Four Big Lies About Sex, Relationships, and Intimacy

Many of the best lies are almost true; they contain just enough truth to give them plausibility. Such a lie doesn’t arouse the same internal resistance that a blatant untruth might. It can slip into your mental maps and your daily life unannounced, dangerous as a trojan horse, ready to sabotage your future. And lies about sex, relationships, and intimacy can be especially dangerous.

You didn’t come to believe these lies intentionally. Each one of us has been sexually discipled in some way; how was that for you? What lies or distortions became embedded in your soul as a result?

You learned things about sex, relationships, and intimacy long before you knew you were learning anything of the sort. You saw things between your parents or caretakers that gave you a mental framework about this important part of our humanity; what were those messages? And you were certainly taught things in culture, and may have heard things in church. And a significant majority of people have learned about sex largely through pornography.

How well is what you’ve learned serving you today? What incomplete truths, distortions, or outright falsehoods have crept into your belief system? Here are some common lies about sex, relationships, and intimacy; which of these do you at least partially believe?

Sex isn’t a big deal; it’s just a biological function.

That’s the message much of popular culture wants you to believe. You might have tried to buy into that. Perhaps you’ve tried to believe that if you could only separate sex and sexuality from all the religious baggage, you’d be fine.

But how’s that working for you? Why does porn seem to have such a hold on you, yet you feel ashamed after watching it? What’s underneath the ongoing effects of the sexual trauma you experienced? Why do you always seem so empty and dissatisfied? Why does the sexual disconnect with your spouse hurt so much?

For human beings, sex/sexuality is about a whole lot more than a “simple biological function.” Behaviors matter. Sexual behaviors matter. But this is about something much deeper; it’s about matters of the heart. And you must address those matters of the heart if you are to ever find the wholeness, meaning, and satisfaction your heart truly longs for.

Or if you are ever to be truly sexually whole.

Sex is dirty and shameful. God hates sex.

Really? Then why was God’s first command to human beings basically, “Have a lot of sex!”? That’s what “Be fruitful and multiply” implies (Genesis 1:28). And the only book in the Bible devoted to a single subject is all about sex; Song of Solomon. The book is extremely explicit and erotic, and reading it you’d have to agree that it’s all portrayed as unadulterated goodness.

So where did this phenomenon of “shame and sex and God” come from? I would offer that it came directly from the kingdom of darkness, from Satan himself. And this lie comes with lots of corollaries:

  • I’ve messed up so many times, I might as well do it again.
  • Christians shouldn’t want or enjoy sex too much; it’s worldly and ungodly.
  • There are the “good” people and the “bad people, based on what you’ve done sexually.

The distortions around sex that the enemy has promulgated come down to intimacy gone wrong. Who hasn’t experienced some measure of stealing, killing, and destroying in this area? Just remember; God’s idea – and plan – is all good.

The goal of the Christian life is a happy sexually satisfying marriage and family.

Walk into most Christian churches on Sunday morning. Don’t listen to what’s said; just watch. And based on what you see around you, who is church for?

The common experiences of singles in church notwithstanding, this is a big lie. Was I a less-than-complete Christian before I got married in my forties? Have I slipped in status now that I’m single since my husband died? Are you somehow a second-class human being, or at least a second-class Christian, because you’re not wearing a wedding ring?

This lie often gets combined with other variations and can come out like this:

  • If you don’t have sex before marriage, God will bless you with a wonderful married sex life.
  • If married sex is not going well, it’s because you’re being punished for messing up sexually in the past.
  • If I’m married, I am entitled to sex from my spouse.

No. No. And No.

This view of the Christian life is a quite recent one; for most of church history the single Christian life was seen as the pinnacle of success spiritually. The goal of the Christian life is actually to become like Jesus (Romans 8:29). That can happen in any relationship status. Both married life and single life have big challenges. And they can both be good, very good.

To be a fulfilled human being you must have a satisfying sex life.

OK, this is probably the biggest and most insidious lie of all. It’s one that post-modern culture starts promulgating to even little kids. The church tries to sanctify this lie by implying you must get married (see previous section). But it really is a lie.

No wonder believing this lie creates so many problems. What if I don’t want to get married, or I want to but it never happens? Perhaps I’m sexually attracted to the same sex, and I want to follow Jesus as the Bible indicates in my sexuality. Or what if my marriage is not sexually satisfying?

And then there’s Jesus. He never got married, never had sex. And yet He was the most fully alive, whole, fulfilled human being ever to walk this earth. Would He have been more fully alive, happier, more whole, if He had gotten married or had sex? Of course not. But Jesus needed – and pursued – intimacy, both with His heavenly Father, and with a few human beings.

The truth is, you can live without sex, but you cannot live, or at least thrive, without intimacy.

Finding Truth

This is a really big topic. I invite you to come over to our brand new Sexpectations website, and check out a bunch of additional resources we have for you. We’ve got some free downloads, links to related articles and videos, and my new book Sexpectations!

Your Turn: Which of these lies about sex/sexuality have you believed? How has that affected you? I’d love to hear from you; leave a comment below.

Want More? On this week’s podcast episode I talk with Matthew and Joanna Raabsmith about the Intimacy Pyramid; it’s good stuff! Listen or watch here.

Tweetables: why not share this post?

  • The best lies have just enough truth to give them plausibility. But they’re still lies. Have you believed any of these lies about sex/sexuality?   Tweet that.

Do You Like a Party? 

My new book Sexpectations: Reframing Your Good and Not-So-Good Stories About God, Love, and Relationships comes out next week, February 13. And we’re having a party to celebrate!

Join me on YouTube LIVE at 8pm eastern/7pm central on Tuesday, February 13. During this LIVE virtual online book release party we’ll have:

  • Book giveaways!
  • Stories of people struggling with sexual stuff
  • Fun (and sobering?) facts about Christians, God, sex, love, and relationships
  • Brief reading from the book
  • Answering your questions

Mark your calendar. Set your alarm. And I’ll see you on the 13th!