How does the Bible answer the question “What is sex for?” The first three answers come from the first two chapters of the book of Genesis:
“So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them. And God blessed them. And God said to them, ‘Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it.’” (Genesis 1:27-28)
When God brought to the man the woman he had made, “the man said, ‘This at last is bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called woman, because she was taken out of man.’ Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh.” (Genesis 2:23-24)
These four verses give us the context and the purpose of sex. Even if these were the only references we had, we would have enough:
1. Sex tells us something about God, about his nature and his character.When God created us, he created us as sexual beings, male and female. We are alike in that we are both human beings, but we are also different as men and women. Just as the three persons of the Trinity (Father, Son, and Holy Spirit) are distinct but in perfect union, so as male and female we are distinct but are called in marriage to be one. As Jesus longs to be one with the Father, so male and female long to be one and sexual intercourse is the ultimate expression of that oneness.
2. Sex is for producing children. God told us to “be fruitful.” A natural result of sexual intercourse can be “a little us”, the product of our union.
3. Sex is part of the process of joining a man and a woman in marriage. A man leaves his father and his mother (his biological family), holds fast to his wife (his first loyalty is now to her as they establish a new family), and becomes one flesh with her (their bodies are joined in sexual intercourse). Sex consummates the marriage.
But the Bible also tells us that:
4. Sex is an expression of love. Sexual intimacy is the most intimate, physical, and expressive way of saying “I love you.” The Song of Songs describes passionate love and the expression of that love physically.
5. Sex is for pleasure. The Bible tells us, for example, that Abimelech saw Isaac caressing his wife Rebekah (Genesis 26:8). The author of Proverbs writes of the erotic zones of the female body and of being “intoxicated” with love (Proverbs 5:18-19).
6. Sex is to satisfy sexual needs. The Apostle Paul recognized sexual desire. He encouraged each man to “have his own wife and each woman her own husband” to guard against sexual immorality (1 Corinthians 7:2). He charged husbands and wives to “not deprive one another” so as to avoid temptation (1 Corinthians 7:5).
7. Sex is to reflect, and to proclaim, the faithfulness of Christ to the church. The Apostle Paul compares the “one flesh” relationship of a husband and wife to the relationship of Christ to his body, the church (Ephesians 5:31-32). When a man and a woman marry, unite sexually with each other, and remain faithful to each other, they are a picture to the world of Christ and the church. Sex before marriage and infidelity within marriage deprive the world of this witness.
What is sex for? The world gets some of it right: sex is to fulfill a natural God-given desire, to experience pleasure, and to express love. But the part most people today get wrong — that you don’t have to be married to have sex — ignores the purpose for which God gave us the gift of sex and says in effect “I’ll do it my way.” When they do that they miss out on the blessings of following God’s plan.
Left on their own, without input from you, this is the attitude your young people will absorb from the culture. Don’t let that happen! Study with them God’s Word on sex and marriage. Help them to fill their minds with biblical teaching on intimate relationships.