Reading an article online put me to this complaint from a college student forced to read things he did not like: "Sex doesn’t always have to mean something." His problem was not that sex means too much. He thinks it often means nothing at all. In his mind, making too much of sex, well, it ruins it all. It spoils the fun.
The article pointed out the fact that sex means something regardless of what you say or mean. It is by its very nature a statement. It cannot mean nothing. It always means something. Sex means something to us even if we don’t want to admit to ourselves that it does.
I was attempting to watch a few movies (compliments of Netflix) and I saw that a number of the choices were various versions of the same script. They all had meaningless sex (friends with benefits) as the major premise of the plot. You can choose the actors but the movie is pretty much the same. Meaningless sex eventually gives way to meaningful sex. Friends with benefits (sex buddies) inevitably gives way to real love and real lovers. But the movies have it wrong. It is a nice idea and, perhaps, laudable to suggest that sex can lead to a relationship (hope for those having trouble finding a meaningful relationship) but it is a lie. Sex cannot mean nothing -- no matter how loudly we protest. And the proof is in the angst we feel about it when no one is around and we can be fully honest with ourselves.
There are those who would suggest that (traditional) Christians are not preoccupied with sex. In fact, it is the other way around. Those who insist that sex can and does mean nothing at all are the ones preoccupied with sex. The Christian approach raises up first and foremost the issues of love, respect, commitment, and fidelity. Only then does the subject move to sex. The Christians depicted by the media as uptight and hopelessly out of date are not uptight at all. Again, it is just the opposite. Those who insist upon sex being meaningless are the ones who are uptight about it.
I could launch into a Biblical defense of my point but instead I want to leave it where it began. The whole idea that sex doesn't have to mean something is promoted by those who by their insistence are saying it does mean something -- it just does not mean what we want it to mean. Denial cannot make the truth go away. It can distract us for a while but eventually it comes back to haunt us.
Our "temporary “no’s” enable [us] to give a full 'yes'" to the things that endure, even the eternal. In other words, what we deny ourselves now only adds to what we receive when the opportunity for full affirmation comes to us. By insisting upon making sex meaningless, we make ourselves meaningless and we turn sex into mere impulse and drive -- without the framework that makes it larger than itself, love and commitment.
Science tells us that those who are happiest are those who are committed and monogamous. You cannot get around that. With all the meaningless sex in our culture, you might think we would be happy and content. Sadly, we are just the opposite. We are a people encumbered with despair, disappointment, and disillusionment. Far from being free, we have ended up captive to desire and it has resulted in desire without satisfaction. Like an addiction that cannot be satisfied, we indulge our desires more and more with less and less contentment and satisfaction to show for it. At some point somebody needs to say "Stop. Wake up. Snap out of it!"
We don't need religious moral police. We need first of all to be true to ourselves. We know that we are living a lie when we claim meaningless sex exists or that it is enough for now or that it may lead to meaningful sex. We need a conscience. And we need to listen to it. That is where the Church enters in. The rest will come after this but it cannot begin until the conscience has been acknowledged and its message admitted.