4 Lies Culture Tells us About Sex

In Marriage, Relationships by Debra Fileta15 Comments

Sex is everywhere.

From the entertainment industry, to literature and music, all the way down to a basic car commercial or advertisement for a bar of soap. We use sex for pleasure, for money, for intimacy, for power, for manipulation, and as portrayed by the latest runaway bestseller set to hit theaters this weekend- even for pain.

It’s clear that we are a culture completely immersed in sex, and that’s telling. First and foremost, it’s telling in that our culture’s obsession with sex is really a symptom. It’s a sign that we were made for relationships, because at the heart of it our desire for sex reflects our desire to connect. We were made to connect, by a God who made us for relationships; with Him and with the community He’s given us.

The problem then, isn’t in our desire for sex, but rather, with how we’ve learned to define sex. While the topic of sex is such an important and God-given part of the human experience, our perspective of sex has been tainted and twisted to reflect something that it was never intended to be.

While much of this has occurred due to the false messages we’ve learned in church, much of this distortion also comes from outside the church- in the way that we have allowed our culture to influence us, rather than influencing our culture. Here are four simple but dangerous lies our culture is feeding us about sex:

1. That the context of sex doesn’t matter.

This is a really dangerous lie because it fails to take into consideration the POWER of sex. There is a reason that God’s word clearly warns us of the dangers of taking sex outside the context of a loving, respectful, committed marriage. God knows that sex is powerful, and gives us guidelines so that we can engage in sex in ways that are both protective and pleasurable.

According to modern science and psychology, sex is like a drug. It’s powerful because it is both a binding and addictive experience. It’s physically binding in that as we engage in sex, our bodies release a powerful neurochemical that neuroscientists call the “bonding chemical” that triggers feelings of connection. Secondly, it’s emotionally addicting because of the feelings of intimacy (even false intimacy) that it facilitates between two people. Those feelings have the power to trump logic, and keep us in relationships for all the wrong reasons.

When our society takes the power of sex out of the context of marriage and into temporary relationships, we’re left with heart-break, pain, trauma, and wounds that can be very hard to heal.

2. That sex is an act of taking, rather than an act of giving.

Our society tends to portray sex as an act of self-service. It’s all about “getting some” and going “as far as you can go”. This perspective on sex perpetuates a consumerist mentality where it’s all about what you can do for me.

This is a starkly different perspective on relationships compared to what we’re offered in Scripture. As pleasurable as sex is meant to be, a huge part of the pleasure is in learning to give, rather than to receive. It’s in learning to find pleasure through the pleasuring of the spouse that God has given us to love. It’s about creating an environment of trust, of security, and of intimacy based on the God-driven principles that motivate each partner to seek the best interest of the other.  We’ll never get sex right, unless we learn to start here.

3. That sex is a physical, one-dimensional experience.

Sex is just sex. That’s what our society wants us to believe, anyway. It’s a biological need, they tell us, just like eating, drinking, and sleeping. And because sex is just physical, than it doesn’t really matter who we’re doing it with as long as everyone consents, right?

Wrong. Because when we see sex as a superficial, one-dimensional part of the human experience, we’ve failed to recognize some of it’s most valuable components. Sex is emotional, psychological, mental and spiritual. It influences and impacts us on so many different levels. It’s not just a co-mingling of bodies- it’s also a co-mingling of souls.

The more we can understand and appreciate the multi-faceted impact of sex on every level, the more our appreciation of this God-given gift will begin to grow.

4. That we can’t control sex, because it controls us.

This is likely the most widely accepted lie perpetuated in our society (both Christian and non-Christian culture alike). It’s the rumor that causes us to believe that we are slaves to our sex drive. It’s a myth that defines us as hormone-driven, sexually-motivated human beings that either need to fill our sexual appetite or completely starve it, because ultimately, we can’t control it.

The saddest part is that there are so many men and women living their life shaped by this myth. Not believing that they have the God-given power to control their sexual appetite, they remain enslaved to sin, in bondage to lust, and susceptible to addiction- which is exactly where the enemy wants us to remain.

