Why Sex Belongs in Marriage

Sometimes I click on articles on yahoo or wherever on the internet and I’m immediately sparked to respond.  Usually, I think about taking it to my blog, but I rarely carry through because, more often than not, these articles are basically fluff and not even worth talking about.  I questioned whether this one was the same, because who really cares whether Tiffany Trump’s friend is in a sexless marriage or not?  That doesn’t affect me in the slightest, and really, is it any of my business what these people (whom I don’t know and will never meet) do?

Yet, the more I thought about it, the more I realized that their decision does impact me.  The concept of a sexless marriage is an important one to talk about because it points to a deeper problem in our society today.  Our culture has completely lost the meaning of sex and marriage, and as we get further and further away from the truth, not only do things like this affect me, but they will affect you too.  This is because the mockery of marriage (or at least the misconception of what it is) ultimately impacts society as a whole. It influences both how we interact with one another and changes the dynamics of family life in our country .  I truly believe this new “revolution” to “change the rules” of marriage will ultimately harm our future generations, and as such, it is a deeply serious issue that should be addressed and talked about openly.

As I mentioned above, the article speaks of the “sexless marriage” of one of Tiffany Trump’s friends.  In some ways, an arrangement like this one seems good enough—why can’t two people vow their lives to one another without the promises of sex?  There is still so much two people can offer to one another that doesn’t include the pleasures of the body.  (Which, in their case, they can still indulge in–just not from within their own “marital” union.)  What’s the big deal if two people want to come together as life partners, in support of one another’s dreams and aspirations, with a commitment of everlasting love?

To some of you, the answer may be completely obvious.  (In fact, from the comments beneath the article, the general consensus was that this was a pretty “dumb” idea and that a marriage like this would never last.) However, the question still begs to be answered: Why can’t sex be eliminated from a marriage?  Why can’t two people come together in a union that suits their personal needs and preferences?  We live in a world that caters to this kind of lifestyle.  Everything we do revolves around choices and preferences.  From fashion to the type of drinks we like, we are offered a plentiful variety of things to suit our needs.  Shouldn’t we be able to do altar the basic tenets of marriage to do the same?

Contrary to what society teaches us, we can’t.  Altering the essential elements of marriage is not like adding different flavors to soda or putting different toppings on pizza.  Altering marriage to suit needs and lifestyle choices is more like taking a piece of cardboard, slopping tomato sauce and cheese on it and calling it pizza, or like pretending that carbonated water is soda.  You can’t do this with either because a) gross, and b) you’ve altered/taken out essential elements that make a pizza a pizza and soda a soda.   This is very similar to what our culture continues to try to do to marriage.  We keep trying to make it something it’s not.

In addition, our culture continues to misconstrue and distort the true purpose of sex.  For years our culture has been promoting free, casual, unfaithful sex.  Sex has become nothing more than a means of reducing other people to their parts and a way to use them for the sake of personal pleasure.  Since the human body has been so objectified, sex has also been reduced to a marketing tool.  Sex is used in media and in the entertainment world to sell or push a product or idea; one of man’s most instinctual desires is manipulated as a selling point.

As a result of this distortion, we’ve experienced terrible consequences as a society.  Sex trafficking, pornography addiction, marital infidelity, sexual harassment, as well as the hidden perversions (that rarely see the light of day) are all the rotten fruits that have stemmed from this distortion.  Unfortunately, in the wake of these and the many other perversions, people are left feeling enslaved to their desires, mistreated, used, abused, and even discarded.

Yet, marriage and sex are both meant to encompass much more than what our world teaches us.  People are much more than just their parts, and marriage is much more than just an exchange of goods or personal ideals.  It’s meant to be an exchange of persons. 

In marriage, man and wife are called to come together in an offering of love that is free, total, faithfuland fruitful.  It’s through these four essential elements that a man and a woman vow their lives to one another in a complete gift of self.  If one or more of these elements are removed from a union, the marriage suffers.

The reason sex is so vitally connected to marriage is because it is the physical means through which a man and a wife communicate the invisible, spiritual reality and promise of their love.  Sex is meant to be much more than just two bodies coming together in an exchange of pleasure; it’s meant to be the wedding vows made flesh.  When sex is reduced merely to bodily pleasures, the meaning of the act is lost and the value of the encounter is diminished.  On the other hand, if sex is eliminated from a marriage, man and wife lack the physical means to communicate the deeper inherent spiritual reality which they seek to offer one another when they marry.  As humans, we are both spiritual and bodily beings, and as such we need a physical sign of the invisible reality of our love.  (Flowers, candy, and wordy promises, though nice, ultimately don’t cut it.)  Changing the purpose of sex and marriage in order to suit personal desires and preferences is ultimately to base a marriage on something much weaker than what it is properly ordered to be.

In reality this kind of broken union speaks a language none of us–in the depths of our being–really want to hear.  A love like this is merely a love given partially, conditionally, and restrictively.  Yet people settle time and time again because the hope for an authentic and full love has been lost due to our culture’s lies. Whether we believe that this is attainable or not, it is a deep inherent reality that man’s heart desires much more than imitation love.    

It is a sad state we’ve found ourselves in our culture today, where the beautiful gifts of sex and marriage have become something so distorted and mangled that we can hardly even recognize them for what they are.  Yet, as our culture begins to expose so many of the problems that have been hidden and kept away for so long, I think there is an opening to discuss this matter on a deeper level.  Along with safeguarding the dignity of humanity, I believe we need to promote, protect, and safeguard the original dignity and purpose of sex and marriage.

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