How Can I Experience Intimacy Without Sex?
– [Sam Allberry] In our culture
in the Western world today, we’ve sort of collapsed sex and
intimacy into one another. And so, we can’t really conceive of any kind of
intimacy that isn’t ultimately sexual. We hear previous generations speak about
deep friendship, and people today roll their eyes and say, “Well,
they must have been gay,” because in our minds, any kind of deep intimate
kind of way of relating must ultimately be sexual. That is not the way that the
Bible thinks about these things. Actually, it’s not the way most cultures
have thought about these things. The Bible shows us you can have a lot of
sex and not really be experiencing true intimacy. And the Bible also shows us
you can actually experience a lot of intimacy that is not sexual.
Sex is designed to express and deepen the intimacy between a husband and wife,
but it can’t in and of itself create intimacy. And the Bible shows us
actually, there are a range of ways in which we can experience
non-sexual forms of real intimacy. The Bible has a very high view of
friendship. We’ve kind of downgraded friendship in our own culture.
We’ve turned friend from a noun into a verb. You give someone access to
your Facebook page and that’s a friend. But in the Bible, a friend is someone who
knows your soul. It’s someone who knows the inner you. It’s someone who you say
the secret things of your heart to. In John 15:15, Jesus says,
“I called you friends.” I think He means something by that a bit
more profound than, “You can have my contact details.” He’s saying…
He goes on to say, “Everything the Father has revealed to me, I have made
known to you.” Jesus has let us in. He spilled the beans.
He’s opened up His heart to us. And that is what the Bible means by
friendship. And it is a wonderfully intimate gift. It is a way of being very
deeply known, and very deeply loved. And it’s a resource that we have largely
neglected in the Western world. We’ve downgraded friendship.
We’ve decided that all of our intimacy needs are going to be met in a romantic or
sexual relationship. But actually, we’re designed to experience intimacy in a
range of friendships as well. And so, for someone like me who is single,
there is a depth of intimacy that my married friends enjoy that I don’t have
access to, but there is a breadth of intimacy that I can experience as a
single person having a larger capacity for friendship. There’s a breadth of
intimacy that my married friends don’t get to enjoy themselves. So,
marriage is not the only answer to the observation inGenesis,
that it’s not good for us to be alone. The Bible speaks of friendship,
the church is meant to be a place of friendship. It’s meant to
be a place that feels familial, that feels deeply relational,
where we’re all known, where we’re received, and
loved, and embraced.