“Everyone is dealing with lust at some degree or another.”
If you were looking for an excuse to fornicate, this article isn’t for you. Similarly, if you came here looking for an excuse to commit adultery, again this article isn’t for you. Instead, this article expounds on a topic that’s rarely discussed and that is the struggle with sexual purity. We’ve removed the struggle or strong sexual desire from the discourse and in doing so marginalised many different sub groups within the Christendom. This is my attempt to rework the discourse and bring these groups back into the conversation.
It’s important to clarify from the outset that sexual desire is healthy. The article’s intention isn’t to shame or condemn your sexual attraction to the fine chocolate (insert other delicious confectionary that aligns with your aesthetic type here) “brotha” who usually sits two rows ahead of you in church (or plays the keys as is the case in most cases) or the choir leader with a strong soprano, hazel eyes and long black hair that pulls at your heart strings every time she opens her mouth. This is the “I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do” message that Paul grieved over in Romans 7:15. A lot of us want to lead holy lives but end up doing the things the Lord disdains.
“I’m a 27 year old virgin who struggles with sexual purity” – Anonymous
At the root of the struggle with sexual purity is limited understanding and underdeveloped conversation. I’ve noticed amongst Christian circles that whenever the topic of sexual purity is discussed, there’s always a few who are very quick to respond (often with misplaced passion), “Purity isn’t all about sex”. The response is often greeted with nods of approval by the rest of the congregation and then sex (as usual) is brushed under the carpet for “weightier” aspects of purity. Granted purity is not all adultery and fornication but let’s not pretend that sex isn’t one of the most lucrative markets in the world and so its advertising sophistication is second to none. Let’s not pretend that we don’t have urges. Let’s not pretend that we don’t desire that level of intimacy. Let’s it pretend that porn doesn’t have a stronghold amongst the congregation. Let’s not pretend that pre-marital sex/ pre –marital sexual activity is not rampant in your church. Let’s not pretend that the church is not contending with a hyper-sexualised society. So when we say the agenda is sexual purity, let’s not deflect. Let’s deal with it, get real with it and unpack it.
We are all sexual beings, with body parts designed for sex. These parts come alive when triggered, whether you are sexually active or not. Therefore, sexual desire can’t be the antithesis of sexual purity. Sexual purity is the decision to align your sex life with scripture. It’s agreeing to be sexless until marriage and then being fully committed to your partner sexually, mentally and emotionally after reciting those vows in front of God and a host of witnesses. It means protecting your mind, heart, hands, eyes (everything) from heated situations. It means protecting current married sex life from images of sex that are contrary to scripture. I can’t speak on sexual purity within marriage because I’m not married but I can speak of sexual purity as it pertains to singleness – It is challenging. Even when you impose bans and restrictions, for example obliterating pillow talk or going on group dates (I find the latter quite weird) the mind can still conjure sexually fuelled images. It’s difficult to not allow your mind to wander. It’s difficult to not crave intimacy beyond hugs, holding hands and soft kisses especially as the non –physical intimacy deepens.
I’m certain that the desire to be touched or pleasured intensifies with age and proximity. This is a truth that many of us don’t want to admit to ourselves, we’d much rather feign “togetherness” , pretend to be void of emotional and behavioural dysfunctions, when we are nothing short of dysfunctional. Therein lays the problem. Christianity has never been about pretending to be whole, or pretending that you don’t want to have sex with the like/love of your life. Such lies detract from the death of Christ on the cross; his death becomes meaningless if he died for people who never required saving. Christianity has always been about honest dialogue with ourselves, between ourselves and Jesus Christ and between the family of the believers. We changed the game, when we started suffering in silence.
Another facet to the discourse that needs revisiting is the woman’s struggle with sexual purity, which is very often eclipsed by men’s sexual urges. I remember speaking to a group of women who revealed that often times the desire was so strong, that it takes everything in their power not to call the man of their fantasies. We don’t hear such stories enough; instead we create this false divide damaging the psyche of women who do have these strong sexual urges, causing them to think they are alone in this fight against sexual impurity when they are not. Lust is not a man’s problem and yet the conversation and naturally any conclusion is skewed in their favour, marginalising the Christian female struggle.
Sexual purity is challenging for both genders but Jesus is greater than any challenge. They tell us to have more stringent boundaries and whilst I don’t doubt their effectiveness, give your sexuality to Jesus. In doing so , you are having honest dialogue. He says his yoke is light and his burden light. Believe him.
The conversation needs to be honest.
Love Cris x