The Treasure of Pleasure

Vitruvian Man, 1492, Leonardo DaVinci’s sketch of a naked man.Some of those who oppose the enjoyment of Solo Sex by Christians make the assertion that sexual pleasure is meant to be enjoyed only as a shared spousal experience, never solo. They even say that private pleasure is evidence of sinful self-centeredness. And who wants to be a self centered Christian?

But I have to ask, where does it say that? What is their Biblical evidence? It is a concept that certainly cannot be found in God’s Holy Word.

One good thing; their argument has caused me to take a fresh look at the place of pleasure in God’s order of creation. Only by understanding this can we discern if their argument has any merit.

God Created Pleasure

It is no mistake of creation that we can experience sensations, both good and bad. Body, soul, and spirit, we are built for pleasure. Yes, we also experience pain, but God has blessed us with both.

In the realm of the spirit we can experience the Joy of the Lord. When our spirit and the Spirit of God become one through the New Birth and the infilling of the Holy Spirit, the Word of God tells us we can receive a baptism of “righteousness, peace, and joy.” Both peace and joy are wonderful emotions; in other words, pleasurable.

We also have a soul, that part of us that is intellect, emotions, and will. Our intellect can take delight in a wonderful play on words, or well constructed sermon. And the sight of a newborn child, the sight of a loved one, hearing unexpected good news, can stir our emotions. God has designed our emotions for both pleasure and pain.

Pleasure can
simply be enjoyed –
body, soul, and spirit -
as a wonderful gift,
the way God intends.

And physically we are the same way. Without pain we would harm ourselves and not know it. It is a warning system essential for our protection. And a life without some physical pleasure would hardly be worth living: the simple delight of a good meal; the feel of the sun upon our face; the touch of a loved one; the sensual ecstasy of lovemaking with the one person with whom we entered the life-long till-death-do-us-part covenant of marriage. It was God who put the taste buds on our tongue to make food as enjoyable as it is. It was he who made our skin sensitive to touch. He gave us the ability to see, and to enjoy the full spectrum of colour. He brought us the pleasure of hearing. And he went so far as to concentrate an abundance of delight producing nerve endings below our belt.

These are some of the things that make life more enjoyable. They are all wonderful gifts from God, things to be treasured and valued. Yes, you can pursue pleasure to destructive ends, especially physical pleasure. You can violate your soul and spirit in her wanton pursuit, but it need not be that way. Pleasure can simply be enjoyed – body, soul, and spirit - as a wonderful gift, the way God intends.

Solitary Pleasures

And it is true that many enjoyments are best experienced in the company of others. People assemble to listen to others play music; we watch plays, movies, and sports together; and we gather together in His Name to worship. These are pleasurable experiences that may be heightened by the sharing. But this in no way limits the possibility for pleasure doing each of these things while alone.

No one seems to mind a single person enjoying the pleasure of a good meal alone, or listening to delightful music, or enjoying the pleasure of His Presence during private prayer and worship, or reading a good book, or watching television. We do not condemn these solitary pleasures saying that it is spiritual or intellectual self gratification. We accept this as a normal part of life. Yes, these things can take on a different and added dimension when shared with others. The experience of public worship adds to our times with God. A family meal, enjoyed with those we love, only adds to the delight of good food. But there is no condemnation for these pleasures when experienced in private.

The Ultimate Embrace

We all know that the sharing of our sensual selves in the ultimate embrace of marriage is one of the great pinnacles of pleasure God has designed for our beings. We make love to our covenant mate giving them as much delight as we know how to do, and hopefully get better at it as time goes by. But come on, let’s be real here: we also do it with the desire to personally enjoy it as much as we possibly can. Yes, in a loving marriage the giving of intimate pleasures is as wonderful as the receiving. But to be honest, without receiving at the same time, the act would feel incomplete. In love we can do it, but shared ecstasies are even better.

No one condemns us for wanting to receive pleasure in the marriage bed. No one says, you are doing it not just to give but to also receive sensual self-gratification, and that is wrong. We all know that it is ok to be participating in love making to both give, and receive. And the pleasuring of our bodies during such intimate moments is an honorable and godly aim. He gave us the ability to have an orgasm. He wants us to enjoy that gift as often as we might desire.

An Obvious Question

So, I have a question. Since our body, soul, and spirit are so obviously built for pleasure, both shared and when alone, and since we have no problem with a person enjoying food and entertainment and devotional times solo, why then the condemnation when a person experiences sexual pleasure by themselves? Why do we make the solitary aspect solo sex such a matter of consternation and condemnation? Where in the Word of God does it tell us that sensual feelings have no legitimacy unless shared with another? Yes, sexual pleasure is best enjoyed as a shared experience, but that in no way prohibits their solitary enjoyment.

The Bible tells us that sharing sex with a partner to whom we are not married is absolutely forbidden. Fornication, adultery, bestiality, incest, and homosexual acts - all of these are clearly condemned in the pages of Holy Writ. These are not legitimate pleasures. But in no place and at no time does the Word of God condemn the private experience of our sexuality. Those who say it does can do so only by appealing to obviously flawed logic, logic that (thanks be to God) has no foundation in Scripture.



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