On why I think the media is wrong about sex

This post will divide opinion, but I can’t pretend that I don’t think it’s important.

Because it is. Is it the ‘be-all and end-all’, to borrow a Shakespeare coinage? Is it essential to your existence? No.

There’s a problem with today’s society though. Everyone’s getting mixed messages about what sex is actually supposed to be. Really, think about this for a second. You’ve all heard the phrase- ‘it’s just sex.’

OK. Picture your favourite romantic comedy. Sex in these films is often a major plot point, if not the entire driving force. Careful lighting and lush orchestral accompaniments would have you believe that the single greatest moment in history just happened, as those characters slipped between the sheets.

Now think about billboard and TV advertising. The internet. The latest chart singles. Here we have sex so cheapened and distorted that it’s almost unrecognisable from the fairytale romance Nicholas Sparks would approve of.

If a politician or a footballer is found to be having an affair, the public laugh scornfully as their entire career is put at risk. Husbands and wives across the country are having extra-marital affairs, and depending on who you are, this is either deliciously juicy gossip about your colleague, or ‘such a shame because his wife is such a nice lady’.  And let’s not forget the effect of pornography on men’s perception of women, and on women’s perceptions of themselves.

Through internet pop-ups, obligatory 30-second raps in mainstream music releases, and film adaptations from the classics to the incomprehensibly stupid ‘Twilight’, the message seems to be this: ‘Sex is the most important thing out there, so naturally, you should go grab some any way you can.’ In our consumerist culture, this shouldn’t come as much of a surprise. But it does help to explain why everyone seems a bit confused. How can something so hyped up be sold so cheaply?

As a Christian, I can tell you we don’t have it easy either. We like films and music too. We love Ryan Gosling in ‘The Notebook’. We watch TV, read newspapers and use the internet. We don’t live in a bubble filled with cherubs and chastity belts. Even if we tried, it would be hard to avoid the media. The way our culture views sex contradicts what the bible says about it, and yes, sometimes that’s confusing.

With a dizzying array of talks and books on the subject, everyone in the Christian media, too, has something to say – from the conservative to the liberal end of the spectrum. It’s a bit of a minefield to navigate.

Maybe you’re reading this and you’re not a Christian. Maybe you’ve always thought we were weird and prudish. I’m about to add to the minefield with my two cents, so if you’re  interested, stay with me here.

No matter how many speakers or authors I could turn to for advice on sex, the bible is my first point of reference. Here’s a few key verses on the subject:

 ‘Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh’. Genesis 2:24

 ‘Let marriage be held in honor among all, and let the marriage bed be undefiled.’ Hebrews 13:4

‘Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your bodies.’ 1 Corinthians 6:19-20

And, finally:

‘However, let each one of you love his wife as himself, and let the wife see that she respects her husband.’ Ephesians 5:33

If you take the above four verses and apply them with the wisdom of the Holy Spirit, you have a basis for a fulfilling relationship where sex is both physically and emotionally safe. The older I get, the more sure I become that in no other context will sex be as meaningful as within a loving marriage.

If the concept of ‘emotionally safe’ sounds odd, I’ll try to explain. Firstly, even if a cheesy rom-com is your reference point here, sex is a way of strengthening an emotional bond between two people. When that bond severs, it’s bound to hurt. If our bodies are a temple of the Holy Spirit, we’re not just physical beings, but spiritual ones too; so, if you’re creating and breaking bond after bond, that’s a lot of hurt. Hurt you may not feel straight away, but will damage long term.

With this in mind, I’d conclude that sex, as God sees it, is pretty important. He created it, after all. It’s a gift given to us, and used properly, it’s meant to be fantastic. Go read Song of Solomon if you don’t believe me. Abused, though, and we get left with some scars.

The media is wrong about sex because it doesn’t take into account the very cost of its devaluation. But I believe in a personal God who, when we let him, takes great care in ensuring we are valued and loved.

