What is the purpose of sex? What is sex and what is it for?
Sex and sexual activity is both the simplest and most complex of all activities.
In a recent book Caroline Simon uses the example of going to get your eyes tested. When the optometrist puts different glasses or lenses in front of your eyes, the same thing can look a little different, similarly people see the purpose of sex differently depending on the lens they are looking through. And the lens each person uses is influenced by their belief system about sex.
"pleasure" lens: sees sexual activity as something that is fun and satisfying without love, commitment or marriage. Sexual activity is something that is done to satisfy a personal desire for the intense feelings of arousal and orgasm. It is selfish, me-focused attitude.
"power" lens: using another person as a sexual object. Using sex to get attention or control.
"romance" lens: driven by feelings of romance or eros, which when fades, ends up in break-up, rejection, heart-ache.
"procreation" lens: to create life and to obey God as He commanded in Genesis 1:20: "be fruitful, increase in number, fill the earth."
"commitment/bonding" lens: sexual activity bonds a man and a woman together. Not just physical act, it is emotional, psychological and spiritual.
Sexual activity has an impact on people around us, family, friends, and the community and society we live in. When sexual activity is practiced in a marriage context, all the lenses come together in a holistic way.
What does God have to do with sex?
Many people believe God doesn't want us to have sex. Because sex is enjoyable they think God doesn't want us to have sex. Is this true? Is God against pleasure? Is God against sex? Satan's most basic lies is that godliness or living how God wants us to live, is not a happy life. The truth is exactly the opposite.
Godliness is joy. When people follow God's way of living, they show they trust him and believe that following him is the best life possible.
People who think God is against sex respond in two ways:
1) One way is to believe we are not sexual beings. This does not work because this is not true. God made us sexual beings and we cant escape sexual feelings and thoughts. God has chosen some people to remain single and celibate (no sexual relations). This is considered a gift from God (1 Corinthians 7:7-8). For everyone else, God's plan is marriage so that the sexual gift he created in us can be used as he designed (1 Corinthians 7:9).
2) The other extreme is to believe sex, but reject God, to ignore God's design for sex. People who act this way have sex when they have a desire for sex. This only works temporarily and never in the long-run. God designed sexuality to operate within a lifelong marriage of one man and one woman with a supporting family of the church, the community of believers.
The problem with both of these extremes is their starting point, they both think God is against sex. Therefore people believe we have to make a choice to believe God and reject sex or to reject God and believe in sex. Do you believe this? This is a lie from Satan.
The Bible has good news about sex. God created it! He is not against it! He made sex to be part of the bigger picture of families and communities. God's plan for sex is the best because God invented sex! Our job is to understand his plan and follow it.
The Bible on God and Sex
God made us to enjoy relationships with Himself and with one another. Human lives are built on healthy relationships with God and with each other, built on trust, honesty, safety and love.
In the beginning God created humans. We did not always exist. There was a time when humans did not exist. There was never a time when God did not exist, God has always existed as Creator. He chose to create humans. We are creatures that He created.
In the beginning God created Adam and Eve. He made male and female in His image. Man and woman is created in the image of God.
God made the first man and woman and they were perfect for each other!
We can imagine they were very beautiful! Beauty is good.
We can imagine they were completely comfortable with one another and they were both happy with one another. They knew that they were made for each other and they enjoyed one another.
We can expect they were in love with one another, perfectly attracted by one another, and completely committed to one another. God wanted it that way. True love between husband and wife and between humans and God in the Garden of Eden.
Then God gave them the command in Genesis 1:25 to have children, "fill the earth, take control of it." God commanded them to have sex. They didn't even have to get naked, they were already naked and they were comfortable with it (Genesis 2:25).
God gave humans the gift of sex to make them one flesh (Genesis 2:24), to bring them together and for them to create new life.
Sex, Sin and Satan
God wanted Adam and Eve to stay in perfect relationship with one another and with Him, so he said: rule the world, make it yours, just don't eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil (Genesis 2:17).
