Wednesday, 17 November 2010

Healthy sexuality in the present

In our last post, we saw that Christ restores our sexuality - but we yet await a final restoration. In the present, sexual restoration involves three things: (1) the normativity of heterosexual marriage; (2) contentment; and (3) self control.

We have already seen Jesus validate marriage in Matt 19. Committed heterosexual marriage remains the context wherein to enjoy sex. If sexual partners are committed to each other for life, then sex is part of that shared life together. It is not just a one-night stand. We can encourage them to conduct their sexuality in such a way as to serve each other, and give each other the best possible sexual experience, over their whole life.

The normativity of sex within marriage calls for sexual contentment, both within and outside marriage.

Life with a regular sexual partner, married or not, still involves unmet sexual desires. Constant sexual satisfaction is a myth – it only happens in the movies. So, within marriage, we are called to contentment – to be grateful for what our partner can give us, not constantly demanding more. If we are content and grateful like this, then sex becomes an act that draws the sexual partners together in genuine mutual joy. Lack of contentment turns sex into a weapon – something to be used to get what you want.

Because sexuality is intrinsic to being human, single people can still view themselves as sexual beings, even if they don’t express their sexuality actively. Singles are to be content – that is, genuinely comfortable with themselves, happy, fulfilled – until they get married, or even with a lifetime of celibacy. Jesus was single and celibate. It is possible to be a fulfilled, happy virgin.

This contentment is allied with self control. Sexual desire is, prima facie, good. But we are called to manage those desires. The bible assumes that we are not merely victims of our passions, but that we can use our minds and will to control those passions, and channel them into useful, healthy, constructive pursuits.

And this contentment and self-control is also fuelled by a future hope of a fulfilled, transcended sexuality - which will be the subject of our final post.

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