Wednesday, February 4, 2015

TJNS: Thou Shalt Never Be Horny

 I think it's time we all have a serious conversation about sex. Our Christian communities seem to consider sexuality sinful and wrong. Sexual attraction is wrong. Waking up in the morning "in the mood" is evil. Reading a sex novel is sin. Watching a movie with two people kissing is bad. Dressing in a way that might attact the opposite sex is evil.

Why are we, as Christians, so afraid of sexual excitement? We want to wipe out anything in society that could, potentially, cause that sexual stir within us - romance/erotic books and movies, clothing on women that shows a little too much skin, music and dance, and well, basically anything that has the potential of making us... well... horny.

Perhaps, it's because we don't truly understand what is a sin and what is not when it comes to sex.

There are a few concepts we tend to get confused about in regards to this subject, and thus tend to toss all things sexual into the same pot - Sinful. There are dangers to this line of thinking. But, it's equally dangerous to assume all things sexual are acceptable.

First and foremost, we must understand that God created us as sexual beings. He made us able to have sex and able to enjoy sex. To flat out say that we should not be doing either of these is to say that God made us wrong. But, to say that because God made us this way, we can just go out and do both of these things whenever we want and with whomever we want is to ignore the Word of God.

Sexual concepts to consider:

- Sexual excitement
- Sexual attraction
- Lust
- Sex
- (there are probably others to add to the list, but we'll start with these).

Sexual excitement: When we hit puberty, our bodies tend to develop a mind of their own. We wake up excited. We see a picture or hear a voice or see someone walk by, and we get excited. We listen to a song and get turned on. These are all natural, biological responses. We cannot control their onset. Even if we were to hide in a box, away from anything that could be remotely considered sexual stimuli, we cannot control our bodies ability to get sexually excited.

Sexual attraction: Attraction is what often triggers excitement. We see a good looking girl walk by, we feel a sexual attraction. We hear a man with a foreign accent, we feel that sexual attraction. Again, this is not something we can control the onset of. Our bodies and minds and programmed to find things attractive, which can lead to sexual excitement.

Lust: When we feel that attraction and excitement, often times we find ourselves desiring that person. We want to have sex with her. We want to touch him. We fantasize about it. This strong desire for someone is lust.

Sex: So, we had the attraction and excitement. We lusted for the person. Now, we either pursue the person and have sex with him, or we lay alone in the dark and have sex with ourselves while imagining the person.

Are all of these pieces of sex sins?

No, no, potentially, potentially (in that order).

Sexual excitement and attraction are perfectly normal and not against God. Take a look at Song of Solomon - the entire book is based on these two concepts. Of course, some argue that these books are only about Christ and His Church, but if you read the erotic imagery contained within those chapters, I think you'll agree that it's a bit of erotic literature - literature that speaks to the normalcy of excitement and attraction. God created us with this ability. He created us with the biology to get sexually aroused, and to be sexually attracted to others.

Lust and sex, on the other hand, do have the potential of being sinful, depending on who you're directing that lust towards, and who you're having sex with. In 1 Corinthians 7, Paul discusses how husbands and wives should not deprive one another, so as to help each other keep their self-control. This isn't telling us that we cannot feel sexual excitement, but rather that we should direct that excitement, lust, and sexual acts to our spouse, and only to our spouse. Paul recognizes that sexual desires are natural and is teaching us how to keep ourselves from sinning because of those natural urges.

There are dangers to teaching all things sexual are also sinful

As a young preteen/teenager, I was basically taught that having sexual urges is sinful. I was to repent for these feelings, and abstain from feeling them. And, well, I couldn't abstain. I'd wake up in the morning with that "loving feeling." Out of no where, in the middle of school, I'd feel that way. Laying in bed at night, listening to a love song, I'd feel it. It wasn't directed at anyone. It wasn't caused by anyone. I wasn't lusting for anyone. I just felt horny.

And... I felt dirty, and ashamed, and unworthy of God's love - all because I thought what I was feeling was unnatural and wrong. I became ashamed of my own body and mind... my sexuality... myself. There was something wrong with me.

This is a horrible, painful burden to put on a child. Yes, of course, we're all sinners. But it took many years to recognize that there was no sin in my biological sexuality. What I did with those sexual urges may have been sinful... something which can be traced back to feeling ashamed of my inability to stifle these natural and uncontrollable feelings... but the feelings themselves were not sinful.

Sin is something that comes from our hearts. God knows what is there. Waking up with a sexual urge is not something in our hearts - it isn't like we think, "ya know, I know sexual urges are sinful, but I feel like I want to disobey and have some urges anyway." Directing those sexual urges at your algebra teacher, spending the class hour fantasizing about trying out those sexual urges... that is in the heart. That is us thinking, "I know lust is sinful, but dang this guy is hot... one little disobedient, lust-filled fantasy will be ok."

We need to teach our children (and ourselves) the truth about sex and sexuality 

Hiding the truth about sex... lumping it all into a "this is sin!" category... is not healthy for preteen/teenagers. It's not healthy for adults. It causes us to have unhealthy expectations on our natural biology, and unhealthy views of ourselves and our sexuality.

Jesus never said "Thou shalt not be horny." He simply teaches us that we should not be lusting after someone who is not our spouse, and should not be sleeping with someone we're not married to. Let's please stop lumping all things sexual as sin.

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