Is There More to Sex Than Pleasure?
- Tuesday, April 15, 2008
Think for a moment about your first impression of sex. What did you pick up from TV, magazines and movies? What attitude did your parents convey? Was sex presented as a necessary evil, something to be joked about, a dirty thing to be ashamed of, a precious gift from God to be saved for marriage? Many people say that sex was presented only as something people do to conceive children, and other than that, sex was considered a bad thing. You may have never talked with your parents about sex, but parents can convey attitudes and feelings without words. To never talk about sex also conveys a message.
What messages did you pick up from kids on the playground? Chances are that know-it-all-fifth-grade boy was full of misinformation. This is worth thinking about because you may need to consciously reject some of the erroneous ideas you were fed. Warped views of sex have a way of persisting even when we know in our head that they are wrong.
As a kid, I always peppered my mom with questions. When I was about eight years old, I asked my mom a bunch of questions about where babies come from. I was persistent and pressed her to know exactly how babies got inside their mothers’ tummies. My mom told me about sexual intercourse. She was open, honest and matter of fact about it. My response was, “Oh, that’s gross! I’ll never do that!” She laughed softly and said, “When I was your age, I felt the same way, but when you’re older and married and in love with a man, you’ll think it’s wonderful.” That powerful statement shaped my view of sex. It stuck with me and became the foundation of my view of sex.
Fast-forward about a decade. I was a teenager, and my parents were going away for the weekend—just the two of them. While my mom packed, she gave me instructions for the weekend, when to pick up my sister from her ballet lesson and so on. As I listened to her litany of directives, I noticed she was packing a sexy black negligee. At first I thought, Was she going to wear that with Dad? But then I thought, Wow, that’s awesome that they still have these romantic getaways together even though they’re so old! This was another formative event that shaped my view of sex in marriage.
Do you need to rethink your view of sex? My hope is that you’ll catch a glimpse of God’s wonderful view of sex and that it will capture your heart and transform the way you live.
This is what happened to Maria. I ran into her at the wedding of a mutual friend. We hadn’t seen one another in seven years. The slow-moving buffet line gave us ample time to catch up.
Maria had been a party girl in college and had slept around, always hoping that her current boyfriend would be the lasting love of her life. Serial lovers left her feeling broken and confused. But when she became a Christian at the end of her senior year of college, she began to reclaim a vision for purity and committed herself to chastity. After graduation, she took a job where she eventually met her husband, Juan. He was a committed Christian as well.
As we waited our turn to load up our plates, Maria said, “You know, the sex I have with my husband now is way better than all the sex I had in college. That sex was destructive. It left me feeling empty. But sex within marriage builds me up. When I look at my adorable kids, I wish I could go back and tell my younger self, ‘Don’t sleep around. It only messes you up. Have sex the way God intends—in marriage.’”
For the first time in my life I was glad for a slow-moving food line. It gave me a chance to hear Maria’s heart and see the beauty of her life.
1Philip Yancey, Designer Sex (Downers Grove, Ill.: InterVarsity Press, 2005), p. 29.
2Lisa McMinn, Sexuality and Holy Longing (San Francisco: Josey-Bass, 2004), p. 55.
Taken from Sex and Dating: Questions You Wish You Had Answers To by Mindy Meier. © 2007 by Mindy Meier. Used by permission of InterVarsity Press, P.O. Box 1400, Downers Grove, IL 60515-1426. ivpress.com
Mindy Meier serves as InterVarsity Christian Fellowship staff in the Chicago area with a special focus on working with Greek students in fraternities and sororities. Her husband is a pastor and they have four children.
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