“Human sexuality is the gift of a loving God. It is a gift to be honoured and cherished by all people. As a means for the expression of the deepest human love and intimacy, sexuality has great power” (Lambeth Conference 1998).

Invariably, when the words “sex’ and “sexuality” are used people conjure up the ideas of sexual intercourse or other sexual activities. Sexuality is more than sex; it refers to our feelings and behaviours that define us as male or female and it describes human relationships that involve sexual intimacy. Human sexuality is about how we experience and behave as sexual beings.

Human sexuality is a gift of God. The creation story is absolute in its teaching that God made us male and female with physical human bodies. Our bodies and our sexual desires are gifts from God. The writer of Genesis makes the following points:

God made us male and female (Genesis 1:27)
We were made to share relationships (Genesis 2:18)
God gave the sexes their bodies to be enjoyed by each other (Genesis 2:23-25)
Like the rest of all creation human sexuality is good (Genesis 1: 21).

The goodness of human nature and human sexuality is confirmed by the fact that God assumed humna nature at the Incarnation. St. John writes: “the Word became flesh and dwelt among us” (John 1: 14).

Human relationships are vital for our human sexuality. There is a need for us to share our lives and our innermost beings with others; no man is an island, no man lives alone. Without relationships our sexuality cannot be fully lived and expressed. Our human relationships help us to share our desires and emotional feelings for each other. It might be argued by some that we are not fully human unless we are in some kind of human relationship. Sexuality is fully expressed and experienced in the physical act of sexual intercourse. We are sexual beings; sexual love is part of our humanness. Sexuality is not something to be treated lightly; it is a gift to be treasured and cherished. “We, in time and space, are sexual creatures. God created us male and female. The wholeness of God can be more directly expressed in the give and take of love between a man and a woman’ (Lambeth Conference 1978). God made us male and female to complement each other.

Sexuality like any other gift can be misused and abused. When used without any reference to God it does not serve his purpose and is robbed of its beauty. We must be careful not to limit sexuality to erotic desires and behaviour alone. If we do, we fail miserably to comprehend the depth and significance of this gift.

Human sexuality can be a source of great joy and happiness; it can also be the cause of great pain and misery. It is one of man’s strongest drives which needs to be properly managed if it is not to have diastrous effects and painful consequences.

What is the purpose of our sexuality?

There are two distinct purposes for human sexuality, namely, procreation and love making. We are male and female in order that we can reproduce bear children. By so doing we fulfil the injunction of Genesis to “be fruitful and multiply.” At one time procreation was given as the only valid reason for sexual intercourse. The animals are also male and female so that they can also reproduce. However, there is a difference between human beings and animals. Sexual love between males and females is an act of deep love which is meant to bind the two together mentally, spiritually and emotionally. Sexual love is rightly called ‘love making.”

Some persons hold to the view that sex is just for recreation and pleasure. They liken it to hunger; when you are hungry you eat. But we do not eat for pleasure, we eat for nutritional and health purposes. If eating is just for pleasure there will be no need to pay attention to diet. Sex is more than ‘eating’ to satisfy our physical desires. Sex is about love, procreation, commitment, family life and responsibility. It is both spiritual and physical. The Catechism of the Roman Catholic Church teaches: “Sexual pleasure is morally disordered when sought for itself, isolated from its procreative and unitive purposes.” The 1662 Prayer Book says that when we engage in sexual acts without any regards for the true purpose of sex we are behaving like “brute beasts.”

What is the right context for our human sexual relations?

“The Holy Scriptures and Christian tradition teach that human sexuality is intended by God to find its rightful and full expression between a man and a woman in the covenant of marriage, established by God in creation, and affirmed by our Lord Jesus Christ. Holy Matrimony is, by intention and divine purpose, to be a life-long, monogamous and unconditional commitment between a woman and a man” (Lambeth Conference 1998).

The Lambeth Conferences of 1978 and 1988 state that “Marriage is sacred. It was instituted by God and blessed by our Lord Jesus Christ.”

What are the gifts of marriage?

“The gifts bestowed by God upon marriage include full bodily union. We believe that God intends both husband and wife to enjoy their sexual relationship, to delight in their social caring for each other, and to accept the responsibility of parenthood when it comes from such a union: (Lambeth Conference 1978).

It is the teaching of the church that our human sexuality is only fulfilled in marriage in a relationship involving one man and one woman. Some persons hold to the view that our sexuality is fully realised in a faithful relationship between a man and a woman. It is also the teaching of the church that persons who are not married should practise abstinence.

Given our understanding of sexuality and the church’s teaching, there are some sexual practices that we cannot accept. These would include prostitution, incest, pornography, paedophilia, adultery, sexual abuse, rape, homosexual acts, promiscuity and any other sexual behaviour that goes against our understanding of sexuality.

So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created then.
Genesis 1:27

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