During the #Trending series we asked people to text in questions regarding sex in culture. Below are the questions that were asked and our best attempts to answer them in light of scripture.
First off, we stand on scripture as the foundation for what we believe and what we teach at SCC. The Bible is the standard we look to for all things, not just a stance on sexuality. With that being said we find the standard/framework for sexuality in Genesis.
- We believe that men and women were created equally as image bearers of God
- We believe that marriage was created for one man and one woman
- We believe that sex was created by God for those within a marriage and that it is a good thing
- We believe that sex was designed to create oneness between man and wife
Throughout the series Pastor Brad repeatedly used an illustration of the double yellow lines that are painted on the road. Those lines exist to create structure and boundaries for drivers. Driving on the wrong side of the double yellow lines will result in devastation. God placed yellow lines in the framework of our sexuality. When we veer left of center we enter dangerous territory.
When it comes to sexuality I find it dangerous to ask “where is the line (sin) and how close to the line can I get."
The real questions are found in 1 Cor 6:12. "All things are lawful for me,” but not all things are helpful. “All things are lawful for me,” but I will not be dominated by anything."
The questions we need to asking are:
Is it lawful? Is it legal? Is it Biblical? What do you parents say? (If you’re a minor)
Is it helpful? Does it provide pleasure for both partners? Does it create oneness? Does it create intimacy with one another?
Will I be mastered by it? Addiction is worshiping a created being before worshiping the creator. Being mastered by something is a form of idolatry.
Now that we have established the framework and the principles found in scripture we’ll look at the questions we received.
Is masturbation when single a sin and why?
Scripture doesn’t mention the act of masturbation at all. Because of that we don’t have specific commands but we have the principles we established above.
Scripture doesn’t mention the physical act of masturbation as being a sin. Because of that we can’t call the physical act of masturbation a sin. The reality though is that masturbation is very rarely just a physical act. Masturbation is typically driven by sexual impulse, addiction, lust/sexual desire, or fantasy.
Scripture does call lust a sin. Lust is adultery of the heart.(Mt. 5:28)
Scripture also says that being mastered by something or being addicted to something is also sin. (1 Cor 6:12)
Can you masturbate without lusting after someone or fantasizing about someone? Not likely.
Can you masturbate without it becoming an addiction. Yes, but the act is rarely a random occurrence.
Again the question isn’t how close to the line can I get. The questions are is it lawful? Is it helpful? And will I be mastered by it?
If both spouses consent can they buy things in a sex shop? Things like toys and bondage. Is it a sin to spice up your love life?
Like masturbation scripture doesn’t mention anything about sex toys or bondage. Because of that there isn't a blanket answer, but instead questions that should be asked.
Does it create oneness? Sex was created to bring one man and one woman together as one being. (Mt. 19:6) The act of sex should be enjoyed by both and should bring the couple together. If one partner doesn’t want to engage in certain activities it no longer creates oneness. If fantasizing and using accessories become the point of sex you’ve also lost the concept of oneness. Many toys were created for individuals to satisfy themselves. Again the concept of two becoming one has been lost.
Does it create intimacy with one another? Sex was created for husband and wife to be intimate with each other. You should be comfortable with each other. Does bringing in toys get in the way of being intimate?
Does it provide pleasure for both partners? Sex was created for pleasure. (Song of Solomon) If anything you’re engaging in is harmful or hurts one partner you need to stop. Sex was created to be enjoyed by both the husband and wife. Men - women weren't created to be a sexual robot used by men to fulfill their own desires. You need to serve her as well. This means knowing what she enjoys too.
How do you deal with conflicts in your life that keep you from sex? Dysfunction, medical, etc.
In scripture we see three distinct types of love. The greek words are:
Agape Love - The ultimate love. Agape love isn’t defined by our feelings. Agape love is the way God loves us. Agape love is a serving love.
Philos Love - The Love between friends. You enjoy each others company.
Eros Love - This is physical/sexual love. We get the term erotic from this.
All three forms of love are essential for a healthy marriage.
When one of these types of love isn't happening it puts strain on the other two.
As I stated before, sex is a good thing and it was created for married couples to create oneness and provide pleasure for both partners. In a perfect world both partners would be on the same page at all times. Unfortunately that isn’t the case. There are several reasons why one partner may not want to engage in sex. Some of these reasons include: Medical Conditions, Medication, Desire, Expectations, and Relational difficulties.
Medical Conditions - Is there a medical condition that is causing a lack of interest. Diabetes, High Blood Pressure, Heart Problems, Hormones, ED, etc.
Medication - Most medications have side effects and many effect sexual desires.
Desire - Typically tied to emotions. Can be affected by abuse, addictions, etc
Expectations - We all have exceptions from our partner. We also have expectations of what sex should be. What defines good sex? What has shaped our view of sex?
Relational Difficulties - Trust Issues, conflict, abuse, affairs, miscarriage.
The good news is that in many of these situations help is available. If the dysfunction is due to a medical issue you may need to seek medical help. Doctors and specialists (gynecologists and urologists) can help diagnose medial issues or prescribe medication that can help. In some cases they can also prescribe different medication if one you're on is causing side effects.
If the issue is emotional you may need to get a counselor involved. Many times a lack of desire is tied to current relationship troubles or previous sexual encounters (molestation, abuse, previous partners, etc.) Counselors can help individuals and couples process through past and present experiences and point people to a place of healing.
If your marriage is stressed and there is ongoing conflict the chances that you’ll have sex are pretty slim.
A major problem that couples are facing today is our sexual expectations. Current culture is sexually driven. We often hear the phrase “sex sells” and we see it lived out in tv, film, and advertising. We see what culture says is “good sex.” When our own experiences don’t line up with what we see in culture we draw the conclusion that we’re doing it wrong or that our partner isn’t up to par. Pornography, poor body image, the idea of the “perfect partner,” and the unrealistic view of sex we see is affecting couples engagement in sex.
In a marriage there will typically be a high desire person and a low desire person. Most people tend to think that the high desire (hd) person is always the man and the low desire (ld) person is the female. This isn’t always the case. Because of differences in desire couples are in danger of a few things.
High desire partners can feel unloved by the low desire partner. And at the same time the low desire partner can feel that they are only good for sex if pressured on a regular basis.
Jonathan Parnell wrote a brilliant article on sex and abstinence in marriage.
Instead of quoting a majority of the article I would recommend you read it. http://www.desiringgod.org/articles/when-the-sex-should-stop
Addressing whatever issue is causing the lack of sex in your marriage is pivotal to maintaining a healthy marriage.