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Let’s Talk About Sex

biblical-view-of-sexSex is not good – it’s great! Even bad sex is still pretty great. Let’s be clear from the outset that our bodies and sexuality are good. God created it all. But boy, have we made one literal hell out of it. We are continually frustrated in this area. We seek advice, read books, talk about it, but we barely scratch the surface of our sex issues. Losing hope, we resolve to accept things as they are (or find unhealthy alternatives). Men are frustrated, women are hurt – or vice versa – or both. There is a plethora of other emotions swirling about. Why? Why can’t we fix what would seem to be a simple problem?

In talking to couples I’ve discovered that they want to have a healthy sex life. They want to be connected and close to one another. This is wonderful – what a great starting place! Yet they’re stuck. How can two adults that love and care for one another not overcome their issues with sex? A primary answer is that few dig deep enough to uncover their influences and ideas surrounding sex.

When we think about sex, what comes to mind? As men, we’re bombarded with images of lingerie, passionate intimacy, and a set of expectations a mile long. We say things like, I need sex. I have to have sex – it’s a biological thing. To be denied sex is to not get what I deserve.

Says who? Who is saying all these things? Where does this teaching about sex come from? Primarily it comes from our culture and upbringing. Is it the truth? Not even close. We’re not even asking the right questions yet.

Let’s look at it from a woman’s perspective. In light of a man needing, wanting, and getting sex, how is a woman going to feel? I’ve talked this out with my wife. Her answer was telling, and reflects how many women feel – in short, they feel obligated. For women sex is obligation. For men it’s a commodity – it’s something they have/get.

Now I ask you, if this is the starting point, how the heck is this going to end well?

It can’t.

The ideas we have around sex do not reflect the intent of sex. Okay, you say, what is the intent of sex? Great question. Let’s start with what it’s not. When we’re talking about two committed individuals in love sex is not a commodity. It’s not a transaction. It’s not something we deserve/get/have or are obligated to deliver out of a sense of pressure.

An important clue to our total misunderstanding of sex is our language. John Ortberg notes (I forget which lecture, book, or sermon) that our language around sex (getting it, having it) shows we know very little about it. Rather than a beautiful expression between two people who love each other, we turn it into “getting it.” As a starting point, we need to step back and re-think what sex is.

The healthiest teaching and understanding I’ve found about sex comes from the world’s greatest teacher, Jesus. Jesus sees people as God’s creation – full of potential – with God-given functionality. Ortberg notes, “sex, in light of Jesus’ teaching, always involves God.” As the creator of humans, God is deeply concerned that sex be expressed, enjoyed, savored, and relished according to his design. What’s God’s design? Relationship.

Sex is relationship. It’s the outward expression of two deeply connected people. One flesh. It’s a kind of sacrament. Two people are knit together – connected at the soul. This is why it’s so amazing. It’s an incredible expression of relationship.

Instead of giving up in frustration or going down unhealthy paths, start here in your marriage. Move forward together, empowered. Be intentional in your journey- step-by-step. See where it leads.

Thanks for reading,
Ted Olson


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