Sexual freedom seems to be a strong presupposition of our cultural conversation when it comes to human dignity, equality, and civil rights. One website defines it as “the license to lawfully live with and love whom you want, when you want, and how you want without social, political, medical or cultural persecution.” (The Woodhall Foundation) A writer for The Christian Post claims that many single self-proclaimed Christians are sexual atheists. That is, they believe in Jesus Christ but want him to stay out of their bedroom. They want the freedom to do what they want with their sex lives.
Here are a few questions I have rolling around in my head. They’re things you may want to consider before you embrace sexual freedom, or if you already are.
1.) Is the language of sexual freedom logical? Sexual freedom has forever found its place among societal rebellions. The French barricades of 1968 was no exception. One statement caught on: “It is forbidden to forbid.” Really? If you just agreed with that statement, you just forbade! I think the same cycle can be seen in how we use the word “tolerance.” If you force someone to tolerate behaviors they deem harmful, haven’t you contradicted yourself with your own rhetoric? I think true tolerance allows us to come to different conclusions without forcing ours upon another.
One argument I hear quite often from college co-eds enjoying their sexual freedom is this: “it doesn’t mean anything. It’s just sex.” Recently I listened to a message on the meaning of life by Pastor Tim Keller, who said: “As soon as you say, ‘everything is meaningless.’ I have to asked, ‘is there meaning to that statement?'”
I find much of the rhetoric surrounding sexual freedom to be illogical. Am I wrong?
2.) Don’t most people have some moral restraints concerning sexuality? For example, the vast majority of people worldwide still believe that adultery is wrong. according to Pew Research. Unless you are French, and then you are the one country in the world with barely a minority—48%— holding to the opinion that adultery is hurtful and wrong. I guess the “It-is-forbidden-to-forbid”-mantra really did have an impact! Eighty-four percent of American’s believe cheating on your spouse is forbidden. If you are in the minority, I would ask: Is rape wrong? Is pedophilia wrong? Everyone has a line somewhere, so doesn’t that logically make you wonder why?
3.) Why do most people have some moral restraints concerning sexuality? Tim Keller says “Absolute freedom mandates that you must admit utter meaninglessness. And no one can live like that.”Keller says that even the most learned scholars and philosophers admitted that to embrace absolute freedom is to embrace utter meaninglessness. French philosopher Albert Camus bravely asserted this in spite of his liberal beliefs. In other words, when we embrace sexual freedom we are admitting that sex is meaningless, and we just can’t do that. The fact that we each have some moral restraint concerning sex is evidence that we assign meaning to it. Sex means something. To me. To you. To everyone. We want sex and love to have meaning.
4.) What is the meaning of sex? When you find the reason for something, you get the most out of it. It reaches it’s full potential. Keller says if you owned a beautiful wooden sail boat, you would understand its purpose was to glide along the waters so you could enjoy the breeze and beautiful sunshine. You would not try to float it down Broadway amidst New York City traffic. You would not get the most out of it that way. And we want to get the most out of the things that belong to us.
Is there much we possess that is more meaningful to us than the ability to love and express that love sexually? Why don’t we want to understand its meaning? We crave great sex and yet do not take the time to know the reason for it so that our love lives and sexual expression can reach their fullest potential.
It is the meaning of sex that drives me to teach about God’s guidelines for it. The Hebrew word for sex in the Old Testament is yada. (Yes! As in yada, yada, yada!) The definition of the word is, “to know, to be known, to be deeply respected!” What an amazing meaning God assigned to sex. It is something that caused us to deeply know another. With no sense of the physical act of sexuality, this word pointed to the deep emotional quenching I yearn for in the act of sexuality. The meaning of it!
I’m not alone.
Almost every female that I’ve spoken to about this admits they aren’t really yearning for a physical touch in their sexual encounters, but they’re seeking a deep emotional caressing. We want to find our guy look at and studying us. We want to hear our name whispered. We need him to listen to our words with all his heart. We want to “be known.”
Men tend to resonate with the latter part of the definition of yada. They yearn “to be deeply respected.” I’ve asked men from my hometown of State College, PA to the hidden corners of Africa what they want most in a relationship. They say it is respect.
Mingle the two—an emotional knowing and a deep respect—and you have yada.
The meaning of sex—to draw to people so close to one another in love that the physical act is a mere conduit to the emotional connection taking place.
Out of curiosity, I once looked up how many times this word shows up in the Hebrew Old Testament.
It’s used over 900 times.
Now, that’s alotta yada!
The basic definition of this word is only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the meaning of sex. Not blown away just yet?
It gets even better. I’ll go more deeply into the meaning of sex in a blog post next week.
This message by Pastor Timothy Keller, a man I admire and respect greatly for applying reason and logic to his unwaivering faith, is worth a listen if you are struggling with understanding the meaning of life. As I listened to it, I could not help make make the connection to the meaning of sex. And this blog post was birthed out of his thinking. I hope you’ll listen to this great message, and enjoy it as much as I did.