Why You Should Have the Best Sex You Can
Four years ago, Relevant Magazine published an article called "Christians Are Not Called to Have Amazing Sex." And they're absolutely right. It is neither heavenly command nor a Scriptural mandate that Christians have what pop culture depicts as erotic, mind-blowing, endlessly satisfying, simple and easy sexual experiences. Reading and re-reading this article, I confess that there is nothing in it that I disagree with - and yet I find myself grating against it because I feel that, in its reactions to one discourse on sex, it fails to highlight another discourse - an equally important one, to my mind. So, I offer this not as a contradiction of that article, but as a companion piece. Yes - Christians are not called to have amazing sex. However, we ought to have the best sex we can. Here's why.
Ephesians 5 teaches us that the playing out of a marriage relationship in time and space is a living, breathing image of the sacrificial love that Christ and the church share. Romans 5:8 describes the genesis of that love, "while we were still sinners, Christ died for us." Then, in Philippians 3, Paul exemplifies the church's sacrificial response: "I consider everything a loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them garbage, that I may gain Christ and be found in him..." When the unsaved world looks at two Christians in marriage, they should see two people sacrificing for each other, pushing each other to pursue Christ, broadcasting the holy and unique nature of sacrificial love that has its root in Christ and the church. This is the public function of marriage.
Perhaps not the only, but certainly one of the most important private functions of marriage is to consistently conjure, reinforce, and refresh that image for ourselves. Our ability to reflect Christ and the church to the world around us is inexorably tied to our ability to manifeest that image between ourselves and our spouses. Now, to the fullest extent, we confess that conjuring this image at all is only possible because of the surpassing grace and power of the Holy Spirit at work in our hearts, our lives, and our relationships. That being said, we are not puppets, but agents, capable of intentionally wielding that power to work and accomplish the will of God for our marriages. We are convicted that part of that will is the best sex we can manage. Primarily, this is because sex is the most visceral version of the image of Christ and the church that can be created in a marriage.
Now, here's where things get a little tricky. The idea that sex is perhaps the highest and purest version of the image of Christ and the church is one that we held specifically because of how we define what exactly good sex is. Typically, Hollywood, and all of pop culture, tend define good or great sex by personal pleasure. The best sex is that which is most pleasurable to you. This definition, incidentally, is the one which Relevant Magazine's article took issue with - and it's one that we take issue with, as well. However, rather than say categorically that God doesn't prioritize amazing sex in marriage, we would further specify that Christians are not called to have amazing sex when amazing sex is defined this way. However, defined in light of Christ, the church, and their shared sacrificial love, we absolutely feel that Christians are called to have amazing sex. That is to say, Christians are called to have sex lives defined by self-sacrifice, a pursuit of intimacy & connection, vulnerability, and the expression of affection. That is amazing sex.
Surely, sex is not the only way to express self-sacrifice in a relationship. But, in our current time and context, sacrificing our personal pleasures for the sake of our spouses' edifications is among the most counter-cultural sacrifices we can make. Also, accessed as we believe God intends for it to be, it's among one of the deepest sacrifices we can make. The nakedness of our bodies during sex is an external manifestation of the internal nakedness of our hearts and souls - sacrificing the full measure of our self-protection and our guards to be completely open to and vulnerable with another human being. This kind of intimacy is the kind that God desires to have with us - one in which nothing is held in reserve, but all we are is His. When sex is consistently had in this way, where pleasure is not the goal, but intimacy, connection, and the edification of the partner, we not only honor God and exemplify His love for us and ours for Him, but we have truly amazing, awe-inspiring sex.
Sexual compatibility (and, by extension, incompatibility) is a genuine concern, in a traditional sense. But it is our conviction that all sex is compatible with self-sacrifice. And, for that reason, amazing sex is possible in every relationship. It may not be easy, and it may not be pop-culture's definition, but if Christian experience has taught us anything, I hope it is that those things that are difficult and godly are also, often, the most amazing.