Sex is easy. Obvious statement, so what’s the point? Birds do it. Beasts do it. Humans do it.
There are those who prowl about the world pursuing sexual prey, consuming and discarding conquests like they were earning points in some sick game, attempting to satisfy a voracious carnal urge with little concern of consequence or human causalities.
Whoa there, that is a pretty strong statement right out of the gate, you might be thinking.
Is sex only a release, an insatiable bodily urge, which serves no greater purpose or meaning than a sneeze? Is it passé, old-fashioned or naive to consider that perhaps there is more to sex than just the physical act?
Why do I bring this up?
My work in marriage preparation has allowed me entrance into the inner world of couples and the anxiety lurking behind pre-marital sex. The good news is that they are in my office seeking to prepare for marriage, but so often the proverbial cart before the horse has complicated their relationship and set up destructive habits that can be taken into marriage. Add to this the fact that many have “no issue” with the use of pornography to “stimulate” their love life. I have been told on more than one occasion, “as long as it is mutual” it’s okay.
Recently in one of the marriage preparation classes we had groups of couples write down their “hopes and fears” for marriage. This exercise usually nets the typical worries such as divorce, falling out of love, boredom, infertility, infidelity, finances etc. New this round was this telling statement: “bad sex.” One of the male leaders quipped under his breath, “For most males any sex is good sex.” So why is “bad sex” such a stand out statement? Perhaps in part, it may be due to over-sexualized, porn-driven, obsession-with-performance concerns.
On the secular anti-porn site, FightTheNewDrug.org, the mantra is “Porn Kills Love.” It is backed up with scientific data, testimonies, and some celebrities who share their stories. Over and over you read about how porn ruined the way they viewed women/men, and sex. Ruin to their relationships soon followed.
So why do I bring up porn? With the onslaught and widespread acceptance of this love-killing, sex-consuming preoccupation, we have seen an increase in sex addiction, divorce, and sex related health issues. (See CovenantEyes.com/pornstats for more information. )
Sex in its wide-spread, limitless acceptance has effectively been reduced to entertainment and its beauty and meaning have been all but eliminated. Some go to porn as a remedy, which is like throwing an accelerant on a dying fire. It may burn hard for a while, but then burns out completely. What we see is a battlefield of wounded causalities and confusion.
I wish to throw out a suggestion and perhaps a welcome remedy: intimacy. What is intimacy and what, if anything, does it have to do with sex? Some clever soul has used this simple way to break the code and explain intimacy: into- me –see. The answer is not outside of us, but rather requires a look inside, inside the heart of the object of your love. Intimacy is a sharing of each other’s hearts. It requires vulnerability, trust, and genuine mutual affection. It requires time, effort, restraint, and active listening.
Porn is only screen deep. Intimacy is limitless in its capacity to discover and rediscover the depths of the object of its love. The problem arises when one settles for sex when one truly desires and deserves authentic love and intimacy. This is where marriage comes in. God has had a plan since the beginning. It is we who have gotten off track and settled for easy counterfeits.
Love waits. Love searches. It does not grasp and grab and take. It isn’t scripted and for sale. It isn’t for the weak, or lazy, or impatient. Sex is the highest expression of love in marriage. It is the gift that is not shared with the rest of humanity, but reserved for the one committed until death. That is the beauty of sex and it is possible with God to renew it to its former glory, one couple at a time.