Sexuality is certainly more than sex; it is the whole way we live in our world as male and female body persons. Likewise, our personhood is much more than our sexual nature. Nevertheless, sexuality and personal identity are so closely linked that it is impossible to separate the two.
The identity of your sex is the first statement about you after your birth. The first thing we usually notice about other is their sex. Many times we want to minimize or negate our sexuality, but our femaleness and our maleness is a reflection of who we are. We are created in God’s image; sexuality is good gift and an integral part of human relationship (Gen 1:27, 31; 2:25).
Ordinarily, sexuality is a more comprehensive term than sex. Although sexuality involves sex,it goes beyond sex acts, for it is a basic dimension of personhood. “Sexuality includes our attitudes and understanding as male and female and affectational orientation toward those of the opposite or same sex, according to Libby Potts. Sexuality expresses our authentic humanness in relationship; it is also intrinsic to our relationship to God. More than anything else, sexuality involves our capacity for companionship, the ability to open our hearts and minds to another and to God.
A closer look at the creation story in Genesis reveals four main reasons God designed spirituality:
1. Companionship, the integrative purpose of marriage ( Gen 2:18 ) ;
2. Reproduction, the procreative purpose of marriage ( Gen 1:28) ;
3. Intimacy, the bonding purpose of marriage ( Gen 2:25); and
4. Pleasure, the recreative purpose of marriage (Gen 4:1a; Prov 5:25).
Sexuality and love
In relating sexuality to love, four varieties of affection complement each other in a progressive and inclusive way.
This relationship can be pictured by four concentric circles. In the inner circle is EROS, which represents “Physical attraction”. The basic aspect of our sexuality is the normal biological attraction created by God ( eros), which leads to the “One Flesh” union of males and females in sexual intercourse.
The second circle, which encloses the first, is STORGE, a term meaning “personal affection and “mutual caring”. This level of love moves beyond basic attraction toward emotional intimacy. The ability to express love and affection (storge) is a step beyond EROS, Which enriches the physical union of marriage.
PHILIA is the third concentric circle of affection and describes “Intimate communication”. In both Old Testament and New Testament, the verb “know” means knowledge gained through experience, and it is used only for human sexual relations – “now the man knew his wife Eve, and she conceived” (Gen 4:1). In sexual intercourse, two persons reveal themselves to one another. PHILIA love is the basis for intimate communication, sexual intercourse “provides husband and wife with language which cannot be matched by words or by any other act whatsoever. Love needs language for its adequate expression and sex has its own syntax”. (Elton and Pauline Trueblood).
The final circle that surrounds the other three is AGAPE: the unselfish love of the will that is neither dependant nor reciprocal. For sexuality, AGAPE love means “Total commitment”. Properly expressed, sexual union represents the most complete commitment between two marital partners.
In conclusion, sexuality is a precious gift and a serious responsibility. Like other capacities,it may be rightly used or wrongly abused. Sexual sins and transgressions attract God’s judgement. For human fulfillment, God intended our sexuality to create and enrich the “one flesh” union of marriage- a physical, emotional, and spiritual bonding. The unashamed intimacy of Eden can happen only exclusive, lifelong, loving covenant.