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Understanding True Love series
Sex is a wonderful gift of God. Understanding and obeying His guidelines for sex will protect you and bring you true joy.
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Lesson 4: Understanding the Sex Drive
As a young person grows into adulthood, he or she becomes aware of a powerful new force in the body. This powerful new force is the sex drive.
The appetite for sex is something God created within us. It is not dirty or evil. The sex drive was God’s idea—not ours. He created those hormones within us that make the opposite sex appealing to us. Sex as God intended it to be is beautiful. Everything that God creates is good.
Think of a person driving a car. The driver reaches a place in the road where he must choose to either turn left or right. To his left he sees a large sign that says, “One Way, Do Not Enter.” The driver makes his decision and turns left, in direct opposition to what the sign told him to do. He is now going the wrong way down the street, breaking the law and risking injury to himself and others.
This is similar to the choices we must make regarding our sex drive. The sex drive is not sinful, but God tells us that we must control this desire. He has stated many times in the Bible that we are to keep ourselves pure and to save our body for the person we will some day marry.
Like the driver of the car going the wrong way down the street, disobeying what God has told us to do is sin and causes injury to ourselves and others. We sin when we choose to satisfy the sex drive in a wrong way.
The Sex Drive as God planned it
God created all living creatures with the ability to reproduce themselves. Animals have a powerful sex drive which brings the male and female together for sex. However, in the case of animals, the sex drive is seasonal. The female will accept the male only during the time when she is in heat. The rest of the time she has no interest in sex. Apparently, in the case of animals, God intended the sex drive to be only for the purpose of reproduction.
With human beings it is different. God gave us the sex drive both as a means of reproduction and as the means by which a husband and wife can express to the fullest their love for each other.
Actually there are several ways God could have made us. He could have made us with only a seasonal sex drive such as the animals have, but this would have given only limited enjoyment of sex. He could have made us with a constant sex drive, but this would have made life unbearable.
God had something better for us than either of these ways. He made us with a potential sex desire which can be activated by stimulation.
This means that a husband and wife can live together without being controlled by their sexual appetites. But they can, at the proper time, stimulate each other’s sexual desires.
Within marriage, the powerful sexual desires which are aroused when a husband and wife stimulate each other can be satisfied legitimately in sexual intercourse. That is the way God intended it to be.
But these same powerful desires and passions can be aroused outside of marriage. In this case, however, there is no legitimate outlet for these aroused desires. To stop short of sexual intercourse leads to frustration, and to go on leads to fornication—one of the most damaging sins that young people can possibly be involved in. This is why the Bible warns against stimulating the powerful sex desires outside of marriage.
We can compare the sex drive to a steam boiler. When a fire is built under a steam boiler, the water inside is converted into steam. This steam is under tremendous pressure, but a proper outlet is provided. It is used to drive a turbine which produces electricity. However, if a fire is built under the boiler and there is no safe outlet for the steam, the boiler will explode.
Sex is the wonderful gift of God, but do not “build the fires of sexual passion” unless you have a proper outlet for the tremendous physical and emotional pressures that are built up. The only safe and proper outlet which the Bible recognizes is marriage. Outside of marriage, it is wrong to arouse and stimulate sexual desires.
Men are stimulated visually
All our senses play a part in sexual stimulation but there is a difference in the way guys and girls react. Girls are stimulated primarily by touch, but guys are stimulated by what they see as well as by touch.
A girl in a tight sweater or a revealing blouse can excite a guy sexually. Some girls know this. They know just how to dress, how to walk, how to sit, and to move so as to stimulate guys. This is wrong because it causes the guys to think sinful thoughts.
A girl may try to excuse herself by saying, “If they didn’t have evil minds, they wouldn’t think those thoughts.” The Bible says it is a sin to cause someone else to sin.
Looking at lustful pictures, reading pornographic magazines, listening to music with a beat and words designed to produce lust, and going to a movie filled with lustful scenes—all of these are things which “build the fires” of sexual lust and passion. The Bible warns against doing this. God’s Word says, “…Do not make ways for the flesh [your sinful fleshly desires], to fulfill its lusts” (Romans 13:14).
