What Sex Isn't

Sex.  There I said it.  That three-letter word that renders gasps through the unpadded pews.  Sex.  Sex.  Sex.  God made it; hand-crafted for our pleasure and His delight.  A gift.  I often wonder why so many Christians just can’t talk about it.  Sex is wonderful, beautiful, spiritual.  Normal.

I listen to two beautiful, grounded teenage girls talk about a day in high school:

“It’s nothing for a guy in the hall to come up behind a girl and grab her boobs.  Or her butt.  Or slap her butt and make some comment about her body.”

“Oh yeah.  That’s nothing.  It’s everyday.  You just learn to live with it.  There’s no respect.  Girls are objects.”

I breathe deeply, tears stinging the corners of my wide eyes.

“All my friends go to these parties… these parties where everyone gets wasted and then does whatever with whoever.  It’s normal.  It’s what people do.  If you don’t do it, you’re weird. I mean, they’ve having sex wherever.”

“Um-hm.  And – girls I know that are eleven – they talk about feeling pressure to give oral sex to boys at school.  I mean, they’re eleven.  It makes me so incredibly sad.”

These girls are fifteen and seventeen, and so it goes in culture today.  Young girls who desperately cling to truth yet are bombarded with filth every day.  And I deeply search for something worth saying, but all I can do is stare, eyes glistening.  All I can do is pray with them.  Pray for them.  And hope.  Hope they live through it and get to the other side without having their innocence completely ripped from them.  Without having their purity snatched and torn to shreds.  Trampled.  What was once a glorious and radiant gift from God, stolen and beaten into the ground.

But the truth remains, for most young people sex isn’t sacred.  It is something to do. Something to look at on the internet.  A way to abuse people. A way to make money.  A way to spend money.  A status symbol of achievement.  A pathway to the inner circle.  A normalized kind of prostitution without payment.  It’s a way to get what you want.  A way to control others.  A way to feel oddly empowered when you truly are so incredibly weak and powerless.  But sacred?  Not even close.

Young people’s lives are filled with images of women as sex symbols, men as aggressors, and sex as nothing more than a control game of seducer and the seduced.  Music does it, TV does it, movies do it, reality TV does it, radio talks crudely, no one turns it off – and our children and teens become unknowing sitting ducks for the kind of smut that cuts deep and bleeds red.

And so, why are we shocked that combined with rampant absentee parenting, full-out peer reliance, and for the most part, a complete lack of Jesus – these kids don’t seek to find acceptance from above and from within?  They are lost, hurting, and willing to find ‘love’ in any way they can.  Even if it means having sex with a stranger in the dirty bathroom of an under-age club.  (These are the stories I am told).

They are numb.  They are emotionless.  They crave to feel something, anything.  A rush.  A connection.  Loved.  Yet, they give themselves away and come up feeling abandoned, used, and ruined emotionally, spiritually, and sometimes, physically.

Sex has been twisted.  Tainted.  So, incredibly dirtied.  Worldly culture has stripped it down to more of a recreational activity than any kind of divine connection between man and wife.  It’s no wonder we live in a disconnected world full of people who are unable to empathize, commit, stay faithful, and experience deep intimacy.

1 Corinthians 6:16-18 (The Message):
“There’s more to sex than mere skin on skin. Sex is as much spiritual mystery as physical fact. As written in Scripture, “The two become one.” Since we want to become spiritually one with the Master, we must not pursue the kind of sex that avoids commitment and intimacy, leaving us more lonely than ever—the kind of sex that can never “become one.” There is a sense in which sexual sins are different from all others. In sexual sin we violate the sacredness of our own bodies, these bodies that were made for God-given and God-modeled love, for “becoming one” with another. Or didn’t you realize that your body is a sacred place, the place of the Holy Spirit? Don’t you see that you can’t live however you please, squandering what God paid such a high price for? The physical part of you is not some piece of property belonging to the spiritual part of you. God owns the whole works. So let people see God in and through your body.” 

Forgive me for sounding old fashioned, but I just believe sex is meant to be experienced by husband and wife, in the confounds of a sacred, blessed committed bond.  I know, it’s crazy, right?  Well, the world says it is.

And I’ve HAD sex outside of marriage.  
 I’m looking in from the other side.

