Tag Archives: sexuality

Can I Have A Pure Heart and Also Have Sex?

20 Sep
"Woman Lying on a Bed", by Pierre Bonnard, 1899.  Image via Google.

"Woman Lying on a Bed", by Pierre Bonnard, 1899. Image via Google.

“If you do not get married, do you think you will be able to forego ever having sex again?”

Last night Mr. Smooth told me that he was asked this question many years ago, and that his response was, “That is not going to happen.  I am definitely getting married.”

This conversation of ours, where Mr. Smooth talked to me about issues regarding personal purity, came out of nowhere.  In the interest of edifying the blogosphere, he has permitted me to detail a little of our talk.

At the time that he was asked that question, Smooth explained to me, he was not able to commit himself to not having sex ever again.  Years passed before he could make that commitment to the Lord.

Smooth also told me that several years ago he’d had a spiritual breakthrough that released him from the pornography habit that had been an issue for him for most of his life.

Finally Smooth told me that sometime after that breakthrough, his pastor had the men in his church begin to focus on adhering to higher standards of personal purity.

“What do you mean?” I asked.

“StillSingle,” Smooth replied, “a lot of men struggle with…touching themselves.  It’s something they don’t even think can be helped.  I have reached the place where I have committed to not doing that.  It is not easy.  But I think back on where the Lord brought me from, when I couldn’t even commit to not having sex, and I know that if I take it day by day I’ll make it.”

Our conversation got me to thinking about the practical side of purity.  If rules are not the point, how is one to actually live?

I think God has to help us.  Help us to create firm sexual boundaries if we are used to being sexually active.  Help us to stop turning to sensual images and romantic fantasies to stimulate ourselves sexually.  Help us to stop (ahem) touching ourselves.  And help us to figure out why we want to do these things.

I think God gets us to figure these things out by causing us to focus on Him.  The more we focus on Him the better we know Him.  The better we know Him the more we love Him.  The more we love Him the more we want to please Him.  The greater our desire to please Him, the greater our desire to fight temptation.

The details of our resistance, though, have to be worked out individually, according to our own lifestyles, proclivities, and weaknesses.  I don’t know what Mr. Smooth does to keep from touching himself.  I know for myself, though, that there were mornings in past times when I found myself jumping out of bed like there was deadly spider crawling on my sheets.  I know that these days (and I’m just going to say it like it is here) when I feel my body winding up, and I’m lying in my bed with some scripted fantasy beginning to play in my mind, as soon as I am cognizant of what’s happening, and of where things are headed, I stop my fantasizing in mid-action.  And instead of my mind focusing on a storyline involving sex, I focus my mind on a storyline involving love.  Specifically, the love of my as-yet-unidentified-husband.  I write a letter to him.  I tell him what time it is, I tell him what happened during my day or night or morning that led me to think of him, I tell him how I miss him, and how much I love him.  The exercise of trying to think of what to tell him in my letter, and the very idea that this man is out there somewhere right now, is usually sufficient to turn my mind and body away from temptation.  God gives me grace.

There is no universal prescription for purity.  But if we desire purity, and pursue God, and take it day by day, we’ll get there.


Is Purity Relevant For Those Over 35?

15 Sep
lily of the valley

"Lily of the Valley". Image by Jamelah by flickr

Church culture subtly but firmly dictates that the Faithful Single woman comport herself in accordance with a list of commandments:

  1. She will not have sexual intercourse
  2. She will not have sex of any kind
  3. She will not engage in heavy petting
  4. She will not kiss
  5. She will not flirt
  6. She will not be alone with a man in her home or his, or alone at all with a man whom she is courting
  7. She will not live alone but with roommates or, preferably, with her parents
  8. She will not wear apparel that in any way exposes any part of her body between the neck and the calves
  9. She will not watch, read, or listen to any kind of media that depicts nudity or lovemaking or sex
  10. She will not think about anything related in any way to lovemaking or sex, this may or may not include marriage

To be a committed Christian single woman in her 30s or 40s who does not adhere to such a Code of Purity  is to be an anomaly.

And this is where I find myself.  Desiring purity, but not a code of conduct that does not fit the practicalities of my life as an older single.  Homeownership is my goal, not living with my parents.  Deftly navigating my way through a world of men who are comfortable with their masculinity and sexuality is my objective, not isolating myself from this male population.  Being fashionably and attractively attired is my ambition (and professional responsibility), not oblivion to stylishness for the sake of an image of modesty.   I read romance novels sometimes.  I watch and enjoy Sex and the City.  I want to be kissed and touched and held by a man.  I desire marriage desperately.  The Older Christian Single who is singularly devoted to and satisfied by church work is not me.

 Recently, though, I read afresh in the Girl’s Guide to Marrying Well that passage in Ephesians (you know the one): 
There must not be even a hint of sexual immorality among you; and
No immoral or impure person has any inheritance in the kingdom of God; and
Don’t be deceived by empty words, because of such things God’s wrath comes on the disobedient.

Not even a hint of sexual immorality? What am I to make of these words? 

“This passage of God-breathed Holy Scripture,” the Accuser eagerly explains to me, “basically spells out that you are definitely going to Hell.” 

OK, so the Accuser is also a liar.  But what is the truth?  How does God feel about the continuing blemishes to my sexual purity? 

As I pondered these things my mind turned towards the life of David. 

During his lifetime, King David sinned grievously against the Lord’s commandments on many occasions.  Among other misdeeds, he entered the tabernacle, touched and ate the consecrated bread, which was lawful only for the priests, he stole (by conversion) Goliath’s sword, he coveted his neighbor’s wife, he committed adultery with his neighbor’s wife, and he even committed murder.  Yet despite David’s extensive list of transgressions against the Lord’s explicit and express commands, God extols David as a man after His own heart. 

David’s predecessor King Saul, on the other hand, did not violate the law of God in any of these ways.  Yet the Lord rejected King Saul and was grieved by him.

By this I am encouraged that the purity that God seeks is not a purity that can be tallied up and scored at the end of the night.  God is looking for the pure in heart.  Not the perfect in deed.  The eyes of the Lord run to and fro throughout the whole earth to show Himself strong in behalf of those whose hearts are blameless toward Him.  2 Chronicles 16:9. 

Yes, purity is relevant.  But for me purity means being real with God about where I am, what I am feeling, what I have done, and what I want to do.  Purity means having a heart that trusts in the unfailing and perfecting love of God.

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