Sex is never an emergency
In understanding the sex drive, young people should know that they can deny the sex drive without suffering any harmful effects whatsoever. The sex drive is different from the hunger drive in that you cannot survive very long without eating, but you can deny the sex drive indefinitely without any ill effects. Without a doubt, sex is important, but sex is never an emergency. Many people go through their entire lives without sexual intercourse and still have full, happy lives.
Sometimes a fellow will become so aroused by caressing and other forms of stimulation that he will tell his girl, “We’ve gone this far; you’ve just got to let me!” This sounds as though some terrible thing will happen to him if she does not give in, but this is not true. If he does not have sexual intercourse, he will not suffer any ill effects whatsoever. But it is certainly not wise to let things go that far.
A special word to the guys: A young man has strong sexual desires as he grows into manhood. His body is producing sperm by the hundreds of thousands. These sperm are stored in his body. If he is unmarried and living a life of purity, there will be times when his “storehouse” is overfilled. God has so designed the human body that, when this happens, the surplus is discharged during sleep. This is known as a nocturnal emission or a “wet dream.” This is perfectly normal for a young man and nothing to be ashamed of. It should be, in fact, a matter of thanksgiving to the Lord for the relief it gives.
A lesson in LUST:
a tragic example from the life of King David
The Lord Jesus had some strong words to say concerning the matter of lust. Jesus said,
“Whoever looks on a woman to lust after her has committed adultery with her already in his heart” (Matthew 5:28).
David was a great man of God. He wrote many of the Psalms. He was the greatest king that the nation of Israel ever had. But David allowed lust to overcome him and he committed two of the worst sins that a person can commit—adultery and murder.
The Bible tells us exactly how this happened. One night David was walking on the roof of his palace and he saw below a beautiful woman bathing. Sometimes you cannot help the first look, but David looked again and again until the fires of passion were raging in his heart. He sent for Bathsheba and committed adultery with her.
Some time later, Bathsheba sent word to David informing him that she was pregnant. Since Bathsheba’s husband had been away on military duty for some time, David realized that his sin of adultery would soon be exposed.
In order to cover up his sin and enable him to marry Bathsheba, David arranged to have Bathsheba’s husband killed. Then he proceeded to marry Bathsheba. He seemed to have been successful in covering up his sins of adultery and murder, but the Bible says that “the thing David had done displeased the Lord.”
God sent the prophet Nathan to confront David with his sins of adultery and murder. David truly repented of his sins and confessed them to God.
“Have mercy on me, O God, according to Your lovingkindness: according to the multitude of Your tender mercies, blot out my transgressions. Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin” (Psalms 51:1-2).
David was truly broken hearted over his sins. God forgave David and restored him to fellowship with Himself. But David still had to reap the consequences of his sins. The Bible says,
“Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatever a man sows, that shall he also reap” (Galatians 6:7).
Because of David’s sins, God sent word to him through the prophet Nathan that “the sword” would never depart from his house. This meant that David would have much sorrow and tragedy in his family. This came to pass, just as God had said.
The son born to Bathsheba died. Amnon, one of David’s sons, raped his half-sister, Tamar. Another son murdered Amnon. Another of David’s sons, Absalom, led a rebellion against his father and was killed in battle. These were some of the terrible consequences of David’s sin.
From this account of David’s great sin, we can learn two important lessons:
- Although we may be forgiven of our sins, we must reap the consequences of our actions.
- Some sins have terrible, lifetime consequences.
You may say, “That won’t happen to me.” But it can! David was a spiritual giant, but even he was not strong enough to overcome his lust once he had allowed his passions to be stimulated. Neither will you be able to overcome your lust if you allow your passions to be aroused.
No one can seek and submit to sexual stimulation continually and not sin. The Bible says, “He that sows to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption [rottenness]…” (Galatians 6:8).
God's Rules concerning Sex
To protect the wonderful gift of sex, God has given certain rules or commandments. Let us consider some of them.
Rule #1: Avoid fornication
Fornication is voluntary sexual intercourse between an unmarried man and an unmarried woman. This sin has disastrous consequences. The Bible says,
“…the body is not for fornication, but for the Lord …Flee fornication. …He that commits fornication sins against his own body” (1 Corinthians 6:13,18).