I’ve experienced the feeling that follows giving your heart, mind, and body to a boy only to have him use you up and leave you. 

I’ve fought those battles, and still fight them with the scars those wounds left behind.  I’m not better than anyone.  I’m worse.  I’m me.  Maybe that’s why the idea of the sacredness of SEX is a burning issue for me.  How can I get the sacred back into myself?  And how can I help keep the sacred for my children and for other people’s children, as I counsel and lead them?  Why am I still haunted by and dealing with things that happened nearly ten years ago?  The sins of my sexual past?  The sins of my husband’s past?  Everything is intertwined.  One big tangled mess that binds us.

How?  Why?  The mountain is so big, so intimidating, I’ve wept in defeat way too many nights.

The enemy comes to steal, kill, and destroy.
And he wants to steal our intimacy.  He wants us disconnected and hurting and unable to fully give ourselves to our spouse.  He wants the sting of past hurts and past mistakes and regrets to linger forever and ever until we’re so choked up we can’t even breathe, let alone make love.  He wants us to suffer.  His goal is to steal our joy and joy, deep, profound joy, comes in the form of intimacy.  It was God’s divine gift to the married couple.  This close, incredible bond we can share – that brings us into each other, makes us one, and molds us to one another.  But Satan wants to grab hold of it, and rip it from us.
And it’s working.  The world is a muck.  Sex is everywhere – leaking, no, oozing a stench it was never meant to have.  Marriages don’t last.  Teens abuse each other.  12 year olds are giving sexual favors to boys AT SCHOOL.  Women use their bodies and sexuality to control people and feel powerful.  But instead, we are all so powerless.  In bondage to sin and in bondage to our own shame and guilt.
Every time we give ourselves to someone in an intimate way, we ‘become one’ with them.  I’ve learned we cannot become one with a person and then detach from them fully without a part of us being taken from us.  Because just like two pieces of paper glued together CAN be torn apart, it’s messy, and difficult, and pieces of each paper are left on the other, and the original page is never quite as whole as it once was.  And the more people we ‘stick’ ourselves to, the more of ourselves we give away.  Until there isn’t much of us left.  We are so incredibly broken.
And this is the path of those teens who party until they’re plastered and sleep with a new stranger every weekend.  The young girls who do ‘favors’ for their classmates to fit in.  Who have no concept of sex as a sacred, intimate bond.  And my tears flow fast and heavy for these little ones.  The pain they will endure.  The long, hard road ahead.  The inability to connect.  The inability to feel.  God’s holy design, murdered by lies.

We must protect that which is sacred.  Shelter your children from pop-culture images.  Build a powerful bond with them.  Educate at home if you can.  Know who they are with.  Know what they are doing.  Speak life into them.  Share truth with them. Pray for them.  Pray with them.  Say the word SEX and speak of the truth God gives us in His word.  Let them know they can ask anything, and you will answer.  Tell them their body is a holy and sacred place.  Walk them through the process of becoming an adult.  Express deep gratitude for the gift of intimacy in the context of marriage.  If you’ve messed up, share with them your hurts.  Honesty.  So much honesty.
And for the broken like me – we can walk to restore that which has been so violently shattered. 
Every single day tears fall down my freckled cheeks for the grace poured on me by the Lord Jesus.  Me.  The wreck.  The mistake-maker.  The tantrum thrower.  The always striving, never getting there.  Me.  One specific song  really sits deep down in my own broken soul.  It’s called ‘He Loves Us’ and at one point in the song, the verse just reels, “He loves us, oh how He loves us, oh how He loves us…” on and on and on it goes and I get lost in worship, weeping as the truth burrows in my heart.  It seems we need this kind of passionate, repetitive reminder of God’s intense, over-the-top and unconditional love for His children.  For us.  We need to raise our faces to the sky, let peace rain down on us, and accept fully, right down in the gut – the truth of God’s jealous love.  For me.  For you.
The bible tells us, as far as East is from West, that’s how far God has removed our mistakes and mess-ups from us.  We are completely washed clean, forgiven, presented with a new slate, white as snow.  And this truth stands so that we can have hope and find freedom in it.  That our past does not define us and cannot control us.  That Satan does not have power over our lives and we can choose to rebuke the lies we are whispered about our self-worth and the value of intimacy.
“Let us draw near to God with a sincere heart in full assurance in faith, having our hearts sprinkled to cleanse us from a guilty conscience and having our bodies washed with pure water.  Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful.” 
Hebrews 10:22-23

