Aug 282017 3 Responses

Be Human….Between the Sheets

We are tempted to deny our humanity. We attempt to be something we’re not leading to internal frustration, broken relationships, and a difficulty functioning in the world around us. The most common ways we attempt to be something other than human is by trying to be God, an animal, or a machine.

Humanity’s core struggles are always expressed in the bedroom. Sexual expression is so tied to the human experience that any weakness or vulnerability we have is manifested sexually. It’s not surprising that the narrative we often hear about sex is one that points us to one of the three false expressions of our nature. (See: One Tip to Improve Sex)

3 Counterfeit Sexual Expressions Hollywood Sells

Hollywood isn’t evil, but it is an easy typecast for major societal beliefs. Screenwriters and moviemakers don’t make up social moves. They simply write what is already at play in society. It’s no accident that Hollywood doesn’t portray sex in a human way. It doesn’t show the good and bad of a proper sexual expression. Instead, it either glorifies it beyond reality or makes it dirty in it’s most grotesque forms.

1. A Sex God. For much of society, sex is worshiped. It’s viewed as the ultimate human need and desire. Sex sells, therefore, sex is valued by those seeking to make money. This gives an exaggerated view of the sexual experience. Many assume the right sex will always be great sex. Anything less may indicate something is wrong. With a divine view of sex, those who are best at the sexual act are nearly divine. When humanity fails to view sex in a human way and instead attributes divine characteristics to it, we can’t accept a second rate experience. Any sexual struggle is seen as poisonous to the relationship. Even if every other aspect of the marriage is good, an overvaluation of intimacy destroys the relationship. Often times this happens simply because of expectations. No human relationship can live up to the sexual expectations some people bring into the marriage. Having watched too many romantic comedies and read too many airbrushed magazines, many young couples have an exaggerated view of what two humans are capable of experiencing in the early years of a relationship. When the honeymoon doesn’t match Hollywood, they wonder what has gone wrong.

2. A Sex Animal. The band Bloodhound sings, “Baby you and me ain’t nothin but mammals, let’s do it like they do it on the Discovery channel.” While some overestimate sex by connecting it with the divine, others diminish the sexual experience by making it solely animalistic. While they are right in understanding that sexual desire is tied to our biology, they fail to recognize that sex is more than just basic instinct. The animalistic view of sex leads to a view that we have neither choice nor control over sexual desire. We are simply at the whims of passion. In its ugliest forms, it excuses rape as an assailant simply expressing his passions. Compassion goes to the perpetrator at the expense of the victim. Think this never happens? How often have you heard these lines: “Did you see how she was dressed?” “What was she doing out that late?” “Well, she shouldn’t have drunk so much.” Another way the animal mindset wrongly projects sex is by projecting the idea that the best sex is found when we submit to our desires–no boundaries, no direction, no curtailing of actions. In this view, marriage can be a hindrance to full sexual expression. Instead of sexual differences being celebrated, they are cursed. A man might justify his porn addiction as “just who I am.” A woman might use her low sex drive as an excuse to not sleep with her husband. Animals don’t change. They are who they are. An animalistic view of sex means we have no ability to influence our desires or actions.

3. A Sex Machine. A good machine is one built and programmed well. Viewing sex as simply a mechanical act puts all the focus on technique and outcome. The emotional, relational, and spiritual components of the sexual experience are lost. Ask the average young adult who has the best sex and they will quickly assume the young and in shape. They are simply parroting the societal view that sex is mechanical. The better shape the machine, the better the sex. It’s not true. Connection is far more than muscle touching muscle. While technique matters and physical ability plays a role, sex is far better when two people know one another, are emotionally connected, and compassionately seek to please each other. Sex is a physical interaction, but it’s much more than that. It’s why the most productive way to improve one’s sex life is not a change in technique, but a deepening of friendship and an expansion of partnership. Trust, respect, and communication are far more important than angles, rhythms, and spots. Viewing sex as machine-like causes a woman to doubt her sexiness after the third pregnancy changes her body. It terrifies a man who experiences physical struggles to perform, making him wonder if he can intimately connect with his wife anymore. If we are meant to be sex machines, who are we when the machine begins to break down?

