc.
I love what the Bible says about this idea of sex and it’s sacred nature:
There is more to sex than mere skin to skin. Sex is as much spiritual mystery as physical fact. As written in Scripture, "THE TWO SHALL BECOME ONE." ... We must not pursue the kind of sex that avoids commitment and intimacy, leaving us more lonely than ever — the kind of sex that can never "become one." There is a sense in which sexual sins are different from all others. In sexual sin we violate the sacredness of our own bodies, these bodies that were made for God-given and God-modeled love, for "becoming one" with another. (1 Corinthians 6:16-18)
Sex is more spiritual than culture thinks it is. Culture treats it like it’s just physical. Just a “hook up.” Friends with benefits that last for a few minutes and then moves on like the latest Netflix episode they just finished or were -ahem - supposed to watch. Sexual sin is different…the repurcussions are different. That’s why God makes it clear in the Bible by explaining there is a reason why break-ups are hard. Why finding your “soulmate” is hard when you keep having casual sex. You’re not “test-driving” but instead you are "sex-driving" allowing your longing for sex to steer your decisions and actions sabotaging a future with someone. You are continuing to damage yourself at the expense of wanting to feel loved and to belong with someone. It’s not bad to want to have sex with someone. That’s your wiring talking and how you were made. But it’s managing your sexdrive is what we are lacking as a culture and that's what hurts us.
C. S. Lewis refers to this when he says, "The monstrosity of sexual intercourse outside of marriage is that those who indulge in it are trying to isolate one kind of union (the sexual) from all the other kinds of union which were intended to go along with it and make up the total union."
I think sexuality could be one of the best apologetics of our culture. To talk with those you care about about their sex lives. Because as Christians we know how serious it is and we know what it does to us physically, emotionally and spiritually.