May 8, 2008
During the American gold rush of the mid 1800’s, countless victims bitten by the gold bug would spend hours staking their claims then digging, panning, and mining for that precious yellow metal. Problem was, much of what the prospectors dug up and took to the assayer’s office turned out to be iron pyrite, “Fool's Gold.” Iron pyrite has a bronze/golden color, and sparkles like the real McCoy, but is virtually worthless.
What does any of this have to do with sex? So glad you asked.
Even in our allegedly sexually enlightened times, most people’s sexual education tends to focus simply on biology and mechanics. When it comes to romance and passion, people learn from sources like Hollywood, romance novels, daytime television, schoolmates, and porn. But these sources know nothing about Holy Sex as God designed it. They only teach Eroticism, which has as much in common with the real McCoy as Iron Pyrite does to real gold.
Now, gold and iron pyrite do have one quality in common: they are both shiny. Eroticism and Holy Sex have one thing in common, too: both are pleasurable — even extremely so. But that’s where the similarities end.
Holy Sex: Don’t Settle for Substitutes!
While the Bible lists eroticism as a sin (cf. Mark 7:21-22), holy sex is celebrated in the Song of Songs and in Ephesians as the sign of the union between Christ and the Church. To illustrate the very real differences between the two, let’s look at a side-by-side comparison. Many of these differences are interconnected, but they are all important.
Pleasure Vs. Pleasure.
As I mentioned above, Holy Sex and Eroticism both feel good. But even this similarity is shallow. Holy Sex continues to become more vital and joyful with time while Eroticism actually dies in the presence of marital grace. People schooled in Eroticism often complain, “Sex was great before marriage, but after, everything just died.” By contrast, Holy Sex flourishes in the presence of grace and allows lovemaking to become more passionate and joyful as the years go by. We’ll see why in the following differences.
Holy Sex: Driven by Intimacy and Arousal
Eroticism: Driven by Arousal Only
Eroticism is all about “being in the mood” a.k.a., “arousal.” But arousal is a physiological state that is susceptible to exhaustion, stress, sickness, and even getting used to someone. A sex-life that is too dependent upon eroticism quickly becomes the first thing jettisoned when a couple gets too busy, tired, or familiar with each other. By contrast, Holy Sex is driven by both arousal and, primarily, intimacy. The couple practicing Holy Sex works hard to take care of each other’s needs all day long so that even when they aren’t physically “turned on” or are tired or stressed , they still crave the comfort of their best friend — their spouse -- who has found ways to be present (even if they are physically apart) all day long.