Jesus said, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.”
2 Cor. 12:9

Sex can be redeemed.  If it’s still sacred for you, hold on tight and don’t let go.  Praise God for the gifts He has given.  If the intimacy and holiness of sex has been tossed by unexpected storms or waves from the past, if it seems like all is lost…  have hope.  God is a God of restoration and healing.  He is the One who makes all things new.  Cling to Him – in the good times and bad, in all seasons.  Write His truths on your soul (and all over your home):

“God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work.”  2 Cor. 9:8

“As high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is God’s love for those who fear Him.”  Ps. 103:11

“You are a forgiving God, gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and abounding in love. Neh. 9:17

“For I know the plans I have for you… to prosper you and not harm you. Plans to give you hope and a future.” Jeremiah 29:11

Praise You, God- for your grace ever-flowing… ever needed… may I stay ever thirsty for You and always aware of how much You love me – no matter how undeserving I am.  Restore the intimacy and sacredness Lord – breathe life into the hearts and marriages of those who read this… give us parents strength for the journey and wisdom to raise our children to love You first and value the gift of sex and intimacy within marriage.  Let us be a shining light and testimony of Your power and unimaginable grace. Thank You, Jesus! 


  • Jamie

    Thank you for your bravery and the passion with which you share on this subject. I recently had a conversation with a sweet young lady on this subject and struggled because no one had ever explained to her WHY sex outside of marriage was bad. She simply had no frame of reference for why it would matter, beyond a one-line "thou shalt not" in the Bible.

    The testimonies and honesty of women like yourself who have seen both sides and understand the struggle are crucial to combating the apathy and misinformation permeating the world. Thank you.

  • lisa

    Amen, Cassandra! Well said. What God has made beautiful, the world has defiled. May He help us to protect what is sacred. Thanks for this post.
    In Christ,

  • Monica

    Well written Cassandra. And so true… I pray that my relationship with my boys grows stronger as they grow and I create a welcoming environment for honesty so they always feel safe to talk to me. It's so important… I don't think many parents give a second thought about how imperative it is to bond with your children on a deeper level than just watching movies together or taking them to the park. Talk to your children. About everything. Thanks for this.

  • Jamie

    well put,I still fight with the thoughts of my past that I have and am disqusted with the things that happened to me.
    I often struggle with how GOd could let me be sexually asaulted by my step grandfather and the thought that he is still a part of our family NOT My new family.I just wonder WHY

  • Nursedebra46

    Thank you for a wonderful commentary on sex. I am a Christian wife and mom and have been married to the same wonderful man for 36 years. We have come through to the other side where intimacy is deep and lasting and sacred. Thank for your courage to broach this subject with the dignity it deserves.

  • Deborah

    Beautifully stated, desperately needed to be heard in this world trampled by darkness. Not enough "light shiners" out there for those who are lost in it. Thanks for sharing the post.

  • karen12399

    Thank you for your very honest and brave words. I too am sad that the church does not adress this more openly especially with our youth and the parents who are so blind as to what their children are going through. I am constantly appaled as to what comes on tv and movies and how casual sex is portrayed. It seriously hurts my heart deeply when I think of what my three daughters will be faced with in the world. For now I am thankful for strong relationships with them and homeschooling where they don't have to get pressured by their peers to fit in by participating in sexual acts. I also think praying for the young men that they will marry one day and their families is important. I pray they can have a marriage without the baggage that past sexual relationships can bring

  • Alexxus

    This is exactly why I am thankful for my mom homeschooling me and being open with me about sex. We watch shows(together)like "Teen Mom" and "16 & Pregnant" and talk about what God's Word says. Parents should really be open with their teens like my mom does with me. When everything is laid out on the table and there are no mysteries or secrets, there is no lure to "experiment".

  • Carrie

    What a beautiful post about sex. Thank you for sharing this. I also love the verses you shared in the Message translation – that gives such a new perspective to that passage!

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