Most of us know that public indecency is against the law. Unless of course you’re at a nudest colony. However, doing the deed in public would still be illegal whether you’re in a place which encourages public nudity or not. This communicates something about our sexuality: it’s private. Sex is to be done behind closed doors because it is a private matter not to be shared with the public. But is it really?
Our culture is very confused about sex. On one hand we have a large majority of people saying it is for consenting individuals of whatever persuasion to decide behind closed doors. Then on the other hand, we have the porn industry and even pop culture flaunting sexuality as if it is nothing to be ashamed of. Is it a public matter or a private matter?
Before we go any further, please take a moment to read this insightful and well-written article from The Public Discourse.
This article devastates the notion that our culture does not need an agreed upon sexual ethic. The idea that people should basically be able to do whatever they want with their sexuality is unexamined and destructive. We need to have a collective answer to questions such as: Is homosexuality healthy for our society and should it continue to be encouraged? How easy should it be to divorce? Can a man or woman engage in polygamy? Can we continue to justify restraining people from engaging in bestiality? As Anthony Esolen notes in the above article, “It is a plain fact that what two people do in the bedroom is not confined to the bedroom.” He points, sarcastically and truthfully, to children being an obvious result of sexual union. All of us, must at least agree that the manner in which people decide to express their sexuality is very important because it affects everybody. Allow me to indulge in a few illustrations to make this point clear:
1. Sexually transmitted diseases. Do you know anyone suffering from an STD? If so, then you can see personally how sex has an impact outside of the bedroom. Physical discomfort, psychological trauma, and relational insecurity plague those who suffer from one of these diseases. It affects more than their sex life.
2. Exploitation of minors. One of the unfortunate parts of my work in foster care is having to hear stories about children being used for sex. Doesn’t thinking about that make your blood boil? It should. You know why? Because it’s depraved. Somebody’s sexual perversion is now causing an innocent child to suffer. No one thinks we should endorse that. Children who go through that kind of trauma will either struggle to engage in sex later in life or be very flagrant with their sexuality.
3. Birth Rate. One of the most notable places to consider is Japan. Cultural pressures and norms have moved their birth rate into a dangerously low position. Their whole society could crumble because Japanese men and women are so disinterested in having children. In this case their abstinence from sex is having a dramatic impact on their whole country. The personal, sexual choices of the many affect the whole society.
The idea that sexuality is a private matter to be defined by individuals cannot be upheld. Nobody actually believes that anyway. Even if you are progressive in your views on sexuality, you still want to have some restrictions on sexual conduct, right? Your definitions may allow for more flexibility than those of us rigid traditionalists but you still have boundaries (i.e. rape, exploitation of a minor, etc.). But that begs the question, “How do we collectively decide where to draw the line?” As a society we must agree on what is right and what is wrong with regards to sexual expression. If we don’t, all of us will suffer.
Well, how about if I propose a solution? Nobody likes a cynic who fails to offer a solution.
Re-align our misguided passions.
We can all agree that there is something wrong with humanity. It’s evidenced by our propensity to lie, cheat, steal, kill, destroy, and so forth. Fill in the blank with whatever injustice upsets you. The reason we have regulations, laws, and governments is to make an attempt at restraining some of this wickedness. This applies to our sexuality. We do awful things with sex because we deeply desire something destructive. But what hope is there that any of this can actually be changed? It will not happen by our efforts and our institutions. We have failed in those endeavors and will continue to do so. What we need is good news.
He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away. Doesn’t that sound wonderful? All bad things become untrue. No more pain, sorrow, or tears. No more sexual misconduct. Only a promise like this can change our behavior right now. If you know how powerful and glorious God is, and that He has made this promise, then your passions can be re-aligned. When you know that you are loved by someone that great, your desire will be for Him and His pleasure.
We need an object of our love that is something other than us. All of our sexual acting out is a result of our insatiable desire to get pleasure for ourselves and not give it to others. Know, dear reader, that God loves you deeply and richly. Intimacy with Him is more glorious, more satisfying than any sexual endeavor you or I could ever undertake. You can have that intimacy with Him because He has cleared every debt of yours including the debt you’ve racked up against Him and others for your misguided use of sex. He punished His own Son for our sexual misconduct and every other misdeed. Know that and know Him and one day you will be free from guilt, from suffering, and from sin to give glory to God and enjoy Him forever. Then we won’t need any more public discourse about sexuality.
For now, we must continue our debates and discussions on sexual ethics, but let’s refrain from putting our ultimate trust in our own efforts. Our enduring hope must be in someone greater who has the power to fully restore our broken lives. Let’s trust in Him.
For His glory and fame,