Paul H. Byerly
Many see the term “Sex Positive Christians” as an oxymoron; I hope I can convince you it is not, and is, in fact, what God intended.
The Center for Sex Positive Culture (CSPC) defines sex positive in the following ways:
Do you see what is missing in those statements? The old familiar “as long as no one gets hurt” is not there. This is intentional because, well, some folks get into hurting and being hurt, and who are we to judge that?
The second statement is especially troubling to me. Apparently being comfortable with your own sexuality is not enough, you must be fine with all forms of sex, and with seeing them portrayed openly if that is what others want.
Because of the research we do, we run across many things written by those who proudly proclaim themselves sex positive. It is interesting what these people find to be contrary to sex positive – what they find, shall we say, sex negative.
Finding any act immoral is sex negative (The CSPC says it this way “The movement makes no moral distinctions among types of sexual activities, regarding these choices as matters of personal preference.”)
Based on all that, no Christ follower can be sex positive. However, that is allowing others to define what it means to be sex positive, and we are not willing to accept that those others have the right to tell us what is and is not sex positive.
To me, sex positive means being for things that lead to a long, enjoyable sex life, and being against things that prevent a long, enjoyable sex life. No matter how much someone might want or enjoy something today, if it is going to hurt their sex life in the long-term, then I do not see it as sex positive.
A few examples from other areas of life will make this clear. Junk food tastes good, and brings pleasure to the body, but too much of it harms the body. Rock climbing without the proper equipment and training can bring a sense of accomplishment and a big adrenalin thrill, but it could lead to an injury that leaves you physically limited for the rest of your life.
The secular sex positive crowd would tell us that most of the problems we see with sexual behaviours are really a result of cultural standards. They will tell you that those things do not really hurt anyone, and that the negative effects often seen are a result of cultural fear and guilt imposed on people by a sex negative society. That sounds good, but those who say it cannot offer any support for their claims. Those who want to be free to do whatever are happy with someone telling them the limitations are wrong – proof neither required nor expected!
Many of the things attributed to culture, fear, and guilt have a bad habit of happening to people who abandon standards to have a good time sexually. As far back as the 1960’s feminism has been telling women they could enjoy impersonal sex just like men. Millions of women bought in to that and jumped into a life of sex for the sake of sex, but the vast majority have been disappointed. At best, they enjoy the sex physically, but feel empty emotionally. What’s more, most do not enjoy the sex that much physically. Several studies of the “hook up” culture have found that women are far less likely than men to experience orgasm in these situations. The same is true for “friends with benefits” arrangements and other casual sexual relationships; men get a lot more pleasure from the encounters. Decades of studies have found that couples who live together before marriage have a much higher divorce rate than those who do not. Studies on marital and sexual happiness give similar results – living together before marriage reduces both.
Is there any proof that traditional ideas about sex lead to better sex? YES! Studies have found that those who are most happy with their sex life are those who had only one sex partner in the last year. Studies find that married couples have more sex than non-married individuals of the same age do, while other studies have found that greater sexual frequency correlates strongly with being happier. Several long-term studies found that monogamy is beneficial to overall health, while promiscuity is harmful. This is true even if you control for sexually transmitted diseases. Both male commitment and being in a relationship improve the chances of a woman having an orgasm, and both increase her self-described enjoyment of sex regardless of whether or not she climaxes. A study of couples (most studies of sex are done on individuals) found that sex gets better and better the longer a couple is together. For women the best sex is with a man she has been with for decades.
The evidence is clear; if you want the best sex, if you want the most frequent sex, choose sex in a committed marriage. We should not be surprised that doing as God instructs us leads to the best sex. God created our sexuality, and intended it for our good. Because God made sex exceptionally pleasurable, far more enjoyable than necessary to keep the human race going, it seems clear that He intended us to enjoy it a great deal. It thus makes sense that His rules and limits would result in the best sex.
We believe that God intends for married couples to have sex passionately, frequently, and without guilt. The Marriage Bed exists to promote those things; what could be more sex positive than that?
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