Today our “Wired for Love” series covers the topics of promiscuity, pornography, and other sexual sin. Pastor Miles explained that we are speaking of these issues because they exist in the church. (As a statistic, one of every two men and one of every six women view pornography.)
While all sin is wrong and leads to death, different sins have different consequences, some bigger than others. The Bible also teaches, however, that sexual sin is the worst kind of sin because it is uniting Christ (which is united with the body of the believer) with another person in a perverted way (1 Corinthians 6:15-20).
The world will tell you that sex outside of marriage is acceptable and desirable, but 1 Corinthians 6:18 tells us to flee sexual immorality. Though there are “safe sex” practices to protect oneself physically, there really is no safe sex outside of marriage because there is no protection for the emotional, mental, or spiritual components of your being…and as we learn in today’s message, sex is a whole lot more than physical pleasure.
1. Our brains were designed to be “wired to love” one partner.
You were created to be intimate and be bonded to one person.
One example of the physical evidence for this is that women have high levels of oxytocin, the bonding hormone (which is the hormone that kicks in to help a new mother bond with her baby). But during sex, the man’s oxytocin also increases so that he is able to bond with his spouse. Where the world focuses solely on pleasure, it misses out on God’s intention for committed bonding and connected hearts.
When you are in a committed marriage relationship, the right hemisphere of the brain fires pleasure neurons during sex, while the left brain stores the experience and facts about the spouse. These two hemispheres firing together create a physical imprint on the brain. Over time, memories of these nurturing moments are stored in the brain so that the brain is able to recognize, know, and anticipate a spouse. There is safety and bonding in the marriage commitment, and intimate sex is part of that expression.
2. A brain wired for multiple partners will enslave you and lead to self-destruction.
- A pattern to resist impulses to engage in acts of sex.
- Frequently engaging in those behaviors to a greater extent or over a longer period of time than intended.
- Persistent desire or unsuccessful efforts to control those behaviors.
- Inordinate amount of time spent in obtaining sex, being sexual, or recovering from a sexual experience.
- Preoccupation with the behavior or preparatory activities.
- Frequently engaging in sexual behavior when expected to fulfill occupational, academic, domestic, or social obligations.
- Need to increase the intensity, frequency, number, or risk of behaviors to achieve the desired effect.
- Giving up or limiting social, occupational, or recreational activities because of the behavior.
- Resorting to distress, anxiety, restlessness, or violence if unable
When you practice sexual intimacy outside of a committed marriage relationship, undesirable things happen within the brain. If you begin living in a way contrary to God, you become a slave to that a pattern of living and it brings death into your life. (See John 8:34, Romans 6:23.) In the context of sexual sin, this can be taking multiple partners over time, adultery, promiscuity, or even watching other people via pornography. Or maybe you believe that sex is just for fun and pleasure and you will never commit to anyone.
In these cases, your brain neurons recognize that the sexual partner is different and the brain floods the body with stress hormones because you are doing something that is contrary to the memories of your brain. You are telling your brain, “Do not bond with this person.” The brain becomes confused with all the contradicting information, so it rewires itself. New neuro-biological connections are made to understand that sex is about pleasure, not bonding. In this process, you are eroding the biological brain foundation of how good relationships are built. (And remember, the devil has one desire – to destroy you and your ability to connect with God and others.)
Now say you eventually find someone you really like and with whom you want to bond, but that is not what has been established in your brain. You have missed the whole point of sex, and now you wonder why you can’t bond. Eventually, when the excitement of sex goes away, the relationship dies.
Even if you don’t want to believe the authority of the Bible, all you have to do is look around at people who are living this way and look for signs of death their lives: disease, drama, breakup after breakup, bad relationship after bad relationship, bad reputations, destruction of emotional and spiritual well-being, unwanted pregnancies, abortion, etc. In contrast, if you and your spouse do things God’s way, you will never have a sexual disease or an unwanted pregnancy. You are safe to be vulnerable and intimate because you are committed and bonded to one another for life. The drama is eliminated.
Is this just an old-fashioned point of view? Yes, eternally old-fashioned! And it works.
3. A brain can be rewired through submission to God. Romans 12:1-2
If you have faltered in this area, don’t despair just yet.
Romans 12 tells us that we can be transformed by the renewing of our minds. God is able to renew your brain, enable you to think His thoughts, desire His desires, and have pure intentions. You can:
- Find the friendship of a trustworthy person – someone who can understand and encourage you in your journey.
- Join a healthy support group that focuses on discovering yourself, healthy sexuality and relationships – make sure the leader is well-trained and has overcome their own struggles and issues.
- Join a weekend intensive retreat – counseling in a group setting over a weekend, much more affordable than individual counseling.
- Find a marriage and family therapist intern at a counseling training facility who can do low-cost counseling.
- Find a lay counselor who has been well-trained to support you through the journey.
You have a choice today, if you are single (for your future) or currently married:
Surrender to God your relationship with your spouse. Ask God to purify your thoughts and habits so that you may both bond and be one with each other.
Choose to do your own thing, regardless of the consequences.
Just remember that if you honor God, He will honor you. If you are more than a youth and still a virgin waiting for the right spouse, don’t dismay. God will honor you even if you don’t get married. Don’t scar your heart and mind by settling for less than His perfect will.
As Jesus was being tempted in the desert, Satan urged him to use His power to perform a miracle and feed himself to fulfill his human need (hunger). The devil wants us to use whatever we have to get whatever we want, but that isn’t God’s way. As Jesus reminds us, we are able to crucify our own fleshly desires to submit to God’s will: But He answered and said, “It is written, ‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.’” Matthew 4:4