Wineskins Archive

February 12, 2014

Cult of Sex (Nov-Dec 2001)

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by Marnie C. Ferree
November – December, 2001

People’s thinking about sex has long been swayed by their culture. Today the influence may be more overt, but it isn’t new. Neither is the response of God’s people to the sexual messages around them.

Postmodern culture indicates there’s little right versus wrong about sexual expression. Our culture says anything consenting adults want to do is fine. As long as no one gets hurt (which is rarely specifically defined), there’s no problem with uninhibited sexual activity. Sex is portrayed as a commodity to be bought, sold, traded, or shared at will. Sex is viewed as a celebration of relationship – any relationship.

Despite the permissiveness of postmodern ideology, many humans today are suffering terribly because of their sexual choices. It’s always been possible to become snared by various categories of sexual sin. Affairs, for example, existed before King David acted on his lust for Bathsheba and have flourished ever since. One modern form of sexual temptation, however, deserves specific scrutiny: the vast domain of the world wide web. In terms of sexual opportunities, this vehicle could be considered the Mecca of cultural relativity. The freedom offered by internet sexual activity, though, has delivered more pain than pleasure.

The number of those who are becoming addicted to online pornography or cybersex is growing exponentially. The “Triple A” engine of the internet – its accessibility, affordability, and anonymity – is daily luring more seekers into its dark side. Some have estimated that as much as 60 percent of the website visits are to pornographic sites. And secular permissives aren’t the only ones straying online. Internet pornography is the addiction of choice among Christians.

Many who fully embrace postmodernistic moral relativism would predict few (if any) negative consequences from online sexual activity. Especially if there’s no flesh contact involved, what could possibly be the problem?

The outcome of internet sexual activity, however, contradicts the postmodern worldview. Those who frequently surf for sex are running up against an unexpected reality: there’s a price to be paid for reducing sexual expression to the whim of the moment.

Those who are addicted to pornography and cybersex are becoming consumed by their behavior; their focus divided; their relationships harmed. Dissatisfaction with non-enhanced bodies, especially those who share one’s battles with dirty socks and financial worries, grows deeper with each visit to a pornographic showroom. These out-of-control lives belie the message of sex without standards. Only the medium of unholy sexual expression is new; the result is not.

Against this cultural view of sex-without-standards, God’s plan for healthy sexuality remains sure. No amount of human thinking or “advancement” has altered the wisdom of the boundaries God established. The greatest sexual fulfillment comes from the pleasure shared by one man and one woman who are married to each other for life. No other sexual expression can compare! The reason is simple: God desires the best for his children, and he established the framework to help us achieve the highest realization.

Contrast pornography use and other forms of unholy sexual expression with healthy sexuality. In a model conceived by clinical sex therapist Ginger Manley, five core dimensions make up this wonderful gift.

The first dimension of healthy sexual expression is behavioral. If a person is addicted to pornography or other forms of sexually compulsive behavior, he or she must address that problem in order to experience healthy sexuality. The joyous one-flesh union between husband and wife will never be present if one partner is consumed with outside sexual activity or images.

Next is the personal dimension. If one or both spouses have a history of sexual violation, there must be healing of that core wound before they will enjoy healthy sexuality. No trauma has a greater impact on sexuality than experiencing sexual abuse. And statistically, the majority of those who are struggling with sexual addiction (via the internet or otherwise) are sexual trauma survivors.

Third is a purely physical dimension, which involves sexual functioning – the mechanics of sex. Fortunately, excellent Christian resources are available today to help couples deal with areas of sexual dysfunction.

Fourth is the relational dimension. Healthy sexuality is more about relationship than it is about body parts. If a couple’s relationship is distressed or not intimate, they will be robbed of healthy sexuality. Again, wonderful Christian counselors and resources can help a couple address any relationship issues. [See our website and the January/Feburary issue of new Wineskins for some of these resources]

As a final dimension, the one that provides the foundation for the others is the spiritual component. The couple who is intimately connected in their shared spiritual relationship with God will enjoy the added benefit of a wonderful sexual relationship. This aspect brings us full circle to the ideology of postmodernism. Healthy sexuality is founded on holy sexuality, which is an absolute, God-directed standard. Human thinking hasn’t altered that reality and never will.

The good news is that there’s hope for those who have bought into the postmodern lies about sex and are suffering the consequences. It’s possible to reclaim purity of thinking and behavior, no matter what the cultural standards may be. Help is available for those caught in internet sexual activity or any other kind of problematic sexual behavior. God offers healing through his grace and the resources he’s provided.

The postmodern “cult” of sex delivers only disappointment and eventual destruction. God’s sure plan for healthy sexuality offers genuine freedom and joy.New Wineskins

Marnie C. Ferree

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