Are Christians Called to Have Great Sex?
Yep, I said it — the “s” word: SEX. Why are we so afraid to talk about it? There is most definitely a time and place to discuss sexual intimacy (the dinner table is probably not the ideal place), so I figure that’s exactly what blogs are for. It should not be so taboo that honest questions are going unanswered and young Christian women and men are suffering from lack of spiritual encouragement in this regard. The question here is not about pre-marital sex — I believe the boundaries presented by the Bible are pretty clear about God’s intent for when sex should take place (Matt. 15:19, Heb 13:4, 1 Cor. 7:2). What I’m talking about here is what happens after the vows have been taken.
A few weeks ago, I read this article (Christians Are Not Called to Have Amazing Sex) from Relevant magazine, and my response was “Right on!”. Last Friday, however, I attended a women-only seminar called “The Passion Pursuit: What Kind of Love Are You Making?”, hosted by the founders of Authentic Intimacy, where some different ideas were presented. Dr. Juli Slattery and Linda Dillow of Authentic Intimacy spoke to 75 women for about 2 hours on Christian marriage, sex and what God intends for us as wives. I wouldn’t say it was revolutionary, per se, but it certainly made me think about how we represent sex in our modern Christian culture, and what we really should be living out in our marriage and, therefore, saying to future generations.
Their overarching message centered around the idea that God does intend for us to enjoy sexual intimacy with our husbands, and not just “endure it” as a wifely duty or bypass efforts to improve sexual relations because “it’s not really that important”. This falls somewhere in between the purity ring approach — in which sexual expectations are placed upon a pedestal (from which they will ultimately fall) for all “good” Christian girls and boys — and the gnostic approach, in which the importance of sexual relations is denied, dubbed as outside the realm of Christian pursuits or “lesser” in the marriage relationship (this article seems to come from that perspective: No Need for Nooners). Following either path too far will ultimately lead to idolatry of one sort or another. God created us as both physical and spiritual creatures (and Christ is both fully God and fully man), and His intent is to redeem us fully. He never said sex wasn’t part of the equation.
Obviously marriage is about more than sex. I think the article from Relevant magazine makes a good point in that regard. And we certainly shouldn’t give up on marriage simply because making it “good” takes work. Sex is also an integral part of the marital relationship that is used in the Bible as a type of Christ’s relationship with His bride, the Church. In Ephesians 5:31, Paul addresses this mysterious connection of “two becoming one”. As with Christ and His beloved, making the relationship work requires sacrifice and persistence. Sometimes even in the face of rejection. The marriage relationship, including sex, is a means of grace given by God to His people for mutual sanctification as well as His glory. We know that, in the meantime, sin will get in the way, just like with everything else. But this doesn’t mean that we should settle for second best. I believe God really does want us to pursue the best marriage (and sex) that we can — for His glory and for our enjoyment.
At the end of the day (or in the middle of the afternoon, if that’s your preference), we need to remember both sides of the story. In this life, we will never achieve physical perfection and that includes the physical relationship with our husband/wife. But God is the Great Physician, and this means He has given us healing in every area of life — including the sexual realm. We too often think of this as a past time too “earthy” for God’s intervention. But isn’t He the one who came up with it? To reject His intent for sex would be to deny the efficacy of His all-encompassing grace. Putting “good sex” on a pedestal in the bedroom is not going to fix the way our modern Christian culture addresses sex, but I think the first step is recognizing that God’s purpose should come first: in sex, in marriage, in life.