Sexual Ethics Foundation: Men

How do men handle issues of sexual ethics? Let’s talk about it on Deeper Waters.

I’ve been asked to write a foundation series on sexual ethics and since I think I’ve already established that we need to have this conversation, I’m going to write first off on the part that’s much easier for me, writing about how a man thinks about the issue of sex.

I am sure it’s no surprise to women out there to know that men like sex and we think about it constantly. Now it’s not true that that’s all that we think about (We do sleep sometimes after all), but it certainly is always ready to be brought to the forefront of the mind.

The average wife tends to think that her husband has such a dirty mind. I dare say that if women knew the way men were really thinking a lot of the times, they’d be even more disgusted with us than they already are. If many women who are dressing sleazy in order to impress men knew what went on in a man’s mind, they would probably be more prone to dress like women in Islamic countries.

In the debate on homosexuality, I am surprised so often to hear about the need to fill a natural desire. If we men did that, we’d be starting a polygamous marriage or adulterous affair the day after our wedding. We have to make it a constant battle in order to avoid thinking about other women in our minds when we’re married or dating.

The first movie Allie and I saw while dating was Couple’s Retreat. It was certainly a funny movie and given to us as a gift later as a reminder of the first movie we saw together, but even then when it came to women in bikinis on the big screen, I was looking away. Why? Because I knew darn well the way my mind worked and that I can have that panorama of images in my head.

This is one reason that pornography is such a big draw for a man. A man can just have an image in his head and frankly, it’s a lazy way to meet a woman. Pornography requires nothing of the man. He does not have to be a man to experience sexual release at the sight of pornography. He just has to have the right equipment to do so. There is no challenge on his character or call for him to better himself. When such a man meets a real woman, he will not know what to do with her.

This is something we in the church need to be aware of. Please note that I am not saying that the desire for the man to have sex is a wrong desire. Heck no it’s not wrong! What I am saying is that it is a desire that, like any other desire, needs to be controlled. Handled properly, it will be a great benefit to a man. Handled improperly, and it can lead to his destruction.

Men are also very much ready to go for sex at a moment’s notice. Men are like microwaves and women are like ovens. Of course, there are times that are exceptions and there are people that are exceptions, but generally, a man does not take much to get in the mood and to be ready to go.

Men also tend to view sex as an end in itself. While women want it generally as a means to something else, for men, the sex itself is the goal. Sexuality for a man is one of the strongest shapers of who that man really is.

How does this work with marriage? Sex is a major reason why men get married. When men marry, it is not because they want someone to have intellectual discussions with. It is not because they want someone to play games with or watch TV and movies with. Their guy friends can often do that just fine. They want something different. They want what only the woman can give them, and that is sex.

Having said that, the man in marriage must avoid this temptation. He must avoid the treating of his wife as just a sex object. This is often thought about with the joke that a man is doing his taxes and filing his wife under the category of “entertainment expenses.” Of course, a man should enjoy the sexual company of his wife, but realize that she is much more than that.

Biblically, I think God set up the system this way because the only way the man would be drawn to the woman was for sex. Men don’t really need someone around for security usually. We’re normally stronger and better able to care for ourselves. We also tend to look out for #1 and there’s no reason why we’d want to just take on someone who we would have to look out for.

That’s why God gave us men a great incentive to be with the woman. If you give the woman love, you get to experience the fruit of that love. An analogy we could think of is with gardening. If a man tends to his garden rightly, when the harvest comes, he can enjoy its choice fruits. In fact, this is the same kind of language that we find used in Song of Songs.

As a man learns to love his wife then (Since marriage based on love is really a new phenomenon) he will find that he does in fact love her. Many of us know the paradox that if we wait until we feel like doing something, then we will never do that something. Want to lose weight? Don’t wait until you feel like exercising. You’ll never do it. Just start exercising.

This sexuality is an integral part of the man. This is the best way that a wife can build up her husband. Those of you who have embraced the five love languages, and I recommend that you do if you haven’t, should realize that for every man, there is a sixth love language. Some might think the language of physical touch means sex. It doesn’t. Sex definitely involves physical touch, but physical touch means much more than that, such as the holding of a hand, the patting of a leg, the caressing of a back, etc. Bottom line women is that if you want to empower your husbands, this is the number one way to do it. Sexuality gives the man the affirmation and knowledge that he is indeed the man. After all, a guy will do most any crazy, stupid thing you can imagine just to hear some one guy shout out “You the man!”

What of men who don’t get married? The biblical model is quite simple. If you want sex, then you get married. If you don’t get married, then you are to be chaste your whole life. I do plan on writing more on this later, but the man who plans to be single must be prepared biblically to accept that fate.

For those who do, we must not look down on them. Christianity did something radical in that it made singleness an honorable position to hold. Anyone who disagrees should realize that our Lord was single in his earthly sojourn and we would not look down on Him. If you choose to be single, just make sure that the energy you would have given to marriage that you give to the service of the Kingdom.

