The Orgasm Idol

Probably 15-20 years ago I was at a conference of some sort and sharing a room with a couple of guys that I didn’t know (and whose names I don’t remember).  But as is often the case with young guys the conversation one day turned to dating and marriage.  We were talking about the desire for sex etc, when one of the married guys busted one of the best one liners I’ve ever heard.

He said, “One of the most overrated things in the world is sex and one of the most underrated things in the world is taking a quality dump.”

I don’t really think that he was saying we should say forget sex, and just work on taking quality trips to the toilet.  Nor do I think he was unhappy in his marriage.  I think his point was that the physical feeling of an orgasm could be relatively equal to the physical feeling to the old number 2.

How I’d say it is this, the goal of sex is not just orgasm, and if it is, we’re in trouble.

Let me first say clearly that I’m extremely pro-orgasm.  I mean I want to have them and I want my wife to have them.  So orgasms all around = good. Seriously.  Good stuff!  Outstanding stuff!  I’m for it!  Ok you get the picture.

But to this guys point, and the one I want to make today, that’s not “The Point” of sex.

We have come to a place in our culture where sex has been relegated to a physical thing – aka – the orgasm.  When it’s relegated to this, then why not have it, whenever with whoever.  If the orgasm is king then why does it matter how we accomplish it.

This is the result of so many forces in our society.  Hollywood constantly promotes sex with whoever.  Feminism tells young women, wait to get married – but don’t wait for sex.  Porn let’s you watch others’ orgasms and have your own without any effort.  Kids are told, essentially, “Here’s how it works.  Here’s a condom for you boys and a shot for you girls. Good luck out there.”

We live in the world where “science” reigns supreme.  You’re a sexual animal, just a bit more advanced.  It’s natural.  It’s about the physical realm.

There are also the “realists”.  These are the people who say things like, “You wouldn’t buy a car without taking it for a test drive, why should you marry someone without sleeping with them?”  Yeah it’s like a test drive, except that every time you take a car out, you wreck it.

All of this is a lie.  It doesn’t make sex better.  It just makes it cheaper.

Most Christians would say they know all that I’ve said so far.  And I get that.  But I think the reality is that this notion of orgasm as the goal of sex has totally infiltrated even our church culture.  We don’t wait for marriage – we wait for sex.  The basic message often inadvertently becomes, “Don’t have sex then get married and have lots of sex.”  Sex outside of marriage leads to bad stuff, but sex in marriage will be all pleasure.  If only it was so simple.

The reality is if the point of sex is the orgasm – I can have one of those inside or outside of marriage, and it will still feel good.  I might or might not feel bad about it later.  Heck if the point is orgasm then I don’t even need a partner.

Let’s assume that the bible is true.  That means that sex was created by God for us in the context of marriage.  In the bible there are only two contexts for sex – Marriage and Sin. Now God does have our pleasure in mind.  He created orgasms and the truth is that in study after study people who are married having sex report more orgasms than non-married people having sex.

But that’s not all it is.  God’s view of sex isn’t smaller than the worlds’ view.  It’s bigger. From the very beginning of the bible, as in the second chapter of Genesis, and reconfirmed throughout, sex is the joining together of two people.  It is becoming one flesh. It creates oneness, bonding two people physically, emotionally, and spiritually together.  It grows intimacy both in that moment and over time.  All of this can happen whether or not both people orgasm every time or not. How amazing is that.  This is why if you aren’t ready for marriage, then you aren’t ready for sex.

In a way, we need to demystify the orgasm and re-mystify sex.  Talk about countercultural.

Maybe it’s time for each of us to take stock.  How do we really view sex?  What is it for? Do we want to relegate it to a bodily function? Or do we want it to be holy?

How Hollywood Is Helping To Kill Marriage

A couple of months ago I was flipping channels late one night and Jessica Simpson was guest on Conan. They were doing the usual chit chat when they began to talk about fact that she was pregnant with her second child with current fiance Eric Johnson.  She talked about how it wasn’t really planned, I mean they just had baby number one a year ago, but that they were excited.

Friends, our culture is backwards.  And Hollywood is for it.  To top it off, the media actually “covers” Hollywood.  Think about that. It’s funny, but it’s not.  

We live in a culture in which marriage is declining.  Less and less people are getting married.  And those that are, are doing so much later.  But they are not waiting to do “married” things, such as live together and have children.  In fact, in the United States today more women have their first kid out of wedlock than in it, and for many that is by choice.

There are so many reasons for all of this and I’ve debated on whether to even bring Hollywood into the discussion here, but I think if we are going to talk about singleness and marriage in our current culture we can’t leave it out.  Hollywood and the media are part of the reason that there is less and less marriage in America.

We are a media and entertainment society.  It’s everywhere, all the time.  Hollywood has gained power and influence because of it.  If we are going to walk with Jesus in the culture we need to be sure that we know what is going on around us.

First, there are the movies and TV shows that Hollywood puts out.  I actually believe there is more good writing, producing, acting and compelling entertainment than ever before.  I’m not really “against” it.  But because we are so inundated with it, we need to make sure we realize the subtle messages it sends including these four:

1. Romance almost always equals sex, and sex right now.  Quick, name one TV show or movie where the main characters fall in love and wait until marriage to have sex.  Sex is always for right now and not tied to commitment or consequence.

2. Ending up together is always the end, never the beginning.  The message is this, all the struggle, journey, and fun is in getting the person.  Ending up together is the end of the story.  In real life it is more like the beginning.  But when you grow up on TV and movies your expectations don’t line up with that.

3. Fewer and fewer shows have a working marriage in them.  There are some.  Friday Night Lights had perhaps the most realistic marriage I’ve ever seen on TV.  But compared to even 15 years ago the pictures of marriage are small.

