“Did you just say, ‘sex’ out loud?”
“Pastors shouldn’t talk about sex.”
“The culture talks about sex enough, we don’t need to pervert it more by talking about it in the church.”
So go the charges to whosoever starts this conversation within the church. I’m right with others who do not want to trivialize sex like our entertainment culture does. “It’s just sex,” or so the logic goes. I’m not in favor of this outlook. What I want to bring to the forefront right now is something else.
Christian husbands and wives, as well as Christians in general (most certainly our youth!), need to have not only "the sex talk"—but more talk about sex. This should be encouraged more often than not for at least five reasons.
1. We should not be more prudish than God.
The Song of Solomon is much more intimate than we were about what happens in the marriage bed, and yet God saw fit to include that beautiful book in his Holy Bible. Listen to these words from the Bible:
“How beautiful are your feet in sandals,
O noble daughter!
Your rounded thighs are like jewels,
the work of a master hand.
Your navel is a rounded bowl
that never lacks mixed wine.
Your belly is a heap of wheat,
encircled with lilies.
Your two breasts are like two fawns,
twins of a gazelle.
Your neck is like an ivory tower.
Your eyes are pools in Heshbon,
by the gate of Bath-rabbim.
Your nose is like a tower of Lebanon,
which looks toward Damascus.
Your head crowns you like Carmel,
and your flowing locks are like purple;
a king is held captive in the tresses.
How beautiful and pleasant you are,
O loved one, with all your delights!
Your stature is like a palm tree,
and your breasts are like its clusters.
I say I will climb the palm tree
and lay hold of its fruit.
Oh may your breasts be like clusters of the vine,
and the scent of your breath like apples,
and your mouth like the best wine.” (Song of Solomon 7:1-9)
“It goes down smoothly for my beloved,
gliding over lips and teeth.
I am my beloved's,
and his desire is for me.
Come, my beloved,
let us go out into the fields
and lodge in the villages;
let us go out early to the vineyards
and see whether the vines have budded,
whether the grape blossoms have opened
and the pomegranates are in bloom.
There I will give you my love.
The mandrakes give forth fragrance,
and beside our doors are all choice fruits,
new as well as old,
which I have laid up for you,
O my beloved.” (Song of Solomon 7:1-9)
How intimate, how beautiful, how sexual. And yet, God included these words in his Holy Word to show us that marital intimacy is human. It’s human, not sinful. Sex within the context of marriage—a man with his wife—is true, good, and beautiful. Just as God intended it to be from the beginning.
2. We should not be more pious than God.
Being a prude is one thing—God is certainly no prude—but we also have the tendency to try to become more pious than God. We get self-righteous, and holier than Thou in our thoughts and hearts. In the 1940’s while in prison, Dietrich Bonhoeffer wrote:
I believe we are so to love God in our life and in the good things God gives us and to lay hold of such trust in God that, when the time comes and is here—but truly only then!—we also go to God with love, trust, and joy. But—to say it clearly—that a person in the arms of his wife should long for the hereafter is, to put it mildly, tasteless and in any case is not God’s will. One should find and love God in what God directly gives us; if it pleases God to allow us to enjoy an overwhelming earthly happiness, then one shouldn’t be more pious than God and allow this happiness to be gnawed away through arrogant thoughts and challenges and wild religious fantasy that is never satisfied with what God gives. God will not fail the person who finds his earthly happiness in God and is grateful… (Letters and Papers from Prison by Dietrich Bonhoeffer)
In short, it’s no sin to relish in some of the satisfaction that this world has to offer—a good wife is “far more precious than jewels” (Proverbs 31:10). We are to enjoy the good gifts that God gives to us and give him thanks for them. It’s not ungodly to delight in everything we receive from our good Father’s hand.
3. Married couples need to speak to the appropriate people about the intimacy issues they are experiencing.
Husbands and wives need to communicate with one another, and there are Christian couples out there who are dying on an island all alone—when a much-needed remedy to their marital intimacy problems is to simply talk about it with others they can trust.
It also helps to know that none of us are alone in the common struggles, challenges, and joys of married life. Also, having some dialogue is necessary to avoid watching friends and others bury their real concerns and questions, which often leads to divorce or infidelity if left unaddressed.
4. Singles need to speak to their pastors, mentors, and friends about their own struggles with and views of sex.
Talking about sex is a step forward from sexual bondage and toward sexual freedom. It’s a good thing for a young man or woman who has sexual sin to bring their struggles up to others who are wiser and experienced with temptation. It’s also good for each person to know that they are not alone in their struggles.
Many married men and women still struggle with lust, even after marriage. It’s helpful for unmarried Christians to hear this, and to know that they are not alone in their temptations or sins—and they surely aren’t alone in seeking out the only Savior who forgives us of all our sins. There is a godly and dignified way to talk about sex.
5. Sex is good, so let’s not be afraid to talk about it!
Sex is a good gift from God. God made the world, and it was good. And even after the fall, God used sex to further his kingdom purposes throughout the whole world. His creation multiplied by sex. It was through sex and child-bearing that God sent his Son into the world, as the true descendant and son of Eve—to literally “bring life” in the midst of death.
Sex is enjoyable. It is a pleasure and a delight when enjoyed within the context that God has intended—male and female and within the marriage covenant.
Sex is beautiful. From sex can spring forth the delight of a newborn child, the apple of the parent’s eye.
Sex is awesome. Don’t be afraid to talk about it. Christians should not be silent about sex. God talked about it and we should too.
A good friend of mine, Joel Fitzpatrick, and his sister Jessica Thompson just wrote up a great book to better equip us parents on this topic. It's called Mom, Dad...What's Sex?: Giving Your Kids a Gospel-Centered View of Sex and Our Culture. It's hot off the press so order your copy before they sell out!