But by God’s grace, we have everything we need to take charge of our sexual appetites by disciplining our mind, our heart, and our body. And believe or not, that kind of control is for all of us to apply, no matter what our relationship status. Because the very desires we “can’t control” before marriage, will be the very desires that haunt us even after.

It’s time to stand strong against the lies this culture throws our way, and instead learn to believe in sex as powerful, meaningful, sacrificial, and ultimately, controllable. May God give us the wisdom to recognize these lies, the courage to speak out against them, and the strength to choose better for our lives and for our relationships.

Debra Fileta is a Professional Counselor, speaker, and author of the book True Love Dates: Your Indispensable Guide to Finding the Love of Your Life, where she writes candidly about dating, relationships, and how to find true love. You may also recognize her voice from her 100+ articles at Relevant Magazine or Crosswalk.com! She’s also the creator of this True Love Dates Blog!  Connect with her on Facebook or Twitter

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15 Comments on "4 Lies Culture Tells us About Sex"

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I would really like to have a copy of your book as I’ve had two failed marriages and dating is just beyond my comprehension. I was wired to be connected to others and I miss the intimacy of marriage but if it is in God’s plan for me to be in a relationship again, I want to have as much advantage to do it the right way as I can. I think your book would give me some serious help and encouragement. I know your blog does!
Thanks for being the voice of God on dating and marriage!


I would love to have a copy of the book because I am a college student in my first real relationship. I want to enjoy this time, but I also want know how to participate in this relationship in a physically and emotionally healthy way so I can protect my heart and my boyfriends heart.


So as single woman, what does it look like to be a sexual being but still honor God and His design for sex? And no offense, but if one more person tells me I need to thank God for sex and then just wait on Him and His timing, I’ll scream! :0 (even if it’s true)


I would like to have copy of this book. Because i have struggled for past 5 years in relationships, With identity of who i was, Along with baggage from past haunting me in relationships from dating to friendships. I heard your interview with Carlos the other morning on NGen radio. i was listening at ngenradio.com And i feel this book would offer much helpful insight for me to know myself and learn how to do dating well and in healthy ways.

I am a celibate, divorced, advocate for women, a layman of women’s ministry in my church and follower of Jesus. I have great hope in uplifting women who inspire change through living on life’s terms. We all struggle with being lonely and dealing with heartache. I would greatly appreciate to receive your book for I have already shared with my sister singles in church the message you gave on looking forward to being loved again through having a relationship with Jesus. Praise and gratitude to you through Jesus for being open to share your wisdom on dating, relationships and God’s… Read more »
So, we have “everything we need” to take charge of sex – but what is that “everything”, and how do you do it? As Jesus doesn’t bother to give any practical advice (beyond whacking your eyes out), it sure would be nice with some tips. And just how can sex be meaningful when you’re not even allowed to think of it? By the way, many years ago, I actually had a long period (two years) when I didn’t think of sex, which was great. I didn’t ask for it, it just happened, but now that I do ask for it,… Read more »
Very well articulated, but I really struggle seeing sex as positive (even in the biblical sense) for at least two reasons: 1) Although sexual intimacy was designed by God to be mutual, most women simply don’t view it–and especially men’s physicality–in positive ways, nor with the same value and passion that men view women’s physicality and sexuality. I can argue that most women (especially as they get older) could quite easily live without sexual intimacy (see forgivenwife.com if you have any questions about that). Yes, God can bring about a change of heart, but read any number of Christian blogs… Read more »
Greg, I want to give you the benefit of the doubt here and ask you to clarify what you are saying. Are you suggesting that men are suffering from a stigma – that women see male sexuality in a negative light because of all the rapists? Are you saying that you’re unable to overcome negative stereotypes because you’re a man, and because there are so many women who have been raped, sexually assaulted, or made victims of incest by men? Forgive me for being a little taken aback here. It’s difficult for men to feel good about being sexual beings… Read more »
Rebecca Griffith

Thank you for all the valuable information you write about. I belong to a large singles ministry group at my church. I love your book! I actually buy extra copies from my local bible store and give them out to friends in class. Keep up the wonderful work! God has really used your talent to help others. Thank you so much 🙂 Becky