Sin, Love heat, and Sexual Expression
I have to say that this exploration of healthy and healing sexuality that I’ve been on for the last year has made me look at sin in a whole new way. It was HornyHubby in his epic masturbation post that started this, so I’ll blame him, but I have honestly quit looking at any particular sexual act as being sinful. Context is everything.
The sin in the garden wasn’t sexual. It affected sex, but it wasn’t sexual itself. The sin in the garden had to do with thinking we could be better than what God made us to be. It had to do with thinking that we could have more than he had already given us. Sin is about greed and selfishness and lack of love, but it isn’t about sex.
Sexuality is just who we are. Sexuality is just our naked selves living in community the way God created us to live in the beginning.
Of course, when the sin of greed and selfishness enters into our sexual experiences, sex can get really ugly and really hurtful really fast because it touches the very core of who we are in a way that nothing else does. But when sexuality is truly loving and truly authentically human and truly sacrificial the way God created it to be in the beginning, I can’t help but wonder if some of the things that we’ve always talked about as being “sexual sins” are actually sins at all. Maybe these “sexual sins” are just natural human God-given desires that could have been realized in some healthy way in a perfect world where we weren’t so bent self-destruction. Maybe they can’t be experienced now because we are all broken and damaged, but even if that is true, and these things can’t be experienced healthfully in real life right now, that doesn’t mean they can’t be talked about and shared healthfully within the safe context of our bedrooms.
In The Rose’s recent post titled Sex Guessing Game, we’ve been talking about how one of the most loving things we can do for our spouse is to accept his/her sexuality for what it is. Unless our spouse is trying to hurt us (or others) through their sexuality, we often do more harm than good by telling them that their desires are sinful or ungodly. Because in saying things like that, we are rejecting their most private and most vulnerable sense of self-expression. We are calling into question their very identity as a sexual creature. And when we do that, it can lead to a sort of self-doubt or even self-loathing that is anything but healthy and healing.
In a lot of ways, I think the sexual side of our marriages could be so much healthier if we could banish this idea of sexual sin from our minds within the context of our bedrooms. Don’t get me wrong, Sin is sin and should be taken very seriously. But I don’t think sexuality and it’s various expressions are the sin. Greed, Hatred, Selfishness, these are the sins. And our sexuality is sinful when it draws its strength from these life-stealing attitudes. But when our desire is full of love and full of creative self-expression and full of self-sacrifice, our sexuality is a beautiful thing. And I think that we might be surprised at the new directions our sexuality can take us when we are willing to do the work of separating our sexual desires from our amazing capacity for selfishness and fear.
(Having said all that, though, I do want to clarify that there is a difference between not calling your spouse a sinner and actually following through, hook, line, and sinker, with every aspect of their fantasies. Sometimes, quite apart from the “sin” issue, our spouse’s fantasies just don’t line up with our fantasies. And this is okay. We can still accept our spouse and let him/her express herself by talking about the fantasies, and then thoughtfully consider to what extent we are personally able or not able to follow through on that fantasy. Just as I don’t have to actually go out mountain climbing to support my husband in his sport, so too I don’t have to actually participate in every aspect of my husband’s fantasy to show that I accept that fantasy as being a real and viable part of who he is. Does it mean the world to him if I’d ask him to take me to the climbing wall one weekend? Sure! And so it also means the world to him when I periodically find ways to incorporate aspects of his fantasy into our sex lives. But loving him does not necessitate that I change who I am or go so far out of my comfort zone as to make myself miserable. Just as I need to accept him, he needs to accept that sometimes I can’t go the places he wants me to go. And that is okay. That is part of the give and take of relationship.)
Our sacrificial Christian marriages, if you will, are the one little piece of the garden that we were able to bring with us when we left. Our Christian marriages are our safe place. Our place to go naked. Our place to know and be known. They are our place to be loved and accepted without question and without fear. They are our place to play. Our place to be free.
When we are living in a truly loving and mutually sacrificial marriage, I don’t think we need to worry about that list of sexual sins because, as it says in Romans 13…
“These—and other such commandments—are summed up in this one commandment: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ Love does no wrong to others, so love fulfills the requirements of God’s law.” (NLT)
So love, and play, and enjoy your sexuality in freedom! God bless!