By L. Alfred James
In my last article we saw that the Bible makes it very clear that God thinks that sex was a great idea. After all, he invented it. And he commands married couples to engage in it regularly and enthusiastically (1 Corinthians 7:3-5, Proverbs 5:18-19). He also encourages us to celebrate married sexual love by including a passionate love poem that occupies one entire book of the Bible, the Song of Solomon.
Since God invented sex, he is clearly going to know how we can experience the most fulfilling sex lives. Indeed, he is the ultimate authority on how to find sexual satisfaction. This probably seems counterintuitive to anyone living in western culture. “Doesn’t God require us to keep sex restricted to marriage? You mean, we only get to have sex with one person for the rest of our lives? If that is the case, are we really going to be fulfilled?”
The Psychological Research Says, “Yes!”
If one believes the endless stream of steamy movies coming out of Hollywood, then the answer to that question seems like an obvious “No!” But if one believes the Bible, as we’ve seen, the answer is a resounding “Yes!” However, if one believes that decades of psychological research (conducted by several independent institutions) mean anything, then one finds that the answer is an even louder “Yes!”
Study after study confirms that married people who are committed Christians enjoy sex more, and they have it more often, than anyone else. For instance, a 2019 study based on 9,566 interviews in 11 countries concluded that religiosity was extremely important for sexual satisfaction: “When it comes to relationship quality in heterosexual relationships, highly religious couples enjoy higher-quality relationships and more sexual satisfaction, compared to less/mixed religious couples and secular couples.”1
Likewise, in 2008 a huge study on sexuality in America was conducted by the University of Chicago. The Daily Beast summarized this study’s findings with the provocatively titled article: “Why Are Christians Having Better Sex Than the Rest of Us?” One salient paragraph of that article reads:
The most comprehensive study of American sexual behavior ever undertaken (published by the University of Chicago and marketed under the notably non-arousing title The Social Organization of Sexuality) found that, in fact, “having a religious affiliation was associated with higher rates of orgasm for women.” The devout are actually having better sex than the rest of us.2
These findings are nothing new. In fact, it’s old hat by now. But somehow it always seems surprising. For instance, consider the reaction of USA Today to a 1994 study that came to an identical conclusion.
As you probably remember, in the 1990s an icon of popular culture was Dana Carvey’s “church lady,” on Saturday Night Live. The church lady was clearly a judgmental snob, a sexually uptight prude, and a seriously holier-than-thou. Using this imagery, USA Today reported on “the most comprehensive and methodologically sound sex survey ever conducted” at that time. The author, William Mattox, explains, “several major research studies show that church ladies (and the men who sleep with them) are among the most sexually satisfied people on the face of the earth.”3
Mattox doesn’t stop there. He goes on to point out that decades of research show a strong connection between sexual satisfaction and religiosity. He cites two studies in the 1990s (both by the University of Chicago). He also cites a Redbook survey of 100,000 women in the 1970s and a Stanford University study going way back to the 1940s. All of this research found the same thing: “higher levels of sexual satisfaction among women who attend religious services.”
If You Want Good Sex Then Obey God
The data is conclusive. The most enjoyable sex comes from following God’s plan: reserving it for marriage, a marriage between one man and one woman.
Why is this? There are many, many reasons. For now, just consider three:
- Secular Americans (and other westerners) expect too much of sex. They expect it to really make them happy. They pursue it so feverishly, it appears that they think it will bring them permanent fulfillment. This is hopelessly naïve. Informed Christians know otherwise. They know that the only real source of joy in this life is loving God and loving others. Sex is a powerful way to bond with one’s spouse, and it is extremely important and powerful. However, it can’t make you happy in itself. Christianity teaches us to have much more realistic expectations of sex.
- Christian commitment goes hand in hand with a commitment to marital fidelity. This increases the amount of confidence that both the husband and wife feel about the permanence of their relationship. And this sense of permanence takes the meaning of sex to a new level. In the context of a permanent relationship, the meaning of sex extends far beyond a mere orgasm or an infatuation with your spouse’s body. Sex becomes an expression of a love that is unconditional, a love that is not dependent on one’s physical appearance or one’s performance in bed. Unconditional love satisfies our souls in a way that mere physical pleasure never can.
- Obedient followers of Christ are not afflicted with any kind of internal tension about their sexual behavior. There is no sense of guilt. There is no internal tension. There is no losing respect for oneself. Instead, there is perfect freedom and inward harmony, a sense of peace that is simply priceless.
Because these findings have emerged time and time again, I’ve often wondered if a preacher could use this information to provoke his hearers to consider becoming Christians, especially if they are sex-infatuated westerners: “If you will sincerely begin a relationship with Christ, and trust him alone to save you, you will not only get eternity in the next life, but you’ll also experience the best sex you could ever find.” Wouldn’t that be a strange altar call?
Nonetheless, David French (reacting to the studies mentioned above) suggests something similar when he asks,
How many times, amid the celebrations of sexuality on college campuses, do you hear the speakers at the various “sex weeks” say something like, “If you really want to improve your odds of enjoying a sexually satisfying life with a faithful partner, you might want to check out church”?4
At most universities and colleges, this is something that you simply won’t ever hear. This is a crying shame. Eighty years of research makes it quite clear: Getting married, going to church, and living life as a faithful disciple of Jesus Christ is the number one way to improve your sex life.
1. Social Trends Institute, “World Family Map 2019.” Source: https://ifstudies.org/ifs-admin/resources/reports/worldfamilymap-2019-051819final.pdf
2. Tucker Carlson, “Why Are Christians Having Better Sex Than The Rest Of Us?” Daily Beast, November 25, 2008. Source: https://www.thedailybeast.com/why-are-christians-having-better-sex-than-the-rest-of-us
3. William Mattox, “Aha! Call It the Revenge of the Church Ladies” USA Today, February 11, 1999.
4. David French, “The Sexual Revolutionaries Got Sexual Satisfaction All Wrong,” National Review, May 22, 2019. Source: https://www.nationalreview.com/2019/05/the-sexual-revolutionaries-got-sexual-satisfaction-all-wrong/