Could sexuality be more about serving your fellow man than serving yourself? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.
I’ve been reading lately a book called Beauty, Order, And Mystery. It’s all about a Christian view of human sexuality. This is something that is greatly needed in our world as many of us don’t bother to understand the topic of sexuality. Instead, we just have a lists of do’s and don’ts and these are floating in the air based on nothing. It’s not sufficient in our day and age to say “Scripture says”, not because Scripture is invalid, but because many of us don’t know how to handle the Scriptures and many on both sides consider it a powerful argument to say that Scripture says to not eat shellfish for instance.
Even if we apply the right hermeneutic, it can still be good to try to figure out why God commands what He commands. Maybe we can never know, but it doesn’t mean we can’t try. This is especially so when we live in a culture, like many others around the world and in history, where sex is just so central to who we are. Sex is the god of our modern world and the greatest good to many that we meet today.
Despite this, few of us really think about sex today. Sometimes people get the idea that our culture thinks too much about sex, but the reality is we think too little. We dream about it, fantasize about it, make media about it, just plain do it, but we don’t think about it. We don’t think about what this action is and how it came to be and how it relates to what it means to be human.
It’s not a shock then when people think sexuality is so fluid and really has nothing to do with the body. A boy today can go to his university and say that he is identifying as a girl and the staff must treat him as a female including all the pronouns. Right here on my desk, I have a guide to pronouns from a local university. It says that people may change pronouns without changing their name, their appearance, or their sexual identity. You are explicitly told to not assume the same pronouns from yesterday apply to today.
This is a recipe for chaos and shows how far we’ve gone down. Who determines who we are? We do. We are the ones in charge or our own identity. Even if we’re given a male or a female body, it’s up to us to decide if we really want to be male or female.
One part I read yesterday talked about a scenario we’ve seen happen often in our world and something that irritates me whenever I see it. A husband or wife will leave their spouse or children and form a relationship with a same-sex lover because they have to be true to themselves. The media will then cheer them on and say that they have found their true identity.
One of the first things I want to know is how is it known that this is the true identity? In an age where everything is said to be scientific, we have to ask what is the scientific test for this? I am not saying science is the answer to everything, but it looks like a lot of people who say it is are very selective on what the everything is.
Yet the other point is that these people are not being true in one sense. They are not being true to promises that they made. They made promises to their spouses and in turn, they have promises to their children. Does your promise to your spouse come first, or does your own desire come first? What message does it send to your children if you put your own self first? What about being true to your family and community?
What about those of us in the church? We definitely need a positive image of sexuality and as I was reading about individualism and sexuality yesterday, I started pondering the idea of sex as service. We can look at that and start thinking about a prostitute performing a service and if we do, we have shown how far off we are.
Sex is often seen in our culture as the goal. Anyone should know easily that this is false. No one wants sex because of sex. They want it because of something else or many other somethings else. It could be pleasure of intimacy or security or children or anything else in this world. Just because the couple has sex together doesn’t mean everything is going to be a bed of roses or they’re meant to be together. I have known couples that have had a passionate sex life together, but split up because that was all they had together. Each person ultimately saw the other as a means to get what they wanted.
Now to be sure, I’m not saying none of us have needs nor am I saying it’s wrong to want to have needs met. It’s not selfish to go to the kitchen and fix a meal because your body needs food. It can be selfish based on how much you have and if you neglect others when you are capable of giving to them as well.
I am saying we should change our perspective. We who hold to a Christian view of sexuality need to think about the role it plays. Just this morning I was reading 1 Cor. 6 which deals greatly with sexual ethics and the importance of honoring God with your body. What you do with your body sexually matters.
If you’re single, your role sexually to honor God is celibacy. This doesn’t have to be lifelong, but the only way it ends is if you marry someone. You’re not to use someone of the opposite sex without giving them the promise of yourself in marriage. If this is something hard, then the Christian requirement is you find someone to marry, and believe it or not, it’s entirely acceptable to have “wanting to have sex” as a reason for marriage. Paul said it in 1 Cor. 7. If you’re someone who is going to burn, then you need to marry.
For those of us who are married, sex is also about how we treat our spouses. Sex is part of the covenant promise you made to the person you married. It needs to be treated as a priority. Otherwise, you’re pretty much just glorified roommates together. Consider this. If you are not honoring your spouse with your body, you are not honoring God with your body.
Let’s look from a man’s perspective. Most men want to be seen as men. Men are often very insecure under whatever presentation they give of themselves. This is one reason men want to compete so much with one another. Each of them is trying to prove that they are the man. One of the best gifts a wife can give her husband is to show him he is the man by sex. It shows him that he is desirable and wanted.
