Solomon on Sex (week 1): Sex: Play by the Rules, Or Don’t Play at All

Goal: My goal for today, and in this series, is that you will come to find that God is a good God who created sex, love and marriage to glorify Himself and for our good; and that sex, love and marriage is only glorifying to God and truly pleasurable to us if we play by His rules.

Why are we preaching this series?

In our culture today, we are tremendously sexually immature. Throughout history there have been three basic ways that cultures have viewed sexuality inside and outside the church:
1) Sex is god. It is to be worshipped, you give your life to it, your money to it, your energy to it, your identity comes from it (or lack thereof). Your whole life is given to sex.
2) Sex is gross. Fundamental/conservative bad overreaction to the above worldview. This view teaches that sex is essentially bad, nasty, vile and disturbing and it is not for enjoyment, because it leads to bad things.
3) Sex is a gift. God created sex. He said it was good and gave it to us for our good; to be fruitful, to enjoy and to treasure and steward within the context of marriage.

In biblical times many people married in their teens, but today’s generation is waiting longer than ever and most young people don’t marry until their mid to late twenties. This extended period of temptation coupled with the openness of sexual images in public, increasing access to pornography and the culture’s approval of premarital sex creates a very difficult climate for people who want to heed Solomon’s advice to not awaken love before its time (Song 2:7).

Maintaining a healthy view of marital sexual intimacy is almost impossible, so we need to start talking about it. So, I know we all know there are sexual issues in our culture, but sometimes we need to be confronted with the reality of where we are at today (post sexual revolution: more frequent and more kinds of sex), so here are sobering statistics that embody one of the very reasons we are going here:

On the topic of pornography:
70% of men 18-24 admit to visiting a porn website at least once a month
66% percent of men in their 30’s admit to being regular users of porn
only 40% of adults believe pornography harms relationships between men and women
every second $3,075.64 is being spent on porn
every second 28,258 people are watching porn
– Worldwide, pornography makes $4.9 billion dollars a year
– 2.5 billion emails a day are pornographic
– 25% of all daily search engines are porn related
47% of families say porn is a problem in the home
2 out of 3 divorced couples say internet porn played a significant factor in their divorce
– 54% of pastors admit to viewing porn within the last year
50% of “Promise Keeper” men have viewed porn within one week of attending a Promise Keepers event

Is this relevant for our kids:
-according to the American Academy of Pediatrics (in 2008), the average American adolescent will witness nearly 14,000 sexual references per year on television,
– the average age for first exposure to porn is 11,
61 percent of all high school seniors have had sexual intercourse,
about half are currently sexually active after the first time
21 percent have had four or more partners
– Adolescents also have the highest STD rates,
Approximately 1/4 of sexually active adolescents become infected with an STD each year, accounting for 3 million cases,
people under the age of 25 account for 2/3 of all STDs in the United States.
The latest trend with junior high and high school students is to send naked photos of themselves to one another via cell phones.
The number one consumer of pornography are boys between the ages of 12-17
Teens are informed. The church needs to inform them biblically, and their parents need to discuss these matters one-on-one with their kids and stop ignoring because of their own discomfort or dysfunction. We need to get healthy or we will lose our kids to this…

Rape/sexual abuse stats:
Properly defining rape/sexual assault is important. According to Justin Holcomb in his book Rid of my Disgrace, if we have a definition too narrow, victims will most likely downplay the experience. If it’s too wide any person can pull the rape card and be heard.
With that in mind rape is considered any type of sexual behavior or contact where consent is not freely given or obtained and is accomplished through force, intimidation, violence, coercion, manipulation, threat, deception, or abuse of authority.
What’s most terrifying and shocking about sexual assault is that it’s a crime that goes widely underreported but still has alarmingly high numbers; most statistics probably aren’t even close to being accurate to the real number
Most rape victims are women but some are men as well
1 in 4 women and 1 in 6 men will be sexually assaulted in their lifetime. These are only estimates based off reports (which tells us the real stats are almost definitely higher
1 in 3 women and 1 in 4 men have been sexually abused in some fashion
According to the most recent statistics, someone is sexually assaulted every 2 minutes in the United States alone
– Females between the ages of 16-19 have the highest rate of sexual abuse
14% of all victims are under age; out of that 14% of under aged victims, 67% of the females and 70% of the males know their offender
10-14% of sexual abuse happens within marriages (which leads us to adultery stats)

