Dr. Ed Young - Sex in Marriage
Well! Every survey you read says the basic need, number one need of every married man, take any survey with almost no exceptions... It may be verbalized a little different. The number one basic need of every married man is sexual fulfillment. The returns are in. That's it. Number two: The number one basic need of every married woman is affection. Has nothing to do with sexual fulfillment. They're not even related in the life of a woman. We discovered last week the difference between a man's brain and a woman's brain, remember? A woman's brain is all tied together. It's one entity? We have those little compartments? Different, different, different, different...
Therefore, we have to understand how a man is wired, and how a woman is wired, and the basic need of most married men, and the basic need of most married women. If you don't understand that, you're going to have problems all the way through your marriage. Now, let's understand sexual intimacy. Look on your screen. I want us to read this together-everybody, teenagers. We all need information. Everybody in every walk of life. If you've been married 50 days or 50 years, or you are 14 or you're 99, it makes no difference! We all need Biblical information on this area. I want us to read this together, everybody, in unison, because this is a basic summary, I believe, of a Biblical understanding of sex. Let's read it. "Sexual intimacy is a sacred gift from God to be celebrated in marriage".
Now don't miss a word of that. Sexual intimacy-a sacred gift from God. Look at the word-to be endured, to be put up with, to be tolerated... It is to celebrated in marriage. Now, I want us now to look at a Scripture that explains something to us in a total Biblical panoramic view of the whole area of sex. It's interesting-you find it in I Thessalonians, Chapter Number 4, and let me read to you the context of these Verses. In other words, you have a text-Scripture. Then that text is in a context. Here's the context of this text: There were new Christians in Thessalonica. Paul had been there. He had ministered to them. He had led many of them to Christ. A church was established.
Now, he is saying here that how you Christians live in the whole sexual area in Thessalonica is not different; it is totally the opposite of how the Roman citizens there lived in Thessalonica. In other words, it's diametrically opposed to the society in which you're in. So here Paul is giving instructions in the area of sex for these relatively new Christians that he had instructed, that he had counseled with-many of them had come to Christ under his ministry-as to how they should then live in a totally paganized society, and especially he begins in the area of sex. And look how he couches this.
Look at his words here in I Thessalonians 4: "Finally then, brethren, we request and exhort you in the Lord Jesus", I like that. Here is a request, but I'm going to exhort ya! Isn't that good? Here's a little request, but I want to, "exhort you in the Lord Jesus, that you receive from me instructions as to how you ought to walk", there's a good word, "and please God just as you actually do walk that you may excel still more; for you know what commandments we gave you by the authority of the Lord Jesus". What is Paul saying? He is saying, "Look, you want to walk so that you please God"?
Everybody here, you should say, "You know, I want to walk, I want to live my life in order to please God. And therefore" he said, "I am communicating this to you. Here is the commandment..." and the word "commandment" there is like a military order, the background, "Here are instructions" Paul is saying, "I have received from Jesus Christ, and you live like this..." He begins with the sexual area. "You live like this in your sexual area, and you will honor the Lord Jesus Christ" because he knew they were living in Thessalonica, wherein the sexual area, everybody walked backwards compared to how Paul said a Christian is to walk.
Think about living in a world where everybody walks backwards, and this was the norm. This is how you walk. You go into a mall; everybody's walking backwards. A child is born. You teach him to walk so that they walk backwards, and any child would walk forward-you would spank them and discipline. Say, "No, we walk backwards here..." If you walk backwards, you'd have good neck muscles, wouldn't you? But that, that's the way everybody walked. So anybody who would be a revolutionary and begin to walk forward-ohh! Something's wrong with you! Man, we've got to discipline you! You've got to get in line! I don't want to be different, so I'm going to walk backward like everybody else. We live in a whole world that's walking backward.
Look at the church at Thessalonica, in that community. Everybody, as far as sex, were walking backwards. Sex was free; sex was for everybody. There, there was no sacredness in bed. And marriage was capricious. Man, it's just anything goes. There was a, liberal lifestyle, just whatever feels good, whatever makes you happy, that was the mode. And here these Christians come and they talk about the exclusivity of sex, and it is, belongs in marriage. So Paul here gives instructions in the whole area of sexual intimacy. And primarily, it's an instruction to the men. He says, "Brethren..." It's primarily a word to men. And he gives three broad instructions about sex. He says, "Sex is for your sanctification. Sex must be engaged in the right context. You must have the right context for sex. And finally, gentlemen, you have sex with your wife in order to honor her".
