Unlearning the Lie: Unnecessary Sex

Perhaps since the beginning of time, Satan has sold us a lie about sexuality. The lie is that we humans need to have a sex partner, hetero or homo sexual, monogamous or “open.” It does not matter what partner one has as long as the activity is consensual. Of course, the Christian standard is the traditional one man and one woman as the only such intimate relationship that is permitted by God. This is certainly what we find in the scriptures and holy tradition. However, the pursuit of God and holy living opens the door for another standard that Satan has taught Christians to deny and discredit, lifelong celibacy.

“It is good for a man not to marry.” I Corinthians 7:1

You would think that every married couple should enjoy the pleasures of their committed and monogamous sex life, at least while they are young and, in their child-bearing years. I offer you three saints who married. However, they lived as brother and sister with no sexual contact. The Desert Father Abba Amoun was married as a young man. He convinced his bride to live as a virgin with him for 20 years before he established a monastery in Nitra. Meanwhile, she turned their home into a convent. Melania the Younger of Rome was healed from an illness after her husband agreed to live in chastity with her after she bore a second child. They spent years learning from the great monks and nuns of Egypt and Palestine and established monastic communities. Oriental Orthodox believers honor John Kama (the Black) who also asked his bride to maintain celibacy with him only to find that she didn’t want to be married either. They shared a bed where a vine grew over them to celebrate their commitment to this purity.

St. Melania the Younger of Rome

For those who need Biblical references to the validity of life-long celibacy and monastics: Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, John the Baptist, and the Apostle Paul were celibate. Even the first Protestant Reformers like Martin Luther and John Calvin believed (as the Catholics and Orthodox) that the Virgin Mary remained so after Jesus was born with Joseph the Betrothed being a much older man with children from his late first wife. Jesus performed His first miracle at a wedding feast. Paul spoke of the sanctity of marriage. But celibacy was just as valid to them as we see the way they lived. Early Christians who wanted this alternative developed monastic communities for men and women (monks and nuns).

Christ is the source of joy and fulfillment

Is the sex drive difficult to overcome? Yes, for most of us. Jesus doesn’t call all of us to live as eunuchs. Nor does he call for all of us to be married. Too many Christians wind up with “Mr.” or “Mrs. Wrong” because we have only one adult lifestyle presented to us. Sometimes even Christian marriages collapse because a spouse (or both) is too focused on sexuality activity and attraction. This beautiful gift of intimacy is necessary for procreation and a way to celebrate and strengthen the bond between a husband and wife. But it is not a necessity for our spiritual growth and can be put aside even by married couples in their youthful prime.

“What God has joined together, let no man separate” Mark 10:9

Defy Satan, the father of lies, by placing the pursuit of Christ first in life. Celibacy should be practiced by the unmarried and is a legitimate option for those who are. Talk to your priest or spiritual advisor.

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