We probably live today in one of the most sex-saturated times throughout history.
Sex with prostitutes might not be a common past-time in America but in parts of Asia, fuel by sex tourism, it much more common.
And, think about it, perhaps you aren’t having sex but you’re watching people doing it (this also includes nudity) on television. Does indulging in voyeurism mean that our present day culture is any less hedonistic than cultures of yore?
Articles tell us about how to measure our “performance” using physical metrics. Size, frequency, duration and number of partners.
They might even allude to the spiritual and/or emotional aspects of the act, the benefits to a relationship, etc, etc. But the world ultimately view it as an “act”.
But it is so much more. I believe a better way to view it is through a Biblical perspective.
The concept I’m talking about here is intimacy. In my mind, I see a link between intimacy and exclusivity. And exclusivity is a common thread that runs throughout the Bible. (A related concept is being chosen)
God demands our exclusive devotion. He will not share us with other gods.
Holiness is being set apart for God, exclusively.
Related to that is the concept of something being devoted to God, to be exclusively used for/by God.
Noah and his family were chosen, exclusively, to survive the flood.
Out of all the nations, Abraham and his descendants were chosen, to exclusively be called God’s people.
Christ is to be our head, our bridegroom. No-one else is to take His place, the relationship is exclusive.
The marriage analogy is used to describe the relationship between Christ and His church. And marriage itself is also exclusive.
Exclusivity can be liken to being first. There can only be “one” first. Only one “most” favourite. If someone asks you what’s your favourite ice-cream and you roll off a list of several flavours then you don’t have a (clear) favourite. You have lots of likes.
I would define intimacy as an outcome, a result of exclusivity. When you are in an exclusive relationship, intimacy develops. You have someone you share you thoughts and feelings with, more so than with any other person. And when you decide to commit to that person, to say that you wish that relationship to continue for as long as you live, you get married. (In my opinion not wanting to get married is saying you don’t want to spent the rest of your life with someone, because that’s what marriage is – wanting to be with someone for the rest of your life and making that statement publicly).
And I believe that sex is the physical manifestation of that exclusive intimate relationship. Which should occur after the commitment and not before. That’s why we should avoid pre-marital sex.
And we should also avoid extra-marital sex. Because if you do the “act” outside of marriage, then it demotes and demeans sex within marriage.
You basically become a liar, because what you have done is – though you have publicly committed to being exclusive with someone – you have broken that exclusivity, you have been unfaithful. And worse, you have taken the ultimate expression of that exclusivity and intimacy and made it non-exclusive.
Sex is more than an act, it is much much more than that. But if you only view it as an “act” (be it purely physical, or also mental / spiritual) that can be done with more than one person then that will be all that it can be for you.