There’s a meme floating through the Evangelical church that wants to celebrate marriage, especially the physical and sexual. But the gift of bodily reality is easily seized by culture — in our sexualized culture, how could it not be? Mary De Muth explores some of the problems at Her•meneutics, “I’m Sick of Hearing About Your Smoking Hot Wife.”
In another day, this entire business about “Smokin’ Hot Wife”would be labeled worldliness. At its core lies a certain turn of thought, an understanding of sexuality as integral to personal well-being. As a married Christian I deserve good sex, so to speak; or, we were made for sex, etc. And it’s not that Calvinists have stood on the sidelines here. We pretty regularly think of sex as a creational good. But at least for Evangelicals, such a stance is a trap: once you start there, you have basically surrendered on young adult sexuality (think of Tim Keller’s warning), especially given the conflict of the times, on homosexuality. If sex is fundamental to human well-being than prohibitions of all sorts start collapsing.
But that shift in stances, of course, is only the start.
DeMuth herself notes in passing the basic male privilege of it all, the sort that only rubs salt into the psychic wounds of women who have been abused.
And finally, there is the problem of time. The understanding of humanity as sexual creates an artificial narrative of constant sexual availability throughout one’s life. But of course, our libido does ebb and flow, Viagra not withstanding.
In a Christian understanding, sexuality is less the content of the relationship than its context. This Age’s idolatry of the physical limits our freedom to be for others, and it certainly blinds us to the role (and acceptance) of time.