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?