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Talking About Sex in Church

I think as the church, we should talk about sex more.

Perhaps one of the greatest schemes of the devil is to distort something that God intended to be so good, into something that society views as taboo, secretive, or dirty. Many churches issue the blanket statement, “no sex before marriage,” and then leave it at that. A smaller selection of churches are willing to talk about Genesis or the creation story and sex in the abstract sense—sex as union, sex as procreation, sex as blessing. But not too many churches are willing to talk about the nitty-gritty (are you shuddering at the thought?) of sex from all angles—embracing the physicality of it as well as the sacred symbolism.

Our church has been going through a series of exploring the topic of an “embodied gospel.” If gospel can be translated into “good news,” and embodied can be translated into “having a physical body,” together it means we are exploring the concept that God giving us physical bodies is great news! And that has many repercussions:

  • God cares about our physical makeup—the color of our skin, the ways our bodies interact with society

  • Body is not secondary or inferior to the “soul.” In fact, separating the two distorts God’s intention within his creation

  • Nothing is too “earthly” for God. God relates to us through Jesus , incarnate as a full human being

  • We have hope for resurrection. A broken body and a scarred body have meaning—renewed, not thrown away

Through Genesis it is clear that God intended for sex to have deep meaning. Through Song of Songs it is clear that sex is pleasurable, good, and joyous. Through New Testament letters, and Old Testament accounts of misapplied ethics, it seems there is a wisdom to be had around sex.

If I have learned anything from being around church community, it is that there is great freedom and reassurance in able to be totally vulnerable and open with other people. So why can’t we extend that to all parts of our life? As a newly married couple, I would love to receive wisdom and insight from older married folks around how to make my sex life an important part of the relationship. As a single person, I would love to have people to confide in and process emotions and desires with. And as for youth, I think it’s something that the church should start addressing out in the open from an early age.

I don’t think God intended for sex to be an after-thought. I can hardly imagine that God would blush at the sight of his own creation behaving and engaging exactly as he had hoped for. But it’s safe to say that sex is important to God. It’s certainly not the only thing on the main stage (Jesus was an unmarried man and was completely fulfilled even without sex), but I think it would be good for the church to start talking about sex at least as much as culture does.

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