You likely have heard of one or more of these terms: “friends with benefits,” “open marriage” and “one night stand.”
According to a survey published by the National Center for Health Statistics of adults aged 20- 59, women have an average of four sex partners during their lifetime and men have an average of seven.
The culture has embraced an anything goes view of sex, but what does the Bible say about it? While the Bible may be vague on some topics, it is perfectly clear on this one. Men and women were created to complement and complete one another in a sacred bond, and that bond is marriage. It is to be one man and one woman, joined together to “become one flesh” (Gen 2:24).
Without debating every single discussion of sex in the Bible here, we can narrow the subject down to four main topics: sex within marriage, sex before marriage, adultery/fornication and homosexuality.
If we start with Genesis, we see God creating a man, making the determination that the man needed a partner (woman) and then joining them together in a very special, sacred relationship that required no other human elements. As more and more people entered this world of sin, more and more problems arose around the subject of sex.
Sex within marriage. This is God’s design and has always been His plan for the sexual relationship. Think about it: God created sex. “Marriage should be honored and the marriage bed kept pure, for God will judge the adulterer and all the sexually immoral” (Heb 13:4).
Sex before marriage (fornication). Today, people often give into temptation and change their sights from desiring an intimate sacred relationship with one person for life. They give into their physical passions and desires and refuse to exercise self-control, and they refuse to follow God’s plan – which was oneness and procreation. “Now to the unmarried … if they cannot control themselves, they should marry, for it is better to marry than to burn with passion” (1 Cor 7:8-9).
Adultery. No longer are people satisfied and happy with the partner that they have made a commitment to for life; the sex act has now become an idol. They lack self- control. “But a man [or woman] who commits adultery has no sense; whoever does so destroys himself. Blows and disgrace are his lot and his shame will never be wiped away” (Proverbs 6:32-33).
Homosexuality. People have grown weary of the male-female relationship and yearn for more forbidden fruit – members of the same gender. “We also know that the law is not made for the righteous, but for law breakers and rebels, the ungodly and the sinful, the unholy and irreligious, for those who kill their fathers or mothers, for murderers, for the sexual immoral, for those practicing homosexuality, for slave traders, liars, and perjurers — and for whatever else is sound doctrine that conforms to the gospel concerning the glory of the blessed God…” (I Tim 1:9-11).
Each of us was created and designed by God to live a life that is pleasing to Him. He has given us many gifts, and one of those is the gift of a sexual relationship to be shared with our spouse of the opposite sex. Our bodies are designed in such a way to be a complement to each other, a source of pleasure and procreation.
Jesus Himself, in Matthew 19:4-6 and Mark 7:20-23, defined marriage as between one man and one woman, saying it is a bond for life and that sex should only take place within that bond.
Pastor Ray Stedman put it this way:
“Sex is so designed that we have no control over it ourselves within marriage. We need each other to minister to us and that is designed of God in order to teach us how to relate…if you try to meet your own need, if you put that first in your life, saying ‘I am going to have my needs met,’ the result will be that you will lose the joy of life and you will lose everything you are trying to gain. Instead of finding fulfillment you will find emptiness…”
God has not changed His plan for man, but man has made the choice to change God’s plan. If you find yourself struggling with sexual sin, you are not alone. “No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind” (1 Cor 10:13). God is always ready to forgive. Go to Him now, repent, be forgiven and change your path to honor God. He will not turn his back on you, and you will be forgiven. He will restore you and give you a new life.