Single, Lonely, and Sexless

I may be stepping into hot water with this post. Frankly, I am a bit worried.

 

But here goes.

 

I recently read a post by John Shore entitled: Homosexuality Isn’t Stealing or Lying–But It Is Being Lonely

 

You can imagine that there was plenty of discussion in the comment section following the post. I added my two cents… and actually thought some of what I wrote was worth re-iterating here (she said, humbly).

 

In fact, I took exception to the phrase “…It Is Being Lonely.”

 

One notion in the article was that if homosexuals decide not to engage in sex at all (if they believe Scripture reserves sex for heterosexual marriage), then these folks are consigned to a life of loneliness because of who they are. Many folks see this as patently unfair to those homosexually inclined.

 

However, for those of us who are female Christians, and who – so it seems – overwhelmingly outnumber our male counterparts, we often feel just as “stuck” in our singleness. I realize that some may say, “Well, as a heterosexual, at least you have the hope of marriage,”  but I can assure you, I often did not feel that way.

 

I was in my late 30s when I finally married and have many, many wonderful, committed Christian girlfriends who will likely never marry and experience the intimacy of marriage (ok, guys, get busy!).

 

No matter your situation, if God did restrict sex to a heterosexual marriage (Mark 10: 1-12 might be used to support this interpretation), He didn’t do it because he is a cruel task-master.

 

No: His commands are always borne of love (Romans 8:32).

 

So what do single people do?

 

How do we live with this command?

 

How do we live with this sense of imposed loneliness and exile to non-intimacy?

 

Well, face the facts.

 

Being single – not necessarily out of choice – can be a wonderful life of deep intimacy with the Lord and amazing friendships.

 

From scripture, we know that the single life:

n     often allows greater service (see 1 Corinthians 1:32-35 — I know this from experience),

n     can lead to deeper intimacy with Jesus (ask Paul who was single when he wrote “to live is Christ” Philippians 1:21),

n     is a particular calling (Matthew 19:12), and, of course,

n     was the life Jesus led.

 

And really, it doesn’t have to be lonely.

 

I must say that, other than having a 24-hour friend around (my husband), for most of our marriage, I was far lonelier than when I was single and in a great community. Even when I lived in the former Soviet Union (when it was such) as a missionary and was often very alone (not just by myself, but in a strange culture who’s language I hardly understood), I very strongly felt God’s presence.

 

But what about the loss of physical intimacy?

 

Well, it’s true that those of us who do not marry a person of the opposite sex will deny ourselves sex and the particular companionship of marriage. But what blessings come from the denial!!

 

What intimacy with the Savior when we say no to what we want and yes to what we don’t want because we trust that He has a better way, a way that we don’t always comprehend.

 

We have the amazing opportunity to share in His sufferings (Romans 8:17).

 

And one day, any loneliness or sadness or struggle with the flesh that seems to render these Biblical commands either meaningless or just plain mean — all will pass away, along with our tears, and we will stand before our Lord, free from the bodily ravages of sin and death, utterly fulfilled, and never again alone!

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12 thoughts on “Single, Lonely, and Sexless

  1. Well said “S”

    Im also sick of married ppl writing blogs about how wonderful single life is telling us what not to do and not providing any worthwhile advice. They should be having children and looking after them instead.

    I suggest they look up the blog of that gym shooter George Sodini who was single and lonely to see the effects no intimacy can have on a man.

  2. It’s very easy for someone whose married to tell single people not to feel longing or loneliness.

    Your words carry no weight because you are not in my situation any longer– you no longer long for companionship on earth because you already have it.

    When God finally answers my prayers, maybe I’ll have the hypocrisy of hindsight that your post seems full of.

    In other words, don’t think that you’re so important that you can tell me how I should feel.

  3. Great post.

    Unfortunately, I know too many attractive, intelligent, successful, single Christian women above the age of 40 who have for years (decades for some) consistently pushed away the romantic overtures of non-Christian men, only to find the church depleted of men interested in them.

    It’s part of the cost of discipleship, we say.

    I’ve also seen several of them get embittered at the church for not being more concerned about the situation. I think, perhaps, the church secretly cherishes is affluent,”spinsters” with lots of time and energy to run it’s programs. I’ve seen a recent situation, where an extremely bright, attractive and successful woman in her early 30’s was discouraged from pursuing a career that would help her pay her bills so that she could continue to work part-time for the church without benefits.

    They are wholly dedicated to the Lord, we say. And at what a bargain rates we get to use them!!

