Liberal-feminist authors have recently discovered a new favourite soundbite. We must, they insist, all be more ‘sex-positive’.
For those of you who haven’t heard, this version of ‘sexual positivity’ celebrates the casualisation of sex and urges us to sever any remaining links between sex and love.
We should, they say, celebrate those among us, strong and liberated enough to rid ourselves of outdated emotional commitment and obtain desirable doses of intimacy on our terms.
‘Hookup culture’ has flourished and, I must admit, it’s compelling.
After all, the desire to have sex is among our most basic and natural human urges. Who isn’t tempted to be promiscuous in an age in which casual sex is so easy to obtain and so societally acceptable? Even if you’re not naturally compelled to sleep around, sex sells and our hedonistic, individualist culture and economy tell you daily, that if you’re normal, you really should be.
Casual sex has a powerful pull. Nevertheless, most of us realise it can only result in perpetual disappointment and loneliness. We are a generation whose sexual psyche has become twisted. Why bother heading out to meet someone when you can swipe through the entire local population in minutes? For many, why ever meet at all when it’s so easy to trade explicit pictures?
Correspondingly, it is no exaggeration to say that habitual addiction to pornography is ruining lives. At 11 years of age, the average boy will first consume porn. By their early twenties, just how much damage a decade of consumption, objectification and desensitisation has done, becomes vividly evident. Of course, breaking such a habit is far harder than most imagined it would be. Some studies estimate that an astonishing 20 percent of young men say they would like to watch less porn, but struggle to cut down. What’s more, research shows that young Christians watch porn only slightly less than non-Christians.
The result is swathes of people who, even if they acknowledge meaningful emotional connection and long-term companionship as things they desperately desire, have no idea how they can be obtained.
Nevertheless, despite the undeniable fact that sexual imagery is more mainstream, accessible and explicit than ever before, I believe that the days of our current, destructive conception of sexual normality are numbered.
There’s no point criticising, condemning or dismissing something without first providing an alternative. Christians must do more. It is essential we talk about sex at every opportunity and engage and compete in the marketplace of ideas. Hookup culture has monopolised the sexual sphere, but our ideas are infinitely more compelling, it’s time we sold them.
We can’t afford to be bashful. Sex is fun and it always should be. What it is crucial to communicate is that sex can be better if its valued and respected.
Waiting until marriage before having sex is certainly no easy feat. Nonetheless, if you do a bit of research, you will discover that few investments pay such rewarding dividends.
A study by Brigham Young University found that those couples who waited until after marriage to have sex rated their relationships as 22 per cent more stable and 20 per cent more satisfying than those who chose not to. They also enjoyed 12 per cent higher scores in communication and perhaps most importantly, 15 per cent more pleasurable sex.
Can you imagine the intimacy and value in knowing that you and your partner had only and would only ever have sex with each other, let alone the strength and rewards found in the personal self-discipline required to get there?
Competing with our cultures obsessive pursuit of instant gratification will be a challenge indeed, but that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t try. It’s vital to remember that if Christians step back from the world, for even a day, they will become an irrelevance. Talking about sex should be as easy for Christians in the pub as it is in church.
For those who say it can’t be done, just look at the global Protestant revolution underway as we speak. Talented leadership, compelling message communication and uncompromising biblical accuracy sees thousands convert daily, to the World’s fastest-growing faith. Likewise, articulate and social media savvy Evangelists reach people who might once have been unreachable.
Our younger generations increasingly see the value of investment in relationship, marriage, self-belief and love. We must make this case, for real ‘sexual positivity,’ at every opportunity.
Cultural norms no longer dictate our sexual behaviour. Instead, we as individuals have a choice. Sex can be a recreational, often intoxicated release, shared and diluted among many strangers. Or, it can be so much more.
That choice is yours.
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