I live on twitter. I’m slowly weaning myself off twitter because firstly it is a major distraction and secondly the ratio of slander to praise is ridiculously high. However, I do find myself scrolling up and down my Apple screen just before bed, hoping to catch a few giggles before I fall asleep. On this occasion, I stumbled across a tweet about sex from a Christian. Although the tweet encouraged abstinence, I didn’t like the angle as to which the message was delivered. The tweet read something along the lines of, “I want my spouse to know that I am giving my best gift. I will bless my partner after years of controlling my sexual appetite.” A.K.A “My boo will get it.”
I have several qualms with this view.
Sex is not your “best gift”. According to a study by US and Canadian sexual therapists, short sex lasts for roughly one to two minutes, adequate sex lasts for three to seven and desirable sex, seven to thirteen. There is also the thirteen to thirty minute bracket for those with enough stamina to last for that long but at best sex is a seven minute affair. To now liken seven minutes to the best possible gift you could give anyone is insane – refund please.
I’m not married and so shouldn’t be perceived as an authority, but I imagine there are a plethora of things better than wild (or gentle) seven minute sex. For example, the love that brought the two hearts together in the first place, companionship, the endless laughs you share when doing things together and the private jokes you remember even when you’re apart. These things are priceless and (eternal), ranking much higher than coitus (I would imagine).
The term “best gift” denotes idolatry. One of the most unique ironies that I’ve come across in life is, Christians idolize sex even when they’re not getting any. Listen to a few conversations about sex from abstinent Christians and you won’t need to eavesdrop for too long before hearing something along the lines of “on the wedding night (s)he will get it” or “the sex will be amazing”. This is not to say that whenever these statements are heard, the maker is a closet sex worshipper; it could simply be excitement. However, in other cases it could be evidence of coitus worship.
The term “best gift” denotes over- confidence. Your best gift might actually turn out to be the worst thing the other party has received in their life. Over embellishment in areas pertaining to sex is typically associated with men. Whenever I hear men boast of their sexual prowess, I can’t help but grimace and my next thought is always, ” who even told you that you were the best at it?” Aside from the embellishment issue, believing in no sex before marriage will not make your sex life amazing. The wedding night will not enhance your skills in the bedroom. It will most likely magnify the awkwardness of it all especially if you have never performed sexual intercourse to one another before. The “best gift” doctrine is fallacy.
“Best gift” denotes selfishness. Marriage is meant to be a selfless act and sex is the same. Sex is an act of serving each other but if you’re both embarking on the sexual journey with the view that “my spouse is so lucky to have me in all my nude glory” then sex becomes about self again.
“The best gift” rhetoric distorts faith-led abstinence.
The pleasure that follows sexual release is not the message behind abstinence. There’s no denying that releasing what you have repressed for so long will be exciting as well as liberating but this should never be the motivation. The driver behind abstinence is not “my boo will get it. I’ve been preserving it for him/her all this while”. It’s not the pride of only ever having one sexual encounter or very few sexual encounters. It’s not a test of who can stay repressed for the longest. The greater narrative behind faith-led abstinence is holiness. This is about holiness. You are not preserving your “best” anything for your spouse. This is a call to be holy and put into practice the righteousness Jesus died for.
Sex is great. It can be a catalyst for intimacy, satisfying the human desire to be desired. One only has to read through the Book of Solomon to see how beautifully intimacy is depicted. It’s an enjoyable aspect of marriage, designed for our utmost pleasure but to refer to sex as our “best gift” undercuts marriage and what lies at the heart of it. Holiness.
So can we stop seeing abstinence as “saving it for my boo” and rather a step on the ladder towards holiness?
Love Cris x