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

Last Updated: August 11, 2015

Noah Filipiak

Noah Filipiak is a pastor and the author of Beyond the Battle: A Man's Guide to his Identity in Christ in an Oversexualized World (Zondervan)He also hosts The Flip Side Podcast. If you desire to be free from lust, porn, and fantasy, you can join Noah and his team in an online small group at Beyond the Battle, or get the leader guide to run your own group.

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)

  • Comments on: Our Culture’s Shattered Dream: The Best of Both Worlds When It Comes to Sex
    1. F.S. Smith on

      When I was young, I believed this way. Went to bible classes, Christian school, and even taught Sunday school. I was the sweet, kind guy that actually cared about women. Never even thought about sex really. Wanted love. Got walked all over. Taken advantage of. Learned that your odds of getting married increased with your wealth. Learned that women may say they want this nonsense written about in this article, but really they are just sizing you up relative to the dream life they have in their heads. Grew older. Seen man after man lose everything in divorce. Seen woman after woman cheating in secrecy. Now, I have long enough to see women using sex at ever turn to advance themselves and yet, we still stick to the same old tired paradigm that it is all the man’s fault. All of this is nonsense. Give me a huge bank account and I will be married withing six months and will get chance after chance no matter what I do. But you know what is funny? Men are seeing what I have and that is why they are dropping out of society. Feminism really has won. Bravo. Bravo. America will literally fall within 50 years because of it. I am sure of it. If you need me to, I can give you example after example of how this will occur. Bravo ladies. Bravo. You are going to get exactly what you want.

      Reply
      • Noah Filipiak on

        Hi F.S., I think you’re making a pretty big jump from what my article espouses which is to see (in our case as men) women as whole people and not as objects. The message obviously goes both ways, women need to see men as whole people as well and not as objects or as people to be taken advantage of for a move up the ladder. You have been burned by sin (I’m referring to the sin a woman or women have inflicted on you), but it’s important to remember even as painful as that is, that we can’t use how we’ve been burned by sin to be jaded against all of humanity and all of life. For one, not all women are like the women you describe, just as all men are not the same. It’s unfair to clump them altogether that way.

        You mentioned

        I have long enough to see women using sex at ever turn to advance themselves and yet, we still stick to the same old tired paradigm that it is all the man’s fault.

        Now, I have long enough to see women using sex at ever turn to advance themselves and yet, we still stick to the same old tired paradigm that it is all the man’s fault.”

        I don’t think it’s helpful to try to boil down who’s fault it is and who’s it isn’t. It is everyone’s fault as we are all sinners and have all contributed to how our culture currently is. When we try to blame one group of people, it comes of as self-righteous, as if we also haven’t done our part. Instead of two sides blaming the other, meaning no one is taking responsibility, both sides should be confessing their OWN sin before our holy but merciful Savior, repenting of our sins, and seeking to be made whole and to live in the way of Jesus, bringing redemption to our society. If men and women both do this, we can show this world the light of Jesus, which is what it really needs to be saved, rather than an anti-woman or an anti-man message, neither of which is going to save anyone.

        I’m sad you took an “anti-woman” or “anti-man” message away from my article as it’s intent was to fully be “pro-person”, as that is what God is! I will genuinely be praying for you F.S., as I know Jesus can heal any hurt you’ve endured. Blessings to you and thank you for commenting, -Noah (article author)

    2. Porn is not the Problem. on

      The modern feminist movement has created a situation where men are checking out of society. Men are giving up on women, retreating to porn, not wanting to marry, being consumed by video games, using drugs, not working and a litany of other things. Evidence of this can be seen in male suicide rates, employment rates, college entrance rates, divorce rates, porn usage rates, video game playing rates, marriage rates, and just by observation. Throw in the rampant obesity in America and that just compounds the matter.

      Men are damned if they do and damned if they don’t: ridiculed as basement-dwellers for avoiding aggressive, demanding women with unrealistic expectations, or called rapists and misogynists merely for expressing sexual interest. Men are portrayed as morons on TV and in the media. Look at every sitcom. There is always the idiot male being told what to do by the all knowing female. Amazing how men built empires and provided comfort and safety for women, but somehow in the past 10 years we have apparently become stupid and useless. Women think they can do it all. I sometimes wish there was a war so they could see just how wrong thy are about things because right now, especially in America, women are living an illusion. But that is what feminism sold them —- an illusion.

