Understanding Sexuality

A big part of becoming free of sinful sexual behavior is understanding what God’s plan for authentic sexuality is really about. I am not speaking of what is commonly thought of about sex—that it is for procreation only and that enjoying sex is wrong or impure. In fact, it is quite the opposite. The Old Testament of the Bible is full of sexual pleasure. Read the Song of Solomon for example. 

Authentic sexuality is about purity. It’s about being a gift of oneself rather than taking of, or using, another for our pleasure. Part of what we need to understand is how purity fits into sexuality. 


What Is Purity?

First, we must define what “purity” is and what it is not:

· Purity is not the denial of sex.

· Purity is not prudishness.

· Purity is not a belief that sex is wrong or bad, or that it is somehow unholy to enjoy sex.
And

· It is not a belief that sex is shameful.

Let’s define purity.


Here’s one dictionary’s definition of purity:

    “Freedomfrom that anything that debases, contaminates, pollutes, etc.” 


 Also we can see from a Bible concordance a definition that:

“Purity is that which is designed by God and is free from contamination.”

By combining these concepts, we can define purity in this way:

"Something that is true or authentic to its original purpose or creation”

 or in a human behavioral perspective:

"Purity is being authentic to the purpose of God's creation.”
 

So, then, how does being authentic to the purpose of God’s creation relate to sex?

Sex is so much more than just a physical act. For a proper perspective, we need to first understand who we are as humans. 

To begin with, we know we are created in the image of God. 


Genesis 1:27 (NRSVCE)“So God created humankind in his image, in the image of God he created them;male and female he created them.”

But what does that really mean—obviously, God isn’t human, or is He? God is truly three parts in one person. It’s what Christians and Catholics refer to as the Holy Trinity: Father, Son (Jesus), and the Holy Spirit. Jesus was God incarnate. He was both fully human and fully divine. 


How does the Bible reveal God?

God is love, mercy, and sacrifice. 

1 John 4:8 (NRSVCE) “Whoever does not love does not know God, for God is love.”

Ephesians 2:4-5 (NRSVCE) But God, who is rich in mercy, out of the great love with which he loved us even when we were dead through our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ.”

Romans 5:8 (NRSVCE) “But God proves his love for us in that while we still were sinners Christ died for us.”


God created us as an overflowing extension of His love, and we, in His image, we are also overflowing in love, mercy, and sacrifice (except when Satan injects his pride and we become selfish and self-centered, hence the sexual sin I refer to).


We mirror the image of God as man:

.

An extension of this image is the union of man and woman in the sanctity of marriage. 


Genesis 2:24 (NRSVCE) “Therefore a man leaves his father and his mother and clings to his wife, and they become one flesh.”


Man and woman are joined spiritually and physically as one. One flesh in the eyes of God. This union, with God, is a reflection of the Holy Trinity. 

Christopher West, an expert on sexuality and theology of the body, says,

“In the sanctity of marriage under God, sex is the wedding vows made flesh.”


This divine union, or sex, is the ultimate form of intimacy (although intimacy is not exclusively sex, as explained in the previous chapter).  In this union, if God wills it, we co-createlife with God—that is, we create a child. This trio of mother, father, and child is an earthly reflection of the Holy Trinity.


Genesis 4:1 (NRSVCE) “Now the man knew his wife Eve, and she conceived and bore Cain, saying, ‘I have produced a man with the help of the Lord.’”

Mother, father, and child—in effect, three parts, one person (one family)—reflect the image of God (Father, Son, and Holy Spirit). God is spiritual, but He creates us humans as sexual beings, of two sexes, to join, fully giving of ourselves, to co-create life and extend God’s image with His spirit at the center. God has in effect “stamped” on our bodies the design of union, male and female. This is a union that first encourages the physical experience of the divine holy union as one flesh, and then, if God desires, facilitates a co-creation of life.

Additionally, part of being a good spouse is to be loving and merciful and to show sacrifice to the other spouse as well as to the child. This means engaging in the non-physical building blocks of intimacy. All of this represents us being in the image of God, and thus authentic to our original creation—“purity.”

In fact, when in the sanctity of marriage, God encourages sex! 


1 Corinthians 7:3-5 (NRSVCE) “The husband should give to his wife her conjugal rights, and likewise the wife to her husband.  For the wife does not have authority over her own body, but the husband does; likewise the husband does not have authority over his own body, but the wife does. Do not deprive one another except perhaps by agreement for a set time, to devote yourselves to prayer, and then come together again, so that Satan may not tempt you because of your lack of self-control.”


We see that as two made one flesh, man and woman are supposed to engage in sex.  Hey, God made it pleasurable for a reason!

BUT! Again, I stress that sex is not just a physical act; it is the culmination of all the building blocks of intimacy (refer to the previous chapter on intimacy). Being in the image of God, we are called to empty ourselves to the other so completely and to such an extent that we become transparent. Again, this is about intimacy.

God, out of infinite love, emptied Himself to the Son; and the Son, out of infinite love, emptied Himself to the Father so much that a third person manifested—the Holy Spirit—thus creating the Blessed Trinity. The infinite love that these spirit persons in God share is so strong that it overflowed, creating mankind.

