We need to talk more about sex. My last post introduced this new blog series on SEX by offering up 4 reasons why Christians need to join in on this important conversation.
But the truth is, in order for us to really dive in to this neglected topic, we have to backtrack a little. Part of the problem in certain Christian circles is that many of us have either heard absolutely nothing on the subject, or have been fed myths that we’ve believed to be true. Add to that the lies that we’re fed by society, and it’s clear that we need to start from scratch when it comes to what we know and believe about this very sacred topic.
Whether you are single, married, or somewhere in between, it’s important for us to tackle some of the misconceptions we’ve often believed about sex.
You shouldn’t have desires for sex while you’re single, and if you do- don’t tell anyone.
I’ll never forget sitting in front of my dear friend and mentor, in a dimly lit corner booth at Applebee’s. It had taken everything in me to do it, but I had finally just finished chatting with her about some sexual desires that I had been struggling with that year. After pouring out my heart, tears streaming down my face, I was expecting the worst.
I was waiting for the hammer to drop, and for her to look at me with disappointed eyes; to shake her head slowly, and give me some sort of a 3-point sermon about the dangers of the flesh.
It’s not that she was that kind of a person, in fact, she was a woman whose life exuded godliness and love in every way. It’s just that this was a subject I had not been accustomed to chatting about with believers. I guess you could say, I wasn’t really sure what to expect. But no matter what I had imagined, what she said next was the LAST thing I was expecting to hear.
“Thank God for those desires, Deb!”
Huh?! Did I hear you correctly? Are we on the same page here?
Those very desires that had been haunting me…taunting me…fighting me….thank God for them? Be grateful that God gave me those desires? Something about that sentiment sounded so far removed from the things I had learned, but resonated deeply within my heart.
I had learned to repress desire, to snuff it out like the dangerous fire that it was. You know the analogy that I’m talking about. The one that reminds us that sex is like a fire, and in the “fireplace” of marriage it’s a beautiful thing, but plant that fire in the living room floor- and you’ve got a death-trap waiting to happen.
While I agree with the principle behind this mentality, the problem with that analogy is that it fails to separate sexual desires from sexual actions, choices, and habits. This is not always that.
It seems that as a church, we’ve focused so much on the dangers of sexual intimacy outside of marriage, that we’ve failed to discuss the beauty of sexual desire inside each and every one of us. We’ve failed to affirm and validate that we are real human beings with sexual desires, feelings, and longings that are woven into the fabric of our beings. At the risk of someone misunderstanding me, I believe with all of my heart that sexual intimacy was made to be experienced within the deep bond of a marriage relationship – with no exceptions. But there is a unmistakable difference between the ACTS of sex, and the DESIRES for sex.
Our sexual desires are a gift, a gift given to us by the hand of God; a gift that is planted within us, taking root and growing with each and every passing day. A gift to be talked about, asked about, understood, and rejoiced over- whether we are single, married, or somewhere in between.
We should freely thank God for our sexual desires, because gratitude breeds worship, and worship ensures that we live our lives in a way that brings honor and glory to the God who created those desires.
My wise friend, Madoc, recently shared with me that as he was raising his 3 boys, he was deliberate about integrating the concept of gratitude with sexual desires and reminded them: “Learn to thank God for sexual pleasure, whether in a dream, holding hands, a first kiss, whenever. And if you can’t thank God for it, don’t do it. Your conscience is a poor guide, because culture influences conscience. But gratitude can be used by the Spirit to direct you.”
So breath deep, as you remember that you are a sexual being with sexual desires, placed inside of you by a God who has your best interest in mind. They serve a great purpose, because they ultimately remind us that at the end of the day, we are made to connect.
Be sure to tune into our SEX Series at TrueLoveDates.com by subscribing to this blog, and stay tuned for Misconception #2!
For more on the topic of dealing with desires while single, check out this 40 minute audio lesson called “Sex and the Single Life: What to do with Desires While You Wait!”.
Debra Fileta is a Professional Counselor, speaker, and author of True Love Dates: Your Indispensable Guide to Finding the Love of Your Life, 21 Days to Jump Start Your Love Life, and 21 Days to Pray For Your Love Life – where she writes candidly about dating, relationships, and how to find true love. You may also recognize her voice from her 150+ 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!