I’m a woman in my mid-twenties, have never had sex, and am currently not in a romantic relationship. I’m not going to have sex for the foreseeable future. I believe and hold fast to conservative theology surrounding sex and marriage. I specifically mean that I believe that sex was designed to be acted on only in a covenant marriage between one man and one woman.
And I need to hear more sermons and messages from church on the topic of sex.
I grew up in a church that didn’t talk about sex, or sexuality. Not more than a passing mention, anyway. When and if the topic was mentioned, it was in hushed tones, and with a palpable awkwardness. Messages about sex in my Christian community were brief and barely skimmed more than surface level. They were presented with an attitude that gave me the distinct impression that sex was something shameful; something to be avoided.
A Different Message
How interesting that I have found an entirely different message in the Bible as I grow into an adult.
As I was growing up and entering young adulthood, sex-related teachings from my church revolved exclusively around sexual immorality. The idea that God made sex, and furthermore, made it to be something good were ideas mentioned as passing comments on the way to messages that focused entirely on warnings against sexual sin.
I am not writing this to discourage any teacher or follower of Christ from avoiding sexual immorality, or from admonishing others against it. Far from it. I believe that sermons cautioning against sexual immorality are vital. The scriptures speak frequently against this particular sin, admonishing and cautioning frequently against it throughout both the Old and New Testaments. Sexual immorality and its consequences cannot, and should not, be easily tossed aside.
I also understand that in a culture that is often gluttonous and ravenous in its approach to sexuality, caution against immorality is a necessary aspect of the teachings of a church that is following after God.
However, in the teachings I have heard about sexual sin, I don’t remember actually learning very much at all about the actual intent and purpose of sexuality. As an adult, I feel that I am still only skimming the surface of what scripture teaches on the subject.
Is guarding myself from sexual immorality the whole picture? If I am understanding what I read in the Word of God, I was actually designed to be a sexual being. Yes. Designed. So were you. (Genesis 5:2)
The Bible? It talks about sex.
It talks about sexuality. Without shame. Without avoidance. Even more than that, it talks about sexuality as being something beautiful, something designed with loving intention by the God of the universe.
“But from the beginning of creation, ‘God made them male and female.’ Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh.” (Mark 10:6-9, ESV)
Author and Pastor Ed Stetzer comments, “This ‘one-flesh’ relationship (Gn 2:24) is the most intense physical intimacy and the deepest spiritual unity possible between a man and woman. It should remind both partners of the even more remarkable oneness that the human spirit can experience with God in spiritual new birth through faith in Jesus Christ (Jn 3).”
Song of Solomon is a thing that exists. In an Old Testament commentary on the book, theologian Daniel Akin has this to say: “(Song of Solomon) portrays the deep, genuine love between a man and a woman in marriage. The subject of the book is quite obviously sexual in nature. The intimacy and physical pleasure God intended for a man and a woman is tastefully and appealingly put on full display before us.”
God did not design this part of me just so I could suppress it. In fact, there’s no part of me that he designed to be suppressed (my sin nature is an entirely different matter, and not created by God. And that is not being suppressed. More than that: it has died at the cross of Christ.) God made all of me on purpose. That includes my sexuality, my existence as a creature of sexual nature.
A God of Fullness
Do you know what being an intentionally designed sexual being means? Has anyone who is a teacher of the word ever talked to you about this?
Or have you, like me, spent the majority of your time trying to suppress and blot out anything about you that is sexual?
This year I am learning about a God of fullness, in ways that I never have before. I am learning about the God who commanded his people in the Old Testament with what seemed to be strict laws; not simply to rein them in, not to cage them, but to push them towards abundance of life. I’m learning about the God who fed lunch to a crowd of thousands (Matt 14:13-21). I’m learning about a God who replaces temptation and barren despair with holiness and peace. These words feel like pots of honey, overflowing to the point that their contents flow over the sides and onto the floor. This is a God of plenty (Jeremiah 31:14).
Nowhere does God urge his people away from something evil without urging them towards something better.
This is where I feel a deficiency in the sexuality that I have been taught.
I have been taught deprivation and abstinence and avoidance.
I have not been taught the fullness, I have not been taught the something better.
I have not been taught how to be a woman who is content and whole in the Lord outside of marriage.
I have not been taught that I can still be a valid sexual being and be single and celibate at the same time.
I have been taught to avoid premarital sex and porn (with good reason).
I have not been taught why God designed sex as a part of marriage.
I still struggle to understand that within God’s design, sex can be good, even beautiful and holy.
I often forget that Song of Solomon is even a book of the Bible.
With all this in mind, I’d like to make a request of those who are wise in the Word and are in positions of teaching and mentoring. With wisdom, prayer, and intention to glorify God, teach us about sex and sexuality. Teach us the wholeness of God’s design, not just the twisted depravity that comes from living in a fallen world. Show us the “on earth as it is in heaven” part of this (Matt. 6:10).
Don’t just treat sexuality like a problem to be managed. Read Song of Solomon. Explain it. Teach us to offer our whole selves in worship, including the way we interact with sexuality.
Stetzer, Ed. “The Bible and Sexuality: A Closer Look.” The Exchange, Christianity Today, April 18, 2012, www.christianitytoday.com/edstetzer/2012/april/bible-and-sexuality-closer-look.html
Atkin, D. (2015) . HCSB Study Bible. Retrieved from christianbook.com
Beth is a writer, artist, and entrepreneur teacher living in Denver, Colorado. She is a participant in WGA’s program and is now doing some volunteer work there too. She is a vegan(or a vegetarian, depending on how badly she wants cheese sticks), and is passionate about mental health, cosmetics, fair trade, minimalism, and an oddball smattering of humanitarian causes.
Make a Difference in Someone's Life
If you enjoy reading WGA’s blogs and would like to show your support, please consider making a donation. Where Grace Abounds is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization. The majority of services, including support groups and discipleship counseling, are provided free of charge. Your financial gifts help to cover the costs associated with offering a free program to those who seek WGA’s services.