What’s the Purpose of Sex?

Of course, sex is necessary for the propagation of the race. But while we are to “be fruitful and increase in number” (Genesis 1:28), sex is not merely limited to the procreation of the human species.

Sexual intimacy is designed to reflect the beautiful mystery and intimate union between God and His people ( Ephesians 5:25 ). God gave us sex to arouse and satisfy our innate craving for intimacy, for union ( Genesis 1:24-25 ). A couple who enjoys emotional, relational, and spiritual intercourse with one another will be drawn to celebrate their love through sexual intimacy. That’s why sexual intimacy is exclusively reserved for marriage. Sexual experiences outside of marriage mar our enjoyment of the beauty of sexual intimacy in its proper context as God intended.

The Bible describes the sexual experience within marriage as honorable ( Hebrews 13:4 ). Some of the most beautiful erotic literature ever composed is found in the wisdom literature of the Old Testament. For some, the idea of verbally inspired erotic literature is difficult to accept. Yet God has frankly recorded for us His view of the delights of sexual intimacy between a married couple in poetic verse:

Drink water from your own cistern, running water from your own well. Should your springs overflow in the streets, your streams of water in the public squares? Let them be yours alone, never to be shared with strangers. May your fountain be blessed, and may you rejoice in the wife of your youth. A loving doe, a graceful deer — may her breasts satisfy you always, may you ever be captivated by her love ( Proverbs 5:15-19 ).

In the Song of Solomon, the husband’s description of his bride’s body ( Song of Solomon 4:1-15 ) and her description of his ( Song of Solomon 5:10-16 ) reveals the joy of love and sexual intimacy that God extols for a married couple. While sexual intimacy between a couple is not to be observed by anyone outside of the relationship, God, the One who sees and knows all, must smile with delight when He sees two of His children enjoying the good gift of sex He has given to them.

God intended sex to be far more than mere pleasurable sensations. He designed it as the intimate union of body, soul, mind, and spirit exclusively shared between a husband and wife. It’s about being open, exposed, naked, and unashamed in the presence of our spouse who finds us desirable and yearns to draw close to us. That’s how God captures our hearts. Being captured by our lover will give us a taste of being caught up in Christ’s love in a way that we feel deeply enjoyed without shame. In essence, sexual intimacy within marriage should draw us to deeper worship of God who initiated sexuality for His glory and our delight.

Enjoying sex with one’s spouse is always to be viewed as a part of the whole marriage relationship. Sex is never to be singled out as some isolated aspect of our being that is disconnected from the rest of the relationship. Rather, sexuality is a vehicle for expressing our identity as a man or a woman made in the image of God. Sexuality pulsates throughout a godly marriage and is not exclusively reserved for the bedroom experience.

A devastating assault on our ability to enjoy sexuality is the perpetuation of the myth, “Sex is just sex. It’s just another biological urge demanding satisfaction.” But that’s not true. God didn’t make sex as a mere physical act. Whether we’re willing to acknowledge it now, or we face the pain of admitting it after the fact, sex is always woven into our view of ourselves, one another, and God. Each of us distinctly reflects the image of God through the lens of our sexuality as either male or female. How we handle this good gift of sex will either enhance the glory of God’s image in us or will mar that glory.

If anyone should be enjoying sexuality, Christians should. We should know better than anyone else that sex was never intended to be an end in itself. It is intended to be a joyous celebration of the intimate love that a man and woman share together in the covenant relationship called marriage. It is designed to be a reflection of the intimate love relationship between Christ and His church ( Ephesians 5:25-33 ).

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