Monday, February 9, 2009

Questions for God Part III; Why Did You Make Us So Horny?

I have children who read this blog on occasion so I hesitated with my choice of words. I’m certain that my wife would disapprove and consider it as trashy . . . but I really couldn’t think a better way to state it and one of my objectives is being transparent and honest and Monistic, seeing the glory of the physical without thinking of it as inferior or dirty.

So this question is easy to ask, but once again, needs some clarification.

Fortunately many of the questions that a typical person may ask do not make my list because I feel very comfortable that the Christian answers (as Francis Schaeffer use to say) are so adequate. For example, I have no problem understanding evil in the world, why good people suffer, why there is death and illness . . . because I do understand the Fall of Adam.

I know that the Fall has had its mark on us and the universe that we live in. Nothing is spared . . . however, nothing is totally decimated. There is an echo of God’s original design in everything. The hard thing to figure out sometimes is where God’s wonderful creation ends and the effects of the Fall of Adam begin. I can think of no greater area of this perplexity than our sexuality. Before I continue I will add that this is not a flippant question, but is serious with all of its practical and metaphysical implications.

So here’s the problem and the question I would ask God if I had the chance. I can only speak from the angle of a male and I realize that this dilemma may or may not be experienced by women (or even all men).

Somewhere, around the age of 10, boys develop a sexual interest. These are not like their previous interests in rocks, stamps, baseball . . . but it is a deep, primal, all consuming interest that constantly haunts them and will for most of the rest of their lives. This intense, all consuming desire begins to interfere with virtually every relationship with the opposite sex. As much as they try, it becomes difficult to just be friends especially with girls that they find attractive. The boys become tormented, either moving toward physical contact, or deserting their female friend forever. So it is like a curse.

This is one area that my old Navigator staff leader had right (the one I met when I was 17 years old). He started asking me, “When you are with your girlfriend, sitting in the car, holding her hand or kissing her . . . can you really do it without any sexual thoughts?” I knew in my heart of hearts that the answer was no. This haunted me until I broke up with her . . . not to date again until I met my wife 8 years later.

These intense sexual desires also become men’s chief source of guilt, leaving most of them in states of constant shame and struggle. Of course, as I’ve mentioned many times on this blog . . . like my previous posting about my old Campus Crusade friend Don, yeah, and of course Ted Haggard . . . sexual impropriety is the most common reason for a man’s spiritual downfall. I’ve known too many pastors to count who’ve been caught in some time of sexual sin. How many men have destroyed their marriages because of the fire in their bellies?

So my question is, did God make us this way or did He make us more “civil” than that but Adam’s Fall complicated matters?

I certainly am one to support fidelity. I think it is extremely healthy, psychologically (and in every way) for two virgins to get married and to stay married and faithful to each other forever. So, if this was God’s plan, it looks like he would create men in a different way.

In this “better way” men would have no romantic interest in any other woman until they meet their wife. Then their eyes would fixate on them in the same way that a young duckling imprints on its mother and would never look at another woman. Indeed, they would find all other women hideous. But even at that point this perfect man would have no sexual interest . . . until the wedding night. Then the intense sexual desires would come to the surface and they too would be imprint-able onto that one woman forever.

So, this question of mine for God has a multiple choice answer, and one of those being “other” (for an answer I hadn’t even thought of).

My first thought is that God indeed wanted us to multiply and having a strong sexual interest was part of that plan. Prior to recent history, boys married at a much younger age . . . for example 16. Therefore the days of torment were shorter-lived and more sane. Mix into this original design Adam’s Fall and presto . . . you have men’s present dilemma.

But are there other answers? I mean, could God have make us the way we are and if so, why? Was it to test us? Did he want us to struggle and overcome to prove our fidelity?

In closing this question, I will comment that this “curse” (and delight) of man does mellow with age. In Plato’s Republic the character (an old man) Cephalus says,
I remember someone asking the old poet Sophocles whether he still enjoyed sex, he replied that he was glad to have left that frenzy behind him.


steve martin said...

