16 Jan Is Sex God, Gross, or Gift? Part 2
Song of Songs 1:4 – Draw me after you; let us run. The king has brought me into his chambers.
This is an excerpt from the new book “Real Romance: Sex in the Song of Songs”. To purchase the book, click here, and to access the sermon series that accompanies these devos and this book, click here.
While our bodies and the sexual pleasure they enjoy were custom designed by God, some people sadly see sex as gross or disgusting. This perspective most commonly happens in one of two ways.
One, some bad religious teaching focuses almost entirely on what is sinful and forbidden with little teaching on what the Bible promotes for healthy marital sexuality. At its worst, bad religious teaching presents sex, even within marriage, as a sort of necessary evil for human procreation, or solely to keep the husband from straying out of the marriage and into adultery. This erroneous teaching is often rooted in ancient, non-biblical Greek thought that considered the human body basically evil and the pleasures derived in it as undesirable. Many early Christian teachers were raised with Greek thought and sadly kept some of this faulty mindset long after their conversions. Examples include Tertullian and Ambrose, who preferred human extinction to sex; Origen, who allegorized the Song of Songs and castrated himself; Gregory of Nyssa and Chrysostom, who taught that sex was a result of sin and the fall and not part of God’s design; and Jerome, who threw himself into brambles or beat his chest with a rock when sexually tempted and considered too much fun with his wife to be a sin against God. Not only were Catholic priests forbidden to marry, but by the Middle Ages, priests were also encouraged to regulate the frequency, positions, and sensations of married couples so that roughly half the year was filled with days married couples were forbidden from intercourse, which contributed to the Protestant Reformation. The former monk Martin Luther married the nun Katherine. In his teaching, he brought about a complete transformation of marital love and babies as part of a godly life for God’s people. The Victorian Age was marked by extreme modesty and a bit of an obsession with eliminating virtually any opportunity for sexuality to be seen publicly. Women were nearly silent in public and covered themselves down to their ankles with long dresses. One debated observation from a traveling British Navy captain in that day was that table and piano legs were even covered to prevent men who saw a naked table leg from being tempted to lustful thoughts. To state the obvious, if a man is sexually aroused by a table leg, then the problem is in his heart and not his furniture.
Two, because of sexual sin they have committed (e.g., fornication, pornography, adultery, etc.), or sexual sin committed against them (e.g., molestation as a child, assault as a teen or adult, rape, adultery, etc.), some people associate the pain of sin with the pleasure of sex and need a renewed mind, as Paul says. These kinds of trauma cause harm to the totality of a person, and if you have had any of these evil experiences, we are deeply sorry for that horrific pain. The best thing you can do is find a godly professional to meet with for wise counsel. There is healing and hope on the other side of abuse, and we want that for you and your marriage.
Do you tend to see sex as gross? Pray with your spouse or for your future marriage that God will give you a right view of sex as a gift.
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