Healthy Sex: Why Sex is Awesome

By Marc Engelhardt

This post continues the recaps from Christ in Common, which is a discipleship discussion that takes place in my context. Christ in Common is a good example of how we purposefully approach the discipleship triad of Foundation, Worldview, and Practice. Remember, as recaps, these posts hit highlights of what the group discussed in person, so they are short and may seem to make some jumps occasionally. If you pull out the Word and study the Foundation mentioned, you should be able to fill most gaps.

Building off the first session, “Sex is not a Four Letter Word,” we now take a look at the effect that sex has on us. To do so, we start with Jesus being questioned about divorce in Mark 10:2-12. Jesus is asked about whether or not divorce is OK. The answer Jesus gives is that because of the hardness of their hearts, Moses allowed them to divorce. In other words, because of sin, Moses gave them a system of divorce to prevent further sin. Jesus makes it clear that divorce actually messes with the way God created the world to work. He then quotes a section from Genesis and adds that once the oneness God created happens, people are not to break that bond. He goes on to explain to his disciples that to bond with another person other than your first bond is in fact adultery. (The part about divorce and adultery is covered in a later session)

Jesus quotes Genesis, so we go there next. In Genesis 2:18-25, we see that there is no suitable helper found in creation for Adam, and he is alone. God says that isn’t good. So, God puts Adam to sleep, takes a piece of Adam, and creates Eve from that piece. The imagery here is wonderful: Adam is alone, so God takes part of him, making him in a way incomplete. God makes woman from that piece, so Eve (the first woman) is actually part of Adam.

The response Adam has when he meets Eve is that she is special like him, unlike the rest of the animals. Now he is no longer alone. The passage goes on to say that because Adam and Eve were made in this fashion, created for each other, from each other, the way the world works is a man and woman come together, start their own household, and hold fast to each other becoming one flesh. That last bit means to have sex. Jesus says all of this describes marriage as it was intended from the beginning.

In response to a question about marriage and divorce, Jesus gives great insight about sex. Sex is connected to marriage. It is part of the marital bond. The bond that sex creates between and man and woman is to be lifelong, because they have become one. To better understand this “oneness,” we talked about duct tape.

Duct tape is really sticky. In fact, when you stick duct tape to something, it is really hard to pull off, although it can be done. When it is pulled off, part of what the tape was stuck to is left on the sticky part of the tape. And part of the sticky part of the tape is left on what it was stuck to. Sex for humans is like duct tape. Sex bonds us to another, sticky side to sticky side. It is only supposed to happen within marriage because it makes us one with the other tape.

When the tape is pulled apart, part of us is left, and part of the other person is bonded to us. We are changed. The other person is changed. We are also a little less sticky than before. The more times tape is stuck down and pulled off, the more stuff gets stuck to it, the less sticky it becomes. The same happens for us in connection to doing sexual things with multiple partners throughout life. The real tragedy here is that when someone wants to have a marital bond with another after repeatedly sticking their tape to things, it is more difficult because their tape is full of junk from the past.

It isn’t just the act of sex that creates the bond. Sex is special. Sexual things create a bond and stick to our tape in different degrees. More on that in later sessions. For now, we have several worldviews with which to work from this foundation and the first is sex is linked to marriage because sex makes a man and a woman one. Sex can be separated from marriage, but not from the effect it has that is intended for marriage, which is the bond it creates. Taking sex out of the context of marriage creates all types of problems for us. At the same time, when used the way it is intended, sex reinforces the marital bond and is awesome.

Practically, then, sex is a relationship strengthener for marriage. It is about the other, so use it to strengthen your oneness. At the same time, we all need to be aware of what we are bonding ourselves to, since sex has consequences beyond the momentary physical enjoyment. For our own protection and the enjoyment of creation, it is best to save sex for our marital relationship alone.

2 thoughts on “Healthy Sex: Why Sex is Awesome

  1. Marc, you have written two excellent articles on sexuality and monogamous Christian marriage in your recent postings, however, I found your last sentence in the above article contradictory: You stated, “For our own protection and the enjoyment of creation, it is best to save sex for our marital relationship alone.” Indeed true, but remember that sexual desire begins in the mind. Jesus tells us in the Gospel that even looking at a woman with desire in our minds is tantamount to committing the sin of adultery in our hearts. That is tough for most male members of the human race, Christian and non-Christian alike, wouldn’t you agree? I sometimes wish the Lord had simply said, “Look but don’t touch.”
    When Martin Luther was asked as a young man if he thought about women, he famously said, “Am I made of wood or stone?
    Sexuality and sexual desire have biological and physiological triggers inherent to each of us. Even when we love the Lord and practice self control in sexual things, the mind still entertains sexual temptation and desire. A married Christian man may see a beautiful woman, a stranger to him, and although he may not approach her or commit adultery, he may be thinking about her when he is making love to his own wife later that evening. Yet, the Bible would indicate he has committed adultery in his heart already.
    I raise the issue because nobody else will bring it up. Most people do not want to go there. But the reality is that sexual desire does not make one evil for simply looking at a pretty woman a guy has seen on TV or in real life. It does not mean the fantasy is innocent, but it is also caused by the biological component. If it is sin, then every male is guilty since time began.

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    1. John, keep an eye on the coming posts as they will all build on each other and get deeper into questions you raise.
      One aspect that you may be overlooking is that just because we are born with desires and uncontrollable reactions to stimuli does not make those desires or reactions inherently OK. We are conceived in sin, born in sin, and live out lives where everything we know and do is tainted, and/or corrupted by sin. When Jesus speaks in Matthew 5 about looking, thoughts, and adultery, he is approaching what he says Matthew 15 from a slightly different angle, which is, sin and defilement come from within, from the heart, and no attempt to follow a law will fix that, in fact the attempts further highlight the inability. We need our insides, our biological, physiological, and I’ll add psychological defaults repaired and we are unable to do that. Hence, why the grace received in Christ is awesome and beyond our comprehension.
      To pull this back around then to your insight, everything we do is tainted by sin, the reason we should attempt to live out the worldview Jesus gives us is because he is King and it is his kingdom. He mercifully shows us how the wold works so as creatures and caretakers we can enjoy his good creation and try to minimize our sinful impact on those around us so they too will know and trust him as King. And when it comes to “looking,” because most of us are hard-wired to be attracted to others (which is part of the creation so not sinful in itself but is corrupted and tainted by sin in different degrees) I defer to something Ed Young said years ago “It’s not the first look, it’s the second look.” I find that incredibly practical and helpful.

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