As we see, purity has nothing to do with the absence of sex, but quite the opposite. In Christopher West’s words, it’s “the wedding vows made flesh,” It is embracing our authentic selves as created in the image of God.

Sex and the co-creation of life is the very fabric of our existence, and the very fabric of the universe, as God is all, and we—His creation, in purity, in the purpose of creation and the emptying oneself to our spouse of marital divine union—extend that universe. 

When you and your spouse empty yourselves, in all blocks of intimacy, you are transparent and vulnerable; you reveal your true inner self. This takes tremendous trust. This is true, authentic intimacy. This is being a gift of self. This intimacy, combined with physical sexual relations, completes the bond. This bond is proven by the biological brain chemistry that God designed us with (see the next chapter, “Your Brain on Porn).  To draw us closer together spiritually and emotionally, the physical act of sex releases dopamine, norepinephrine, oxytocin, and other natural endorphins that create a union and a bond that, when engaged in with a self-emptying purpose, result in the “two joined as one” sensation. God designed it this way. A beautiful visual of this wonderful expression of love is in the Bible, in the Song of Solomon.  

Contrast this with pornography.Pornography is the taking of another person, image or not, for one’s own pleasure.  This is a pure act of selfishness. There is no gift, no possibility of intimacy, and no possibility of life. A man should see a woman’s body as a work of art—to be admired and respected—not an object for his pleasure. 


God made sex pleasurable for a reason,


Proverbs 5:18-19(NRSVCE) 

“Let your fountain be blessed,

and rejoice in the wife of your youth,

a lovely deer, a graceful doe.

May her breasts satisfy you at all times;

may you be intoxicated always by her love.”


Notice in scripture that when a man and woman are mentioned together in sexual context, the union is mentioned favorably and it is in the bounds of marriage. 


Sex in Marriage

Hebrews 13:4(NRSVCE) “Let marriage be held in honor by all, and let the marriage bed be kept undefiled; for God will judge fornicators and adulterers.”


1 Cor 7:36(NRSVCE) If anyone thinks that he is not behaving properly toward his fiancée, if his passions are strong, and so it has to be, let him marry as he wishes; it is no sin. Let them marry.”


And when sex is not within marriage, it’s clearly revealed as sin.


Sex Outside of Marriage

Matt 5:28(NRSVCE) But I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman with lust has already committed adultery with her in his heart.”


1 Cor 6:18-20 (NRSVCE) “Shun fornication! Every sin that a person commits is outside the body; but the fornicator sins against the body itself.  Or do you not know that your body is a temple[a] of the Holy Spirit within you, which you have from God, and that you are not your own?  For you were bought with a price; therefore glorify God in your body.”


Hebrews 13:4(NRSVCE) “Let marriage be held in honor by all, and let the marriage bed be kept undefiled; for God will judge fornicators and adulterers.”


Proverbs 6:32(NRSVCE) But he who commits adultery has no sense;
he who does it destroys himself.”


1 Thess 4:3-5(NRSVCE)  “For this is the will of God, your sanctification: that you abstain from fornication; 4 that each one of you know how to control your own body[a] in holiness and honor, 5 not with lustful passion, like the Gentiles who do not know God;”


Engaging in sex within the sanctity of marriage also improves emotional well-being, relieves stress, and involves a sacrifice and submission of both the man and woman. 


Purity, being authentic to the purpose of our creation, also makes a logical case against the engagement of homosexual behavior. Scripture clearly show that this act is sinful:


Leviticus 20:13 (NRSVCE) “If a man lies with a male as with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination; they shall be put to death; their blood is upon them.”


1 Cor 6:9-10 (NRSVCE) “Do you not know that wrongdoers will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived! Fornicators, idolaters, adulterers, male prostitutes, sodomites, thieves, the greedy, drunkards, revilers, robbers—none of these will inherit the kingdom of God.”


Romans 1:26-28 (NRSVCE) “For this reason God gave them up to degrading passions. Their women exchanged natural intercourse for unnatural, and in the same way also the men, giving up natural intercourse with women, were consumed with passion for one another. Men committed shameless acts with men and received in their own persons the due penalty for their error.”


This is not just God restricting us and telling us what to do without cause (as many in today’s society would tell you). The reason behind this is purely logical as well. A man and a man or a woman and a woman cannot take part in creation. There is never a possibility of life. Therefore, this union is not in the image of God. It can’t be; it’s biologically impossible. God didn’t create us this way; it’s not His plan. He created us male and female (Genesis 1:27).  I will agree that there are many factors and arguments that contribute to same-sex attractions, including but not limited to the environment, DNA, biological factors, and psychosocial experiences. But the fact remains, to act on these attractions is not part of God’s plan. Just as sex outside of marriage is not an acceptable choice of behavior according to God’s will for us in our humanity, to have these attractions is not a sin, but acting on them is. 


The bottom line is that sex is the foundation of the existence of mankind. Sex is good, sex is a gift from God, sex is our gift to our spouse, and sex is designed for the pleasurable physical union of divine partners and the expansion of the universe under God.


Think about it. Sex is the most addictive natural behavior we have. God wired our brain intentionally to crave it. He also wired us to crave a common union with another. This communion is designed for expression of His love and the extension of His existence. 

Next Section: Your Brain on Porn

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