We seem to clearly live in a time where sexual relations between two people has lost its sacredness. For many it is just a recreational activity you do for pleasure. This gives you the freedom to enter a whole new world where you can forget about love, meaning and commitment. You can be liberated to have sex with whomever you want with no strings attached.
However, this approach to sexuality is not working well for modern people. For many it is leaving them empty and depressed. I go into this at length in the book I wrote on the hookup culture titled Sex at First Sight.
In this blog I want to share some new insights that I believe will provide some additional wisdom about our sexuality.
The first comes from author and Pastor Ray Stedman in his book on the Old Testament book of Ecclesiastes 7:28.
“One man among a thousand I have found, but a woman among all these I have not found.”
If you read carefully, as Solomon went through life he would find loyal, trustworthy men who could be a true friend, but he could never seem to find this in a woman.
We must remember that Solomon had scores of wives and concubines. When he sought to relate to a woman, Stedman says he was stymied by immediate sexual involvement. For this reason it did not allow him to discover who the woman really was.
Stedman then provides some great insight into relationships. He says one of the most important lessons we must learn is that as a relationship between a man and a woman grows and develops, it goes through a period of continuous discovery. It begins by developing a friendship. To have sex prematurely “arrests the mutual process of discovery.” You cannot discover who the other person is if you have sexual relations before the proper time.
In marriage, a good, healthy sexual relationship enhances the discovery process, but without marriage, without its commitment and intimacy, sex ends up derailing discovery.
Modern people do not get this. They do not heed the wisdom of God and seek to circumvent what He is telling us. We all seek richness and fullness of life, yet so many seek it apart from the laws of life that God has set forth. However, it can’t be done.
The beauty of discovery between two people can never be experienced except where God says it is found.
The second piece of wisdom comes from Charles Swindoll. He talks of an interview he saw on a television talk show. The guest was an actor who was well-known for his romantic roles on film.
Predictably he was asked, “What makes a great lover?” I am confident everyone watching the show (myself included) expected the standard macho-playboy response. To the surprise of the host and the audience, his answer must have raised eyebrows all across America. It went something like this:
“A great lover is someone who can satisfy one woman all her life long, and who can be satisfied by one woman all his life long. A great lover is not someone who goes from woman to woman to woman. Any dog can do that.”
No one was prepared for that answer.
Probably some of the most powerful words I have read about human sexuality comes from a book written back in 1934 by the prominent scholar J.D. Unwin titled Sex and Culture. Unwin had spent many years closely studying eighty-six different civilizations. His findings startled many people, including Unwin himself, as all eighty-six demonstrated a direct tie between absolute heterosexual monogamy and the “expansive energy” of civilization. In other words, sexual fidelity was the single most important predictor of a society’s ascendancy and strength.
Unwin had no religious convictions and applied no moral judgment. “I offer no opinion about rightness or wrongness.” Nevertheless, he had to conclude, “In human records there is no instance of a society retaining its energy after a complete new generation has inherited a tradition which does not insist on pre-nuptial and postnuptial sexual restraint.” Clearly, civilizations flourish when they demonstrate premarital sexual restraint and faithfulness and fidelity in marriage. For Roman, Greek, Sumerian, Moorish, Babylonian, and Anglo-Saxon civilizations, Unwin had hundreds of years of history to draw upon. He found there were no exceptions. These societies flourished, culturally and geographically, during eras that valued sexual fidelity. Inevitably, sexual standards would loosen, and the societies would subsequently decline, only to rise again when they returned to the more rigid sexual standards.
Unwin seemed at a loss to explain the pattern. “If you ask me why this is so, I reply that I do not know. No scientist does . . . You can describe the process and observe it, but you cannot explain it.”
Philip Yancey, after reading Unwin’s book says:
Unwin preached a message that few people want to hear. Without realizing it, though, Unwin may have subtly edged toward a Christian view of sexuality from which modern society has badly strayed. For the Christian, sex is not an end in itself, but rather a gift of God. Like such gifts, it must be stewarded according to God’s rules, not ours.
Christianity teaches that there is a divinely established moral order and that we as human beings just can’t decide for ourselves what is moral. When we choose to defy God’s moral order, there is a price that we pay.