So you see the operative words? Sanctification, context, and honor. Let me show you exactly how that works, and we'll get probably more practical than you want to get. Look at Verse 3. "For this is the will of God, our sanctification, that is, that you abstain from sexual immorality". Now we're not sanctified according to the will of God. It is through living out the will of God we are sanctified in the area of sexual intimacy. Sexual intimacy sanctifies you and sanctifies me. What is the word sanctified? That's one of those big old church words... You know, what is the word sanctify? In a secular sense, the etymology of sanctify means when something is designed and created, and it performs for the purpose for which it was designed and created, it is said to be sanctified.
In other words, you have a pen, and that pen was designed and created in order to write, and if that pen writes, that pen in that sense is sanctified because it is doing exactly that for which it was designed and created to do, right? Therefore, we are to be sanctified in the intimacy of sex, in marriage always, and that sanctifies us. It helps us perform and live the life that God designed us to live. Let me tell you something, folks: Selfishness will be exposed in many places, but nowhere like if you and I are married, right guys? Right ladies? Man, our selfishness comes out. If we're egotists in marriage, our egotism will be displayed. You just can't hide it. If we're undisciplined, it'll come out in marriage. If, we are greedy, it'll come out in marriage. If we have a sharp tongue, it'll come out in marriage.
You see, marriage-is nothing like marriage to sort of sharpen us up and let us see ourselves as we really are. That's the process of sanctification; becoming the person that God designed you and designed me to come. There is nothing that helps in that more than sanctification. And that's how we get to be sanctified is that we are married, and the sexual act, the intimacy there helps sanctify us. Now what we do about sex? The world in which we live, some people deify sex. I've had people tell me, "You know, if I couldn't have sex, I wouldn't care anything about living"! We've made sex god. Remember Helen Gurley Brown who was Editor of Cosmopolitan for all those years? And uh, when she was in her 70's, she was interviewed, and someone asked her, "What are the three most important things in life"? She said, "Sex". They said, "Okay, what's the other two"? She said, "I don't know..."
In order to help her, the interviewer said, "Well, uh, what about love"? She said, "No, love is not one because nobody can practice it, and nobody can define it". She was saying for her, and for a lot of other people in our broken world, in our culture, sex has been deified. It has become your god. It is what your life operates around. That happens in our culture. It is deified. Others, sex is debased. "Oh, it, it's dirty; it, it's wrong; it has no meaning..." I have talked in counseling to more than one wife who said, "If I never had sexual relationship again, I would think that would be wonderful. I know we, we're married, but you know, I don't want to have any part of intimacy with my husband. That's the forgotten part of our life".
You see, some people go through marriage back to back. "I'm married, and she's married, but hey-I do my thing; she does her thing back to back". Other people go through married side to side. "Oh, we're friends and we get along, and we live together, but there's no real sexual intimacy". Others go through marriage face to face, and that's where we want to be-face to face with intimacy, and we're looking for intimacy in the sense of wholeness. I will say this over and over again in many different ways, but listen carefully: Therefore, we know in human sexuality it is a whole-life commitment to a whole-body commitment. That's marriage. It's a whole-life commitment to a whole-body commitment. Sex outside of marriage-you tear the body and the soul apart. It is a whole-life commitment, social, economically, everything you have, to a whole-body commitment. That is God's plan.
Therefore, sex is not deified; sex is not debased and said, "Oh, it's unimportant..." It is very, very important. Remember, it is a gift of God. Now, look at the Scripture. In, in the Old Testament, the mystery of sex is taken away. There is a demystification of sex in the Old Testament. What are you talking about? People say, "Well, I don't know... the Bible doesn't say anything about sex..." Have you ever read the Bible? Uh, you know, 101? The Bible doesn't say anything about human sexuality? Just pick out any personality-name anybody! Oh, what about Abraham? Well, Abraham had a wife that was so good looking in Sarah, he had to pass her off as his sister, or a king would have taken her in her harem because she was so sexually attractive. Oh! Abraham! Well, what about David? What do you think of? Bathsheba. What about Solomon? He lost all of his leadership because of his, his promiscuity and his many, many marriages outside the faith.