I guess God out that 'urge' in us for the purpose of reproduction and that we might have a good time doing it.

All the other associated problems...well..I dunno...I haven't figured that part out yet.


Justin said...

This has been a question of mine since I saw my first Playboy magazine... at age 7. Thirty years later, I still struggle with all the questions boiling down to, "God, why am I this way?"

Only recently has the answer came to me that God still loves me in spite of it all.

However, I take a different view as to how the Fall has affected sexuality in us. I think it was an indirect effect(s), rather than a modification of originally intended sexuality. The taboos associated with sex which have been passed down for millenia, to the point where my parents avoided discussing the issue at all by handing me a Dobson book to do the damage.

Most of us are on our own about sex, and it's no wonder all the problems have cropped up over the years. I don't believe our desires are a result of the fall, but our reactions to them, conditioned by the various influences, or lack thereof, upon us during those troubling times.

Sorry for the rant...

MJ said...

Steve and Justin, both are excellent thoughts and worth pondering. Certainly (and I think due to the Dualistic influences within Christianity) this issue has been pushed underground. Maybe, like you said Justin, when see part of us as horrible, too horrible to mention, then it can easily become distorted.

Bryan said...

I'm re-reading Mere Christianity right now. Lewis has an interesting take on this. I'm not sure if I agree with him, but it is worth considering.

He believes that our sexual desire is a perversion (i.e. an effect of the fall). He makes the analogy to our desire for food. If a man were to completely give in to his desire for food he would eat maybe enough for two men. However if a he were to completely give in to his sexual desire, he would soon populate an entire village full of offspring.

He also paints the funny mental image of a striptease of a plate full of food. And how he would come to the conclusion that such an act would suggest a widespread perversion in peoples desire for food.

Again, it's food for thought, but I'm not sure I agree with Lewis,
especially since from a biological standpoint I think our overpowering sexual desire makes perfect sense. Unlike our desire for food, our desire for sex, if acted upon, can have many bad consequences (on every level, from disease, to emotional distress, to a child to care for). To overcome the disincentives we need a strong desire for, and pleasure form sex. Although making sense from a biological standpoint does not imply God creating it that way from the beginning.

Anonymous said...

I have been married 29 years. I love my wife dearly. Here is the answer to your question. Sex helps out love. We have fought and been mad at each other, so mad i might have stopped talking to her, or cooking for her, or living with her, but having sex with her? Rarely have I been that angry!. And the fleshy desire motivated not being mad, not staying mad. Sex is not only designed to be in the context of marriage, it is designed to sustain marriage. Always easier to get along after sex. Without the horneys, marriage would suck.

MJ said...

Yeah Bryan, I forgot that Lewis even address it.

I heard someone else say (I think it was Josh McDowell) that the only reason men are so obsessed with sex is that they are starving (for real, Godly sex). He said that only in a place where people were starving for food would you see a market in photos of food. I don't know if I agree with him or not.

Willohroots, Yeah, I guess that is another good perspective of sustaining marriage. I guess a lot of guys could have gotten angry walked away and never come back . . . except for that physical longing that was saying, "Come on dummy . . . go back and make up with her . . . you need this chick."

Helen said...

What just drives me (as a young woman (I'm 29)) crazy is the thought that no church leader is willing to speak about this openly! Seriously! Probably in the church's eyes (if one sin could be worse than another) THE biggest problem area of our lives, and we just shove it under the carpet!

I went to chat to a Christian counselor once about this and her answer to "horney-ness" was to "listen to Christian music". I mean really? That's the best we can come up with??

Yang Long Home said...

Your duckling imprint analogy is correct. That's how it works when your heart is given to Jesus and you therein take marriage most seriously, like unto a sacrament. I would not say that other girls appear "hideous," but that there is something intrinsically repulsive about any thought of sexual impropriety with any other woman. Furthermore, there is nothing you can do about it, to lighten that repulsive barrier. In a sense, you are sealed by the Holy Spirit, and that is good.