For men who are planning to get married, you are called to wait until you have said the “I dos” before you can have sex. Doing this is the best way to honor the woman that you love and you can go with the confidence that after you get married, they’ll be plenty of time to catch up on any time you might think you’ve “missed” in the dating period.

What women need to do is realize what an integral part of the man this is and act accordingly. A woman should make herself desirable, but she should also until she’s married leave some mystery to her. Let it be that the man earns her trust and love. Do not downplay his sexuality. Instead, try to make the most of it. Realize that this is just the way that God made men. God made us to have a strong drive so that we would use that drive to honor you all the more.

Men are to always be loving and honoring of their women. Do not make that love conditional on the sex. After all, most of us would want our women to be there and loving us for the sake of loving us and not sleeping with us just so that we will love them or we have guilted them. It should be our hopes that our women will want us for us. In a marriage, I think it’s fine for sex to be an incentive or reward or gift, but it should not be used as a weapon.

Remember men, we are called to love our wives as Christ loved the church, and if such a thought does not make you nervous, then there is something that is wrong with you. It is a remarkable calling and one you should seek to strive towards every day. Do you think Christ would use the church as an object for His pleasure? Or, do you think rather that Christ seeks to honor the church and build her up so he can present her without fault and blemish, you know, the very words Paul himself uses here.

Well that’s about it for men. I hope next time to discuss this subject in relation to women, something much more difficult, but that is going to be tried.

In Christ,
Nick Peters

Sexual Ethics Foundation: Can We Talk?

Is it really necessary for the church to discuss sexual ethics? Let’s talk about it on Deeper Waters.

Recently, I wrote a follow-up to a post on stating the value of a woman and where her self-worth comes from. A friend who was pleased with what I wrote noted that at the end I had said we need a foundation for sexual ethics in the church and asked me if I’d ever considered writing one up. Naturally, this won’t all be done on one post, but I think it’s a noble idea that needs to be done.

I wish to start simply by saying “Should we talk about this?” I am reminded of the joke about a minister who said that he was told two things about sex growing up.

#1. It’s dirty.

#2. I should save it for someone I love.

We laugh, but many of us know the situation. Sexuality has always been a taboo subject. It is treated as if it is a private matter. Now in some ways, it is a private matter. You’re not going to have your friends come over and watch you and your spouse in the bedroom and offer you their advice for instance. There is no doubt there is a private dimension to sex.

But there is also a public dimension. In fact, it is a public dimension. You see the effects of sex every day. How? Every single person you meet, including the person that you see in the mirror every day, is there because two people at one time had sex. (Although granted, with in vitro fertilization we are starting to get to where we have to qualify this.)

The effects of that one union are long lasting. How old are you right now? That’s how long the effects are lasting from the encounter that your parents had. In fact, that encounter is a result of prior encounters before you ever came along. While it is not necessary for any one life that a person has sex, it is necessary for the species as a whole that sex take place. (Although again, with modern techniques, it is possible to avoid sex, though as a good friend of mine has said, this new way to get pregnant is probably not nearly as much fun as the traditional way.)

This is also public in that we all know today that sex sells. Children are learning younger and younger about matters that most of us wouldn’t have learned about in the past until we were teenagers. In the past, if you watched a movie, you’d see a man and woman go into a room, the door would close and you’d hear a click. You knew what was going on. No one needed to tell you.

Today, we have to have a total scene showing practically everything that goes on in the bedroom.

Pornography is rampant and with the internet, it has only become more problematic. Children younger and younger, not even hitting puberty yet, are getting a skewed view of sex before they even really know what is going on.

Well that’s the world! Surely that’s not the church!

Think again.

It has been said that 1 in 3 men in the church are struggling with pornography. This can even include ministers. I listened yesterday to a man in a church giving a marriage seminar where he stated that he knows ministers who have to keep a dirty magazine out when they’re making love to their wives so that they’re able to perform.

Wouldn’t that make you feel loved ladies?

It is also not uncommon to hear about sex scandals in churches. Of course, we hear it when major figures take a fall, but let’s remember not so major figures take falls also. I have no doubt several people reading this blog have seen accounts of affairs taking place in a church and this can often divide the church.

Houston. We have a problem.

What has been the response of the church? Sadly, the same approach we take to claims of our youth apostasizing when they get to college.

“Let’s just ignore it and hope it goes away. We don’t want to talk about that.”

If we don’t give a message on sex to our youth, we can rest assured the world will give them a message and it is a message we do not want them to receive.

So yes, this is an issue we need to talk about. We need to deal with this and we need to watch the way we’re handling it. I think many of the messages we’re sending out are way to shallow to work. We don’t want to give a “just because.” We want people to have sex as properly understood in their worldview.

Our blog will be back on Monday and unless I have a book review or some other news going on, I plan on posting on that topic.

In Christ,
Nick Peters