The Girls' Growing Up in the Lord

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Chapter 4

What is Sex?


Sex was Created by God


            Sexual intercourse is an act between a man and a woman. The capability for having sex and the desire for sex was created by God at the very beginning.


Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and they shall become one flesh. Genesis 2:24


            The idea that a husband and wife would become one flesh describes the joining of a man and woman in harmonious actions, including the act of sex. There are several things that we can conclude from this verse. God intended that one man would marry one woman. Within this marriage, the man and woman are expected to have sex with each other. The idea of being one excludes all others. God does not intend for a man or a woman to have multiple sex partners.

            The reason God gave us sex was so that we would produce children. There are many passages where God tells mankind to "be fruitful and multiply" (Genesis 1:28; 9:1,7; 35:11 are just a few examples). This means we are expected to have sex and to have the children that may result from engaging in sex. However, sexual intercourse is only honorable within marriage (Hebrew 13:4). The Greek word, translated to the English word "bed" in this verse, carries the idea of sexual intercourse and the conception of children. The word "bed" is used to represent the act that usually takes place there.

            If you think for a moment, it makes sense that sex and the production of children should take place only in marriage. Children need a stable home in which to grow up. The ideal family has a father and a mother to care for the children and to train the children in the ways of the Lord. A single parent has difficulty fulfilling two roles simultaneously. Therefore, both roles are poorly done. A single parent does not have enough time to adequately raise children according to God's word.

            I should mention that not every couple is able to have children. There are many things that can go wrong with the man or the woman's body to prevent the conception of a child. The Bible mentions several couples who were barren: Abraham and Sarah, and Jacob and Rachel are two examples. Therefore, don't get the idea that every act of sex leads to the conception of a child.

            Not only is sex something a husband and wife are allowed to do; it is a duty. Under the Old Law, a new husband was released from obligations, such as serving in the army, that would separate him from his wife during their first year of marriage (Deuteronomy 24:5). By living at home, he could concentrate on bringing happiness to his wife. Some men do not understand that women have as much a desire for sex as men do. The male desire is more visible, but this doesn't mean that the female desire is any less. In the days of the Old Testament, some men took multiple wives. God did not approve of a man being married to more than one woman, but realizing that the people were going to do it anyway, God put laws in place to make sure that each wife was at least treated fairly. In Exodus 21:10, if a man took another wife for some reason, he could not diminish his first wife's "marriage rights." Another way to put it is that the husband cannot withhold having sex with his original spouse. When a woman marries, she has the right to expect to have sex with her husband. Paul tells us that a reason for marriage is to prevent fornication, or sexual immorality.


Now concerning the things of which you wrote to me: It is good for a man not to touch a woman. Nevertheless, because of sexual immorality, let each man have his own wife, and let each woman have her own husband. Let the husband render to his wife the affection due her, and likewise also the wife to her husband. The wife does not have authority over her own body, but the husband does. And likewise the husband does not have authority over his own body, but the wife does. Do not deprive one another except with consent for a time, that you may give yourselves to fasting and prayer; and come together again so that Satan does not tempt you because of your lack of self-control.

I Corinthians 7:1-5


[Sexual immorality or fornication is having sex outside the realm of marriage.]


As a result, the husband must give the affection due his wife (and vice versa). From verse 4 we see Paul is referring to sex when he uses the word affection. Sometimes circumstances force a husband and wife to forgo sex. If that happens, Paul recommends that both the husband and the wife must agree to the abstinence and that the time of separation be limited. Otherwise, Satan will have an opportunity to tempt them to have sex with someone else.

            Solomon gives some sound advice to husbands that women can learn from as well.


Drink water from your own cistern, and running water from your own well. Should your fountains be dispersed abroad, streams of water in the streets? Let them be only your own, and not for strangers with you. Let your fountain be blessed, and rejoice with the wife of your youth. As a loving deer and a graceful doe, let her breasts satisfy you at all times; and always be enraptured with her love.                                                                                                                Proverbs 5:15-19


[In the poetic language of the Bible, the act of sexual intercourse is described in terms of flowing water.]


Solomon's advice was that men and women should only satisfy their desire (or thirst) for sex from their own well. In other words, you should only seek satisfaction of your sexual desires with your own husband. God does not intend for you to have sex with any other man. As Solomon said, why should a man disperse his water (that which satisfies his wife's thirst for sex) in the streets? Sex between a married couple is honorable and blessed. Therefore, enjoy sex with your husband.


Sex is Pleasurable and Satisfying


            Obviously, sex is pleasurable. If it wasn't, many people in the world would have little or no desire to fulfill God's command to have children. Consider the desire to eat. It helps us to remember to fuel our bodies regularly. Without hunger, some people would starve because they forgot to eat. The desire for sex is a reminder to us that we should marry and attempt to have children. However, it is possible to go too far with the idea of satisfying our desires. The desire to eat encourages us to fuel our bodies, but constantly feeding ourselves results in obesity and gluttony. Just because God gives us the desire does not give us the right to overindulge. Far too many women overindulge their desire for sex. They do not wait for marriage as God commanded them. Instead of being satisfied with their husband, they look for new sex partners. Such actions are blatant violations of God's law. Do not let Satan lead you away from God by indulging your desires in ways that God never intended.

            You probably have an idea about what sex is from things that you have heard or seen. However, so that you understand the things that we will be discussing later, let me describe what sex is. Sexual intercourse can be divided into five phases. The first phase is the desire for sex, which is called arousal. The second phase is when the husband and wife strengthen their desires by touching and kissing each other. This phase is called foreplay. Adjustments are made in both the man and the woman’s body to accomplish sexual intercourse. The woman’s vagina begins producing lubricants and the man’s body prepares semen. When their desire for sex has become very strong, the husband inserts his penis into his wife’s vagina. This phase is called penetration. The next phase is called orgasm. Orgasm is a feeling of extreme pleasure. At this point, the man ejaculates. Semen squirts out of his penis and deep into the woman's vagina. After ejaculation, every muscle relaxes and a feeling of contentment comes over the couple. This is the final phase, which is known as afterglow.

