Sex Is Good

Sex Is Good

Sex is good. I agree. I agree wholeheartedly without reservation.

Some Christian studies have gone as far as statistical analysis on the matter of whether Christians have better sex than the rest of the world. These studies are cute, and maybe make a point, but I’m not sure they are useful to the Christian story. I’m not sure the game is won by the side that proves it has the best sex. Do we really want to compete at pure hedonism? And if we win, what have we proved?

Sex is good, but it is not the essence of life. Sex is wonderful, but it is not the most wonderful thing about being human. Sex is not the goal of relationships. Sex is not even a basic human need. It is a desire, a craving, a want. It is not a human need. Food, air, water—those are human needs. I have yet to do the funeral of anyone who died from a lack of sex or to see it as the cause of expiration on a death certificate.

Intimacy is a need. Do you remember the movie they showed us when we were kids in school, Cipher in the Snow? It’s the story of a child who rode the bus every day, and then one day, just died. They could find no cause of death. But when they began to unveil the pattern of this child’s life, they found that no one ever touched, loved, spoke to, cared for, or called the child’s name. It’s a sad story about a child who died for lack of intimacy.

Our world has confused sexual intercourse with intimacy. The entertaining world of stories (books, TV, movies) has led us to believe that intimacy leads to sexual activity. In every show, you see it coming. You know when the characters are introduced that they will soon be in bed with each other. The mystery is gone. It’s as predictable as the people we live with. When we automatically connect human intimacy with sexual behavior, we have bought into a script that is hard to extract ourselves from.

If intimacy and sexual behavior are essentially one and the same, I suppose one of our favorite virgins, Jesus, must have lived half a life. I would also suggest that another of our favorite virgins, Mother Teresa, missed the essence of life as a lonely, loveless, half-person. The idea that human intimacy is fulfilled only in sexual intercourse is a leap of disastrous proportions. Jesus, Mother Teresa, and a lot of my single adult friends are the most alive people I know. The need is not sexual intercourse; it is intimacy—to be known, loved, touched, understood, and cared for.

Sex is good. Yes. Yes. Yes. God created the first nudist colony. Trinity is not ashamed of naked human bodies. In the Garden of Eden, God saw it all and said, “This is good.” God’s no prude. Christians shouldn’t walk around blushing when the topic of sex comes up. This is the gift of our Creator.

But I think when we begin to connect the need for human intimacy with sexual drive and assume that these two are automatically and inextricably linked, we are in the wrong story.

Today’s post is an excerpt from A Charitable Discourse: Talking About the Things That Divide Us.

Read more about sex, intimacy, and relationships in my new book, Human Sexuality: A Primer for Christians. Click here to download a free sample chapter from the book.

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