Rule #2: Do not cause others to sin
The Bible says that it is a sin for a man to lust after a woman in his heart. It is likewise a sin on the part of a woman to deliberately dress and act in a way so as to cause a man to lust. Some girls dress and act in such ways as to cause young men to lust after them. They say, “That is their problem,” but one day girls who do this will have to answer to God for causing others to sin.
Rule #3: Do not let others cause you to sin
Jesus said, “Whoever commits sin is the slave of sin” (John 8:34). Some who have gone into sexual immorality take pleasure in dragging others down to their level. They talk about being “free” to do what they want to do, while all the time they are in bondage to their sins. The Bible says, “While they promise others liberty, they themselves are the slaves of sin...” (2 Peter 2:19).
Rule #4: Avoid abnormal sexual desire
Any deviation from the normal man-woman sexual relationship is a misuse and abuse of the sexual nature which God implanted in us. In His Word, God says,
“If a man lies with a male as he lies with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination [sin]...” (Leviticus 20:13).
The Bible says that God destroyed the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah because of their widespread practice of homosexuality. God’s Word says that this is a warning to all that live ungodly. (See 2 Peter 2:6.)
Rule #5: Do not tease
Teasing is arousing sexual desires in another person which you cannot legitimately fulfill. We are not to “light the fires of passion” in another person. This is sin in God’s sight.
Rule #6: Keep yourself pure
This means that you are to avoid all sexual immorality. There is no greater gift you can give to your future husband or wife when you marry than the gift of purity. This applies to the fellows as well as the girls.
Rule #7: Do Not give or take that which one day may rightfully belong to another.
One thing that is so wrong about fornication is that those who engage in it are giving or taking that which one day may rightfully belong to someone else. The guy who gives up his purity is taking from his future wife that which rightfully belongs to her. The girl who gives up her purity is taking from her future husband that which rightfully belongs to him. Their partners are likewise guilty. God will judge those who do this. The Bible says,
“That no man go beyond and defraud his brother in any matter: because the Lord is the avenger of all such…” (1 Thessalonians 4:6).
Rule #8: Avoid things which stir up lust
The Bible warns against the dangers of stimulating the sex drive outside of marriage. The Bible says, “Flee also youthful lusts…” (2 Timothy 2:22). The way to “flee youthful lusts” is to turn totally away from anything that leads to lust. Lust may look harmless, but it is a deadly enemy.
Suppose a fellow has a date tonight. Before going out he reads a magazine which is designed to produce lust. He looks at pictures which stimulate his sexual desire. He listens to music which has both words and beat which produce lust. He picks up his girl to go to a movie. Guess what movie they attend—one full of lust, designed to stir up sexual passions. Is he “fleeing youthful lusts”? No, he is promoting them.
After the movie they park in a secluded place. Both have already been aroused by what they have seen and heard. They engage in petting and before long they are having sex. Should they be surprised when this happens? No, they should not. It is the logical outcome of all that went before.
The Bible says,
“Can a man take fire in his bosom, and his clothes not be burned? Can one go upon hot coals, and his feet not be burned?” (Proverbs 6:27-28).
Just as you cannot walk on fiery coals and not be burned, so you cannot continually seek and submit to sexual stimulation without sinning.
Sex is the wonderful gift of God
Sex is the gift of a loving God. It invigorates a marriage and adds zest to life. It is such an exhilarating experience that it enables a husband and wife to be truly one. The Bible says, “...they two shall become one flesh” (Ephesians 5:31).
This oneness is more than simply physical oneness. It is a union of two people—body, soul, and spirit. The very maximum enjoyment of sex is attained when both husband and wife are Christians and thus “one in the Lord.” When this is the case, they experience a oneness that is beyond anything else in this world.
God has put His blessing on sex within marriage. In His Word, God says,
“Let your fountain be blessed: and rejoice with the wife of your youth…be ravished always with her love” (Proverbs 5:18-19).
You can see from these verses that God is certainly in favor of romance in marriage. God loves to see a joyful marriage and a happy home. If you are married for forty years, God wants you and your mate to have forty love-filled years.
Looking at the chart below, it seems likely that your “dating time” will be short compared to your “married time.” It is definitely to your best interests to wait for the right person, the right time, and the right circumstances.
This applies to the wonderful gift of sex. You can choose momentary pleasure and reap the bitter harvest of your wrongdoing, or you can wait for the right person and the right time and enjoy it to the fullest over the longest period of time.
