A lot of our favorite Rom-Coms make sexuality into a trivial test of compatibility. Think about it: The Perks of Being a Wallflower, the Twilight series, The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants, The Notebook, Dear John, The Lucky One and just about any other Nicholas Sparks adaptation has an element of sex. Regardless of if it’s a casual hook-up or shared between two people who love each other, more often than not, these couples aren’t married. The media tells us over and over that sex isn’t a big deal. Sex is a big deal because you are a big deal. That’s what makes sex so significant. Think about it. Animals having sex is not a big deal. Animals procreate on a daily basis, and that’s natural. Sex is a natural thing to do; that’s how we keep the world going generation after generation. Sex goes beyond the purposes of procreation with humans and creates a physical and chemical bond between two people. With human sexuality, sex is a very intimate and vulnerable act. And not because having sex makes our relationships more intimate! That’s something many of us have wrong.
There’s a difference between actual intimacy and perceived intimacy. Actual intimacy involves knowing someone and being known on a deep level over a long period of time. Perceived intimacy is what can happen when your physical relationship with your partner goes past where you are mentally, spiritually and emotionally. We’ve all probably observed this in our friends, or possibly ourselves, as well. As soon as we break into the realm of a sexual relationship, we feel like we’re having a more intimate relationship, while in reality, we’re probably growing apart. The relationship becomes more about the physical than the emotional, spiritual or mental. Since sex is emotional, spiritual, physical and mental, God meant for it to be shared between two people who are emotionally, spiritually, physically and mentally committed to one another. The problem with entering a sexual partnership with someone before we’re married is that we have not reached the level of intimacy needed for that act to be a good thing.
Intimacy is not just about a physical connection. It’s about an emotional, mental and spiritual connection as well as a commitment in each of those areas. Emotional intimacy is about putting the emotional needs of the other person before yourself. Mentally committing yourself to another person is about making the conscious decision to love them and be with them, especially in a bond of marriage. When you have met “the one,” that person knows all the good things about you and loves them; knows all the bad things about you, loves you anyway, and still wants to be with you. Additionally, spiritual intimacy needs to happen in order for sex to be how God intended. You, along with your partner, need to enter into that partnership both looking to grow closer to God. When you both pursue the same goals and lifestyle associated with following Christ, this spiritual intimacy will also help you grow closer together as a couple. Sex is meant to be the deepest and most meaningful physical connection we have with another person, and it loses that power and significance when it’s given to the wrong person at the wrong time.
It’s easy to think of sex as something bad or scary because it has been perceived as slutty or sinful, but it’s not meant to be those things. To help discourage teens from having sex before marriage, the church, youth groups and even health classes paint this picture of sex as something wrong, dirty and shameful. Sex is meant to be good, and God created it to be that way! This is the reason we desire sexual activity. Sin—lust, idolatry, greed, selfishness— is what has taken sex out of context and made it into something it was never meant to be. In the context of marriage it is a beautiful thing. At the same time, if we or anyone we know has had sex outside of a marriage, we must remember: that person is no less valuable than before. God not only forgives these mistakes, but also redeems them in ways we could never imagine. We’ve all heard people who have had sex outside of marriage being compared to used cars, losing value with every “mile,” or to an already-been-chewed piece of gum or a variety of other unsavory judgments. These metaphors are absolutely not true. There’s nothing we can do, or have done, that will make us less valuable. That doesn’t mean we should take advantage of God’s grace and love by sleeping around. There are still consequences for these actions, consequences like STIs, pregnancy and emotional scarring.
All of that being said, keep your values in mind when making decisions about sex. We should make those decisions based on God’s plan for our lives. God’s plan for sex is that we share it with one person in marriage. Denying ourselves that instant gratification in favor of what God wants for us is a wonderful way to obey, praise and worship Him. Saving sex for marriage is one of the most special things we can do for ourselves and for our partners. Our value is not determined by our sex life, but by being the women God made us to be.