I've noticed that God is a very large part of your life, however, you are still a sexual being. Growing up Christian, I've been taught that sex outside of marriage is a sin. I, of course, still partook in it when I became an adult and I am still doing so although I am not married. Although my relationship with God is very important to me, I know that I am a very sexual individual. I always have been. God comes first to me but I am still a woman that enjoys sex, very selective of my partners, and I am not ashamed of it at all.
My question is how do you go about balancing the two (faith and sex)? You are a married woman now so it's probably easier to speak on this topic but I would love to hear your opinion.
-Sexual and Saved
Dear Sexual and Saved,
This subject is sensitive. Well, half of this subject is sensitive. Religious beliefs are serious business and I will want to tread lightly when discussing it. Everyone's beliefs and practices, in or outside of religion, are all about personal choice and interpretation. You are allowed to interpret and express your belief any way you choose and not hold yourself to the standards of others.
Though I have strong belief and an obvious relationship with God, I do not resign to religion for it is developed by man, therefore, filled with flaws. I live my life based on my personal beliefs and according my relationship with God. I understand I was born a sinner and am trapped here on Earth, surrounded by other sinners, all of us born to sin until we die, hopefully repenting all the while. Some people believe there is a separate place called hell and I am prone to believe we are already living in it. My sin will not cease until I leave this place and am in a realm where there is no more pain. To ensure I get there, I pray, repent for my sins, and do my best to tell the world all God has done for me, never wanting or needing to be perfect.
I am just a person.
But see, these are my personal beliefs and they allow me to govern my life without shame or guilt. I have taken all the shame and guilt out of the equation by not feeling the need to answer to any occult or live precisely by a book written and rewritten by many men over many centuries. Now, that is not to say I do not believe in the basic messages of all Holy books, but it is to say that my interpretation is not meant to be the same as anyone else's and I am completely okay with that. Only God knows the answers and I'm okay with that, too!
I say all this to say, everyone must decide what their interpretation is and live by it, not by what other people say is right or wrong. Almost everything we say, think, and do can be classified as a "sin" and we have to decide which are livable for us, individually, and which aren't.
Sex Sans Marriage:
I cannot speak to what God really thinks about sex outside of marriage but let's look at both things separately and together.
The sad part about marriage is that most people think it's something you are granted permission to do by man's law. Standing up in front of a church, at City Hall, or anywhere else, and declaring your love and devotion for another, promising to stay with him forever and then, filing a piece of paper in a court of human law, is not marriage.
Most people are legally married to people God has not chosen for them, therefore, they are not truly husband and wife. So, the question then becomes, is sex with that person a sin? If you're having sex with a man that a court of human law has filed as your husband but God has not ordained as your husband in His court, aren't you still having sex out of Holy matrimony?
What I am saying here is that you can be with a man with whom you are married to in spirit, ordained by God, and not have dragged him down the legal aisle, and your sex will be deemed sinful by overzealous Christians here on earth. Meanwhile, you can be married to the absolutely wrong person for you, a man God has not made and deemed as yours, but because a human court has put their stamp on your union, only after being paid to do so, sex with that man will be deemed righteous by those same zealots.
When deciding if sex outside of marriage is sinful or not, first be honest about what marriage really is and was always meant to be, before there were governments and courts. There are more people having sex outside of Holy matrimony than would like to admit it.
The fact of the matter is that sex is best when it's with the man God made and wants for you. Everyone else will only take pieces of you over the years, returning very little. Still, we go through the motions while looking for the person worthy of all we have to offer, learning about our bodies and theirs along the way. We also learn about our emotional resilience and what we're willing to accept and not accept from our partners. We do our sexual and emotional due diligence, praying the right one comes along––and soon.
Some will argue that it is best to remain chaste while waiting for God to send your rightful mate and I cannot deny that even long bouts of abstinence are good for the soul. But, again, it's all about personal choice.
Here's Your Homework:
You say you are not ashamed at all about having sex without a husband and I believe that to be true. However, you are still asking a question, which tells me there is doubt. And you want to know my opinion because you are seeking support in your decision to go against what you were taught by the church. You are looking for permission to be your sexual self. This column entry isn't so much about my opinion as it is about you being supported in yours, and that's okay.
Your homework is simple:
- Continue to be unashamed, liberal, and cautious in your sexual choices.
- Think about the true definition of marriage and the true pleasures of sex within the confines of a relationship sanctioned by God.
- Know that the perfect combination of man and sex exists but that it's okay to explore or not explore your boundaries until you find that combination.
- Also know that at any time sex feels as if it wears on your spirit, let it go and turn your focus to yourself and your relationship with God.
- The choices are all yours and let your personal relationship with God be your guide and not the institution of religion and its varied interpretations.
Here's What Will Happen:
As you continue in your shameless journey and to accept that it's okay to make your own choices, also know it is okay to not believe exactly as others believe. Your faith in God is not measured by your sin for, if that was the case, none of us could be counted as faithful. We show our faith in God by thanking Him for our long suffering, by asking Him to help us daily, and by seeking Him constantly. When you do these things, when you seek answers straight from Him and not an organization led by other sinners, the answers to your questions became clear and there will be no trepidation when those answers don't match what others have told you.
For me, there is no balance needed between sex and faith in God. To me, these things are not linked, and neither is faith and the way a person dresses or if they use words others deem as curse words, because it's all a matter of personal and even societal interpretation. For instance, in America, the word fag is an offensive slur, whereas in parts of Europe, a fag is a cigarette. What one person finds offensive, another finds enjoyable and it begs the question, why do some people place offense on certain words or actions while others do not? This example shows how the human mind can create corruption and project it onto an entire society.
God is not surprised by anything we do, but that is not to say He is not offended, and when He is offended, we often feel it. Some people ignore those feelings, those convictions that tell them what they're doing is wrong, while others heed them and seek God's counsel. Some people don't feel convicted at all. So, sex outside of marriage may be right for some and not right for others, based on their personal convictions.
None of us are having the same experience and not everyone has the same relationship with God and, by all means, not everyone who is faithful is religious. Each person's balance will be found in their personal relationship with themselves and the God they serve.
Have you had a difficult time dealing with religious teachings and your personal choices, sexual or otherwise? Do you feel broad religious beliefs should override your personal convictions? Sound off in the comment section below.
New York Times best selling author, keynote speaker and workshop leader, founder of The Gorgeous Girl's Guide, Steffans Publishing Enterprises, and Karrine & Co.