My life contains a number of sexual milestones that I can still recall with eerie clarity. I remember everything about my first kiss—the dance, the flirting, the mechanics of the moment, the girl 13 inches taller than me. I also remember another memorable moment several years later with stars falling over a field of tall grass: the unexpected and rather unpleasant initiation into what the French call a kiss. And, as with most of us, I also have a few youthful indiscretions that I now would much rather forget than recall with any clarity.
My sexual landmarks include far more than specific occasions, however. I recall with similar clarity the first time I learned of the intrinsic link between sexuality and spirituality. My experience up to that moment always had Christians emphasizing the vast distance between faith and sex. I know Christians who would swear up and down that we are not sexual beings at birth—and quite possibly until we are married. Are we born, then, as plants? Trees are asexual; humans, being created either male or female, are sexual beings from the moment they enter life until they leave.
Even as I chuckle at the notion of our asexuality, I understand it. Our world’s abuse of sex—and its attendant harm—motivates the emphatic Christian rigidity on the “Thou Shalt Nots.” We have witnessed the devastation caused in lives—others and our own—from a distorted approach to sex. Compassion, not prudishness, informs our desire to uphold God’s laws.
For many, however, the only connection the Church seems to make between faith and sexuality is that most of what we desire is wrong. I have come to the conclusion that the Church is right and my desire in the past was wrong. For a long time, my natural—and God-given—inclinations toward sexual, emotional, and spiritual bonding with another were twisted toward an unhealthy service of my own pleasure. What God had created to be good and beautiful, had warped into something ugly and shameful.
Of course, I didn’t understand any of this as I was growing up. Mostly, I was just sexually—and, I might add, spiritually—frustrated. I didn’t desire or love God’s principles and purposes for sex (that I more or less followed anyway), but I also didn’t understand what healthy sexual desire looked like.
Enter another milestone: The day I understood that not only did God intend for us to be sexual beings, but that He also meant for our sexual unions to point us back to His love. This was the keystone for me. If we were made in the image and likeness of God, then we could see that God did not prohibit certain sexual practices (and thoughts) because He is some Cosmic kill-joy, but because He is the Author of the eternal joy that comes by living as He originally planned. This goes way beyond stone tablets and establishes an inspiring vision of sexuality, faith, and life.
Think about your own sexual milestones. All of them, in some way, have moved you either closer or farther from God’s plan for your life. It is my hope that your visit to this site will become a significant milestone in your sexual history. How awesome it would be if you could recall five, ten, or twenty years from now the very moment your sexual and spiritual life began to make greater sense to you.
The Re-Integrating Sexuality Series was designed to address common aspects of our sexual lives that are often distorted and twisted by sin and sin’s author—and to share the hope that much of what has gone wrong in our lives can be redeemed and restored. May these articles serve as arrows to the next signpost in your life’s journey.