    Unless the Protestant Church is willing to re-instate intentional celibate vocations, akin to monasticism, where we actually might take financial and communal responsibility for those who desire to dedicate themselves full-time to the Lord’s work as celibates, we might be a little less glib about God being the All-Sufficent One. We build our church cultures where the nuclear family is all-but-worshipped and there are a flurry of books/seminars/workshops on how to be happily hitched and sexually satisfied as married people.

    I know a few who that have left the church, partly, I imagine, because they want to start dating and they want time and opportunities to develop connections with available men (Christian or not).

    I wonder what the attrition rate is for over 40 single, attractive Christian women who don’t find Christian spouses vs. Gay men and women who have become Christian and who don’t find their sexual desires turning heterosexual, therefore leaving them with the same option: celibacy. That would make an interesting study.

    —The King of Rohan

  4. Excellent reflection.

    Sex is surely not the only way to avoid loneliness. In fact, it sometimes even compounds loneliness. There are a lot of people of there (gay and straight) having sex yet are terribly lonely.

    Longing: Great to see you out and about (so to speak), PP!!

  5. I also married late. I was 39. That’s because I didn’t think it was something I needed to “complete me.” Not even the sex part of it, in fact. I really believed that sex and loneliness were simply overrated. I still do. I’m pretty odd, that way.

    Marriage just fell on my lap one day. I didn’t ask for it. Or at least, I didn’t beg. I was pretty sure it wasn’t going to make me any more content than I already was. It was just more stuff on my plate, if anything. Unfortunately, I was proven right as I am relieved and much happier now that I am divorced. Like, I am back in the state of contentment I was in before I got married.

    Now, I’m not saying I don’t like marriage. I just don’t think I’m ever desperate for it. Life is complete as it is, right now.

    Longing: Hey, Chris! All I have to say is: you don’t your age.

  6. Nice post, ‘Longing for a Holiday’.

    I took the liberty of reading the post by John Shore- Homosexuality Isn’t Stealing or Lying–But It Is Being Lonely.

    Personally I do not know Mr Shore and from reading only one of his articles may not have a good picture of his heart. As a pastor of a church, I can only measure the words of one against the word of God, to which we find his error.

    With regard to his stand on loneliness as a justification for sin, it doesn’t fit. I have always felt that the believer that immerses him or herself in the word and will of God should not find themselves lonely.

    “Free: You can’t seriously be saying that you don’t understand the difference between “not sinning” as a single heterosexual and doing the same as a single homosexual. The single hetero CAN get married and then have sex with a loved one and not thereby sin; the single homosexual never can…. Lucky for you, isn’t it, that following God’s laws about companionship and mating for life just happened to accord with what also most personally fulfills you?”

    In Mr Shore’s response to FreetoBe (reference above) it appears that he acknowledges that it is sin. I would be interesting to see what degree Mr Shore fills one can migrate to satisfy their condition of loneliness, rape, pedophilia, beastality, murder or maybe robbery to satisfy a financial need? We could go on and on.

    What we are seeing, is a desensitizing of the moral foundation, not only in our society, but it has spread deep into the church.

    Excellent bullets as to how a ‘single’ life can be both obedient and God honoring. But one must remember, this is the perception of one who is fully persuaded and has accepted the perfect will of God. Many in the church today would not say amen. Most likely Mr Shore.

    Peace malachi

    Longing: Thanks for the comments, Malachi. I actually think Mr. Shore’s position was somewhat ambiguous. In fact, he agreed with my first comment. I think he was airing issues, not necessarily taking a position. I am probably addressing more directly the comments which followed Shore’s post.

  7. WOW, to the 2nd power!

    Abstinence equated with loneliness? Hmm, I hope my oldest is lonely until age 50 then. 😉 Seriously, sex and the emotions associated can be an expression of love or completeness, but, sex shouldn’t be confused as being love nor completion (see 1st John 4 for reassurances on love). Loneliness I would say is a condition of the heart, a sign of having a spiritual void; a “hole” so to speak that Jesus can fill, not a physical or emotional lacking.

    This thought stands out from John Shore’s post: the inclination to use the comparison of circumstances (in this case,sex allowed for married folks vs abstinence for singles & homosexuals), as “unfair”. Seems to me that whenever you start down this train of thought, it leads to trouble, because the focus shifts from doing God’s will to appeasing our desires.

    An excellent post today.

    Grace and peace be with you all.

    Oh yea, send, names & photos of eligible single friends to… 😉

  8. Just for the record…I’m going to put a stake in the ground and say…I agree with you 100% w/o apology. I know your heart. your fellow blogger DM

  9. Wow what a great post! And so true! I married relatively young (I was 21), but I have many older single friends who have said the same thing you said.

    Thanks for commenting on my blog!

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