5 Things that Make Us Squirm : Sex Sex and Christianity: A Match made in Heaven?
5 Things that Make Us Squirm : Sex A Cultural History of Sex Culturally, sex is viewed as a leisure activity and has been stripped of any relational value. Pornography means "a written description or illustration of prostitutes or prostitution” – sex stripped of relationship. Pornography used to be viewed as deviant and, therefore, hidden. It is now fully accepted as a legitimate form of entertainment. This shift began in the 1950s and the floodgates of pornography were soon opened.
5 Things that Make Us Squirm : Sex Some 2010 Statistics on Pornography 12% of websites (over 24 million) are pornographic between $10 and $14 billion a year is spent on pornography 25% of all search engine requests are pornography related 35% of all internet downloads are pornographic a child first sees pornographic images by age 11 the most popular day for viewing pornography is Sunday
5 Things that Make Us Squirm : Sex The Effect … “As we fall deeper into the mental habit of fixating on these images, the exposure to them creates neural pathways. Like a path that’s created in the woods with each successive hiker, so do the neural paths set the course for the next time an erotic image is viewed”. (William Struthers) Pornography hard wires our brains to understand and experience sex differently, leading to a slanted experience of sex and a wide array of sexual deviancy and dysfunction in our culture.
5 Things that Make Us Squirm : Sex Sexual deviancy and dysfunction is not a new thing, and it is certainly nothing foreign to matters of faith. To Moses, God provided a number of boundaries around sexual behaviour. The early church is confronted with issues of sexuality immediately and to the Corinthian church, Paul writes instruction in 1 Corinthians 7:2-6. Paul relates that sex within the confines of marriage is a very good thing, even spiritually healthy. Paul records this discussion as a concession rather than a command. He is permitting marital sexual relationships, not commanding them. The purpose of this sexual functioning within marriage is not expressed.
5 Things that Make Us Squirm : Sex Sex and Christianity The first 300 years of Christianity were relatively silent on sex, but once it became a state religion, more thought was put into this issue. The line of thought went like this: – Jesus was born of a virgin – virginity is good and not only good, but pure and holy – since virginity is good and holy, non-virginity is not – sex is viewed as undesirable, dirty, and even sinful Doctrine consistently emphasized that the only admissible purpose for sex was to conceive children. There became a need to limit sexual behaviour in marriage. Sex was to be for procreation, not pleasure.
5 Things that Make Us Squirm : Sex During the Middle Ages, sex was prohibited for about 40% of each year … and when sex was finally permissible, you’d better not have enjoyed it. God became “the great spoilsport of human sexuality, not its inventor”. (Philip Yancey) Sex was just not something Christians talked about. Through the 1960’s, society rapidly shifted from a super controlled view of sex to the out-of-control attitude we see today, while shocked Christians became labelled as prudish, uptight and sexually repressed. How accurate is that evaluation of Christians? What exactly is a scriptural understanding of sex?
5 Things that Make Us Squirm : Sex A Sweeping Generalized Scriptural Presentation of Sex “So God created humankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them. God blessed them and said to them, “Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it.” (Genesis 1:27-28) Sex was created by God as a very good thing. God immediately puts some boundaries around the sexual relationship. “That is why a man leaves his father and mother and is united to his wife, and they become one flesh. Adam and his wife were both naked, and they felt no shame.” (Genesis 2:24-25)
5 Things that Make Us Squirm : Sex Sex is intended for marriage … one man, one woman, united in one flesh … end of story. Sex is not dirty or shameful, but a beautiful aspect of our created nature and should be treated as such. Sex is obviously intended for procreation but also for pleasure. “Sexual pleasure is one of the most intense human experiences … it helps bond two people together and bring joy to living together and building a relationship”. (Dr. Stephen Arterburn) Sexual pleasure helps to cement the bond of relationship between husband and wife; it bonds them in “one flesh”. All of this goes to say that the pleasure inherent in the sexual aspect of a human marriage in not only by design, but is also pleasing to God.
5 Things that Make Us Squirm : Sex The Problem of Pleasure Because sexual experience is such a powerful human experience, its misuse or abuse becomes a key place for our enemy to operate. Proverbs 5: sexual temptation is personified as the adultress and described as one whose lips “drip honey, and her speech is smoother than oil but in the end she is bitter as gall, sharp as a double-edged sword. Her feet go down to death; her steps lead straight to the grave”. We are to flee from sexual temptation. The sad reality is that sexual experience can displace God from his proper place in our lives; sex can become a god we serve.
5 Things that Make Us Squirm : Sex “For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened. Although they claimed to be wise, they became fools and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images made to look like a mortal human being and birds and animals and reptiles. Therefore God gave them over in the sinful desires of their hearts to sexual impurity for the degrading of their bodies with one another. They exchanged the truth about God for a lie, and worshiped and served created things rather than the Creator—who is forever praised. Amen. Because of this, God gave them over to shameful lusts.” (Romans 1: 21-26)
5 Things that Make Us Squirm : Sex Because we have exchanged God’s truth for the cultural lies we often live by, the result is an abandonment of natural sexual relationships – ones that were meant to cement the bond of marriage and bring us fulfillment - and the replacement of these with shameful passions.
5 Things that Make Us Squirm : Sex A Conclusion Sex … – is created by God to be expressed in a marriage relationship – is not dirty or shameful, but a beautiful expression of the marriage relationship – is intended for both pleasure and procreation – can be misused and is a dangerous thing when abused – tends to fall in step when God is in the right place in our lives God made sex, and in the right context, it is very, very good.