The Purpose-Driven Sex Life

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That's the title Jollyblogger is using for his latest series. It's worth reading just for the title, but he actually says some other things too. First, he quotes (at length) a pretty funny caricature of the "Christian" view of sex, only to discard it of course. Then he moves into a more serious discussion of what's wrong with the Augustinian view that sex is only good in terms of its good purpose of procreation and therefore what further good purposes it has. His third post briefly mentions three purposes -- procreation, marital unity, and (possibly, though he is less convinced of this than Catholics are) some sort of sacramental value. Then he spends most of the post arguing why leaving it at that still misses the point. One crucial purpose of sex is that it's "outrageous fun". The fourth post deals with what this should all mean for someone who is single. I was hoping to wait until he finished this series to post about it and thus capture the whole thing, but now he seems to want to extend it indefinitely, so I'll just go ahead, and if I want to say more later I will. I won't say anything myself now anyway, though. Instead, here are some key quotes from the series to whet your appetite for reading the whole series:

[Update: He's now done with his fifth and final post, this time on the negative effects of how the world conditions people to think about sex, in particular from pornography and sexual abuse.]

I think that, rather than merely telling people that sex outside of marriage is bad, we should be saying something along the lines of "sex is so good within marriage that you are foolish to waste it outside of marriage."

I know that I can be completely offended at something lewd one day and captivated by it the next, if I am not walking close to Christ. Where I get worried is when I see those who call themselves Christians calling down fire and brimstone on those who are involved in sin.

In the Bible, sex gets alot of people in trouble (think David, think Solomon), yet at the same time notice in the gospels how tender and compassionate Jesus was to those caught in sexual sin. In the gospels, sex is not the grossest form of sin, it is pride and arrogance. Hence, prostitutes and tax collectors were entering the kingdom of heaven ahead of scribes and Pharisees. Episodes of illicit sex didn't keep people like Rahab, Samson and David out of the hall of fame of faith in Hebrews 11 and we ought to keep that in mind when we are comparing different sins.

I doubt our forefathers at the Westminster Assembly had sex on their mind when they wrote the catechism, but if the shorter catechism is right when it says that man's chief end is to glorify God and enjoy Him forever then it stands to reason that sex can be a means of doing so.

One of the things I note about this passage [I Cor 7] is that the only reason to withhold sex is by mutual consent for the purpose of prayer. When most people withhold sex, they don't do so for such lofty spiritual reasons. I have heard counselors tell married couples to hold off on the sex when they are having troubles, while they straighten out the troubles. When I counsel troubled couples I tell them the exact opposite - I tell them that if they haven't been having sex they better start. This is not in place of resolving the deeper issues, but while they are resolving the deeper issues they need to be having sex. I've even made them set appointments for sex before they leave so they are committed to it.

There is no excuse for a man to come home to his wife who is too tired to walk at the end of the day and demand sex. But the point is that, if you got the time and the energy, there's really no good reason not to have sex, especially if you are a Christian.

Many married Christians are experiencing very limited sexual pleasures within the confines of their relationship, and many are finding their sexual pleasure outside of the marital relationship. To those criticisms, I think we Christians ought to just go ahead and plead guilty. Too often we don't live up to our own noble ideas. Also, too often, we who are not living up to our own noble ideas go crusading against others who don't live up to our own noble ideals.

One of the reasons for so much divorce is that singles get married with the idea that, now that they have found the love of their life, everything will be hunky dory from here on out. It's not, and the realities of marriage are often much more harsh than the dreams one has when they are dating.

[Update: Here's one final quote from the last post of the series.]

A man who has learned about sex from pornography is going to have lots of trouble relating to a real woman. Plus, real women know that they don't look like the women in the magazines or on the internet. So, it is very disheartening to a woman to know that she may be compared to a photoshopped image in a magazine that she can never compete with.


Thanks for the links Jeremy - I posted one more tonight and I am done. Thanks for all of your comments too by the way. Sorry I haven't responded - I often use all of my allotted blogging time to post and don't respond to comments the way I should. Yours are always most appreciated even when you disagree with me.

Tim LaHaye's book The Act of Marriage isn't a bad read on the subject. It may be a little dated as the copy I have is an 8th printing from 1977, but there is still much to recommend it. My wife an I read it together early in our marriage and found some helpful nuggets. I've also heard that Ed Wheat's Intended for Pleasure is quite good too.

Your comments on Jollyblogger about the moral development and brain development were intriging. What sources do you have on that?

I read it in an article in Time, Newsweek, or U.S. News and World Report. I don't remember which. We were getting all three at once during that time. It was a couple years ago, I think.

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