The Christian Doctor and Sex

Posted by on May 20, 2002 in Medical Discoveries and Medical Ethics

Philip G. Ney, MD, FRCP(C)

May 2002 (Revised January 2004)

The issues surrounding human sexuality keep moving further away from what God intends for his creation. Christian physicians need to have a firmly established understanding of God’s purposes for human sexuality and the implications of sexual pathology on human ecology. In this article I outline different aspects of sexuality from a Christian perspective, the bonding process, differences in male and female perceptions of the sexual drive, and some aspects of the destructive impact of abortion.

Basic Purpose

The basic purpose of the human sexual relationship is union and communion, not pleasure or procreation. If Adam was made in the image of God, who is neither male nor female, it is quite possible Adam (the human being) was sexless. It was only when he was split and lost a rib (of chromosome, I suspect) [1] that humans became male and female. Adam recognised Eve as from his flesh (genetically) [2]. Their sexual union was in fact a reunion. Just as Christ and the Church bonding [3] is for spiritual union and communion, the relationship between mates is to become one flesh and to commune with each other. Though it is amazing we are given such an important role in God’s handiwork, in some respects procreation is incidental. Until recently, almost every pregnancy was ‘unplanned,’ but the child was welcomed. Planned, wanted children have important disadvantages. In the old English expression, a man “knew” his wife and then she became pregnant [4].

If the above statements are true, it means there are two sexes, not three or four. These sexes are given, not chosen. Being male or female is part of a person’s blueprint and infers purposeful design. Eve was created to be Adam’s, “suitable helper” [5] in the work God had assigned to him. God commands us to love each other. You cannot love before knowing your neighbour. This is reflected in the encouragement that we should “know” our mate in intercourse. The resulting unity and intimate communication is the best of all worlds.

One Flesh

It is clear in Scripture that man and woman become “one flesh” (Greek, “basar”) [6 – 9], not one soul (they always maintain their separate identities), and certainly not one spirit. There are no marriages nor parents in heaven.[10]  A person’s spirit is united only with Christ. God makes a couple one flesh.[11]  God, not the couple or their minister, joins them to each other. What God joins cannot be broken. Men and women are married, mated by God-designed bonding processes which, whether we like it or not, like gravity, always apply. Only death can part them. Mates cannot unmarry, they can only divorce or separate. Their commitment or covenant must be a formal betrothal that should precede bonding. But whether people make a commitment or not, by God’s covenant they become one flesh. A commitment to life-long exclusivity enhances any relationship, but a lack of commitment does not preclude bonding.

Bonding

There are ten components to the bonding of male and female humans which is designed by God to ensure monogamy. Given the right conditions, bonding happens beautifully and automatically. This is to ensure the intimacy and confidence necessary for human communion and that children have a parent of each sex. When bonding happens under abnormal conditions, it results in various kinds of mixed or pathological bonding. These mixed bonding are deeply destructive to human relationships.

1. Falling in love.

Driven by a combination of sexual hormones and psychological loneliness, the desire for ‘reunion’ with a person of the opposite sex intensifies and eventually becomes focussed on one person. That person and that period of intense focus, falling in love, thralldom, is never forgotten. It feels so wonderful to have one’s mind intently preoccupied with another person. Jesus taught us to love one another because it is good for us. Physiological research shows that when our mind and heart are concentrated on another, our blood pressure and pulse rates decrease [12]. That is why being in love feels like the birds are singing night and day and the sky is always blue.

2.  Imprinting

One trial learning, imprinting, occurs when, after there has been a crescendo of tension or excitement, there is release which occurs with the ecstasy of orgasm. This excitement and release is most intense with the person with whom an individual first has intercourse. This is why even prostitutes do not forget the first person with whom they have excited sex.

3. Conditioning

In classical conditioning, an individual who elicits or is paired with an orgasm produces the same excited responses. When the person is paired with the orgasm, he or she will, in a short time, elicit the same excited response. In effect, whomever one has sex with, one becomes conditioned onto, i.e. bonded with. In operant conditioning, whatever activity is occurring when an individual has an orgasm will be strongly re-enforced, i.e. become more frequent and more probable. Endorphins, naturally produced morphine-like substances released at orgasm, result in the most intense pleasure humans experience. That pleasurable sensation powerfully re-enforces any behaviour, auto, homo or hetero-erotic, that occurs immediately before or during orgasm.

Endorphins from orgasm produce what are loosely termed ‘sexual addictions.’ Conditioning occurs under any circumstance, all too frequently inducing a powerful bond to the wrong person under the wrong circumstances, engaging in behaviour that does not result in the reunion and communion of mates.

4. Exchange of Hormones

Seminal plasma has a rich mixture of life sustaining hormones that are absorbed by the vagina within half an hour after intercourse. Male-generated estrogen, estradiol, androgen testosterone, TSH, prostaglandins and other hormones are of benefit to the woman physically and psychologically [13]. The reciprocal is probably true. Couples that have more prolonged, relaxed, sexual encounters exchange many hormones. This appears to add to their well-being and longevity. This exchange of hormones literally makes a couple one flesh. They take on each other’s hormonal profile.

5. Shared Experience

As in a foxhole during war, those who are thrown together in good and bad experiences, in the ups and downs of life, have a life-long bond. The more extreme their shared experience, the stronger the bond. This is why couples who work together, particularly in difficult circumstances and when they have the same goals, are more likely to stay together.

6. Rescue

People who are plucked from the ocean or a mountain top just before they perish are bonded to those who rescue them. In like manner, a man or a woman who rescues his/her partner from loneliness, meaninglessness, and despair are bonded in gratitude.

