Oct 102014

Connection between spirituality and sexualityNo words in the English language could possibly describe the look of panic on my mom’s face as she pulled into the driveway to witness me standing barefoot in the dew-covered grass, holding a fallen electrical line in my hand.  I’d been watching Sesame Street, when suddenly the TV went totally dead, along with all of the lights in the house.  I went outside to ask my dad to investigate, but stumbled upon a potential explanation when I saw the severed black cord lying limp on the front lawn.  So I picked it up, as if somehow I could reconnect it to its power source and restore everything to the way it was supposed to be. And, amazingly, I lived to tell about it.

In many ways, [my writing, speaking, and coaching are intended] to do the same thing—to reconnect married couples to their Power Source, and to restore passion and freedom in the marriage bed. Hopefully I’ll get better results this time, and avoid any shocked facial expressions in the process.

Asking the question, “Is there any connection between sexuality and spirituality?” is the equivalent of asking, “Is there any connection between body and spirit?”

Think of the spirit as the “energy” we’re given as humans who are made in the image of God.  Think of our body as the “conduit” through which that energy flows. Without the conduit (the body), there would be no way for us to experience that energy and let it flow from ourselves to another human being.  But without the energy (the spirit), our bodies alone can’t muster the human connection we naturally crave.  Oh, many try.  They find human outlets for their physical sexual desires—manipulative seduction, child molestation, sexual abuse, sexual addiction, prostitution, human trafficking—it wears all kinds of ugly masks.

But a physical connection to someone with whom we also share a strong spiritual and emotional bond, that’s something else entirely.  That’s pure love . . . romance . . . passion . . . intimacy . . . ecstasy . . . euphoria.

When you’re expressing your sexuality in the way our Designer intended, there is an enormous, undeniable connection between sexuality and spirituality.  Humans are sexual.  Humans are spiritual.  It’s the primary common denominator among us all. Are there spiritual people who aren’t sexual?  No.  Absolutely not.  There are spiritual people who aren’t sexually active, such as priests, monks, or nuns who’ve pledged themselves to a lifestyle of celibacy, or single people who are purposely holding out for marriage.  But they are still sexual beings, and will be until they die.

Are there sexual people who aren’t spiritual?  That depends on whom you ask.  Some would say that those who don’t have a relationship with Jesus are not spiritual.  This may be an acceptable definition of Christianity, but is a very narrow definition of spirituality.  Others would say that all people are spiritual, simply by the fact that they are alive, regardless of whether they are currently practicing any sort of spiritual activities or disciplines.  I agree with this latter camp.  We’re all made in the image of God, whether we acknowledge it or not, whether we acknowledge God or not.

You simply can’t take the spirit out of the body (at least not until that body is dead). Just like you can’t separate two sides of the same coin. Nor can you take the protein out of a Black Angus steak. Or take the chocolate out of a chocolate bunny, as my friend Steve Holladay says.

It’s all swirled together, sexuality and spirituality, never to be separated. So since we can’t possibly separate the body and spirit, or sexuality and spirituality, how about looking to see what we can learn from fully integrating and celebrating the synergy between the two?

Excerpted from The Passion Principles: Celebrating Sexual Freedom in Marriage   by Shannon Ethridge. Copyright 2013.  All Rights Reserved. Published by W Publishing Group, and imprint of Thomas Nelson, Nashville, TN. Used by Permission. Not to be copied without Publisher’s prior written approval. 


Oct 082014

Part 2 Will there be sex in Heaven-In addition to our sexuality remaining intact in heaven, there’s God’s sexuality to consider as well.  Yes, God is a sexual being, the most sexual of all beings, which I know sounds shocking to those of us who see sexuality as being strictly physical, but it’s not.  It’s both physical and spiritual.  Although we’ve historically considered God a “male” being, God actually transcends gender.  He made both male and female “in his own image” (Genesis 1:27), therefore God is both masculine and feminine in nature (a concept I explore more fully in my book The Fantasy Fallacy: Exposing the Deeper Meaning Behind Sexual Thoughts in a section called “Behind the Curtain: Searching for the Softer Side of God.” (i)

And I believe wholeheartedly that both God’s “sexual” nature as well as our own sexual nature will be fully present, fully understood, and fully celebrated in heaven.  It will be unadulterated, untainted, uninhibited, and we’ll enjoy the holiness, the purity, the perfection of all that God intended when He created us both “in His image” and “sexual” at the same time.

With that being established, let me provide a more direct answer by clarifying the question.  What we really want to know is, “Will there be physical intercourse in heaven?”   Since there will be no marriage, and no further need for procreation, it’s doubtful.  But this shouldn’t be bubble-bursting news, because there’s so much more to the story.  In the words of Dr. Peter Kreeft,

I think there will probably be millions of more adequate ways to express love than the clumsy ecstasy of fitting two bodies together like pieces of a jigsaw puzzle.  Even the most satisfying earthly intercourse between spouses cannot perfectly express all their love.  If the possibility of intercourse in Heaven is not actualized, it is only for the same reason earthly lovers do not eat candy during intercourse:  there is something much better to do. (ii)

In other words, the pleasure we experience through our God-given sexuality will perhaps be different in Heaven, but will most certainly be magnified exponentially.  However, God will not remove our sexual nature.  He will redeem it.

…So rather than mourn the absence of physical sex in Heaven, let us greatly anticipate the bigger sexual picture . . .

Sex on earth is like a lovely view from a cottage window. Sex in heaven will be the breathtaking view from Mount Kilimanjaro.

Sex on earth? A $2 box of Queen Ann chocolate-covered cherries. Sex in heaven? A bar of Amedei Porcelana (Italian chocolate, $90 per pound).

Sex on earth?  A stick-figure drawing on a refrigerator door. Sex in heaven?  Michelangelo’s panoramas adorning the Sistine chapel.

Sex on earth?  An afternoon at the local playground. Sex in heaven?  Owning Disney World.

Think of the greatest sexual pleasures imaginable-on steroids, factored exponentially to mind-boggling mathematical degrees-and we still are grasping at straws in comparison to the profound pleasures that await us in our Heavenly home.

Dearest Heavenly Father, In response to the pleasures that you’ve created for us to fully enjoy this side of heaven, and for all of those pleasures that you have awaiting us on the other side, we simply say . . . WOW!


i. Shannon Ethridge, The Fantasy Fallacy: Exposing the Deeper Meaning Behind Sexual Thoughts (Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 2012), 100.

ii. Peter Kreeft, Everything You Ever Wanted to Know about Heaven — But Never Dreamed of Asking (San Francisco: Ignatius Press, 1990). See www.peterkreeft.com/topics/sex-in-heaven.htm for an excerpt,“Is There Sex in Heaven?”

Excerpted from  The Passion Principles: Celebrating Sexual Freedom in Marriage  by Shannon Ethridge. Copyright 2013.  All Rights Reserved. Published by W Publishing Group, and imprint of Thomas Nelson, Nashville, TN. Used by Permission. Not to be copied without Publisher’s prior written approval.