The Trivialization of Sex

August 21st, 2013

Churches don’t often spend a lot of time reminding people of the beauty and importance of sexual intimacy. Conversely, society tends to trivialize and cheapen it. People talk about “hooking up” or having “friends with benefits.” From that perspective, sex becomes not the culmination of a deep, meaningful relationship, but instead merely an end in itself. It has become commonplace in our society to think that after a first or second date, a couple might sleep together.

This trivialization of sex, far from liberating us, robs sexual intimacy of its power. The Bible uses an interesting euphemism for sex: to know. So when Adam was intimate with Eve the text says, "Then Adam knew his wife…" Some have thought the Bible a bit odd in its concern that one not reveal their "nakedness" to another.

But here was the idea. When you have shared your body with another, you have shared what others cannot see or experience. You are knowing one another.

Here's the challenge with hooking up or friends with benefits: We’re simply not ready to reveal our innermost selves to another human being after one or two dates; the bonding that happens is premature. And when we pull away from one person and bond quickly with another and another, sexual intimacy eventually no longer bonds us, biochemically or emotionally, to our partner.

Are you a bad person if you’ve been with someone before you were married? No, of course not, you are human. We long for intimate touch and companionship. It requires extraordinary restraint and self-discipline not to experience sex before marriage. But it is a biblical ideal that many people choose to pursue. I was one of them and I continue to be grateful that the one person I've ever been intimate with is LaVon, and the first time we were intimate was on our wedding night.

Within this ideal, a beautiful human story unfolds. You make a covenant with another human being, in sickness and in health, no matter what happens: “I am with you. I will love you and remain by your side. When you are old, when you start to sag and wrinkle, when you are not as physically beautiful as you are today, I will be there.”

Then, after the two of you make this pledge, with your hearts pounding, you see each other naked, you embrace, and you become one flesh. It may be awkward and strange that first time, and you may not get it quite right, but somehow you figure it out together, and the intimate journey begins.

Sex has far more meaning than our society supposes. I invite you, even if you have been intimate with another in the past, to reclaim the idea that sex is purposeful and meaningful, and it isn’t something to be trivialized.

excerpt from: Love to Stay: Sex, Grace, and Committment by Adam Hamilton. Copyright©2013 by Abingdon Press. Used with permission. Order information below.

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