This could be a difficult chapter for many people to read. I imagine it was even more trying for Lewis to write about the nature between Christianity and sex. And even though this essay is decades old, the same core truths about the nature of human sexuality still hold true today. We still look at sex to sell products to humans who have a low-tolerance for the flesh. People still argue for sexuality to be embraced because it is a natural process for humans. Lewis makes some great points about how we are quick to point out that there is nothing wrong with sex. There isn’t. But society tells us that our appetites for sex are normal. I am with Lewis on this one when he states that because rampant sexuality and Christianity are incompatible, one must be wrong.
And it is not Christianity.
Just because something is rooted in our biology, it is not declared as being “right” or “normal” simply because we have a desire to do that thing. God designed human sexuality to be a fantastic connection for a man and a wife, period. Lewis makes great sense when drawing parallels between hunger for food in a hungry country and hungering for sex in today’s (yesterday’s) society. I echo Lewis’ quotation that if not for the fall sexuality would be even greater for us. (Can you imagine that?). I think that Lewis also offered up some solid counsel that we should not cast judgement on those who do not come from our own societal understandings of modesty, as modesty and chastity are different things. But we should be wary not to dress in such a way that we are intending to entice others to lust.
Sex is good. It is great when observed between a husband and a wife as God intended it. Anything outside this plan is counter to what God designed and intended. TO be an upright Christian, we must be willing to say “no” when sexual desires grip us and attempt to control our urges. Like Lewis says of those who believe chastity to be impossible without even trying, even those who try to answer a question on a test and get it wrong still get partial credit for trying.
I leave this chapter with a quote from Lewis (on page 100):
“For any happiness, even in this world, quite a lot of restraint is going to be necessary; so the claim made by every desire, when it is strong, to be healthy and reasonable counts for nothing. Every sane and civilised man must have some set of principals by which he chooses to reject some of his desires and permit others.”
What do you think? Is Lewis right?