I believe the most critical sex organ is the brain and not the penis or vagina. Sex begins with and is fueled by imagination.
Because Christian doctrine tells us that pre-marital sex is to be avoided, many Christians struggle with mind sex – mostly masturbation and its fuel – porn. It’s an escape; a way to skirt around the edges of a doctrine few of us understand nor can fully accept.
We struggle with guilt; with the awareness that God is as interested in our thoughts as he is in our deeds. There’s also an attendant frustration and incompleteness – we want more; much more.
Should the number of young people who masturbate continue to increase, we will have more people who have had “sexual experiences” without penetrative sex. With those experiences come questions and expectations; programming and behaviours. Those experiences create a false frame of reference for sexuality, long after we begin to have skin-on-skin sex. And like any addiction, those of us who become “hooked” can only be delivered through therapy or an act of mercy.
There are few safe and non-condemnatory spaces where people can discuss issues about sex and faith. And so we deal with the confusion in silence. We struggle with the turmoil in shame. How do we explain where our “experiential” knowledge comes from? How do we discuss orgasms when we’re not supposed to have had one in the first place? How do we discuss the things we like or don’t like without explaining where those preferences came from? How do we regulate the exposure we have attained?
According to the DHS Survey, in Nigeria, 25% of women have had sex before the age of 15. It’s clear we need safe spaces where teenagers and young adults can have honest conversations about sex as so many have fully or partially explored it anyway.
Sex and faith are not mutually exclusive. You don’t have to choose one or the other. God is not trying to be wicked when he says wait. I think this scripture summarises his robust view of sex:
“There’s more to sex than mere skin on skin. Sex is as much spiritual mystery as physical fact. As written in Scripture, “The two become one.” Since we want to become spiritually one with the Master, we must not pursue the kind of sex that avoids commitment and intimacy, leaving us more lonely than ever—the kind of sex that can never “become one.” There is a sense in which sexual sins are different from all others. In sexual sin we violate the sacredness of our own bodies, these bodies that were made for God-given and God-modeled love, for “becoming one” with another. Or didn’t you realize that your body is a sacred place, the place of the Holy Spirit? Don’t you see that you can’t live however you please, squandering what God paid such a high price for? The physical part of you is not some piece of property belonging to the spiritual part of you. God owns the whole works. So let people see God in and through your body.” 1 Corinthians 6:16-20 MSG
If you choose to situate sex within marriage, I think it’s an incredible act of courage. It takes conviction to go against the tide of popular culture.
Today as I ruminate on sex, I’m having an internal conversation with God. Some may call it a prayer:
“God, you own everything about me, including my body. I will try to honour you with it. I have not always succeeded but I remain committed to doing so. I want to experience real sex, the kind that comes from a place of deep emotional commitment; the exclusive kind. I will wait for it and wait for the person I will give my heart and body to. I know willpower is limited and rarely works when I’m in the midst of temptation – when that man pushes my mumu button. I forget spirituality when my body screams to be touched and when loneliness grips my soul. I lose myself when my habits come calling; when my self worth fails me. God, please help me. Let your mercy find me like it always does. Help me to rely on your Holy Spirit and your grace, and not my own sense of self righteousness and empty courage. I need you now and I always will. Amen.”Sex begins with and is fueled by imagination. Click To Tweet We need safe, non-condemnatory spaces to discuss issues about sex & faith. Click To Tweet May I rely on grace and not my own sense of self righteousness & empty courage. Click To Tweet