Be Human in Bed

If sex isn’t borderline divine, overly robotic, or completely animalistic, what should it be? Sex should be a meaningful connection between two human beings. How can we be human in bed? (See: 7 Signs of a Satisfying Sex Life)

7 Traits of Human Sex

1. Expectations. Being human means having proper expectations of ourselves and our spouse. We aren’t perfect beings. Our bodies have flaws. Our experiences have limitations. Our emotions are dynamic. A human sexual relationship is more defined by the long-term connection than the one-time experience. We should expect meaningful connection, but we shouldn’t expect it immediately or in every occurrence. We should remember our humanity and the humanity of the one we sleep with. This gives each person value while also providing an expectation that things will not always be perfect.

2. Emotions. Sex isn’t all emotion, but emotions do play a big role. Few things expose us as much as the sexual experience. Our naked bodies symbolize the true exposure of our naked souls. This exposure will bring a convergence of many emotions. The presence of emotions can greatly enhance the sexual experience–feelings of love, connection, and intimacy are vital. But other emotions–fear, hurt, and shame–can hinder time together. All these emotions will be present in an ongoing sexual relationship. To be human is to navigate these emotions in a useful way refusing to live in denial of them.

3. Imperfections. Human beings are imperfect therefore human sexual experience is imperfect. While there may be glimpses of the possibility of sex at its best, we can never assume that’s the way it’s always going to be or even always should be. While imperfections can embarrass and frustrate us, a healthy couple finds great meaning in the imperfections over time. It’s another source and symbol of true love. In marriage, we experience intimacy not just in spite of the imperfections, but even through them. Our brokenness creates an appreciation for the love we are given and compassion in the love we choose to give.

4. Connection. The unique aspect of human sexuality is that it’s meant to connect us with another person. The ultimate end of sex isn’t procreation. While that plays a role, it’s not why sex was designed by our Creator. Instead, the sexual experience uniquely bonds husband and wife together unlike any other activity or affection. To seek a continual experience without the desire of connection is to seek sex in a way that is not truly human. To be human means we seek to connect. One way we connect with our spouse is through the complementary functions of a sexual experience. (See: What Your Husband Wants from You in Bed)

5. Attention. Because human sex is more about connection than procreation, one characteristic of the experience is attention. Connection demands full attention. If sex were just about the physical act, our eyes or minds could be wherever they wanted, but because it’s about connection, they need to be engaged in the process. While no one is focused enough to stay fully engaged all the time, human beings can discipline their attention. They can choose to limit distractions and give their focus to another person.

6. Vulnerability. Sex should be one of the most vulnerable acts in which we engage. Some attempt sex without vulnerability, but it’s a second rate experience. It simply becomes about the physical act rather than the connection of two people. To be human between the sheets, we have to be willing to let our guard down and reveal our actual selves. This requires trust, honesty, and respect. To the extent that a couple can create healthy vulnerability in their relationship, they will have a meaningful sexual experience.

7. Control. While we may not dictate our every desire, we do have great influence over desires and we have total control regarding which ones influence our actions. Unlike animals, we can deny our desires if expressing them would not be appropriate. It’s human to show fidelity, to stay committed to one person, and to have a monogamous relationship for as long as our spouse is living. Part of the human sexual experience is that it happens in response to our personal choices and within the context of the choice of another.

 The temptation to be something other than human expresses itself in a variety of areas of our lives, but no where is that temptation more present than in the bedroom. Fearing our real nature, we put up defenses of trying to make ourselves and sex something that it is not. Yet what we seek–a satisfying sexual connection with another human being–can only be found when we approach ourselves and the act of sex in a human way.

3 Responses to Be Human….Between the Sheets
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