Whither Sex?

Some days you just feel so. . .assaulted by messages from everywhere. Everyone’s obsessed with sex—who’s having it, who’s not having it, who’s complaining about people having it, who’s trying to “stop two loving people” from having it. Can we just say “Enough?!”

All this obsessing about it makes me think that perhaps you’re actually not happy in all your many sexual relationships because you feel the need to shout to the whole world that you’re happy with what you’re doing and it’s really wonderful and OMG everyone should be doing it. You’re not fooling anyone.

Yes, sex is vitally important. It’s so important, in fact, that the survival of the human race depends on it. And that’s a fact that tends to be forgotten in all the hullaballoo. Sex isn’t only something created to fulfill our personal needs. It does do that, and it’s wonderful, but it’s far more than that. And for this very reason, it should not be taken lightly.

Perhaps it’s your body and you’re consenting—but if you happened to create a new life, would you desire to destroy it with your next breath? Then you’re not ready to have sex.

Perhaps you’re overcome with longing for a person and want to express your commitment to them. But you’re not ready to really make that commitment, to say, “I give you my body, my soul, my whole life—I am wholly yours.” If that’s the case, then you’re not ready to have sex.

Sex isn’t just about love, or about consent, or about any of the other things we’re told it’s about (growing up, becoming a man/woman, expressing yourself…you name it, we’ve all seen it). It’s beautiful, and heartbreaking, and vulnerable. And, at its core, it’s about creating life.

That’s why sex belongs only in marriage between a man and a woman. When a man and a woman have sex, they truly become one. They’re not just making love: they’re creating love. And if they happen to be fertile at that time, their love may truly take on the tangible form of a new human life.

That’s why marriage matters. Marriage matters because life matters. If marriage, or sex, is only about two people who love each other blah blah blah, then they’re both meaningless. Go ahead, enjoy your vain life with the girlfriend or boyfriend or wife or husband whom you love all your pointless days on earth. Lots of people love each other all the time and don’t solemnify it. But marriage is different. Where else can you incarnate love?

Not only in having sex, not only in being open to having and raising children, not only in living together through everything—but in combining all those things. Marriage isn’t about any of them separately. It’s when they combine that they make a marriage. In marriage, two people are united, and marriage itself is an expression of their unity, a strong and true commitment.

Sex isn’t just another way to say “I love you.” Nor is it simply a way to provide yourself with a physical good, like, say, eating is. It’s a giving of yourself, a profound, meaningful, and quite ridiculous way to truly become one with another. And for that reason, it can only be completely experienced where it was designed to be experienced–within the confines of marriage.

An Open Letter to the Recently Engaged

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Pretty much what our entire engagement looked like, when we weren’t in two different states.

And since I mean everyone (there have been at least seven engagements in the past three weeks), I thought I’d just post it here.

Dear newly-engaged-people,

I’m not sure I ever really said congratulations on your news, so I’ll say it now, even though you’re probably ready to tell the next person who says it to you to go jump in a lake. Don’t worry–the well-wishes die down after about a year of marriage. Though they’ll probably start again around the time you have your first child or so, though I’m not an expert at THAT phase of life just yet. So anyways, congratulations!

I’m happy for you both as you start this next phase of your life together, and I hope you’ll be able to keep your sanity together as you finish your next semester of school, plan a wedding, and plan a life together. Engagement is a hard time of life (or at least it was for me), since you’re transitioning from one life to another and don’t really belong in either anymore. I think the best word to describe it is tension, because you’re being pulled by your old familiar life as a daughter and a sister and a friend, and you want to keep those relationships, of course. But at the same time, you are starting a new relationship and defining yourself in a new way in relation to a new person, which means you have to grow immensely in ways you never imagined you would.

I don’t know whether you spent much time daydreaming when you were younger about what it would be like to be engaged or married–but it’s not really much like the daydreams. Of course there are those thrilling moments, but then there are a lot more moments of just life, when you have a headache and school to do and you wish he would just go away and let you do it, or when you have to talk, again, about mundane details of your wedding that you really don’t care about but SOMEONE has to think about them.

Sometimes you’ll get tired of kissing and always wanting physical affection–and sometimes you’ll long for it but will be far apart (though not SO far apart for you two as it was for Jared and me!). And always there will be a core of dissonance at the center of your being as the thing which you’re preparing for is not what you are now.

It’s times like these that enable God to show us what his kingdom will be like and what we, here on earth, are supposed to feel as we prepare for heaven. It’s times like these that make “the bride of Christ” such a powerful image, as you, preparing to be an earthly bride, more fully know what the longing for another person, for no longer being single, is.  Don’t lose sight of that understanding.

I love you, dear friend, and I’m excited to share in this new season of life with you, even though I’m far away. Stay strong!

Your friend,

Annika