It’s silly to think that because you are single you are any less or any more sexual than a married person. God made you a sexual creature on purpose and with a plan in mind. It isn’t a cosmic mistake that is meant to be a curse to you. Sexuality is a powerful gift, when stewarded well.
So, what do you do with your sexual urges and surges? Our culture says, “Do anything you want, when you want, how you want, and with whom you want!” Yet, we see the consequences of this thinking everywhere we look. Millions of Americans live with an STD. Millions of abortions have taken place, and sweet innocent blessings have been annihilated.
Some of you have experienced sexual harassment and sexual abuses. If I could sit with you and hear your story, you may tell me about how sexual decisions broke your heart. Maybe you have experienced someone taking from you sexually. Maybe you gave yourself to someone who you thought would love you forever. Maybe you hoped if you gave yourself to someone, they would value you more. Perhaps, you have used your sexuality to prove something to someone. Misuses of sexuality are a human condition. The Bible is full of stories of saints who have misused this gift. But again, God made you a sexual creature on purpose; it is a gift to be stewarded.
Here are my top three ways to steward this part of yourself in ways that hopefully will bring life to you and those around you.
Acknowledge your sexual urges.
Celebrate that everything is working the way God intended it to. Don’t repress your sexual feelings. When you repress them, they have a way of sneaking out of you in ways that can surprise and shock you. Instead, acknowledge them so you can thank God everything is working and then you can let them go and move on. Go work out, connect with friends and family, create meaningful non-sexual relationships. Have non-sexual affection met non-sexually. You need hugs and warm embraces.
Acknowledge that God’s plan is the best plan.
I don’t think God is a sexual prude. Quite the opposite. He is the one who created erogenous zones and gave thousands of pleasurable nerve endings to enjoy sexual union. He gave women and men equal but different beauty. He isn’t a prude, He is a protector. He teaches us to protect our hearts. Marriage was meant to provide a safe context where you are loved and cherished, where you have a solid covenant to hold you together in good and bad times. This covenant was intended for you to feel safe and trusting. Trust is the ability to be careless. In this context, you can let go sexually, explore, play, and feast with one another as you learn how to make love together.
Acknowledge that your sexual desires have a deeper purpose.
God gave us sexual desire to draw us towards a future spouse. If we didn’t have the desire, we wouldn’t marry and we wouldn’t make babies together. The world, as we know it, would cease. Sexual desire is meant to pull you towards someone so you can get to know them. Intimacy begins with friendship, exploring if you would be good together. The problem with hopping in bed with each other is then sex becomes the focus instead of cultivating a deep friendship and discovering the depths of this other person’s personality, spirituality, and character. Sex is a great thing, but it needs to be in the right context to be the liberating type of sex that God made you for.
Forgive us married folks for not presenting a great picture of married sex. We have failed our single friends. I want you to know that marriage can be a delight. Maybe you love being single and I want to echo what the Apostle Paul advocated when he said, “I wish you all were single like me.” But, if you have an ache for a companion, don’t wait for him or her to magically show up. Go out and find him or her. Pursue what your heart aches for. But, in the process, steward this beautiful, valuable, part of yourself. You may have already had sex, maybe lots of sex with lots of different partners. Ask God to forgive you, put support around yourself, and pursue the kind of sexual relationship that will fill you up, instead of leaving you more empty than before you had sex.
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Nancy Houston is a sex therapist, professional counselor, and leadership expert. She lives with her loving husband in Texas. For more information on godly relationships and intimacy grab a copy of Nancy’s new book, Love & Sex: A Christian Guide to Intimacy, available now at Amazon.com and BarnesandNoble.com.