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 Do You View Sex?

A couple of years ago I was fortunate enough to be in an Old Testament class with a ridiculously brilliant professor.  I mean this guy might be the most knowledgeable guy I’ve ever met.  At one point we were talking about The Law and I decided to ask a fun question, just to stir the pot.

I asked him, “Does the Bible literally say that I can’t have sex outside of marriage?” Without flinching (have you ever noticed professors never flinch) and he said, “No it doesn’t.  But it does say that if you have sex with someone you have to marry them right then.”  We all laughed.

One of the things that is hardest about being single is not having sex.  I love when married people tell me that sexual temptation doesn’t go away when you get married.  I know that’s true but, it’s not the same thing. We have to choose between not satisfying the desire or sin – you have another option.

This is the one thing that the Church is for sure going to tell single people – Don’t have sex. But that is not enough.  And the way we tell people can often set us up to fail.  It’s shouldn’t be about “waiting for marriage“, making the act of sex unholy, twisting bible verses to make them about sex, making the desire for sex bad, or even pretending that somehow I can crush that desire. It’s about understanding what sex is – biblically speaking.

Our culture has separated sex from marriage.  It says the purpose of sex is pleasure and personal enjoyment.  It’s something that we do to make ourselves feel better.  Now there is some truth to this of course, sex does feel good.  God created it to be pleasurable, which is awesome.  But that is not the end result.

This view ultimately makes sex less powerful.  We’ve had it drilled in our heads over and over that it is just a physical act.  And when the Church runs around telling us not to do it, without telling us what TO do, then it just adds to the problem by basically keeping it as a physical act – just one we shouldn’t do.

The message can end up being that It’s just about pleasure and feeling good in marriage (if I get married I get pleasure) but it still sells sex short and could mess up married sex. Worst of all we sometimes paint sex in such a negative light that when people do get married they struggle to enjoy it.

But the Bible talks about sex as much more than a physical act to do or not do.

From the very beginning, right after He creates Adam and Eve, God says that they will leave father and mother and become one flesh.  Jesus echoes this later of course when he is asked about divorce.  He essentially says, “You don’t get it at all.  Marriage is permanent and sex is part of what makes it that way.”

Sex is not just physical.  It is meant to be a spiritual act.  It bonds two people together in very real, one flesh way.  This is why where ever sex is talked about all through scripture it is always either within the context of marriage or the context of sin. There is no in between.  But we can also know for sure that the desire for sex is from God.  We can’t just throw that out or pretend it away, just because we as singles are not in a position to have the desire met.

We are going to desire sex.  A lot actually. Probably even if I’m called to singleness.  In my opinion trying to kill that desire is crazy.  But here’s the thing, I have all sorts of desires.  I don’t get to do them all, I have to submit them to God.

What I can do is not feed it the wrong way.  Paul (while talking about this subject) uses food as and example.  I can’t just eat what I want all the time.  I want a cookie every day, and if I eat that cookie every day, I’ll want it even more the next day.  We are not to be controlled by our desires.

Also, as I mentioned briefly before, if I separate sex from marriage there is way less reason to get married.  As crazy as it sounds, one of the surest ways to stay single is to have sex outside of marriage.  
Our culture is at set up in opposition to the scripture.  This isn’t new of course, its always been so, but now we are inundated with it.  We have to walk with God and we have to own our view of sex.  What is your real view of sex – the one you practice?