How do we make the transition from “sex-negative” thinking to “sex-positive” thinking so that we can enjoy such a grand and glorious gift as our sexuality? How do we go from hyper-vigilant self-protection to freely sharing our minds, bodies, hearts, and souls with one another as God intended? How do we enjoy our one-flesh union so that we are captivated, mesmerized, and blissful, as if we’re one step away from heaven’s door? While there’s no established formula for accomplishing such a paradigm shift, I’d like to tell you about a pivotal experience in my life that opened up all kinds of mental, emotional, and spiritual pathways through which I could more fully embrace the physical side of my sexuality without feeling like a “bad girl.”
I was working toward my master’s degree in counseling/human relationships at Liberty University when my human sexuality professor, Dr. David Lawson, posed this shocking question to the class:
“How is your relationship with God ‘sexual’ in nature?”
Silence. All of us students sat there in our desks wondering, Is this a joke?
It was no joke. It was our honest-to-goodness, serious-as-a-heart-attack assignment to discuss this deep theological question in a small-group setting for the following two hours.
Two hours?! Wouldn’t two minutes be enough? I thought.
Little did I realize that we could have chewed on this topic for two full days, and still not have exhausted all of the possibilities! Our small group tossed around all kinds of insightful responses such as the fact that in both our sexual relationships with our spouses, and in our spiritual relationships with God, there is:
* Trust * Vulnerability * Genuine interest
* Full acceptance * Deep desire * True communion
* Closeness * Connection * Life-giving transference
* Openness * Honesty * Humility
* Risk * Intimacy * Passion
* Purpose * Pleasure * Transcendence
* Euphoria * Completion * Synergy
As I’ve continued to contemplate this question, and even discuss it with audience members at some of my speaking events, I’ve realized that our sexuality serves all kinds of amazing purposes! Before we even look at Scripture (which we’ll dive into in the next few questions), just consider: what else in all of creation can so effectively
- Comfort you when you are sad?
- Calm you when you are anxious?
- Provide an outlet for expression when you’re excited?
- Relieve boredom?
- Help you forget your current trials and tribulations?
- Make you sleep better?
- Provide intense, guilt-free pleasure?
- Help you feel deeply connected to another human being and to God?
- Erase feelings of loneliness and isolation?
- Give you an interesting break from your daily routine?
- Relieve stress, and even certain aches and pains?
- Enhance your overall health and vitality?
- Fulfill your hopes and dreams of parenthood?
- Rev your engine, float your boat, light your fire?
- Send sparks through your brain and shivers down your spine?
- Make you feel so giddy, so special, so cherished and celebrated?
Yeah, only sex can do all that. And it does all that quite well!
So what was God thinking when He created sex? I believe He was thinking, “I’m going to make their day… and their nights too!”
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.