            It is important for you to understand that all phases are a part of what we call sex. Sex is not just the inserting of the penis or the release of semen into the woman. Too many teenagers engage in fondling without realizing that they are causing their bodies to begin adjustments for the next phase of sex. While the fondling is pleasurable and exciting, stopping is difficult because the body wants to complete what has been started.


Sex Outside of Marriage is Wrong


            The Bible uses two words to describe wrongful sexual acts. The first word is fornication, which means any sexual act outside of or before marriage. Fornication is sometimes translated as sexual immorality. The second word is adultery. Adultery is sex between two people where at least one person is married to someone else.

            Paul tells us in I Corinthians 6:9-10 that anyone who commits fornication or adultery will not inherit the kingdom of God. We cannot be a part of God's church and participate in illicit sexual acts. Fornication and adultery are more than a sin against God; they are sins against our own bodies.


Flee sexual immorality. Every sin that a man does is outside the body, but he who commits sexual immorality sins against his own body. Or do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and you are not your own? For you were bought with a price; therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God's. I Corinthians 6:18-20


Other sins, such as thievery or lying, are committed against another person, but sexual sins affect your own life.

            Consider the story of Shechem and Dinah.


Now Dinah the daughter of Leah, whom she had borne to Jacob, went out to see the daughters of the land. And when Shechem the son of Hamor the Hivite, prince of the country, saw her, he took her and lay with her and violated her. His soul was strongly attracted to Dinah the daughter of Jacob, and he loved the young woman. So Shechem spoke to his father Hamor, saying, "Get me this young woman as a wife." And Jacob heard that he had defiled Dinah his daughter. Now his sons were with his livestock in the field; so Jacob held his peace until they came. Then Hamor the father of Shechem went out to Jacob to speak with him. And the sons of Jacob came in from the field when they heard it; and the men were grieved and very angry, because he had done a disgraceful thing in Israel by lying with Jacob's daughter, a thing which ought not to be done.                                                                                                                                 Genesis 34:1-7


[The word translated as 'defiled' or 'violated' in verse 2 carries the implication that Shechem forced himself on Dinah, possibly even raping her.]


            Although Shechem later decided he loved Dinah and wanted to marry her, Dinah's brothers were angry because it was a thing that ought not to have been done. If Shechem truly wanted Dinah, he should have asked Jacob for her hand in marriage and then married Dinah before he took her to his bed.

            Paul told early Christians in Colossians 3:5-6 to remove fornication from their lives to avoid God's wrath. People who are not followers of God may be committing shameful sexual acts, but Christians know better than to join them in their sins. In I Thessalonians 4:3-5, Paul tells us to avoid fornication and to keep ourselves pure. Other people will let their passions rule their lives, but we will not be like them. We will dedicate our bodies to the honor and glory of God. (The word vessel is a way to describe our bodies; it is a container for our souls. The word sanctification means to set apart for a special purpose.) We must live and act so that other people would never associate inappropriate behavior with Christians.


But fornication and all uncleanness or covetousness, let it not even be named among you, as is fitting for saints; neither filthiness, nor foolish talking, nor coarse jesting, which are not fitting, but rather giving of thanks. For this you know, that no fornicator, unclean person, nor covetous man, who is an idolater, has any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and God. Ephesians 5:3-5 


[Fornication is having sex with someone you are not married to. Covetousness is wanting something or someone who belongs to another person.]


            Christians should not be associated with acts of fornication. Nor should they commit related sins such as making lewd gestures, using filthy language, or telling dirty jokes.


Possible Objections


            Some of you who are reading this probably think that this is a cruel fate. God gives you the desire for sex and the capability to have sex, and then He turns around and tells you not to use your new ability. You need to understand that God has not forbidden sex. He has limited when you may enjoy sex (only in marriage) and with whom you may have sex (only your husband). Marriage may seem to be a long way off, but you need that time to mature. A toddler who has just learned to walk needs time to practice before he can run. In like manner, you need time to adjust to the physical and mental changes happening within you before you make a lifetime commitment to someone.

            God has not set an impossible task before you. Since the world began, many women have faced the same temptations that you are now facing and they have remained pure for their future husband. Wanting to have sex, to find out what it is like, is not a desire unique to you.


No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it.                                                    I Corinthians 10:13


[For each temptation, there is a way to avoid sinning. If you really want to please God, wait until you are married.]


            Waiting is not unreasonable. To truly enjoy a sexual relationship, a man and a woman must have trust and commitment between them. Sex without love leaves you wondering if there isn't supposed to be something more to this. There is more to sex, but you can only find it when you are committed to someone for life. Sex also leads to having children. After all, God created sex to populate the world. Raising children without a stable home is a cruel thing to do to anyone. Finally, if everyone only had sex with their spouses, all the sexually transmitted diseases (often called venereal diseases) would no longer be a problem. Venereal diseases can only be a problem when at least one of the participants in the sex act has had multiple partners.

            However, don't rush into marriage just because you are anxious to have sex. Marriage is a lifetime commitment. Once you have married someone, expect to live with him for the rest of your life. You are not marrying someone to warm your bed. There are many other hours in the day that you must live with this person. Carefully consider whom you plan to marry. After you are married, enjoy all aspects of your marriage - including sex.


Questions & Answers