Adultery Stats:
It is estimated that roughly 30-60% of all married individuals in the U.S will engage in adultery at least once in their marriage
– Adultery is most common in people under 30 years of age, but not limited to
Men are more likely to cheat than women; but in households where women make all the money, women are more likely to cheat
Many websites encourage adultery and provide ways for couples to cheat on the site
65% of those who admitted to adultery said it was because their marriage lacked sexual intimacy so they went to look for it elsewhere (and this doesn’t take into the account of emotional affairs and un-admitted affairs; this # is much higher)
Research reveals 5 main causes for adultery:
1. Loneliness 2. Communication Barriers 3. A lack of love and affection from spouse 4. Poor sex life 5. A lack of intimacy. (which leads us to divorce stats)

Divorce Rates:
45-50% of all first marriages end in divorce
60-67% of all second marriages end in divorce
70-73% of all other marriages after their second end in divorce
– 40% of divorces occur in couples with children
– The average divorce takes place between couples at the age of 30
As of 2003, over 43% of all custodial mothers and over 56% of all custodial fathers were either separated or divorced
On divorce within the church, George Barna (a Christian research guru) comments, “While it may be alarming to discover that born again Christians are more likely than others to experience a divorce, that pattern has been in place for quite some time. Even more disturbing, perhaps, is that when those individuals experience a divorce many of them feel their community of faith provides rejection rather than support and healing.”
I believe this is because we don’t talk about it in the church because we are afraid to offend people or make waves… Waves are happening already and many offenses have already been taken, so we need to address this issue head on.

Abortion Stats:
– In 2008, 1.21 million abortions took place in the U.S
– 4 out of 10 unintended pregnancies end in abortion
– In 2007, 84% of all abortions were performed on unmarried women
50% of all abortions in the U.S are performed on women and teens under the age of 25. 33% are 20-24 years of age and 17% are teenagers.
50% of abortions are by unmarried women
Married women make up for 6% of abortions
Here’s the stat that I am concerned with: 70% of women who have had abortions claim to be Christian or at least call themselves Protestant or Catholic in their faith

Cohabitation Stats:
In 1960 the number of unmarried couples living together was 430,000. As of 2005 that number was 5.4 million
About 8 out of 10 couples who live together will break up or divorce after marriage
Couples who do not marry after cohabitation are 50% more likely to get a divorce when they do marry than those who don’t cohabitate.
Only 12% of couples who have begun their relationship with cohabiting end up with a marriage that lasts longer than 10 years.

According to these stats, it seems as if we believe that our lives would be better because of sex. Well, we now have all the sex we want and there is more brokenness to show for it. Do we believe that life is simply a case of accumulating orgasms, or partners, or feelings of belonging or acceptance? Or is there more to it than that? What do we really want from sex? Could it be that the answer is nudity?

Is it possible that what we really want is a relationship not simply of physical nakedness and pleasure, but of deep personal nakedness as well? A partner with whom we can be totally open with in every way? Someone who will accept us and love us and desire us as we are? Do we want a relationship of honesty and love, where satisfying sex springs not only from a deep acceptance of each other, but an ongoing desire to please the other person? Do we want this kind of relationship to go forever, and to grow in intimacy and mutual pleasure, as each learns how to please the other even more?

Here’s the strange thing, the Bible, the book that guides you (hopefully), is usually regarded as anti-sex and anti-sexual pleasure (or at least barely tolerant of it). But the Bible actually supports this sex and pleasure within the proper structure. The problem is, our view of sexual intimacy has been so jarred by our culture, that we have a hard time seeing any of that in the Bible, and think that our only outlet of “good” and “exciting” sexual pleasures are only found when it’s done in a “sinful” manner…right? In our next post, we will unpack what the Bible says about sex and sexual pleasure.

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