4.  The married guy is almost always the one with the boring life.  The husband stereotype is extremely bad.  They are all either passive, distant, mean or stupid.  Almost never is the hero of the movie married.  Again there are some (Cinderella Man comes to mind) but they are in the minority.

But all of what I’ve said so far isn’t Hollywood’s only impact on marriage.  There are two other big factors to recognize.

We have allowed a group of people who are entertainers by trade to dominate our culture with their personal lives.  Their lives are a mess, and yet somehow what they do and say carries sway.

Now some of us watch the mess because we like to judge them and build our own self righteousness.  Others of us watch them (read about them, follow them on twitter, etc) because we are entertained by their chaos.  Oddly both of these negate the fact that these are actual people. They’re not “real” and yet we follow them – and they are not getting married.

Entertainment is always both a reflection of our current society and an attempt to influence it.  Which leads me to an important point I want to make.  I believe that the Hollywood Elites are basically opposed to marriage.  It’s not a conspiracy or anything but we need to understand that the people running the show (literally) are not on the side of covenant marriage with one person for life, and it shows in everything they do.

The only marriage the Hollywood Elites are for is gay marriage.  And frankly if it were legal everywhere they’d probably be against that.

Finally, because there is so much entertainment available it’s easy for singles to use entertainment and entertainers as their escape from loneliness.  It used to be that entertainment was something you went to – with other people.  Now it comes to you – on your phone.  This is not helpful for singles looking to engage others or pursue relationship.

What does this have to do with walking with Jesus in our culture?  Everything.  If we are going to love people around us we need to recognize that this stuff has impact on them.  And, like it or not, we are impacted by it.  We don’t have to turn it all off, but we do need to be intentional about how we let it influence us as well as recognize how it influences those around us.

How do you think the entertainment industry has affected your singleness?  How has it shaped your view of marriage?

Interpretation Is Everything

In the movie “A Perfect World” Kevin Costner plays a criminal, Butch, who has escaped from prison.  He takes a young boy, Phillip, hostage.  As times goes on, they become drawn to each other.  Phillip has never really had a dad and Butch begins to teach him all sorts of things about “manhood”.  In one scene Butch has just gotten Phillip some new clothes.  They’re in the car and on the run, so he tells him to go ahead and change.

Phillip is hesitant (I get that the whole premise of boy being kidnapped is bad, but hang with me anyway).  Butch basically says, “Is it because you’re embarrassed I might see your pecker?”  Phillip says, “It’s . . . puny ”  Butch says, “Let me see, I’ll shoot you straight.” Butch looks over with a quick glance and says, “Hell no Phillip, good size for a boy your age.”  Phillip smiles.

Who interprets your life for you?

When I was in third grade I got picked on by some sixth graders. They threatened me on the way home from school.  For the first time in my life as a kid, I was scared of injury from another person.  I can still see that kids fist in my face.

In my third grade mind I was now weak.  Once you have an interpretation other events begin to get interpreted the same way.  In fifth grade a peer straight up punched me in the face as hard as he could.  I didn’t even fall, but I didn’t fight back. I could have thought, “I just took that kids best punch and I’m not hurt – I’m tough.” Instead, I took it as another confirmation that I was weak.

All sorts of things are constantly happening to us and around us.  Each time, we interpret what is happening and make agreements about what it means. Others help us interpret, starting with our parents when we are little.  If you’re a parent understand this: One of the most important things you will ever do is speak interpretation into your kids lives. How you react, what you say and what they hear from you when something happens to them forms the base interpretation for their lives.  No pressure. . .

We all deal with this of course, married, single or otherwise.  But I think this affects the single person in an extremely significant way because many of us are asking, “why am I single?”

There are all sorts of people helping us interpret that answer.

There’s hollywood.  You’re single because you are not a 10 or don’t have a flashy enough car or job.  If I were 007 I’ve had all the ladies.  I laugh as I write that but seriously, for a lot of us, the media is one of our main interpreters.  We’ve grown up on it and the message is obvious.  You’re not cool enough, hot enough, or rich enough to be loved back by another person.

There’s our well meaning friends.  Mostly they tell us that there is nothing wrong with us, which doesn’t seem right, but we hope it’s true.

Then there is the Church.  Usually this interpretation hinges on the fact that God has a plan – meaning that He has a Christian Soulmate for me.  It them moves in one of a couple directions.  Either I need to become better so that God will reward me with a spouse (this could mean date better, be content, wait on God, etc) or I don’t need to do anything because God’s perfect spouse for me just isn’t ready or the timing must not be right.

The worst part is that most of us, myself included for many years, have some sort of sick twisted combination of all of the above going on in our head.  I’m not good looking enough (insert strong enough, rich enough, spiritual enough. . . etc), and/or there’s nothing wrong with me (men/women just suck), and/or God will bring me the perfect person but for right now (and apparently for the last decade) He’s just holding out on me.

How you interpret your singleness affects your view of God and vice versa.  It affects how you see yourself and therefore how you relate to others.  If we interpret it wrong, then we’re going to have a hard time figuring out our calling (celibacy or marriage), let alone our pursuing it.

What we need first though is God’s interpretation of who we are as a person.  We need to grow in our identity in Christ.  If we are going to do that, we will need to reinterpret a lot of things and we’ll need to let some people in to help.

Most of us are afraid of the truth, but in reality most of the time the truth is better than how we have interpreted. Either way we need the real actual interpretation in order to have a chance at true spiritual health.

Who interprets your life?  What is your interpretation of your singleness?  How sure are you of that interpretation?  Who are you helping with their interpretation?