      Here is an excerpt from an interview I had on this subject: “Marriage is dead. Divorce means you’re screwed for life. Women have given up on monogamy, which makes them uninteresting to us for any serious relationship or raising a family. That’s just the way it is. Even if we take the risk, chances are the kids won’t be ours. In some instances, we even have to pay for the kids a wife has through adulterous affairs. In school, boys are screwed over time and again. Schools are engineered for women. In the US, they force-feed boys Ritalin like Skittles to shut them up and are getting rid of things such as recess because a person may get hurt. Recess is being replaced by passive pro-women type of activities. And while girls are favored to fulfill quotas, men are slipping into distant second place. Nobody in my generation believes they’re going to get a meaningful retirement. We have a third or a quarter of the wealth previous generations had, and everyone’s fleeing to higher education to stave off unemployment and poverty because there are no jobs. All that wouldn’t be so bad if we could at least dull the pain with girls. But we’re treated like pedophiles and potential rapists just for showing interest. Even with that it isn’t fair. We literally see women look a decade older than they are and they are taking off their clothes every chance we get and yet someone we are still to blame for what is going on. The general translation is that a woman is never held responsible for her actions and a man is always the problem in society. My generation is the beautiful one (referring to a 1960s experiment on mice that supposedly predicted a grim future for the human race).”

      Women today are schooled in victimhood, taught to be aggressively vulnerable and convinced that the slightest of perceived infractions, approaches or clumsy misunderstandings represents “assault,” “abuse” or “harassment.” You see this everywhere. From the confines of a college campus, where men can have their academic careers destroyed on the mere say-so of a female student to the constant articles written in magazines where women are always portrayed as victims. Even Covenant Eyes does this. Consciously or unconsciously — the message is clear. Men are bad. Women are innocent fragile creatures and always the victim.

      Porn is just a symptom of a much larger issue. The real issue is feminism and the disastrous effects it has had in the last 20 years. It morphed from a noble idea 40 or 50 years ago to something so toxic that it is destroying the very fabric of society from in the womb to how families are constructed. It honesty really has nothing to do with God or wanting to go against God. It has nothing to do with marriage. It has nothing to do with porn. It is all about modern feminism and what it has done to America. You can’t even say that in today’s culture. But I just did and it needed to be said.

      Reply
      • Kay Bruner on

        Whatever the roots of the problem, the solution lies not in blame but in personal responsibility. Blaming feminism, society, women, etc., is never going to solve the problem. Taking responsibility for personal choices–that’s where the answer lies. We can’t make other people think or behave the way we want. We are only responsible for ourselves. I don’t think any of us will roll up in heaven and find God saying, “Oh, the problem was feminism! No problem! Free pass!”

      • Noah Filipiak on

        Hi P.I.N.T.P., I think it’d be helpful for you to read the comment reply I wrote to F.S. above your comment as most of it relates to your post as well. I feel like both you and F.S. have such a chip on your shoulder against feminism that you are looking for places to rail against it. My article was not about feminism, I’m actually pretty surprised (and sad) that you both found it to be a place to go off against women / feminism. There are a lot of feminism websites out there, it seems those would be better places for the sort of conversation you are looking for.

        I don’t know you, and so it makes this type of conversation very limited. Are you a follower of Jesus? Do you hold the Bible as God’s word? If you don’t, that’s where we’d need to start, as the things I’m espousing fall into line with God’s design for sex within the Bible.

        I would agree that feminism or an “anti-man” message is wrong as well as unbiblical, just as I would agree that an “anti-woman” message (masculinism, if that’s a word) is also wrong and is unbiblical. You and F.S. have both created this either/or mindset that is really unnecessary and unhelpful, like these are the only two frame of minds available to choose from.

        God is anti-sin and is pro-person. He is against any sin that degrades and dehumanizes a person. An ‘anti-man’ form of feminism would fall into this, lust falls into this which is what my blog post was about, as does your ‘anti-woman’ view of masculinism.

        My blog post was mainly about how God did not design us to live as animals sexually. Are you arguing that it’s okay that we should live as animals? If so, just come out and say it. It’s not like you’d be in the minority. You, the very popular Adam Levine, and many others would form the cultural majority here–if that’s what you’re arguing for.

