Sex ahead…you’ve been warned
by MW Cook
9) Christianity has a morbid, unhealthy preoccupation with sex.
10) Christianity produces sexual misery.
To answer these I’ve decided to unpack a little about the Christian view of sex. Here are the points I want to deal with:
- It is good.
- It is meant for enjoyment as well as procreation.
- Committed, never casual. Hence marriage.
- One partner.
- Between man and woman only.
- It is not a matter of state.
Sex is a good thing. God made it. Humans could have been made to reproduce in any number of different, easier ways, but God invented sex. Let’s get this fact clear right from the start. In the Christian worldview sex is not a bad thing. It is inherently good and holy and sacred. It has its place, and when used outside its place it becomes a dangerous, hurtful thing, but when in its place it is beautiful and God-glorifying.
A casual reading of the Song of Solomon shows that sex and sexuality is not solely meant for procreation. Many conservative scholars believe that the Song is a picture of Christ, primarily. I disagree. While it is true that the relationship between Christ and the Church is sometimes pictured as a marriage, it is never pictured as erotic. Eroticism has not place in the relationship between Christ and the Church. But this Song is all erotic. So I think it’s about a man and a woman and their loving and sensual relationship. This Song makes it clear that one of the purposes of sex is for enjoyment.
Like many things that are both good and fun, sex has been abused. It was meant to be an expression of the love a man shares with a woman. Today, in most places of the world, it is now a fun pass-time. Sex was never meant to be casual. Our sexual desires have been perverted. Some people would claim that monogamy is an unnatural thing and our sexual drives are made so that we can increase our population. But that makes little sense to me because if a man was to indulge his sexual desires whenever they hit then he would produce a small village of babies in very little time. This massive over-population would be destructive to our species. It seems to me that sex, for the vast majority of animals, is only for procreation, but for us it’s different. Men naturally desire sex with many women, not because of their natural procreation instinct, but because their sexual drive has been screwed up. Sex is a solemn, holy thing and it is best within marriage, where it is coupled with love and respect and intimacy. I have heard people complain that monogamy is a boring thing. But they fail to realize that the more you get to know and love and understand and commit to a person the better sex becomes. Marriage provides that matrix for sex.
The Bible is clear that sex is only between a man and a woman. Paul, in Romans, says that homosexuality is a perversion of the sexual drive. There is really no getting around it. If you believe to Bible to be what it claims to be you need to admit that homosexuality is a sin. Now, I do not believe that a man with homosexual desires can just ‘turn it off’. Many people say that the homosexual drive is just something that people are born with, and I think I agree. Just like some people are born with a short temper. But just because someone is born with it does not make it right. A homosexual man who comes to Christ will have to fight the same battles as a man born with a bad temper. He will have to fight against the inborn impulses of his body. A homosexual is no more a sinner than anyone else.
Christianity was never meant to be a state religion. I do not think we should try to legislate the moral guidelines of our faith in a secular culture. Homosexuality and promiscuous sex was rampant at the time of Paul, but he never suggested that we picket and protest. He just made it clear that those things were not proper for followers of Christ.
So that’s my response to 9 and 10. I believe the Christian view of sex does not lead to sexual misery but to fulfillment. What sort of sex life sounds more fulfilling? Where all of your sexual energy is channeled through the one person you love and respect more than anyone in life, when you keep yourself for that one person and know that she does the same for you? Or where you just follow the whims of your body and bounce from partner to partner. Think about this: if you obeyed your other ‘natural’ urges whenever they popped up would you be better off or worse? Our natural urges can never be used as an absolute guide because they are fallible. I think that even if I were not a Christian I would still consider sex to be a thing that should be reserved for one partner, because it seems that it was made to be that way.