Good Sex Comes to Those Who Wait?
I don't remember when I first heard the idea that the best sex in marriage comes from saving yourself until your wedding night, probably because it's been repeated again and again in church circles over the years. True love waiting rewards the strife of abstinence with a world of pleasure upon saying, "I do."
This mentality gets perpetuated by a well-meaning evangelical culture that I believe genuinely wants what's best for its young people. We hope they will hold out for the better portion, so we tell our single brothers and sisters how unmarried sex doesn't live up to the gratification of sex saved for the marriage bed.
In an article last year in The New York Times, "In Hook-Ups, Inequality Still Reigns," Natalie Kitroeff found that the majority of sexually active females were not experiencing orgasms during casual sexual encounters. While the article showed how much the hook-up culture has shaped their understanding of their own sexual expectations, it also highlighted how they can feel disappointed with sex outside of committed relationships. "We've been sold this bill of goods that we're in an era where people can be sexually free and participate equally in the hook-up culture. The fact is that not everyone's having a good time," one doctor noted in the article.
To counter hook-up culture, Christians remind young people if they follow God's good design, it will actually be better for them. The hook-up culture promises freedom, excitement, and the occasional orgasm, Christians promise something more. Within the confines of a loving, committed, marital relationship sex is actually the most satisfying and enjoyable.
In some ways, they're right. God intended us for pleasure. He created sex, and he made sex good. We are all familiar with Song of Solomon's frequent, and sometimes uncomfortable, praise for the sexual relationship. God does all things well.
The problem with this mentality is it fails to consider reality where married sex can also have its shortcomings. In some ways the promise of universally satisfying sex in marriage sets up a generation of hopeful, abstinent Christians for some degree of confusion and heartache.
We do this a lot in Christianity, don't we? We see our obedience as a sort of cosmic exchange, as if God were in the business of rewarding us with perks. We make a commitment to purity and then hold on to the promise that our self-denial is not in vain: Good sex comes to those who wait.
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