Volume 14, Issue 6: Husbandry
The Graying of Sex
While the baby boomers grow old, we have little indication thus far that they have any intention of doing so
gracefully. Nurtured in a narcissistic self-absorption, they have come to expect
anything they want as their own peculiar
birthright. Having grown up in the nursery of the sexual revolution of the sixties, and having since carried this over many years
in middle class variations on the same
themee.g. marriage, adultery, divorce, marriage, adulterywe should not be
surprised to find that the reality check that age bestows on sexual habits is not going to be gracefully received.
Pastors are going to find themselves with an increased number of counseling situations involving sexual
dysfunction, and Christian husbands and wives are going to have to figure out what they are supposed to do if problems arise in
their sexual relationship. Some of these problems can be the result of aging, some the result of sin, and some a combination
of the two.
I am going to address two such problems here, and they can serve as representatives of other related problems.
The point is not "the particular solution," but rather the biblical principles that should direct those who are involved in
such problems. The main question I want to ask is whether or not it is lawful for Christians to employ the help of
medical science in solving sexual problems that may arise.
The first thing to remember is that a person in the grip of any lust has low sales resistance. And any person who
has had an email account for more than ten days has likely received spam trying to sell products for anything from
breast enlargement to penile enhancement. You name it, and someone probably has a product for you. And because there are
many who are now losing their stamina for sexual sin, they now want the help of the chemists to keep their sin going for a
little longer. Many such products are of course bogus, but people who are driven by lust keep such merchants in business. If
a man like Hugh Hefner is using Viagra so that he can die the way he livedrebellious and unhappythen of course
the use is illicit.
But suppose a Christian couple are not in this category. Suppose they have learned to honor the marriage bed and
have done so for many years (Heb. 13:4). Although affected by the surrounding culture, they have not given way to it. They
do not come together with the passionate lust of the Gentiles (1 Thes. 4:4-5) but rather with the godly sexual drunkenness
of the couple in the Song of Songs (Songs 5:1). But after years together, they begin to experience equipment
break-down. Should they do anything about this?
The answer isit depends. If they are both ninety-six years old, and they are both well content with the hand of
the Lord on them in the aging process (Ecl. 12:1-7), of course they should do nothing. While the apostles of sexual
liberation might demand that we all copulate until we die, such a grasping approach is not a biblical one. We live in a fallen
world and are all approaching death where, as Marvell put it, "none do there I think embrace." As the philosopher put it, we
need to deal with it.
But suppose the circumstances are different. The couple are both in their fifties, and sexual temptation from
the surrounding world remains a potential snare. Paul tells us that one of the purposes of sex in marriage is the prevention
of immorality (1 Cor. 7:2-6). When problems develop in a marriage relationship when the couple are still
comparatively young, there is a biblical duty to get help if it is availalble.
When women go through menopause, a significant percentage develop a form of vaginitis, which can make
intercourse very painful. Now what? This can lead to conflict, obviously, as well as contributing to a man feeling rejected.
This, combined with his declining powers, can lead to erectile problems. In short, you can have a real sexual mess and
enough hurt feelings to go all around.
Suppose further that this couple is in a very "conservative" church where such things are not mentioned to
anyone under any circumstancesnot to a pastor, not to a doctor, not to anyone. It would be too humiliating, too
embarrassing. But this means that the husband (or the wife, as the case may be) is more willing to defraud his spouse than to go
through the embarrassment of seeking help. That is how the Apostle Paul describes itfraud. It is true that the fraud was
provoked by extenuating circumstances. If a man neglects his duty to mow the lawn because he has a broken leg, that is fine. But
if he refuses to get the leg treated, then at some point he becomes responsible for his continued inability, even if he
didn't initially break his leg on purpose.
What should a couple in a situation like this do? The first thing is that they should talk and confess any sin related
to their problemsany resentments, bitterness, self-centeredness, and so forth. Having done so, they should seek out
godly and competent help. If the problem is more directly spiritual, they should seek help from their pastor. If it is
physiological, then they should go to a doctor, and if one is to be found, a
godly doctor. If they are unsure about the treatment the
doctor prescribes, then they should ask their pastor about it.
The short form is that any treatment that restores or enhances natural function should be considered as a
blessing from God, like any medicine. But if the treatment is being sought in a effort to "supercharge" natural function, then
the chances are good that lust has driven love away.