Satan deceived Eve and Adam followed his wife and they both disobeyed God. When this happened, "the eyes of both were opened" (Genesis 3:7).
They knew they were both naked and they were not comfortable to be naked with each other anymore. They covered themselves with leaves and tried to hide from God (Genesis 3:7-8).
God judged Adam and Eve and threw them out of the garden of Eden (Genesis 3:23). They no longer enjoyed the perfect relationship with God and with each other. Everything in God's creation was now fallen, and that included sex (Genesis 3:14-19).
Today we are still living in the shadow of the first rebellion against God. Instead of being confident in our identity as male and female, people are inter-sexed, transgendered, transexual.
In place of the pure sexual desire between male and female we now have a selfish desire that is there to make us feel good. And then some people turn this desire upside down and become gay and lesbian or want many other sexual practices and desires (Romans 1:27).
We worry about our bodies instead of happily accepting them. Instead of caring for each other, we put each other down and think only of ourselves. Sex becomes something to use for manipulation and control and not for keeping a husband and wife together. Sex is abused and the result is destruction in relationships, communities, society (John 10:10).
Here is the good news. God knows that we are fallen but he loves us and died on the cross to show us he loves us. If you believe with all your heart that Jesus died for you and resurrected from the dead, then he will give you a new life. He will give you the Holy Spirit and make you a new person. You will think differently because you will see everything from a new perspective (the mind of Christ) and you will act differently, based on God's word, the Bible. The Bible teaches us how to see God, ourselves, others and the world in God's way, and how to act in line with the new way of thinking. God gives us a choice. We can live God's way or we can choose not to live God's way. If we choose number two, you may wonder why in the long-run you are left empty and without any life.
Living God's way sexually by keeping sex for marriage may seem too difficult but developing the strength is like going to the gym. It's about practice, after a while it becomes easier and you see the positive effects in your body and mind.
That is why it is important to go to church. Church is people who believe in Jesus and who are learning to see the world God's way. They are there to help each other make godly choices in everything including sex.
God's gift or Satan's tool?
The world is passing away along with its desires, but whoever does the will of God abides forever. - 1 John 2:17
Q: where would you be without sexual desire?
A: you probably wouldn't be anywhere!
If not for sexual desire, people would not have sex. If your parents did not have sex, you would not be here!
Sexual desire is a feeling, an urge, an appetite. It is focused on yourself. It is saying, I need, I want, I must have. Sexual desire is inward-focused and self-satisfying. This doesn't necessarily make it wrong, it can be very good, but we need to be aware of this distinction.
Sexual desire is an important and wonderful part of being human. Environment, culture, and personal choice affect what turns your sexual desire on and off. An important part of development is learning to manage sexual desire.
God who enjoys giving gifts to his people made sex enjoyable and so he gave us sexual desire. It is part of the creation he made which is good.
The book, Song of Songs in the middle of the Bible is a book of sexual poetry. The book is focused on marriage and a wedding is at the centre of the book (Songs 3:6-11). But the point is that it is unashamedly sexual (read Songs 4:9-11). Take the Bible and read this book together with some of your friends. What do we learn? God celebrates sex and sexual desire in the context of marriage.
Love has different forms, romantic love, friendship love, family love. Agape love is the highest form of love and the only source is God himself and his children. We who are God's children have this love (and truth) from God and it is this love (and truth) that we need to share to the world. We have what everybody needs!
Decades ago and in other societies still today, a young man and woman develop in a controlled and gradual manner under the guiding eyes of parents and other adults. This process is unfamiliar with many people today. In our fast-paced world, who has the time for building a relationship? Everything today moves fast.
Modern society tells us that we can and we should satisfy our desires right away. Desire food? Go to fast-food restaurant. Desire information? Google it! Desire sex? There is porn on the internet. It is always fast, free and always available. No problem.
We need to have the courage to practice and develop a pattern of non-sexual intimacy.