The Dilemma Between Over-Restricting or Over-Relaxing On Sex and Sexuality


Anonymous asked a question:

How do single people embrace their sexuality without falling into sexual sin? I have seen many fall into this sin and regret it. However, I have seen many more try so hard to repress their sexual desires that they see sex or their sexuality as a dirty and evil part of them even when they marry. Is there a median to owning one’s sexuality and desire for sex, but not falling into lustful sin?


Hey there my friend, I believe that sexual desire is extremely difficult to master, and the church’s main solution has been to bash sex to scare you out of it.

The main thing here is that “sexual desire” itself owns too much of the focus in relationships.  Everyone’s talking about “sex” before they talk about faith, communication, maturity, finances, children, career, direction, decisions, and mental health.  None of these exist in a vacuum; they’re all interdependent.

I’ll even say that that there are many, many issues just as important as sexuality because people are not merely sexual beings.  You’ve probably heard it before, but any microscopic view of one issue tends to diminish the entire individuality of a whole person.  If we can begin with a holistic view of relationships, then we’ll see that sexuality is only one ingredient to a much larger, fuller understanding of people.

When we constantly come up with methodologies for a singular problem, then such a narrow-minded focus turns the problem into an unbeatable monster.  At the same time, if we relax about it too much or ignore the issue, then we’re ill-prepared to handle all the feelings as they come.

While some may disagree, I believe sex has a lower priority in the scale of relationships because when you’re over forty years old, it becomes way less critical in your mind.  I want to consider the long-term.


But for now, here’s what I would suggest.  Instead of focusing too much on “how not to” do something, let’s figure out what we can do.  Singles often spend an inordinate amount of brain-space worrying about finding “the one” instead of the Kingdom, serving, missions, loving on children and elders in the church, and loving on the community.  The more that singles are involved in discipleship and Kingdom work, the more they will learn about themselves and about God, and they will be better prepared for relationships if or when they come.  A person must learn to live with himself or herself first, before even thinking about sharing life with another human being.

For couples, this also means serving together, whether it’s the church or community or missions.  Our sexual energy is good, but it’s just energy.  It can be used for other things.  It doesn’t have to be this teeth-gritting, white-knuckle, fist-clenching frustration all the time.  If we pour out our hearts in the way God wants instead of just “running from sin,” then sin itself will look less attractive.

My friend, this will not be a perfect process.  I don’t mean to make it sound easy.  As I said, it’s so very difficult to discipline ourselves in this area.  But if we mess this up, we’re not “damaged goods” or anything lesser.  God has your back in this.  Purity is not a trophy we fight for, but a gift that God has already given us through His Son.  And this is how we fight, from His love and not for it.

— J.S.


My new book on sex, dating, and relationships here!


Advertisements

3 thoughts on “The Dilemma Between Over-Restricting or Over-Relaxing On Sex and Sexuality

  1. “While some may disagree, I believe sex has a lower priority in the scale of relationships because when you’re over forty years old, it becomes way less critical in your mind.”

    Ah ha! Well now you’ve finally given me something to disagree with you about. Actually not quite, I still think you’re awesome.

    What I think is missing from the church’s attitudes towards sex is the entire spiritual nature of it all. People are allegedly “saving themselves,” but saving themselves for what? Nobody is quite sure.

    Sex is extremely important to people well into their 90’s, a scary thought I’m sure. An even scarier picture to have in your brain. It’s a difficult thing to express and explain, so while I criticize the church for not teaching it better, I’m aware that even after nearly 30 years of marriage, I’m not so good at explaining it either. Sex was created by God and has huge spiritual implications. It builds intimacy, communication, trust, and ironically takes love beyond the physical.

    Like

    1. Hey I agree with you 🙂 I really appreciate your graciousness. Maybe I phrased it really weirdly, sorry about that.
      I think both sexual repression and sexual leniency are shortsighted emphases on sex. Unfortunately in the church, as you said, repression is the norm and it’s completely unhealthy. I suppose I’ve spent time with too many over-sexed people, so I’ve seen the harm on both ends of the spectrum. In the end though, yes, sex is an important lifelong issue.
      One of my favorite quotes by Tim Keller:

      “Here’s how the Bible starts: with a naked man, singing rapturous love songs over a naked woman in the presence of God. And that’s just the start … The Bible is filled with bare-faced, exuberant rejoicing in the glory of sexual love. There’s no way from the Bible that you can get a negative view of sexual desire.”

      Like

  2. Thanks for mentioning sex as just one part of a whole. My husband and I have a great relationship in every other way, but we’ve never had much of a sex life. Part of this is because a wreck left me unable for seven years, but there never was much of a drive there. I wish there were more, but pushing him makes him feel even worse. According to every other magazine/book/speaker, our marriage isn’t “real” or is doomed to fail because we don’t have sex the way we should. But we’re good because, like you said, it’s one part of a relationship but not the whole thing. Like our spiritual lives, it’s not healthy to focus on one thing at the exclusion of others…it’s very easy to do.

    Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s