Not only is restricting sex to marriage best for individuals, it’s also what keeps society from both imploding (through the decline of moral character) and exploding (through uncontrolled population expansion). It’s unfathomable, but let’s take a moment to contemplate it as best we can. Let’s remove all religious regulations, all emotional sensibilities, all relational ties, all legal boundaries. Let’s say humans actually did have free reign to have as much sex with as many people as they want. Marriage means nothing. If the going gets tough, bail out and find another partner. There’s no “socially acceptable limit” to the number of marriages you can rack up. All of those children you’ve brought into the world? They don’t really need both a mom and a dad, do they? They’ll figure out a way to make it on the streets while their single parent slaves away at two or three jobs to pay all the bills because the other parent is now paying to help his or her new family to survive these tough economic times. Or, better yet, everyone involved in the relational madness and social mayhem can just go on welfare and let the government take care of us! Right?
Of course not. Forgive my sarcasm. I mean no disrespect. I just think it’s really important for us to understand just how “stabilizing” it is for a society to embrace the truth that sexual intimacy is incredibly beneficial in the context of marriage, and how, without those appropriate boundaries, there’s really nothing distinguishing us from the animal kingdom-meeting, mating, procreating, then repeating as often as the urge strikes. Perhaps this is what God had in mind with panda bears and platypuses and orangutans and octopi, but certainly not with men and women made in His very image.
We must realize that sex isn’t just about who you get your jollies with. It’s about what kind of long-term relationship you’re trying to build. It’s about what kind of society you want to be a part of. It’s about what kind of heritage you want to pass on to future generations that bear your resemblance. It’s about what kind of character you hope to construct-both in your own life and in the lives of others.
One last word picture to drive home this point: Think of the difference between a pile of bricks and a brick home. If a tornado rips through a town, that pile of bricks becomes a pile of rubble at best, an arsenal of projectile missiles at worst. But the brick house can actually withstand a pretty severe tornado without a lot of damage. What’s the difference? That pile of individual bricks has nothing holding it together, whereas the brick home is literally a fortress of protection.
Think of sex as the “mortar” that holds a marriage together, that holds a family together, that holds a community together, that holds a society together.
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.