Sex + Taboo
Welcome to an entire week of talking about sex! Gulp. Yep, you read it correctly. Sex.
So tell me: does that make you uncomfortable? Did even merely reading the word -- on a Christian blog, no less! -- spark a little angst and trepidation inside of you?
If you're suddenly beginning to fidget and feel yourself breaking into a cold sweat, welcome to the club. Even though we are the ones who ultimately came up with and decided to execute the idea of taking a week to write a series of posts about various topics regarding sex, I think most of us "hens" feel a bit uneasy discussing, let alone writing, about this seemingly "off limits" topic.
Therefore, today it only seemed appropriate to begin the week by covering the taboo aspect of talking about sex. The entire topic of sex and everything surrounding it is and has been oftentimes treated as a "hush-hush" thing, especially among conservative Christians. But why? What makes this topic so uncomfortable and why does no one want to talk about it? Just what is God's role and ultimate plan for sex in our lives? The truth is, it is okay to talk about sex... and God even wants us to.
Why are we all so hush-hush about sex?
We all remember those days. The time of the year would roll around when the state would require every student in the elementary grades to take an extensive aptitude test. You know the ones I'm talking about: fill in the bubbles completely, use only a No. 2 pencil, definitely keep your eyes on your own paper, and try not to let your back end fall asleep from sitting still in your chair for so long. I always felt bad for the teacher on that first day of testing when we were all required to fill out our personal information on the first page and we reached the box labeled "Sex". Of course, the word had nothing to do with the taboo topic we are discussing today, but the inevitable snicker was always sure to follow.
Sure, we were all just kids being kids. And apparently, the people who designed the aptitude test could not assume that we were smart enough to understand the word "Gender". But why, even then, was the simple word "sex" so uncomfortable, so worthy of a snicker?
We unfortunately live in a society that treats sex as something it was never intended to be. Media and pop culture portray it as an act most oftentimes performed only in the heat of the moment, in secret, in dark places, between two people -- or more -- who are not married. The whole idea of sex becomes something to be glorified but mainly for selfish, dirty reasons. As Christians, we want nothing to do with that type of an act. But again, God had never intended it to become that.
God is extremely clear in His Word that this incredible gift is only to be shared by those who have vowed their lives to each other and have become one together with Him. Therefore, we are taught and then go on to raise our own children to view sex as the "forbidden fruit", if you will. While this is most definitely true when not living life as someone's spouse, the exact opposite is true when one becomes a husband or wife. However, after being told for so long to "Just say no" without being taught the amazing value and blessings sex can have in a marriage, we lose our ability to discuss it openly and without shame, even when it is being enjoyed within the confines of a husband and wife relationship as God intended.
Lastly, the expectations and comparisons in relation to one's personal sex life can be extremely intimidating. We often wonder things like "Are we having sex as often as we should?" or "Is this normal? Should I (or my spouse) really be feeling this way about sex?" or "I really wish I could talk to my husband about sex but it's just too awkward." The truth is, the idea that there is a "normal" when it comes to something as personal as this is a lie. Just as each relationship is unique to the two people involved, so is each couple's sex life. And while it should definitely be regarded with the utmost respect and privacy, discussing it with a close Christian friend, pastor, or better yet each other should be viewed in a positive way and ultimately, leads to less feelings of inadequacy or shamefulness about the topic.
Why shouldn't we be so hush-hush?
We've covered why sex is so taboo to talk about. But why shouldn't it be?
God's role for sex within a marriage is most definitely multifaceted, but one of its main blessings is the experience of oneness with your spouse. In fact, God's decision to create woman was largely made in order to achieve this goal of unity and intimacy.
Genesis 2:18; 23-24: "The Lord God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him.”
The man said,
“This is now bone of my bonesand flesh of my flesh;she shall be called ‘woman,’for she was taken out of man.”
That is why a man leaves his father and mother and is united to his wife, and they become one flesh.
God's role for sex in a marriage is for husband and wife to become one. He created this gift for us to have both a spiritual and physical closeness -- to draw us closer to each other and God. While there are other obvious purposes -- the blessing of children (yes, I said blessing! ;) ), physical pleasure, companionship, and so forth, the main objective is for intimacy between husband and wife.
Seeing God's role for sex in our marriage should give us encouragement to utilize this gift -- and to enjoy it and be thankful for it. Unfortunately, that isn't always easy with sin in the world. Many couples experience various issues in regards to their sex lives. While yes, sex is a private and sacred experience between a couple, it is by no means shameful. God was not ashamed to provide us with this unique and beautiful gift and therefore, we should not be ashamed to experience it and seek help when we need it.
Psalm 124:8, "Our help is in the name of the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth."
We need not be ashamed to ask God for help or to admit to those closest to us that we are seeking such help. Katy touched on this already once before. Pray for your sex life. Discuss your problems with your spouse -- after all, He is the key component! Discuss your struggles with your close, Christian friends (being mindful to be respectful of your spouse with the intent of enrichment and encouragement). You just never know who may be dealing with a similar issue, problem, or question. Share the importance, the blessing, and the sacredness of sex with your children. We need to move beyond the "Just don't do it!" mindset for our children and explain what a blessing sex is when shared within a marriage. By opening up this conversation early, we cannot only provide our children with motivation to wait for but also value sex in marriage.
While I don't expect you to start proclaiming from the building tops, "Sex is an amazing gift from God!", I do encourage you to start to break down those walls and quiet those voices that tell us that it is an unmentionable topic. Open the lines of communication with God, your spouse, your closest Christian friends and your children. Stop hiding behind unnecessary shame. Let us break free from the taboo of sex and start giving it the dignity it deserves!
More from our Sex+God series: Sex + Barriers - by Amanda & Kelly
Sex + Intimacy With God - by Katy
Sex Q+A (Part One) - - Sex just hasn't been the same for me since having a baby. Any tips? - My husband has struggled with an addiction to pornography for most of his teen and adult years. How can I get past that? Sex Q&A (Part Two) - How did your religious education affect your view of sex? - What did your mom tell you or what do you wish she would have told you about your wedding night?
Sex Q&A (Part Three) - Is it normal for your husband to desire sex more than you? - I struggle with the sin of masturbation. I think there MUST be another woman or two struggling with this out there, and would like for them to not feel as isolated as I do. But how does one simply bring it up in conversation...?