As a millennial Christian woman, I’ve had to wrestle with numerous competing messages about sex—most of them, inaccurate. I realized in early adulthood that I had a responsibility as a Christian to understand sexuality as God intended it. Having reconciled my understanding of sex with truths from Scripture, here are seven messages I wish the Church would be more vocal about:
1) God designed sex for oneness.
“Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.’ This mystery is profound, and I am saying that it refers to Christ and the church.” (Ephesians 5:31-32)
Paul uses this example of unity from Genesis to describe the intimate nature of Christ’s relationship to His bride, the Church. As such, the act of becoming one flesh in marriage is to be counted sacred, a gift from God. Sex in marriage is literally life giving, uniting a man and woman in mind, body, and spirit in a way that surpasses full understanding.
Furthermore, studies have been conducted on the human brain, which evidence the release of the hormone oxytocin during sex, also known as the “cuddle hormone” or the “bonding hormone.” Oxytocin is the same hormone that is released during child labor and breastfeeding, bonding mother to child.
2) God designed sex for pleasure.
“He: How beautiful and pleasant you are, O loved one, with all your delights!
She: I am my beloved’s and his desire is for me.” (Song of Solomon 7:6; 10)
Scripture includes an entire book of poetry devoted to celebrating the God-centered sexual relationship between a man and a woman. Here we find that in addition to oneness, God designed sex to be immensely pleasurable and mutually satisfying. Additionally, God anatomically designed the male and female body with multiple erogenous zones that when stimulated, result in a climax of the one flesh union.
3) Whether married or not, we are sexual beings.
“So God created man in His own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them. And God blessed them. And God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it…” (Genesis 1:27-28)
As men and women, we are inherently sexual. From the day we are born, we are differentiated by male and female primary sex characteristics. Certainly, the expression of sexuality is manifested differently across the life span. But to maintain that we are not sexual or that our sexuality should remain entirely latent until marriage is to perpetuate dichotomous thinking: Christians should be sexually anemic before marriage, but sexually robust after the wedding. Such thinking has negatively impacted many Christian men and women as they marry and attempt to shift their mentality overnight.
4) Our marital status does not change the fact that we are called to be pure before God.
“Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.” (Matthew 5:8)
We as Christians need a major shift in mentality when it comes to being pure. Sexual purity has nothing to do with fear-based, legalistic instruction regarding how to behave before and after marriage. Rather, sexual purity has everything to do with obedience to God and the fruit of self-control that, by God’s grace, is evidenced in our lives as a result of our love relationship with Him.
5) Waiting to have sex until you’re married does not automatically make your sex life great, but it is a skill you can grow in.
“I adjure you, O daughters of Jerusalem…that you not stir up or awaken love until it pleases.” (Song of Solomon 2:7)
I have heard too many wedding night horror stories from Christian couples over the years. Many who have saved sex for marriage enter into it with highly unrealistic expectations, thinking that because they honored God by abstaining from sex before marriage they will be rewarded with the ultimate first experience.
This is a false and potentially damaging assumption. While you can improve your first experience by learning how to think about and approach sex as virgins, your first time is your first time. Sex is not the end-all be-all, but it is certainly an important component in marriage whereby you can grow to become the best lover you can be to your spouse. See this resource for more information on growing in that way.
6) Our God-given sexuality exists in a fallen world.
“Therefore, just as sin came into the world through one man, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men because all sinned.” (Romans 5:12)
In a perfect world, Christians would have the most emotionally fulfilling and mutually satisfying sex lives of anyone on this planet. In reality, our sexuality was not left unscathed by sin. We each have our own ‘thorns’ when it comes to past sexual experiences, lies we have believed about our own sexuality, or sexual struggles that plague our own marriage beds—and our love relationships are impacted to one degree or another. Therefore, we need to surrender ourselves daily to the transforming love of God.
7) There is hope, whatever your sin, whatever your struggle.
“For freedom Christ has set us free; stand firm, therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery.” (Galatians 5:1)
Even though Adam’s sin led humanity to condemnation, Jesus’ one act of righteousness leads us to sanctification through faith in Him (Romans 5:18). Thank God! While our salvation is certainly more than we deserve already, God offers us unconditional love, abundant life, and grace upon grace.
Our sexuality may exist in a fallen world, but take heart – He has overcome the world (John 16:33)! Whatever our sin, whatever our struggle, it has already been paid for, if only we would believe Him. As Romans 8:1 says, “There is therefore now no condemnation for those who belong to Christ Jesus.” To allow sin to have dominion over any area in our lives—including sexuality—is to accept His justification but not live into the freedom for which He set us free!
What messages about sex would you like to hear more of in the church?