A Professional Commentary
We’re sexual from the time we are born to the time we die. That doesn’t mean we have sex all of that time – of even some of that time. All people – those that are sexually active and those who are not – are all sexual people. Sexuality is a core of who we are, and is a filter
through which we experience life.
I believe that God intended sexuality to be a source of wholeness and healing in our lives, as it can serve to bring us into community and into relationship with others. Sexuality also serves to draw us into intimate relationships, where we can learn to be vulnerable, trusting, experience healing, and renewal. Paradoxically, in our sexuality we can also experience the very opposite. We can use and be used. Most of us have experienced both.
I believe that we need to be stewards of our sexuality – responsible discipleship requires that we celebrate and enjoy our sexuality in a responsible way. That’s both – that we celebrate and enjoy our sexuality, and we do it in a way that is responsible.
So how can we make decisions about responsible intimacy and sexual pleasure? For many, a hard and fast set of rules of useful. For others, they find a set of principles of some use. In working with young adults, I have found the following as a useful starting place.
• Sexual intimacy should be expressed between people who have equal power.
• Expressions of sexuality ought to be appropriate for the degree of love and covenant present in a relationship.
• Expressions of sexuality should preserve and honor human dignity in both motive and act.
• Sexual activity should demonstrate responsible concern for the integrity and wholeness of the partner.
• Sexual expression should be evaluated in regard to motivations, intentions, the nature of the act itself, and the consequences of the act, each of these informed and shaped by love.
Intimate sexual expression should aim at human fulfillment and wholeness; God’s loving intention for all persons. The intent should be the engagement of the whole person – body, mind, and spirit. Sexual expressions that by their very nature are loveless, coercive, debasing to the other’s sensitivities, utterly impersonal, obsessed solely on physical gratification, or violent are unethical.
I think that Christians need to think hard about how they act out their sexual intimacy. I’ve learned that principles can guide responsible sexual behavior – whether one is married, in a committed or relationship, or is trying to figure how to be a good sexual steward.
Matt Naylor has a PhD in sexuality, and has led workshops and classes in sexuality and relationships in many places. He works with Outreach International, helping the marginalized poor work their way out of poverty and oppression.
Outreach International Gift Shop – make a gift this Christmas, honoring someone you care about and helping children and families in poor communities.
Read the “We Share Document” with our 9 Enduring Principles, including “Unity In Diversity”.