Culture

Is sex a “basic need” in life?

Mark Lee // August 27, 2018, 6:05 pm

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I picked up a fascinating but quite troubling premise in Rice Media’s article on the Truelove.is movement.

By all means read the entire article if you wish – one troubling premise unmaketh an article not – but my hope here is that you ponder for yourself the implications that follow should you believe in said premise.

This is her premise, a little past the half-way mark of the article: “I struggle with empathising, because I cannot imagine a life where I must deny the most basic needs of my well-being.”

Preceding this was a quote by a speaker from the event she covered: “In my journey with SSA, the turning point was not the Bible passages telling me not to do this and that. They were important, but I saw the beauty of God’s design. God has made marriage to be good and pure, and I understood why a man and woman fit together. Then I naturally deduced for myself not to act upon my SSA desires.”

I have to wonder why she defined acting on sexual desires as one of the most basic needs of (her) well-being. That’s a very strong claim to make – one with dangerous implications if true.

“I struggle with empathising, because I cannot imagine a life where I must deny the most basic needs of my well-being.”

I have to wonder why she defined acting on sexual desires as one of the most basic needs of (her) well-being. That’s a very strong claim to make – one with dangerous implications if true.

Even if she is not making a universal claim, and she is just talking about acting on sexual desires as a most basic need for herself, then I hope she hears the good news soon: For all the power and intimacy that acting on sexual desires brings about, doing so is not a “most basic” need.

I will lay out why I think this is so.

Since Ms. Yeoh says she has a Christian background, and implies that she is a Christian several times across the article, I will first approach this from Christian principles.

If what Ms. Yeoh says about acting on sexual desires being a most basic need is correct, then we’d all have to look at Jesus’ life as an incomplete one.

Jesus is regarded as having been the perfect man – but He didn’t have sex.

By Ms. Yeoh’s logic, one would look at Jesus’ life and say, “Sorry, your life was good, but I think you really didn’t model all that the good life could be about because you didn’t have sex.”

And what about what the apostle Paul says? That it’s better not to be married than to be married?

In the context he was speaking about, that meant no sex! To a non-Christian this might sound nuts – even Christians are challenged (how can no sex be better than sex?) – but if you consider the context, Paul actually makes a very good case for why it’s better not to be married, than to be married.

There are a lot more layers that could be delved into, as to why proper Christian theology would make a good case that acting on sexual desires is not a basic need, but I think these two examples serve to highlight the point for now.
 

But even if you don’t approach this from a religious perspective, it is incorrect to think that acting on sexual desires is a basic need.

If indeed you believe that acting on sexual desires is a basic need, then let me ask you: What does that say about the lives of those who are born with physical deformities and are unable to have sex?

Or how about those who feel no sexual attraction or feelings? Or those who have sworn to live a life of celibacy? Are all those fringe examples?

Well, how about when you get old and don’t want to have sex? Or if you have erectile dysfunction? Or if you can’t orgasm? Or if sex makes you uncomfortable or causes you pain?

Or, or, or … the list goes on, doesn’t it?

If indeed you believe that acting on sexual desires is a basic need, then let me ask you: What does that say about the lives of those who are born with physical deformities and are unable to have sex?

It is an extremely dangerous idea to believe that acting on sexual desires is a basic need. The implications of that, again from a completely unreligious viewpoint, are very clear: People who don’t act on their sexual desires are somehow not fulfilling a basic need in their lives. In essence, their lives are rendered somehow incomplete.

This sex-crazed world and its sex-crazed media has been and will keep trying to sell us the false belief that life is incomplete if you do not act on your sexual desires.

Don’t be blinded anymore. Wake up.

I know it can feel sucky to not have sex. I feel like since the age of 16 I’ve wanted to have sex! The sexual attraction that comes with infatuation and love, lust, right down to the start-a-family “real sex” kind of sex … I’ve wanted all of it.

I’m 25 now. And a lot of those desires have only intensified. And I still haven’t had sex. But does this mean that me or my friends or any others who haven’t had sex (and maybe never will) are not having a basic need in our lives met?

A soul that thirsts and hungers and claws and gnaws for that next shred of sexual connection … that used to be my reward for “fulfilling that most basic need”.

The whole world seeks to seduce us to yes over and over again to that question – but I’ll need more convincing than that.

You see, I’ve lived the lie, but no more. It’s been about 30 days now since I’ve been free from porn, masturbation and orgasms. That’s a lifetime of staying away from those things in my journey.

A soul that thirsts and hungers and claws and gnaws for that next shred of sexual connection … that used to be my reward for “fulfilling that most basic need”.

I’m no saint. I still feel urges and desires and I still struggle not to act on them. But is my life any less, now that I’ve said no to these things?

More, I say. My life has become infinitely more. Because in the freedom to choose, I can look at my friends, my family, the man or woman on the street in the eye, and sincerely speak of a life where I see you and I for who we really are: Someone who does indeed experience sexual desires (or not), but whose life can be totally fulfilled even if said desires are not acted upon.

Dear friends, you and I have been made for greater things than sex, sexual desires and sexiness. I’m on a journey now to discover what those greater things are. It isn’t always the smoothest or most comfortable journey, but it sure is a most a fulfilling one – like Maslow-pyramid-top-level fulfilling!

Join me! We can walk this path together.


This article was first published on Mark’s blog and is republished with permission.