There is a lie, propagated in culture, that sex is just sex. Like just going to a movie, or a jog, we can enjoy sexual experience and then just move on unaffected; unaffecting.
We see this all the time. Think of every major TV show of the last generation: Friends, Sex in the City, House of Cards, Game of Thrones, even my beloved Seinfeld is implicated in the lie. Consenting people hook up, enjoy themselves, and then move on. No attachment. No STI’s. No pregnancy. No pain. No problem.
This is a lie.
We have seen sexual intimacy cheapened to mere commodity. Something you must pay out by the third date or else you are a prude impolitely leading someone on. Sex we are told is something everyone must experience sooner rather than later or else they are missing the best part of life. Something that is just a basic human need - like hygiene or exercise - that needs to be satiated regularly or else.
But viewing sex as cheap, as pain-free, as a simple human activity without any strings attached is devastating our society.
Sexual abuse and harassment flows out of the belief that sex is a commodity, an exchange of one favour for another.
A society that preaches promiscuity without price is what has produced rampant powerful men who leverage and force sex upon subordinates.
I mourn for the seemingly endless tragedies coming to light recently of children, women and men who have been harassed and assaulted. But how can we be surprised when we see sex portrayed in movies, television and literature as a simple, common, uncomplicated activity.
How can we cheer for Frank Underwood but bury Kevin Spacey? We can’t have it both ways.
Kevin Spacey, many were horrified to hear, was recently thrown from the mountain of
celebrity when horrific sexual maleficence came to light. And yet Spacey is known to most of us as [former] President Frank Underwood, a despicable politician who rapes, murders, lies and does whatever else is necessary to succeed in Washington. And amazingly, he is the protagonist in House of Cards, meaning we as the audience are on his side, despite his evil.
How can we cheer for Frank Underwood but bury Kevin Spacey? We can't have it both ways. If we are going to promote promiscuity, we must accept the inevitable abuse and pain that unchecked sexual freedoms will unleash upon the most vulnerable of society.
The Wisdom of God
Christians generally believe (but fail to follow) the biblical guide that sex is only to be enjoyed in the context of a life-long covenant, or marriage, between a man and a woman. [I will address homosexual unions in another future post, so let’s focus on the first half here.]
According to God, speaking to us through His Word, sex is created for marriage.
The obvious response to this is to scoff. “That is ridiculous.” We think. “That is so old-fashioned. Get with the times! God is such a kill-joy. He just forbids anything that is fun or enjoyable.”
I get your skepticism. Perhaps I even believed it for a season of my life.
But let me view this from a different angle.
What if God’s strict rules surrounding sex are not given to limit our pleasure, but to increase it? What if what God wants for us is not misery through abstinence, but blessing through marriage?
What if God wants us - as a society, as couples, as individuals - to experience sex in the best possible way? What if God wants sex to be as good as it can be? What if making sex more accessible makes it not more enjoyable, but more problematic?
The God of Sex
God has created you to be sexual. It is good. It is part of His Good design. The God of the Bible approves of sex!
Think of your sexuality as a burning log within a house.
There is nothing wrong with a log on fire in a house, so long as it is placed where it is intended to be enjoyed: the fireplace. There is no other space in the house where a log on fire should be!
Now you can claim that you are enlightened, that you have broken free of the constricting rules of your Architect, you can assert the freedom to put the burning log on the couch, or in the gas oven, or in your bed, but the end result will be disaster: you will burn the house down.
God created us in His Image, to reflect Him almost like miniature gods, and He gave us sexuality as a part of our identity. God in His wisdom, as our inventor, knew our sexuality was powerful, like a flaming fire, and if used in the wrong setting, could cause utter disaster. But if enjoyed as the Creator intended, would warm up the whole house.
Our sexuality has the ability to destroy our lives completely, or to provide pleasure, intimacy and progeny in line with God’s good design.
God’s limitations on our sexual expression are given to protect the vulnerable from exploitation, and to protect us from ruining ourselves.
So Time’s Up. Stop believing Satan’s lie. You cannot live a life of loose, unlimited sexual experience without hurting others, hurting yourself, and unintentionally promoting all the abuses that have come to eclipse celebrity.
Often people think, “I’ve already screwed up sexually, so it’s too late for me to change how I live.” That is a lie. Our God is a God of Restoration: of fixing what is broken, of filling what is empty. If you are a victim of sexual assault, have victimized others, or are living a life of sexual sin outside of God’s plans, it is not too late for you! God comes bringing good news! He can heal you; He will forgive you; He will restore you. One resource I recommend is a society called, “Journey Canada”, which is intended for anyone who has experienced relational or sexual brokenness (which I believe is all of us). Take a chance, go to their website, and find healing and restoration where there is currently pain or imprisonment.