Why an Orgasm Is Not the Pinnacle of Sexual Maturity

The intricate connection between your faith and your sex life
Why an Orgasm Is Not the Pinnacle of Sexual Maturity

Put a man and a woman together, and the odds are that immaturity and selfishness will overflow even while they attempt to create a meaningful relationship. The common explanation for relational problems is their families of origin, but the root of the problem is actually more serious to overcome: two sinners coming together. From arranged marriages to traditional dating to online dating to cohabitation, all the methods of matching can't avoid this inherent problem. Marrying in the will of God doesn't change that reality either. The honeymoon always ends. However, I believe that working to develop both spiritual and sexual maturity can help a couple glorify God and avoid serious relational problems.

There is a consistent dynamic I've noticed while counseling thousands of Christian couples from across America in our weeklong intensive counseling program. It looks like this: The wife feels a loss of sexual interest in her husband while she also considers herself to be more spiritually mature than him, while her husband has more interest in sex with her, but he considers himself to be more spiritually immature. In this common scenario, both husband and wife are missing something. If two sinners are going to struggle well in developing a God-glorifying relationship, they must both strive to be spiritually and sexually mature. To be spiritually mature you must be sexually mature; to be sexually mature you must be spiritually mature.

Few couples realize that sexual maturity is more than sexual purity or pleasurable orgasmic experience.

Redefining maturity

Few couples realize that sexual maturity is more than sexual purity or a pleasurable orgasmic experience. Spiritual maturity is also more than being involved in ministries or having a spiritual "mountain top" experience. When we try to mature spiritually, we tend to fix our thoughts on ourselves and our own goodness and in the process, we lose sight of the whole meaning of spiritual maturity. Likewise, when we try to find sexual satisfaction for ourselves, we fix our thoughts on ourselves and our own fulfillment and end up missing the real meaning of sexual maturity.

To build spiritual and sexual maturity, we must start with God's purpose rather than our own. God's purpose is "to bring about the obedience of faith for the sake of his name" (Romans 1:5, ESV; see also 16:26). That purpose continues beyond conversion to bring about transformed lives that are more and more consistently obedient to his will. So as we journey on we are "filled with the knowledge of his will with all spiritual wisdom and understanding, so as to walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing to him" (Colossians 1:9, 10, ESV). In this process of transformation, it is important to remember that what we do with our sexual organs is as important as what we do spiritually with our hearts and our minds. We are not just spiritual beings; we are physical beings as well.

Your body, God's purpose

The believer's body has a specific purpose, both spiritually and sexually. First, "The body is not meant for sexual immorality" (1 Corinthians 6:13, ESV). Paul continues by telling us what the body is for. Interestingly, he doesn't say directly that the body is for sexual purity. Instead, the body should remain sexually pure because it has a defined purpose—"for the Lord." This is the reason that the body isn't for selfish sexual gratification: "Do you not know that your bodies are members of Christ? Shall I then take the members of Christ and make them members of a prostitute? Never!" (verse 15, ESV). Spiritually speaking, the believer's body is in a profound union with Christ now. This is the purpose for which we have a body. We are joined with the Lord, whether we're single or married.

Waiting for marriage isn't the primary reason for maintaining sexual purity; we are severely restricted from joining our bodies sexually with just anyone because we are already in union with Christ. "You are not your own, for you were bought with a price" (verses 19–20, esv). Neither a man nor a woman has authority over his or her own body before marriage. Understanding who has authority leads toward spiritual and sexual maturity and to "glorifying God with your body" (verse 20, ESV). To establish real spiritual and sexual maturity in marriage, the critical question to consider is this: Who has authority over my body?

Sex (for the glory of God)

Before marriage, sexual immaturity in the form of impurity is an expression of selfishness. Maturity, on the other hand, is all about maintaining sexual purity.

In the context of marriage, sexual immaturity is an issue of selfishness in one of two ways: A man may continue to take without fully giving himself, leaving his spouse to feel like a sexual object. Or a woman may withhold what is not really hers to keep. Spiritual and sexual maturity in marriage is all about relationship and sex for the glory of God—to me, this means a mutually gratifying relationship and sexual intimacy in a life-long marriage.

Paul continues his instructions to the Corinthians by focusing on sexual equality, saying,

Each man should have his own wife and each woman her own husband. The husband should give to his wife her conjugal [sexual] rights, and likewise the wife to her husband. For the wife does not have authority over her own body, but the husband does. Likewise the husband does not have authority over his own body, but the wife does. Do not deprive one another, except perhaps by agreement for a limited time, that you may devote yourselves to prayer. (1 Corinthians 7:2–5, ESV)

We mature in a marriage when we pursue the will of God both spiritually and sexually. The pattern for marriage in striving for spiritual and sexual maturity is to live not only under a mutual moral obligation of faithfulness, but also under a mutual moral obligation for both the husband and the wife to give their bodies to each other in willing anticipation of sexual relations over their entire lifetime together. The spiritually and sexually immature do not understand this marital obligation, and for this reason abstinence in marriage can become a dangerous habit. But those who are spiritually and sexually mature will not want to abstain from sexual relations in marriage (unless, as Paul noted, it's for limited time and only by mutual consent for a godly purpose).

In equality, God grants your spouse authority over your body, and you have authority over his body. Therefore, just as in singleness, neither a married man nor married woman has authority over his or her own body. Ultimately, a man and woman's unconditional love and willingness to give themselves to each other sexually reveals their love for Christ. Their lifelong covenant and the one-flesh, sexual union that has been formed between them has everything to do with their relationship to Jesus.

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Dr. Harry W. Schaumburg is the founder of Stone Gate Resources, a counseling ministry specializing in the treatment of adultery, pornography, and all forms of sexual sin. He's written several books including Undefiled: Redemption from Sexual Sin, Restoration for Broken Relationships.

Read more articles that highlight writing by Christian women at ChristianityToday.com/Women

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Intimacy; Marriage; Relationship with God; Relationships; Sex; Spiritual Walk; Spouse
Today's Christian Woman, March Week 1, 2014
Posted March 5, 2014

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