Have you ever read the Book of Hosea? Here's a prophet who married a prostitute? Ever read, you know, Song of Solomon? Solomon knocks on the door the Shulammite early in the morning and says, "Hey, I'm anxious to sleep with you. You're my wife..." She says, my translation, "I've got a headache"! Read it! Read it... Said, "No, no, no! I'm not gonna let you in"! So Solomon leaves. She gets up. She gets dressed. Her headache is gone. She says, "You know, I'd love to be with my husband". So the rest of the Song of Solomon primarily is she is looking for Solomon, and there's wonderful erotic literature there... Just pick out any character you want to talk about in the Bible. You take all the sexuality out of it in the Bible; you see all the mystery of sex in the Old Testament is totally destroyed. You have incest; you have pornography; you have adultery; you have fornication; you have homosexuality.
There is no uncertain terms, the Bible is not reticent in these areas. And you see the blessings of purity, and you see the curses that come on individuals who are impure. This is the Old Testament sex. In the Old Testament, "I want to tell you something about this person... sshh! It has to do with sex! Whoo! Keep,it quiet"!) No. The Old Testament just says, "Here it is! Here it is"! Now in the New Testament, something strange happens. Where the Old Testament takes the mystery out of sex, it is just right there for you to read and understand it; but the New Testament puts mystery back into sex. Yeah. It put the mystery, and the, the uh, sacredness, and the holiness, and the otherness, and the awesomeness back into sex. This is the New Testament. The mystery is out in the Old; the mystery is put back in the New.
You say, "What are you talking about"? Go back to our original Scripture. Two became one flesh. They were naked, and they were unashamed. Boy, that's beautiful, isn't it? And then you have the Fall of Adam and Eve. They disobeyed God, and God is looking for them, which is a good sign. God comes after us when we disobey Him. Isn't that great? Somebody says, "I found God". No you didn't... God's been looking for you all the time! You just allowed yourself to be found. So God's looking for Adam and Eve-said, "Where are you"? Said, "We're hiding; we're ashamed". "Why are you ashamed"? "We're naked". God said, "Who told you, you were naked? Nobody did".
You see, sin, and shame, and nakedness came together. In, in Chapter 2 of Genesis they were naked, and there was no shame. Now in Chapter 3, here's the fall of man. Now they're naked and they're ashamed. What happened? Shame came as a result of sin, but in the New Testament, in marriage when two become one, then somehow the nakedness and the intimacy of the sexual acts with a man and a woman helps to heal the shame that is felt that we read about in the original sin in the Old Testament. There is healing, and forgiveness, and cleansing. That's the process of the sanctification that you have, that you see in the New Testament. Have you ever thought about it? The only thing that God created that can get naked is the human being. Everything else God created is already naked. Oh, that rock is naked! Cover up that rock! Oh, my goodness! That kangaroo doesn't have any clothes on!
Would you get a blanket and cover that kangaroo? No, no. Only human beings get naked, and the nakedness comes with shame, and it comes in sin, but in marriage, when there is a transparency and there is an openness, and there is a sacredness of a husband and wife coming together, that shame of nakedness is, is, eliminated there in the context of intimacy of giving and receiving love. Hhmm, magnificent, isn't it? You see how the mystique, and the mystery is restored, and the healing in the very act of coming together-a whole-life commitment, and a whole-body commitment in the intimacy of marriage.
All right! What is sex for? It is for your sanctification and my sanctification to help us fulfill the purpose for which God designed us; to make us holy, to make us different, to make us function, to wake us up, to let us see ourselves in our shame, and in our nakedness, and our emptiness, and therefore, marriage helps to make us more like we are to become, to be pleasing to God. That's what he said-you want to please God. Sanctification comes in sex. That's a part of the process. Now, did you know about the only thing that every religion in all the world, every major religion in all the world agrees on is that sex is to be limited and to be exclusive in marriage.
