Sexual temptation ain't what it used to be.
When I was a kid, Three's Company was a controversial TV show for us younger viewers. For about half my friends and classmates, this "risqué" program, in which two women and one guy shared an apartment strictly for financial reasons, was off-limits.
Flash forward a couple decades, and it's difficult to find a TV show without at least one cohabiting couple, who are sharing living quarters for reasons that are far from fiscal. And on the commercial breaks during these shows, sex is used to sell everything from organic shampoo to health club memberships.
For these reasons and many more, if you gathered ten typical Christians in a room and asked them what they think the biggest struggle is for their single sisters and brothers, I bet a majority of them would mention sexual temptation.
It's a good guess. But it's wrong. When we posed this question to you single readers, sexual temptation ranked third (with 15 percent of the vote), behind loneliness (32 percent) and trying to be content in my current life stage (24 percent).
I have a pretty good idea why this issue didn't rank any higher: It's difficult to be tempted sexually when you haven't been on a date in a couple years!
Over the past many months we've also conducted polls and asked for feedback that's revealed a trend of Christian singles dating less and less. So, it's perfectly logical that sexual temptation is taking a back seat to other more pressing and relevant issues.
However, the many e-mails I received last week in response to my admission that I've watched a few episodes of that new TV show Queer Eye for the Straight Guy reminded me of a more subtle form of sexual temptation I think we singles in particular need to guard against: In today's entertainment culture, it's easy to get desensitized to sexual ethics and practices that are contrary to our Christian beliefs. In other words, the new battleground for sexual temptation isn't the bedroom, but our brains.
I'm startled every now and then when watching Friends or Alias or the latest blockbuster flick to find myself not at all fazed when a couple winds up in bed together on the first date, or when I find myself even rooting for the consummation of a long-awaited romance or the breakup of a marriage so a third party can enter the scene.
I'm not proud of these things, but they're true. And I know from a few candid conversations with friends that there are many of us desperately trying to keep from being products of our over-sexualized culture.