7. Intimacy

The better a couple know each other’s true self, their attributes, warts and wounds, the more they commune with each other. The better they know and meet each other’s needs, the better they are bonded to each other. The more they share the joy of their intimacy with God, the greater their life-long attachment to each other.

8. Immune System

Since the immune system records foreign proteins that result in an antigen antibody reaction, the immune system will make a record of all sexual partners.

9. Children

After a man and a woman mate, the most dramatic evidence of that one flesh is the flesh of a child. The child ensures that the parents will mature. To understand the child’s communication and meet his or her needs, parents must track his/her progressive development. This requires that the parents have to go back to their infancies and re-grow into adulthood each time they have another child. There is nothing like children to make people mature.

10. One Spirit

A Christian man and wife are also brother and sister in the Lord. This enhances their intimacy and bonding.

It would be wonderful if all of these factors would apply in every instance, but they seldom do. Unfortunately, many institutions, including churches, mitigate against God’s design.

Male and Female Differences

Men and women do not understand each other very well. To some extent this is a good thing. Curiosity helps drive them together. Reunion is also driven by loneliness, the need to be known,  hormones, the male exocrine glands and the need for species continuity. God put the survival of our species into our biology because he could not trust our theology, philosophy or morality. Now that humans are tampering with the basic instincts that maintain the ecology of our species, the survival of homosapiens is threatened. Many countries now recognise that they cannot run a free market economy with a declining population. This produces an urgent need to stimulate population growth or increased immigration. Many countries, including Russia, Romania and East Germany, have found that neither coercion nor incentives work. Once the ecology has been tampered with, primarily by abortion, the child-parent bonding and, hence, the proclivity to procreation and parenting, appears to be irreversibly damaged.

One destructive misunderstanding between men and women that often occurs is a woman’s failure to understand that the testes and the prostate are both endocrine and exocrine glands. Once production has begun, only under unusual circumstances will it stop and those secretions need to be released. That intense male drive to ejaculate in a vagina is often both misunderstood and resented by women. Generally speaking, in Western culture men are more ready to give than women are to receive. Among the Chinese, the women are more ready to receive then men are to give. Women can best understand male urgency by picturing the effect of a child intermittently stopping and starting breast feeding. As the breast becomes engorged the mother feels very uncomfortable and inadvertently begins looking around for some other child who will appreciate her milk production. So it is with sexually frustrated males. This is why Paul advises that couples should not withhold sex except for mutually agreed upon periods of prayer and fasting.[14] Obviously, if they are fasting their sexual drive is lessened.

If a man and wife become one flesh through intercourse, then if there is no intercourse, although they are still bonded, there has been a divorce. If a husband or his wife deny sexual intercourse to their partner, they have essentially divorced their partner. They have not only made life much more stressful or painful but they have also put the person into a vulnerable situation where they can be easily tempted. Divorce as most people understand it is the legal ratification of something that may have happened many years before, that is the cessation of sex. If one party withholds sex they are unquestionably the divorcer, and the person who is deprived is the divorcee. In this instance they are the relatively innocent party.

By God’s design the simple act of vaginal-penis intercourse and ejaculation is good for reunion, communion, health, happiness and beautiful babies. Christians should rejoice in the wonder of this basic but profound pleasure.

Pathology

Since bonding occurs automatically, it occurs even under the worst circumstances. Sexually abused young people may find themselves sexually bonded to parents with whom they should only have a parental bond. Trying to separate these two becomes a consuming and often confusing activity. If physicians are understanding, they can be helpful. We have what appears to be an effective program for men and women who have been deeply damaged by abuse and abortion [15]

I suggest a possible partial explanation for promiscuity and transsexuality. People who are abortion survivors, i.e. grow up in families where a sibling has been aborted, may subconsciously try to find and be close to the aborted sibling. This may result in promiscuity. Those who have an aborted twin may try to live their life both as their sex and the sex of their twin. This may result in transsexual behaviour.

With the increasing emphasis on the need to remain a virgin until marriage, teenagers tend to engage in all kinds of sexual activity other than vaginal intercourse. Many of these bonding mechanisms will occur. A tragedy may happen when a young couple, having engaged in various kinds of sex other than vaginal intercourse (outercourse), get married. Though they now feel that it is legitimate to engage in vaginal intercourse, but they cannot.

Conclusion

Many findings of biological and psychological science now make it possible to better understand sexuality and mating as God designed it. It behoves Christian physicians to clearly discern myth from fact, God’s prerogative from man’s tendency to want to take the credit for marriage. The species has become endangered because much of human ecology has become irreversibly disrupted by the impact of abortion.  Christian physicians should remember to ask their patients about their sex lives, all of their partners and all of their pregnancies. It is a way to gain a deeper understanding of their patients. Christian physicians need to have frank discussions with teenage patients about the life-long impact of pair-bonding.

References

1.Genesis 2:22;

2.Genesis 2:23;

3.Ephesians 5:22:32;

4.Genesis 4:1 (KJV);

5.Genesis 2:18 & 20;

6.Genesis 2:24;

7.Matthew 19:5;

8.1 Corinthians 6:16;

9. Ephesians 5:31;

10. Matthew 22:30;

11. Matthew 19:6;

12. NEY PG. The Law and the Essence of Love. Victoria:  Pioneer Publishing, 1974.;

13. NEY PG. “The Intravaginal Absorption of Male Generated Hormones”, Med Hypotheses 20:221-231, 1986.;

14. 1 Corinthians 7:5;

15. NEY PG. PEETERS MA. Deeply Damaged (3rd ed), Victoria:  Pioneer Publishing, 1997.