So if you stand up and say, "Well, I'll tell you right now, this is liberated society..." You're going against all the religious wisdom of thousands and thousands of years, and when you do that, in about the only thing the major religions agree on, you'd better take a step back if you've got a lick of sense and say, "Whoooooa! Wait a minute here... wait a minute here...". So there are only two ways to have sex. Outside of marriage: immorality. Inside of marriage: sanctifying, edifying, and blessing and wonderfully fulfilling. We look at this, and we say, "Well, sex is for sanctification..." and it helps sanctify us, gentlemen... Sex is to be engaged in the context of marriage, in the context of marriage. And therefore, the ideal is love becomes, I love this, friendship that catches fire. That's, about as good an expression of romantic love you can have, isn't it? Friendship that catches fire. So the ideal is that your mate is your friend and your lover. It-this is a friendship, a sexual friendship.
Now some people... we're friends, but we have chemistry other... "Oh, we've got chemistry, but we are not friends..." That's just half of it. That's half of it. And here's the other thing that Paul says to the church at Thessalonica on the principle of married sex, and he says, "You are to honor your wife. It should be an honorable relation..." Look what it says in Verse 4: "...that each of you knows how to possess his own vessel... (that's your wife) in sanctification and honor, and not in lustful passion". So the choice is, in loving your wife, gentlemen, you are to honor her, and it is not to be a relationship of lust. It's either lust or honor.
You say, "You know, there's no lust in marriage..." No, no. That does not mean there's not erotic attraction; but lust means an over desire. You follow me? It's an over desire. It's somebody who says, "Well, I have married you, and you're to fill all the holes in my life. I'm a mess and you're a mess. You're supposed to help me get out of this mess". And when two messes marry, it is a bigger mess than if they did not get married. Have you noticed that? And a lot of men just don't get this. We're not to have a relationship of lust with our wives. In other words, he's talking about here over desire, that that wife is to be under "my" command. I'm the head of the home... and some men even quote that Scripture. "Hey, ah, you're to be subject to me. If you'd be subject to me, I'm telling you like this..." No. That's not how it works, men.
Uh, a man married a girl from California. So the first day they were married, he went up to her and says, "Let me tell you how we're gonna run this home... I want you to prepare a meal for me every day and wash the dishes". He got home the first day. He didn't see anything. Got home the second day man, she'd prepared a meal and washed the dishes. Another guy, uh, marries a girl from Florida. And he says, "I'm gonna tell you how we're gonna run this home! I want you to prepare a meal and wash the dishes and keep the house clean"! He comes home the first day, didn't see anything. Came home the second day, he didn't see anything. Came home the third day, and she'd prepared a meal and cleaned the house. Hhm...
Another guy marries a girl from Texas! He says, "All right! I want you to prepare for me three meals a day and wash the dishes. I want you to have the house clean. I want you to cut the grass! I want you to keep the car shining. When I tell you it's time to go to bed, I want you to jump in the bed"! Well, the first day he didn't see anything... the second day he didn't see anything... the third day he didn't see anything... the fourth day, the swelling had gone down, he could see out of one eye... And, he could open the refrigerator door with one hand and make himself a sandwich!
Now, what am I saying? Gentlemen, we are to have relations and live with our wives so we honor and we reverence them, and we put them up on a pedestal because we know how privileged we are to be in the holy of holies with this person God has entrusted us with. And if things aren't humming in the friendship area, wake up! If things aren't humming in the sexual area-wake up! So there's going to have to be a lot of changes here... You read any survey; you'll see 80+ percent of marriages get in trouble because the sexual area is not properly attended to. It is not understood, 80 percent of marriages.
So a lot of people have to change their attitude. Are we willing to do that? God can do it. You got to change the atmosphere. And then you got to communicate. I would recommend wholly and completely that this next week, sometime, some way, you take a time out and be bold enough to ask your wife or your husband, "Do we need to know anything or share anything in this sexual area"? I dare you to do it! And then listen... Don't interrupt. Don't say, "Well, I'm blah, blah, blah..." and read I Corinthians 7 which tells us, "Wife, you don't own your body; husband, you don't own your body. It's owned by your mate". Develop friendship and chemistry. It'll happen! Any stage in life, if you're, you're 90 or your 19, it makes no difference, it works. It works. It works.