Our Culture’s Shattered Dream: The Best of Both Worlds When It Comes to Sex

Food that is delicious, but also healthy.

A house that is large, but inexpensive.

Living in Michigan in the summer, but Florida in the winter!

It is safe to say that we love the best of both worlds. It’s no wonder this is our aim when it comes to sex. The “best of both worlds” concept offers you all the pros without any of the cons—all of the reward without any of the sacrifice.

The Bible describes sex as only being designed to occur within the lifetime covenant of marriage. It says it is one whole person joining with another whole person to become “one flesh” (Genesis 2:24, 1 Corinthians 6:16). Trust, loyalty, commitment, security and companionship. Love.

Meanwhile, our culture tells us sex is only biological and when we’re hungry for it, to go for it (just like the Corinthian culture said in 1 Corinthians 6:13). If it feels good, do it. Pleasure.

The best of both worlds when it comes to sex

Really, Adam Levine?

I was amused by the Billboard charts’ “Top 5” songs earlier this year. On one hand, you had Ed Sheeran’s “Thinking Out Loud,” with such lyrics as:

When your legs don’t work like they used to before…
And I can’t sweep you off of your feet…
And, darling, I will be loving you ’til we’re 70…
When my hair’s all but gone and my memory fades, And the crowds don’t remember my name…
I know you will still love me the same.

We swoon. We crank up the radio. We sing along. This is one-flesh stuff. Most all of us want someone who will love us unconditionally, who will be committed to us, and who will be there for us through the ups and downs of the entirety of life.

The song ends and the next thing we hear on our radio station is the catchy beat of Maroon 5’s hit song “Animals,” another Billboard top 5 song of 2015. Our head starts bobbing and our feet start tapping. Adam Levine’s voice comes in:

Baby I’m preying on you tonight,
Hunt you down eat you alive,
Just like animals…
we get along when I’m inside you…
I get so high when I’m inside you…
I can still hear you making that sound…
Taking me down rolling on the ground…
don’t deny the animal,
That comes alive when I’m inside you…
Maybe you think that you can hide, I can smell your scent for miles.
Just like animals…
You can’t deny,
The beast inside

No I didn’t pull this off some X-rated website, this is being played on every pop station across our country over and over again, and it’s likely your preteen kids have it memorized.

What kind of reaction ought we have to this predatory, rape-like, pornographic singing? We obviously ought to click off the radio, but additionally, we should be very concerned for the way lead singer Adam Levine constructs sex in his mind. Have you ever seen two animals having sex? This is the sex Adam Levine is having with women and is fantasizing about when he’s not able to be in the act. Selfish, consuming, devouring, loveless animal sex.

Is this the type of guy you want your daughter bringing home as her date?

Yet instead of rejecting Levine as a terrible influence and recommending him for some serious psychological help to untwist his warped, stalker-like mind, we celebrate him! We buy enough of his albums to keep he and his band perpetually at the top of the Billboard charts, we adore him as a host of the popular NBC show The Voice, and most ironic of all, we make him People Magazine’s “Sexiest Man Alive” for 2013.

What a sad state our culture is in when “sexiest” is equivalent to selfish, careless, tree humping (i.e. your dog).

The arrogance of our culture is astronomical: Oh God, sure we want a stable family with kids and a spouse that is faithful to us, but prior to tying the knot we’ll have sex with whoever we want, whenever we want, however we want. And before and after marriage, we’ll inundate ourselves with endless pornographic images and “Animals” song lyrics.

Adam Levine is certainly not the only culprit in this pornographic hypocrisy that so many have bought into. Every February, the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Edition hits grocery store shelves and rakes in millions upon millions,* the Fifty Shades of Grey book and movie are cultural sensations, and pornography and strip clubs are seen as normal and healthy rite of passages for most young men.

Yes God, we want the rewards of your design for sex without having to make any of the sacrifices for it.

You Train for what You Become

The fact is, you train for what you become. What do you think an Olympic gymnast trains for their entire lives, almost every hour of every day? They train for gymnastics! They practice flips and balance beams and stretching, not jump shots, dribbling and free throws. They are not training to play basketball every single day then showing up to the Olympic trials to vie for a spot in on the gymnastics squad.

You become what you train to become. We understand this when it comes to sports, but totally miss the boat when it comes to sex.

If you train to be a people-consuming, selfish monster, that’s what you become.

If you train to become a selfless, Christ-centered, sacrificial, loving spouse, that’s what you become.

I don’t throw the “monster” word out condemningly or judgmentally. I know the word because it has sadly described me after adolescence and college years addicted to Internet pornography.

It’s scary when you start to realize how pornography has shaped your brain. How it has shaped you to view sex and the opposite gender. To see them as objects meant to be consumed for your pleasure, like they are pieces of meat. We throw stones at rapists while rationalizing our lust. Meanwhile, they are growing from the same root, a root our culture tends and waters with expert care.

God designed sex to be within the lifetime commitment of marriage for a reason. Sex has so much potential to harm and to scar, it’s only with the support and security of marriage that it’s able to unify and express selfless love the way it’s intended to.

It’s time we stop the charade of wanting to love and be loved when we’re 70, while longing for and acting out animal sex in our day to day lives.

You don’t get the best of both worlds; you get one or the other.

The body is either meant for sexual immorality or for the Lord; it can’t be both (1 Corinthians 6:13). You don’t become “one flesh” with someone and then carelessly discard him or her; that breaks the very definition of what “one flesh” is. It’s no wonder our sex lives are so empty and broken. We’ve been following Adam Levine but expecting God’s rewards.

Joshua didn’t pull any punches when he confronted the Israelites in their idolatry. It’s time we recognize our sexual idols for what they are and be honest with whose path we are going to follow. The only ones who believe they can have the best of both worlds are the ones who believe in lying to themselves. If you don’t like God’s path, don’t expect his faithfulness. As Joshua once said:

But if serving the LORD seems undesirable to you, then choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your ancestors served beyond the Euphrates, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you are living. But as for me and my household, we will serve the LORD.” (Joshua 24:15) 

Whether married or single, pray and ask God to reconfigure the way you view the opposite sex. Not as animals or objects for your pleasure, but as whole people created in God’s image who are only meant to experience sex within the security of a sacrificial marriage covenant.

* The Swimsuit Edition accounts for 11% of SI’s annual revenue and is the single best-selling issue in Time Inc.’s magazine franchise. (www.nydailynews.com, www.businessinsider.com)