Edited excerpt from Best Sex For Life by Patricia Weerakoon. Available on Kindle now.
Men and women are equal before God in that they are both God’s image bearers. However, we don’t have to look in the mirror to know that men and women are intrinsically different, and that this difference goes beyond their physical structure. We function, think and respond differently. Nowhere is this difference more profound than in our sexuality.
These differences are not a problem; they’re actually what God intended. In Genesis 1, God created humanity as male and female. Genesis 2 gives us more detail: he made the man Adam, and then made the woman Eve from his rib—the same ‘stuff’ as Adam, his own ‘flesh and bone’—but different from him, not simply the same. That’s why she was a ‘suitable’ helper. The term ‘suitable’ means someone who ‘fits’ just right, who ‘completes’ the other person.
He then blessed them and commanded them to fill and rule the earth (Genesis 1:26, 28) or, as Genesis 2 puts it, to work the garden together. Marriage between a man and a woman is supposed to be a delightful coming together, a union of the two in serving God.
We recognise this in the marriage ceremony when we say, ‘marriage is the symbol of God’s unending love for his people, and of union between Christ and his Church’. Further, ‘marriage is a gift from God for human wellbeing, and for the proper expression of natural instincts and affections with which he has endowed us. It is a lifelong union in which a man and a woman are called so to give themselves in body, mind, and spirit, and so to respond, that from their union will grow a deepening knowledge and love of each other’.
What role does sex play in this?
Sexual intercourse plays an obvious role in procreation. The human genitalia are perfectly complementary—when a man and a woman’s genitalia function in a normal, healthy way, they work together to make babies. But that’s not all. The act of sexual intimacy between two people establishes a deep brain bond between them. It establishes lifelong union of body, mind and spirit.
This brain bonding is God’s neurochemical plan to make it easier for his image bearers to follow his commands. Lifelong faithfulness to one sexual partner is healthy and natural; chopping and changing partners is not.
As man and woman, we are created for long-term relationships and God gives us a brain mechanism for this. The neural circuitry of our brain system has been associated primarily with neuropeptides, oxytocin and vasopressin. These ‘cuddle hormones’ increase with any form of intimacy between the couple. An orgasm sends oxytocin levels through the roof.
This shared intimacy of a long-term union brings lovers closer together, potentially triggering a ‘virtuous’ cycle: the more you make love, the closer you feel, and the closer you feel, the more you make love. And so on. No wonder the writer of the Proverbs encourages a young man to be not just satisfied but intoxicated.
Drink water from your own cistern, running water from your own well. Should your springs overflow in the streets, your streams of water in the public squares? Let them be yours alone, never to be shared with strangers. May your fountain be blessed, and may you rejoice in the wife of your youth. A loving doe, a graceful deer— may her breasts satisfy you always, may you ever be intoxicated with her love. (Proverbs 5:15–19)
This is the kind of bond that keeps you together after the young blush of romance described in Song of Songs is past and your body is gravity-challenged. When you and your partner are wrinkled and sagging and the athletic lovemaking of your youth is a distant memory (Ecclesiastes 12), your love for each other and your commitment to your marriage will be stronger than it ever was.
Sexual intimacy in a couple relationship counteracts sexual temptation
Look around you. The media, television and the internet offer the seductive messages that an extramarital affair is not just harmless; it could even help a boring marriage.
There is pleasure for a season in sexual sin. Sex feels good; that’s why we do it. Add to this the thrill of the forbidden, the mindboggling chemical buzz. This is why sexual sin feels terrific ... for a while. We must build up our defences long before the temptation gets close. Glossing over the power of sexual temptation leaves us unprepared for testing times.
In the marriage ceremony, the couple vow that they will ‘forsaking all others, love and protect’ each other as long as they both live. This protection includes sexual fidelity.
Having sexual intercourse with your spouse doesn’t necessarily prevent infidelity. But true intimacy between a husband and wife—where each is sensitive to the other’s needs and able to serve the other by word, deed and sexual intimacy—places a fence of trust and mutual encouragement around the marriage bed. In 1 Corinthians 7:5, Paul instructs the married couple to make time for sexual intimacy. Do it, he says, as a safeguard against the temptation to sin.
It doesn’t always have to be sexual intercourse. Married couples develop their own love language. This may include regular intercourse, or it may include any other of a range of physical and non-physical sexually intimate activities unique to them. It may be a kiss, a cuddle, sometimes even a look that says ‘we are in this together’. Sometimes it could be a little love note in the lunchbox or a gift. Whatever these are, they form the glue that holds the marriage together and protects it against intruders.
Best Sex For Life by Patricia Weerakoon is now available on Kindle for just $6.99!