Studying to be a therapist is infinitely more difficult than actually being a therapist. When you are a student therapist you can never afford to be speechless, you always have to look like you know the answers. Once you are a therapist you can be honest and just admit that most of the time you do not have a clue. I remember once being speechless as a student therapist, when a client began talking about his sex life. I was a trained, rehearsed, and ambitious 25 year man old but I was still a pre-teen boy when it came to talking about sex. In order to overcome my shyness about sex talk, I decided to do an oral presentation on the most uncomfortable sexual disorder that I could find, female orgasmic disorder. I had to use every female anatomy word that exists in that presentation. And I had to express those words to a very intellectual, largely female group of students as well as my critical professor. I sweated, choked, and stammered my way through that presentation and still could not understand what made it all so hard. With all the ideas and liberal expression of sex in western society, how is it possible to still be uncomfortable with sex. The discomfort stems from the fact that our western society is undersexed. Western society seems to have confused the overexposure to sexual fantasy as synonymous with overexposure to sex. In truth western society is underexposed to sex and less comfortable with the simple reality of sex than the Bible advises anyone to be. Western culture has abandoned Judeo-Christian roots and developed its own philosophy for dealing with sex.
One part of that philosophy is that the culture deals with the discomfort about sex by developing sexual fantasy instead dealing with reality. The culture pulls relationship, vulnerability, commitment, and risk out of sex and replaces it with a lie, a fantasy of complete self-gratification.
Proverbs 12:11 tells readers that "... he who chases fantasies lacks judgment." It seems that the entire advertising world counts on the population lacking judgment. Everything from airbrushes to implants are used to create a fantasy and arouse sexual desire, and then link that desire to whatever product is being sold. The hope is that the population will pursue the product as much as we would pursue sexual fantasy. Sex in advertising is very popular and very successful. A by-product of this popularity and success is that the population has developed a hunger for sexual fantasy. The great thing about fantasies, from the advertisers perspective, is that they can never be satisfied, so the population searches harder and harder for the next fantasy and the sellers are always willing to provide. The fantasies are not providing sexual gratification or even an avenue for sexual gratification they are actually diverting the population away from sex and toward unattainable fantasy.
A brilliant authour once said:
I have come to believe that dreams are a lie, more than that they are a ploy, a ploy to keep us from improving the reality that lay before us and instead having us set our hearts on a fantasy that could never exist in the world where we live. In dreaming, we turn our attention from the bounty and opportunity that God lays before us and we direct it at an alter reality where we are selfish and happy, as if the two could ever coexist.
This Kosloski guy knows what he is talking about. This quote is noteworthy, when we place it against the backlight of a world where communication has never been so easy but still the most lucrative industries are entertainment focused. We do not use our communication to draw close to one another instead we go to great lengths to escape our friends, our colleagues, our marriages, our communities. We pay money for devices and monthly charges so we can have access to entertainment and distraction everywhere we go. People do not often go to such lengths to take a humble look at what we have and try to make it better. Distraction and fantasies inevitably become a point of weakness, a foothold for evil influence, distracting people from positive gain and focusing people on meaningless ‘smoke,’ as wise King Solomon might say.
Solomon was a very wise and a very sexual man. He dedicated an entire book of the Bible to his passion for his love. Solomon embraced sex not only as a part of his humanity but as a part of his spirituality. In Songs of Solomon, Solomon is not chasing sexual fantasies he is slowing swimming in loving sex and sexual desire. And Solomon does all of this and writes about it while living in a staunch religious culture.
Flash to modern culture where, in theory, anything goes, and still the simple reality of sex is not a topic being discussed. Instead the hunt for sex is a more popular topic. The hunt is one where we are supposed pursue a mate who is overly attractive and charming and perfect. The hunt becomes a fantasy of conquest over perfection but the fantasy does not include what the sex is actually like, good, bad, satisfying, frequent? Only the hunt and the capture are highlighted. In the fantasy of the hunt the emotional consequences of the predator prey mentality are misrepresented or even ignored. Instead the fantasy is maintained at the expense of the human reality of sex. When people run into the awkwardness of emotionality they simply hunt after the next sexual conquest.
This hunt for sexual fantasy is the greatest evidence for the theory that the culture is undersexed. Instead of a society undersexed, imagine that we live in a society that is underfed. We would likely think a lot about food, fantasize about it even. When we wanted to get someone’s attention we would probably offer them food, when we wanted someone to serve us we would probably give them just enough food to have them stay hungry and wanting. When we flashed a picture of food to a hungry culture everyone would take notice. If you promised food everyone would follow you even if you never actually offered it. If you did offer it you could offer unfulfilling food and would not matter. Now replace the word food with the word sex and that is exactly what this modern western world is like.
Still the common Christian response has been that the society is oversexed and that it is imperative that the focus on sex be minimized. The focus instead needs to shift from sexual fantasy to sexual reality.
Bible has plenty of focus on sexual realities and presents sex as a part of God’s plan for marriages. It is tradition. When I researched this paper I looked up which Jewish holidays required abstinence, Yom Kippur or the Passover. I discovered that it is not the Passover. In fact, I read in one article that stated that sex on the Passover is viewed as good, celebratory and fulfilling God’s intentions for sex. It’s during Yom Kippur that God asks his people to “deny yourself.” (Leviticus 23:32 NIV) In another passage Paul instructs couples; “Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry, and do not give the devil a foothold.” (Ephesians 4:26-27 NIV) It is interesting that this quote gives a picture of the night falling, perhaps a bit romantic as the sun sets beautifully in the horizon. It is almost as if Paul is saying, work it out, have some make up sex, give in to each other and so that you do not give in to the preoccupation with fantasies. Do not let yourself be led away from God’s intentions of healthy sex and healthy relationships.
The Biblical reality of sex is not just to have sex with your spouse, but to have sex with your spouse frequently. As already mentioned, in Leviticus God tells the His people that on the day of Atonement you should, “deny yourselves.” In modern language this is like God saying, “take a night off.” Implicit in the message is that most other nights, you and the spouse are getting busy. In 2 Samuel 11:11 Uriah is being asked by the great King David to take a breather and sleep at home for a night and Uriah replies; “My lord’s men are camped in the open fields. How can I go to my house eat drink and lie with my wife.” Uriah is talking about sexual escapades with his King. This is comparable to you or I winning a trip to the White House and when Obama asks what you are going to do while in Washington you reply; ``Go out to dinner have a few drinks, shag my wife and get a good night’s sleep.” It seems that God’s people are so well sexed that sex itself is an open topic, even with their King.
The whole idea of an undersexed world living under the notion that it is oversexed fell upon me one night when I was talking with a friend of mine. I made a slight joke about not being completely sexually satisfied in my marriage. My friend told me that on the whole married men have considerably more sex than unmarried men. As a married man myself I could not help but think… 'How pathetic. You mean I am among the group of men having the most sex. We are in bad shape.’ This friend I have is really smart so I had to believe him. But I think that before that moment I was wearing the idea that I lived in a sex filled society where sexual satisfaction was the norm. I mistook the propagation of fantasy in western society as evidence to the overwhelming amount sex that was occurring in western society. Yet it is more rational to believe that fantasy only diverts people from relationship and from sex. It is the Bible that has more sex than our millennium ears can handle. There is enough evidence to say that we live in an undersexed culture but there is enough Judeo-Christian teachings to change that.