So what about all these differing viewpoints in the Christian sphere?

What matters to me is that the underlying principle is the same. That is, firstly: it doesn’t gloss over, embellish or twist what the bible says. And secondly, it is rooted in love, mercy and compassion. Condemnation is what Jesus set us free from; let’s leave it at the cross, and think twice before passing judgement. In God’s eyes, sin is sin.

There are things the bible isn’t specific about. That’s why Jesus sent us the Holy Spirit, to give us clarity on life’s greyer areas. Christians still slip up in this area, just as we make mistakes and blunders in every other aspect of life. But our infinitely merciful God sees our hearts and fixes our deepest hurts. Sex is neither too big nor too small for Him. I for one want to align myself with His views on the subject, because I’m convinced the rest of the world doesn’t have the answer.

4 thoughts on “On why I think the media is wrong about sex

  1. While I agree with many of the points you made here, the minute you launched into bible verses to back up your view, I couldn’t continue to take you seriously. To make your point more strongly, I’d suggest using your own reasons and experiences instead. How do you apply the wisdom of the holy spirit to treating women as property and stoning them for losing their virginity? (please see Deuteronomy 22:20-21).

    • Hi, thanks for taking the time to read and comment.
      The reason why I used the bible to back up my view is for the following:

      Firstly, I wrote this post before I read the post on Hellogiggles, so it wasn’t intended as a direct reply to what was written on there. This blog is primarily used for my thoughts about life from a Christian perspective. That means anything I write about is going to be centred around that.

      Secondly, while of course I do have some personal opinions and experiences on the subject, my main reasoning does come from the bible. As a Christian, it would be strange if it didn’t. Most of the readership for this blog, so far, is people I know personally, and I think it’s a good idea to inform on why exactly Christians hold these views about sex. If I just stated my own opinion, what kind of weight would that hold when representing my faith? But, perhaps you’re right in that I could have made it a little more personal, I understand why that would come across as more genuine. As I said, though, with a readership of people I know, this is quite a personal topic to go into.

      Regarding your comment on Deutoronomy 22, I agree in that there are parts that seem shocking. My only response to that is that the New Testament centres around the new covenant that was made when Jesus came to Earth, died and rose again. By doing that many of the old laws were made unnecessary. All Jesus’ interactions with women show that he considered them equals and completely worthy of his time- going against the Jewish traditions that surrounded him.

      As for Holy Spirit wisdom, Jesus sent the Holy Spirit after he ascended into heaven as a Helper. In the Old Testament, the people did not have this; they had only laws and regulations.

      This is quite a long reply; sorry about that! I just wanted to cover the points you made. Again, thank you for commenting.

      • I don’t find the point about Jesus replacing all the evil shit in the Old Testament massively convincing. The New Testament goes out of its way to link Jesus to the Old Testament and its prophecies, and Jesus himself claims that not a single law has been replaced:

        http://biblehub.com/matthew/5-18.htm

      • Thanks for commenting!

        You’re right in that the Old and New Testament are very much linked.
        I’m not a theologian or an expert on Jewish traditions, but I do think it’s fair to say that many of the laws that seem completely crazy today have to be looked at in context. There were a lot of rules in the Old Testament that seem to have been in place for the prevention of spreading disease and sickness (not being able to eat certain kinds of food, strict hygiene rules concerning sex, etc).

        Galations 3:15-25 explains the purpose of the law, notably this: ‘Before this faith came, we were held prisoner by the law, locked up until faith should be revealed. So the law was put in charge to lead us to Christ, that we might be justified by faith. Now that faith has come, we are no longer under supervision of the law.

        For example: In 1 Corinthians 10:25, it says ‘Eat anything sold in the meat market without raising questions of conscience, for, “The Earth is the Lord’s and everything in it’.

        The New Covenant/fulfilment of the law is tough to get one’s head around, hopefully as I get older my understanding of it will increase.

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