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?

Fulfilling Sexual Desire Keeps You Single

I’ve talked here many times about the fact that less and less people are getting married. Right now 50% of adults in the U.S. are unmarried.  Only 20% of those 18-29 have ever been married.  People are waiting longer or just not getting married at all.

There are a whole host of reasons for this and I’ve talked about many of them here before. But one of the biggest reasons is that we as a culture (even in the Church) have separated sex from marriage.  And to go a step further we’ve actually made sex only about physical pleasure.  And because of it, we are really, really jacked up.

Now I get, and have pointed out before, that this is not “new” to the world.  I mean there have always been jacked up cultures and there has certainly always been sexual sin.  But never has the overall impact on marriage been felt the way it is now.

What we have now is a combination of a lot more ways to meet the physical desire for sex, and a culture that is ok with all of it.  It’s killing us – individually and as a culture.

Sex was not created to be just physical.  It is a part of it, but not all of it.  From the very beginning it was to bring two people together to become one flesh but only those two people.  It is an important part of the marriage covenant.  When we take it out of that context or when we make it just about physical desire, we are devaluing everything about it – both within and outside of marriages.

Here’s the reality.  One of the surest ways to stay single is to have your sexual desire met some other way.

This plays out all sorts of ways.  First off, all sorts of people are obviously having sex. Some of it is purely for the physical desire.  Some of it is in “relationships”.  But either way people are not having less sex today than before.  They just aren’t doing it within marriage. People sleep together, live together, and even have children together, without marriage.

But now there are even more ways to meet my physical desire.  I can just go on the internet.  When I was a kid, you at least had to risk hiding the magazine with pictures. Now you can watch it, heck even interact with it, and then just hit delete.  If it’s just physical, why work for it.

No matter how you look at it, it is easier than ever to get your physical desire met.  And everyone is telling us this is what it’s about.  All the media, our leaders, even some of our parents.  And at some level even the Church.  We spend so much time focussing on what not to do.  The basic message is don’t look, don’t touch, sex is bad until you are married then it’s good.  Bury your desire and then flip the switch when you get married.  But the problem is not only is the act of sex bigger than just physical, so are the questions that surround it.

Sure we are told that married sex is better – but what does better mean?  We automatically assume that means more physically pleasurable.  But sexuality isn’t just about that.  It’s about being bonded to the other person.

If we make sex only about pleasure and sexual desire, then I don’t have to get married to have it.  And, even if I get married, I could still be stuck in it only being about the physical. That can lead to less intimacy and ultimately less sex.  If you don’t need it that day, you don’t do it.  Or maybe the computer is still easier.

If we make sex about only the physical then why does it matter how you meet the need. You can meet it at the bar, at the computer, or even with the same sex.

I don’t say all of this to turn it into a lecture on how sex outside of marriage is sinful.  That’s a no brainer.  I say it because I think we as believers have to go way beyond that.  We have to understand that it isn’t just some sort of physical discipline.  There is way more on the line than that.

My pastor has often said that we need the single people in our church to have less sex and our married people to have more. I agree with that, but we need more than that.  We need sex to not be just sex – just physical pleasure.  “Not having sex” is a start, but it isn’t enough.  We need to understand that meeting the physical desire for sex outside of marriage hurts both our chances of getting married and experiencing sex the right way within our marriages.  We need a whole lot of repentance and relearning.

Do you view sex as primarily physical?  What is your view of sex based on?  Do you have your physical desire for sex met already?  What do you do with that desire?

Christians Should Have More Sex – And Talk About It

One of my pastor’s favorite lines is, “The problem with our church is that our singles are having too much sex, and our married people are not having enough.”

Every time he says it there is initial laughter at how funny that is, followed by a sort of uncomfortable chuckling at just how true it is.

It’s an interesting dynamic.  There is the idea in our culture about married sex vs. single sex.  As in, married sex is boring or non-existent and single sex is all about the hot passion. This is wrong both statistically and morally.

What’s interesting to me is that it seems married people are constantly willing to tell their single friends all about their lack of sex.  I can’t count the conversations I’ve had like this. It’s kind of mind boggling really.  Married people are constantly telling me about the sex they don’t have.  Very rarely are they telling me about the sex they do have.

Now I’m not talking about when a friend is sharing their life with me.  In other words there are men that I walk with and we all have struggles.  There are other men that I mentor and they are just letting me know what is going on so that I can walk with them.  That’s all good and honesty is vital in all of that.  We all go through different stages and issues.  Sexual struggle in a marriage can certainly be one of those.

What I’m talking about is this general idea out there that sex in marriage is not so great.  I feel like that is not really the best thing to tell single people.  What is the message exactly? Is the Christian community’s message, “Whatever you do, don’t have sex outside of marriage, wait for marriage.  And by the way, it’s not really that great then either.”  Really?!

I get that telling a wide eyed 20 year old that marriage is not a sex on demand scenario is probably pretty wise.  But constantly sending the message to the average Christian single that sex in marriage is always infrequent, hard work and often not good, seems kind of counter productive.

Let’s get real.  Even in the “evil and dangerous” secular world, the statistics don’t back this up.  In all the research I’ve seen married people have more and better sex than single people who are trying to have sex.  40% of married people have sex twice a week, compared to 20-25% of single and cohabitating couples.  Not only that but a significantly higher percentage of married men and women say sex is emotionally and physically satisfying than single people.  To top it off, married couples are more likely to hit orgasm – so that’s nice.

This isn’t to make light of the struggles that many married people have sexually.  I’ve walked with some people through tough stuff so I know it’s real.  But we need to do some things differently here if we are going to be honest and encourage single believers toward marriage.

To begin with, as my pastor says, married people need to have more sex.  Seriously.  For about a hundred reasons.  If you aren’t, then you HAVE TO get help and figure it out.

Next, married folks need to realize that what they say about sex has impact.  They also need to realize that the biggest problem out there right now isn’t single people rushing into marriage for sex, it’s that they are running away from marriage period.  The context has changed.  You are not doing the single person any favors by downplaying sex in marriage.

Finally, we need the married people who are having sex to be more real.  I remember one time talking with a friend after his ten year anniversary trip.  He said, “Bro, gotta tell ya. Great trip.  Stayed at the cabin.  Man, that cabin will never be the same.  I mean . . . wow. I don’t know if you’ve had premarital sex at all but I have.  And it is nothing compared to what happened this weekend.  I mean when there is trust, commitment and intimacy, all things are possible. . . just trust me on this. . . wow!”

Now that’s a ringing endorsement of marriage.  I’m in!

I think there is this tendency with married Christian couples to only talk about sex when it isn’t going well.  We need you to talk about it when it is.  We don’t need the details.  My friend didn’t say what positions they tried.  He didn’t video it and post it to facebook.  But he did share how he felt about it.

It’s true that we need realistic expectations.  What we don’t need is a message that says, “make sure you wait for it, but it’s not that great.”

What message have you received from married believers about sex?  Has it made you more or less excited about marriage?