“I could never take a chance
Of losing love to find romance
In the mysterious distance
Between a man and a woman.” -U2
As the saying goes, men think about sex roughly every seven seconds. Sometimes it can seem like more frequently than that! Whether that is the reason or not, our entertainment, our politics and even our spiritual life is influenced in some way by sex. Everybody knows sex is a big deal, but why is this so? Here are four reasons:
It’s Hard-wired Biology
The biological drive is an essential part of our design. Human beings and animals alike have powerful urges to reproduce. In our 21st century western abundance, we are less consciously concerned with passing along our genetic material, but we are still able to be influenced, even controlled by our ids. Consider the number of ads that appeal to our curiosity or desire using sexual or suggestive images, and it’s clear we are in the grip of something powerful
Sex is a big deal because it has far-reaching consequences in nearly every case. This is as it should be with anything so valuable. Think first about the proper (i.e., moral) uses of sex. First, procreation is not a bug; it’s a feature. Anything that can result in new life is undeniably powerful. Second, the marriage bed is intended to strengthen the bonds between a husband and wife. Marriage as designed by God and explained in scripture is intended to be a covenant that lasts as long as he and she live. Given all the ways two people can disagree, this unifying aspect of sex is necessarily strong.
Another facet of this unifying effect is the physiochemical bonding that occurs through sexual contact. In intercourse, the man’s seed contains substances that cause the woman to bond with him. Under ideal circumstances, her husband will be the only one to be sexually intimate with her, and she will bond only with him. Also, their sexual union combines their microbiomes — the microorganisms that live in and on you, but aren’t you.
The misuse of sex doesn’t mean that it no longer has a legitimate purpose, but this misuse also carries significant consequences. Out of wedlock births now account for 41% of live births in the US, and roughly half of US children are growing up in single-parent homes. The resulting fatherlessness affects young men in ways we are only beginning to recognize. All because of the misappropriation of sex. Let’s also note that epidemics of sexually transmitted infections (STIs) mean that you have better odds playing russian roulette. The dangers of misusing sex also include stalkers and jealous lovers.
As I mentioned above, in addition to fertilizing an ovum, a man’s semen promotes pair bonding. If however a woman has had multiple sex partners, this effect can be diminished, as she effectively becomes inoculated. A study I have read suggests that a woman’s likelihood of divorcing her husband increases dramatically according to the number of her prior sex partners (her “N”). An N greater than two results in a 54% probablility of divorce — and it increases from there. Choose wisely, men.
Sex as a part of marriage is an earthly — and earthy — picture of divine love. Theologically astute readers will recognize that the book of Revelation in the Bible refers to the wedding supper of the lamb at the end of days. This describes the union of Christ and His bride, the church. The physical union of a man and his wife is also a spiritual joining — of the two becoming one. Their climax takes each beyond himself or herself, fulfilling not only the desire for release, but also the deep desire for transcendence itself. No wonder it occupies so much of our thought life.
It’s Private and It’s Everybody’s Business
We hold sex in such high regard because it is the most intimate and exclusive of relationships.. In its particulars, it is absolutely meant to be shared only by the husband and the wife. At the same time, their community has a vital interest in their proper use of sex. This is because the formation of stable families is the best method for ensuring a stable and harmonious culture. Applied faithfully and intentionally, the biblical model for the family is demonstrably better for the rearing of healthy, well-adjusted and moral children.
As I’ve said in a previous post, sex is like a river. Within its banks, it can give life to an entire community. If it exceeds its banks, the devastation that results can destroy individuals, families and communities, if not nations.
So how about you? Recognizing that sex is a big deal, how do you intend to keep it in its proper place? Share your thoughts below.