Women often balk at this thinking it so odd. “But we just did it earlier this week? Why does he want it again?” Ladies. Here’s a way to picture this. What if your husband said “I told her I love her earlier this week. Why does she need to hear it again?” “I told her she’s beautiful. Why does she need to hear it again?” “I took her out on a date already. Why does she need to go out again?” “I bought her a gift already. Why does she want something else?”
If this is the way either spouse is thinking about the other, then at that moment they are treating them as an annoyance and their marital obligations as a drudgery. Of course, there will be times when it’s not the right time. If a wife is sick, a husband should not be pushing his desires at that time. Now ladies, if your husband is wanting to be with you, please don’t ever just outright say no. If you have to say no, give a time when you will be ready and able and hold to that time.
Also, remember that what your husband wants most is not for you to look like a supermodel. He won’t complain about that, or he shouldn’t, but he wants most to be wanted by you. He wants your passion. He doesn’t want to be a duty. He wants to be pursued. He wants to know that He is a source of joy for you.
Another point is that many many times, the man has the higher drive. There are marriages where the wife has the higher drive, but it’s usually the man. Ladies. You can really help your man deal with temptation and the struggles of the flesh greatly by being there for him here.
I have written about the way it is for a man previously. I wish to stress one thing here. Ladies. Picture wanting to lose those extra ten pounds and yet having to go through the ice cream or chocolate section of the grocery store. That is what your man is experiencing everyday. He sees beautiful women around him in the real world and in the media and then when he comes home to the one woman he can see while he’s been tempted left and right all day long, she hides away from him. It’s quite distressing for a man. Being available for him will keep him happy and better able to handle temptation, and again, this is one reason Paul encourages regular sex with spouses. They don’t need to be tempted.
Women meanwhile do want to know that they’re beautiful. It’s amazing that one of the great praises a woman can receive is to be told she’s beautiful. When the book of Job ends, it ends by saying Job’s daughters were the most beautiful. So many women in the Bible are praised because of their beauty. Physical beauty is not a bad thing and no wives, your husband is not a pervert because he wants to have sex with you and he wants to see you naked.
Women also have a need for security. What does a man do here then? He treats his wife like a treasure regularly and provides for her the best he can and not just because he wants something from her. He does it because he loves her. He does it in season and out of season. He provides for her a place of security.
Husbands. You’re asking your wives in sex to be completely vulnerable to you. This is something huge for them, especially if they’ve been abused in the past. By showing you their bodies, they are in essence giving you all that they can give you. It is a risk.
Give them security. Let them know they’re safe and treasured. Always treat them like the apple of your eye. (By the way parents, never make your children the focus of your marriage. They’re not. One of the best gifts you can give your children is a loving commitment to your spouse.) Let them know you’re there with them no matter what and when times come when sex is off the table, such as sickness, love them the exact same way.
Too many women can think they are loved only for sex, and too often they can be right. Do the things she thinks are romantic. Date her. Spend time with her. Never stop pursuing her. Too often in a marriage, a man puts on all the charm and romance until he marries his wife, and then he sits down on the couch and watches TV and expects her to serve him hand and foot. To be fair, a number of men say their wives had great physical interest in them until they married them. Then they stopped. They can also be right.
If my thinking is right there, then the goal is to see sex not as a duty but as a way to honor the other person and help meet their needs. For singles, that means not using other people for sex without a commitment. It has been said that before you get married, the devil will do all you can to get you to have sex, and after you’re married, he’ll do all he can to keep you from having it. Now I think sayings like this ascribe way too much power to the devil, but the sentiment I can agree with.
Married people meanwhile honor God with their bodies when they honor their own spouse as well with their bodies. Fidelity to the covenant doesn’t just mean don’t cheat on one another and don’t watch porn and such. It also means honoring the promises you made and that includes sex. Barring severe medical problems, for the Christian, there should be no such thing as a sexless marriage.
It’s not about you. It’s about how you can please your spouse. For a wife, this could just mean have a lot more sex. It’s still pursuing him like you were dating. For a husband, this means being romantic even apart from sex. Date her, buy her gifts, whatever her love language is. Sweep her off her feet. Never stop being a romantic.
And by the way, suppose that you are one who thinks your spouse is not doing this in your marriage. You know what? That doesn’t change your obligation. You are to do the right thing even if you think the wrong thing is being done to you. Too many marriages have each person insisting the other should make the first move. You do the right thing. There is never any justification for doing that which is wrong, including to your spouse.
Serve your spouse as best you can and serve your community as best you can. Honor God with your bodies.