        I’m arguing that Christians need to reject this and uphold the humanity of the opposite sex, whether that’s man to woman or woman to man. I agree that the types of examples you and F.S. give are sinful examples of women dehumanizing men, but the way you both clump all women into this stereotype is also a sinful dehumanization, as well as an escapist rationalization to (if this is what you’re saying) live however you want sexually by blaming rather than owning up…as in, you’ve been hurt so you are now allowed to hurt others. Or that this stereotype of “all women” has hurt you, so you can hurt back, as well as blame.

        Adam blamed the woman, remember? And it didn’t turn out so good.
        And Eve blamed the serpent (Satan). That didn’t turn out so good either!
        We all, men and women, need to stop blaming and step up and face our personal sin for what it is, as that is what we will be held accountable for before a holy God. There’s no shame in facing it, as Jesus died for it! Which I praise him for, and I hope you do to. If we never face it, how can we confess it and be forgiven for it? I will also be praying for you, as I will be for F.S.

    3. Cammy on

      Wow! It sounds like someone was badly burned by women. But suppose you had been married to me? I tried to be the epitamy of the sweet, loving wife. And in following the Bible, I was always completely faithful & committed to my husband in mind, body, heart & soul. I even followed the Bible in always looking to my husband as the head of the household. I was happy to have him be the leader in our family. I always tried to look as beautiful as I could for my husband. I never dressed immodestly in front of other men, and I never flirted like I have seen other women do. I want us to have the best marriage possible. I did just about all the household chores & allowed him to rest after a hard day’s work, even though I worked also. I did most everything for the children as well. I felt as though I was doing these things not out of responsibility but out of deeply, committed love for my husband. I wanted the Lord to know that I was willing to make sacifices for the man I loved. The one thing that I expected in return was true love. I wanted true, faithful love with a husband who makes the sacrifice in marriage of only having eyes for me. If that is not something that men can do naturally, then I expected that my husband would work hard to be sure he was able to give me at least that one sacrifice out of love, since I had made so many sacrifices for him. But…No…it wasn’t meant to be. My husband decided that he wanted toe best of both worlds. He wanted to be able to love me in his own way. But, he also wanted to be able to lust after every good looking woman who passed his way. He wanted to be able to have his sexual gratification with lust over other women, whenever he chose to. And somehow, he thought he could keep me blindfolded, so I would not see what he was doing. But, I did see. I saw his lust over other women nearly everyday. And my heart broke, nearly everyday. When I would try talking to him to make him see the light, he would tell me that I was crazy, and delusional. This is what all my sacrifices for my husband brought me. Sadness & despair became my way of life. Nothing I did or said made him change his way of thinking or his methods of lusting. I can truly say that I gave my husband the kind of wife described in the Bible…I really did my best to be that wife. I’m not perfect; I am human, so I make mistakes. But I can say in all honesty that the one thing I never faltered with was my complete faithfulness to my husband in mind, body, heart and soul. So to read your post above, makes me feel as though I am being blamed for the things that my husband did behind my back, & then lied about to me about them. I don’t think that I belong in that “all women” category, & I know enough women like me to know that there are others of us out there. I truly wish that my husband had loved me the way that I loved him. Is it really so much to ask? Is it really that impossible for men to do? Can men truly love one woman & not have their cake & eat it too. If it’s possible for me to be as committed as I was, then I don’t see why a man can’t work at true love & committment also. If that is what a man really wants, I think he is capable of succeeding. But do men really want compete fidelity? Or do they always want to have their cake and eat it too. And then, the good women get blamed…right along with all the immoral people, like in the article above. Sad…sad days we live in. I will never be happy again. I took a marriage vow, that entailed a deep promise of committment. My husband, on the otherhand, laughed off a vow that he had no intention in keeping, and forever broke the heart of the most faithful woman, who loved him with a love so true…so real.

      Reply
      • Kay Bruner on

        Hey Cammy, whenever I see people blaming others, it indicates to me that they feel a great deal of shame themselves. They don’t know how to get rid of that shame so they throw blame around at everyone else. It can’t be their own choices that led them astray; there must be someone else to blame. Thank you for speaking up about your own choices to be faithful and honest. The sad thing is, as you found, we really can’t control other people, no matter how “right” we do things. It’s heart-breaking to put everything into a relationship, only to have that gift dishonored. I’m so sorry that happened to you, and I’m really glad you spoke up here. You are not to blame. That shame does not belong to you.

        I also want to say that I think you CAN heal, you CAN be well again. Find a therapist who is safe and healthy, and process through all that pain. Blessings, Kay

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