Sex is not a game or a playtoy, but a gift from God to be enjoyed within the security and commitment of marriage.
To sum up what we are saying: Do not sacrifice the long-term benefits of sex for short-term thrills.
Guard your affections
It is not easy to be patient—we want thrills now. It is not easy to “guard your affections.” It is not easy to deny your sexual appetite. It is not easy to keep from envying those who seem to be enjoying the thrills of sex outside of marriage. But God’s way is best.
What young people call “going all the way” is cheap sex. Precious love is quite another thing. It is experienced when two people are totally committed to each other and have the security of marriage.
As the writer of these lessons, may I share a personal word with you? My wife and I have enjoyed 65 love-filled years together, and we are looking forward to more. God gave us six children, and we have had many happy days.
We have also had tragedy—our oldest son was killed in an accident when he was seven years old.
We were very much in love when we married, but our love has grown deeper and stronger through the years. My wife has that special beauty that a woman has when she is in love with a man and knows that she is loved and cherished by that man whom she loves.
Many times my wife and I have thanked God that we kept ourselves for each other and did not play around with sex before marriage. We are still sweethearts—we still like to hold hands! It is fantastic being so in love with each other all these years.
You say, “That’s beautiful!” Yes, it is. That’s the way God intended marriage to be. That is the way He wants your marriage to be!
by Pastor George Gardner
One of my sweet little teenagers came mincing into my study and blurted out, “Pastor, I’ve got to talk to you. I’ve got a problem.”
“What’s the matter?” I said.
“It’s my dates,” she replied.
“What’s wrong with your dates?” I asked.
“I don’t know, but they always end wrong. I’m discovering something—that the Christian guys in our church are a lot faster than the kids I used to date before I was a Christian.”
I thought, “Unfortunately, many times that’s true.”
“Now,” she continued, “what am I going to do? I want to serve the Lord. I want to be a Christian. I want to be a good witness, I want to be clean. What am I going to do? I don’t want to be an old maid. I don’t want to be laid on the shelf.”
I said to her, “Kid, you’ve got no danger of ever being an old maid, believe me. But, nevertheless, go on from there.”
“Well, what am I going to do?” she asked.
“Let me ask you something. The guy you are going with, is he a Christian?”
“You know him,” she replied. “He is a professing Christian.”
“And you’re a Christian, right?”
“Have you ever thought about praying over your dates?” I asked.
“Praying over a date?” she said.
“Yes, what’s so strange about that?”
“Everyone would think I was flaky if I prayed over a date. Over a youth meeting, yes. Over choir practice, yes. Over Sunday School, yes. But a date? Who prays over dates?”
“Well, from what you have just been telling me, I think maybe it’s about time that you started. Now if he won’t take the lead, how about you? Ask God’s blessing on your date.”
“Well,” she said, “that will sure change the program.”
“Well, that is what you wanted, isn’t it? It’s worth a try, isn’t it? The Lord said, ‘In everything by prayer’…so what’s wrong with that?”
It was certainly something that had never entered her mind, but she seemed satisfied to give it a try. She came back a couple of weeks later. She had a grin on her face.
“How did it go?” I asked.
“What happened?” I inquired.
“He picked me up at the house, we got in the car, he was ready to turn the key in the ignition, and I said, ‘Wait a minute.’ He said, ‘What?’ I said, ‘What are we going to do tonight?’ He said, ‘I don’t know.’
“I said, “Then I think maybe I’d better tell you what I want to do right now.’ He said, ‘What’s that?’
“I said, ‘I want to have a word of prayer over our date.’
“If I had hit him in the face with a lemon pie, he couldn’t have been more surprised.
“He sat there and said, ‘You what? You want to do WHAT?’
“I said, ‘We’re Christians, aren’t we?’
“‘We love the Lord?’
“‘We don’t want to do anything wrong, do we?’
“‘Then why can’t we pray about it? How about you praying about our date?’
“‘Not me,’ he said. ‘It’s your idea. You pray about it.’”
“So,” she continued, “I just asked the Lord to keep His hand on us, and that we would be a good witness and a good testimony, and have a good time. Pastor, I want to tell you the dates have never been better. Things are going beautifully. And I sense a certain respect and admiration that I never knew before.”