i am enlisting your help, sagacious sidekicks, to help me respond to a comment i received recently.
when i wrote about julia duin’s perspective on the way the american church treats single adults, i received many thoughtful comments (and if you’ve already read these, i apologize for the repetition). one was from someone named “joe.” here is his comment:
Well what is an unmarried male supposed to do with his God given normal sex drive, which requires periodic release? Pray, take “cold showers,” masturbation, look at porn, supress, pretend it doesn’t exist?
and here is my response:
thanks for the thoughtful question, joe.
first let me say that i am sympathetic to your problem. we live in a sexual culture and pleasure seems to be an entitlement. still, the bible addresses the question you raised pretty clearly:
“Now for the matters you wrote about: It is good for a man not to marry. But since there is so much immorality, each man should have his own wife, and each woman her own husband… Now to the unmarried and the widows I say: It is good for them to stay unmarried, as I am. But if they cannot control themselves, they should marry, for it is better to marry than to burn with passion.” (1 corinthians 7:1-2, 8-9)
your question is one the church needs to wrestle with, joe, and i thank you for sharing here.
and here is where i need your help, resourceful readers. joe wrote back to tell me that he was “very disappointed” with my answer. so rather than respond directly, i thought i would bring joe’s grievance to this forum.
After some 2,000 years of Christianity, the church should not have to wrestle with my question. The church should have an answer. Also, it is not MY problem; it is the church’s problem. I certainly would not advise a 16+ year old young man who has raging hormones to get married to some young woman who is “boy crazy” and then move into his/her parent’s home while they complete high school or drop out of school and live on minimum wage jobs.
first of all, the subject of our conversation is single adults. my wife and i worked with teenagers for many years, and i would never advise 16-year olds to get married to satisfy hormonal urges.
furthermore, is it too much to expect/admonish an unmarried adult male to practice self-denial, or do you agree that they “require periodic release“? is this issue, as joe charges, the “church’s problem” and, if so, how might it be solved? did i misapply the 1 corinthians 7 reference, or are we dealing with a generation for whom scriptural instruction is insufficient?
as alway, my friends, i am grateful for your consideration and i look forward to hearing what you have to say.