Sex keeps men out of the Church. It’s obvious.
“You are precious in my eyes” (Isaiah 43:4). I was recently praying and thinking about this verse. The reality that I, as a man, am precious in the eyes of God is profound.
But being precious and loved in an intimate way by my heavenly Father can be hard to grasp as a man. I think our highly sexualized, pornographic culture makes it even harder.
Most men suffer some type of injury to their soul due to sexual sin. Whatever the exposure was — porn, sex, everything in between — we often connect intimacy and sex. It’s part of how we’re wired, but the sexual exposure from our culture makes this a whole lot worse. Outside of our intellectual understanding, the precious love our Father has for us is hard to experience.
We’ve probably heard the danger pornography and sexual sin can have on our relationships with women. But it’s also a massive hindrance in our relationship with God. Besides the fact that it’s a sin, which by nature separates us from God, it distorts our understanding and experience of intimacy.
How can I be intimate with my heavenly Father, when intermixed with my understanding of intimacy is sex?
Men can’t really grasp it, so we avoid it. We don’t get it. It doesn’t move our soul to the point it should. We are blinded to the impact of this amazing reality of God’s profound and intimate love for us.
Therefore, we don’t go to church. We don’t understand the depth of who Jesus Christ is and what He means to us. He doesn’t become the “lover of our soul.” It’s hard to have a tender love for a person we ascribe with male imagery like Jesus (who is actually God and man at the same time) and God the Father. Even in the intense physical union that happens when we receive Jesus at Holy Communion, we might fail to appreciate the intimacy.
Yes, the conjugal act (sex) between a husband and wife is an intimate action meant to build intimacy. But intimacy is so much more profound than just sex.
Yes, the Theology of the Body has been a tremendous gift to the Church and for us in understanding the role our sexuality plays in life, love and in making a gift of self.
But, while intimacy can include sex, it isn’t defined by it. As men, to fully get the relationship we need with God as Father and Jesus Christ as the lover of our soul, we need to be healed of the highly sexualized idea of intimacy.
The first step is to recognize the problem of how we view intimacy and draw it to the light. From there, I think we need to examine how we enter into forms of intimacy with our spouses, significant others, friends of either sex and even our family members.
Men, we need to look deeply into the close relationships in our lives and see how our sexual sins have impacted the lens we look through.
From there, perhaps we, as men, can see that the hole in our heart is to be filled with intimacy with God — no sex included.