I’m not sure who coined the phrase “sexual brokenness,” but I am certain it first rose in reference to homosexuality. However, let us recognize that to some degree the term applies to most of us. Perhaps all.
Fifteen years ago I was part of a church dialogue regarding sexuality. The conversation began with polite tones, but gradually the tension rose. Finally a lesbian colleague exclaimed, “My sexuality is not broken!” My guess is most of us have claimed the same. Wholeness is the picture provided in the Garden of Eden. Wholeness awaits us at the Garden of Paradise. But between the gardens there is brokenness of all sorts!
Traditionalists are quick to point to the Garden of Eden to make their case against homosexual intimacy. It seems obvious to them how far same-sex intimacy falls short. But there’s a good bit of blindness regarding how far we all fall short.
When counseling men addicted to heterosexual sex, I often hear the line, “Well I’m a man with needs, and my wife isn’t meeting them!” Or sometimes this line: “It’s just part of being male. We are stimulated by sight. Being drawn to porn is just natural!”
But more than once in counseling such a person, I’ve asked how far back they can remember having crushes on women. Since early childhood, is the reply. Eyes widen, sometimes jaws drop as I simply state, “That’s not normal, brother.” Normal little boys think girls are “yucky” until 5th or 6th grade. Then hormones begin to take over. Preschool boys with crushes may seem “cute,” but the reality is the attraction is often accentuated by developmental trauma of one sort or another.
Another example is our blindness toward idolatrous uses of sex. In his teachings on sexuality, Pope John Paul made the point that idolatry can take place even in the marriage bed. Just because vows are taken does not mean using one’s partner simply to meet needs is legit.
A local psychologist once commented to me about the sexual brokenness of Christian couples who “did the right thing” by waiting until marriage for intimacy. But once the knot was tied, initial sex was nearly abusive, the rationale being, “Hey, I waited! Now anything goes!” The long term results are often devastating.
Several times in the past year as I’ve taught on the subject of sexual aversion, the scales have fallen off of eyes as some finally realize how their brokenness has deeply wounded their spouse.
The discussion of sexual brokenness is not as black and white as is sometimes portrayed. One blog subscriber put it this way: There are “50 shades of gray” between the white of God’s design and the blackness of depravity.
“Most everyone struggles with sexual issues,” quipped a gay friend of mine. “It’s just that mine are vanilla, yours are chocolate!” This is more true than most of us heterosexuals realize. Just because we are to some degree drawn to the opposite sex does not mean we are free of brokenness. We all fall short of the glory of God’s design and inwardly we groan with all creation until our redemption is experienced in full.
Perhaps we, who also stand in need of grace, could be more gracious toward those of a different flavor.
Any other examples of heterosexual brokenness come to mind? And what would repentance from this blindness look like?