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Robert Schuller on sex and intimacy.

Thou shalt not commit adultery." This sizzling sentence is not intended to take the joy out of our sex lives, but to put more pride and pleasure into our sexual activity by protecting us, first of all, from shame and low self-esteem then from alignation, bitterness, cynicism, fear, and finally-loneliness ! If sexuality serves to inflate your unredeemed ego merely by counting or weighing your "scores" or "conquests," your self-esteem is on a self-destruct path. But if sexuality is channeled to experience and enrich a beautiful love life, then it can, in fact, be a positive and genuinely pleasurable experience. What's so great about a solid commitment made by partners in love? To answer this question, check these values: 1) secrecy; 2) right to privacy; 3) human dignity; 4) ultimate pleasure; 5) healthy intimacy; 6) the possibility of perpetuity. All of these six human values are interrelated in sexual activity: 1. Intimacy isn't possible if you have any reason at all to suspect that your sex secrets will be unwillingly exposed. Happy are the couples

a secrets in their memories ! 2. You cannot have the assurance of unbroken confidentiality unless your right to privacy is guaranteed.

3. If your sex life is not secured by a binding guarantee to privacy, your human dignity will be terribly vulnerable to embarrassing exposure. Under this threatening possibility you'll fail to experience ...

4. Ultimate pleasure. The fun of sex will be diluted by fear of possible embarrassing revelations. Even if you are sure that you have taken careful precautions to guard your shadowy secret from shameful detection, you will still not dare to "tell all" to your uncommitted lover. And ultimate pleasure cannot be experienced without unrestricted intimacy.

5. Healthy intimacy is where great sex really happens: when and where the lover is allowed to enter every room and any closet in the mansions of your soul! Only then, at the subconscious level, will there be true and total freedom! Only a secure subconscious allows wild abandon, which triggers stimulating spontaneity! Now you're free to fully enjoy total, unalloyed sexual joy.

6. All of the above five principles work well, of course, when there is an underlying possibility of perpetuity. Young lovers walk hand in hand, fingers interlocked. Positive feelings are aroused. Passions are ignited. They want this to last forever.

Great! Then the first wise step is to plan to take steps to safeguard the possibility of perpetuity. To neglect this first step before going all the way may weaken, at the outset, the incentive and resolve to make a commitment to continuity. Remove or ignore this primary principle, and principles 1-2-3-4-5 listed above become virtually impossible ! Studies indicate the maximum pleasure in sex is only possible in a context of the trust that only comes with a true, total, trusted commitment to continuity. "Till death us do part" is a setup for super sex. Yes, few, if any, human pleasures match the joy of sex, providing it is safe sex," which means something more than protection from sexually transmitted disease. Almost as important-perhaps more important-is safety from any form of blackmail, extortion, or embarrassing reports that could devastate valued professional or personal relationships. No wonder the human being finds secure and safe sex in monogamy.

What does the future hold for marital fidelity? Good news! Marriage will never go out of style. Cultural cycles may arise declaring the law against adultery old-fashioned. Liberated people will race to explore new frontiers of sexual freedom. But human nature will examine the classic pleasure guaranteed by privacy. And once again, the discipline of fidelity will be welcomed back into the culture. And a new cycle of delightful morality is resumed. For marriage-faithfulness between bonded and committed lovers not only maximizes the joy in sex by making real love possible, but enhances self-esteem as well. This, in the final analysis, is the Big Pay-off! In an adulterous relationship, on the other hand, sexuality separated from a commitment to continuity fails at this crucial point: total knowing. The result? A shallow relationship that will be interlaced with hollow promises and hypocritical platitudes! Intimacy is the key to love, self esteem, and joy. Mind you, you can be totally undraped in body, but if you have kept your emotions shielded and haven't really bared your innermost feelings, you have not experienced intimacy. You'll miss out on totally knowing this person and perhaps, in the deceptive, dishonest dance, miss out on knowing yourself too. Intimacy only happens when first you feel safe enough to expose yourself completely at every level-physically, emotionally, and spiritually. Do you dare to know the real you? Are you afraid to find out who you really are? Is this another reason why people fear intimacy? How wonderful it is to have one essential friend you can trust, one who will promise to love you, "for better or for worse," one who will promise to build you up and help you become a more beautiful person even when that friend discovers your secret shortcomings. The first reward of intimacy is a love that cures loneliness. and every woman needs intimacy. We all need that one essential friend to explore intimacy's great possibilities. When we find that friend, we will replace loneliness with authentic love.

What a prescription for true joy! Daring to be intimate, you will really enjoy true love! Your dignity is affirmed! It's possible to love yourself when you are loved by someone who will always respect and never betray your intimacies.

Yes, we all need to be affirmed, valued, and respected as unique, distinctive persons. Self-esteem is our deepest emotional need, and love sustains it. That's why we all seek desperately to be loved. When we're loved, we're filled-full. Now we have something we can give away- love. The empty cup can give nothing. The full cup has much to share. The life filled with love has a sweet something to offer to others who thirst for his life-giving nourishment. And in giving we enjoy a burst of new selfworth. I'm important to someone after all! I have something precious to give to somebody who has a great emptiness, hungering for fulfillment.

Remember: the deepest need is the need to be needed.

God loves us enough to say to us, "Thou shalt not commit adultery." This commandment is God's way of saying, "I love you, and I don't want to see you get hurt."

This is a command meant to be a key that opens the door marked, "Sex can be beautiful." God created every human being with an appetite for food and an appetite for sex. And both are meant for great personal fulfillment and enjoyment.

There was a soldier whose parents were members of my church until they passed away. This soldier became something of a national celebrity during WWII when he was on an aircraft carrier in the Coral Sea. In the midst of a terrible battle, he was on deck when an explosive 20-mm shell from a strafing Japanese plane went through his chest into his stomach and lodged in his hip without exploding. They didn't know what to do with him. With the slightest movement, the

ave gone off and killed everyone around him.

They hung a tag around his wrist that said, "Caution-live bomb!"

He was then strapped to a cot strung on a cable and was moved from his ship to a hospital ship across stormy waves. Then he was transported to New Caledonia, and two weeks later, surgery was performed. When they safely extricated the 20-mm shell from his body, they shot it through a piece of tissue paper. When it hit the tissue paper it exploded. For two weeks, he had indeed been a living bomb.

Psychiatrists, psychologists, anthropologists, and theologians all know that the potentially explosive power of the human sex urge is incredible. Its ramifications are reflected in creativity or lack of creativity, in civility or incivility, in antisocial behavior or in constructive behavior. The question is, How will you handle this living bomb that is in you and in every human being?

There are basically three ways, you see, to handle the sex urge. The first method is to repress it, to deny its existence. That was the overriding inclination during the extremely puritanical period in American life. Of course, this is not a problem that we have today.

About 30 years ago there was almost a neurotic repression, and you couldn't even mention the word sex in mixed circles. Today the pendulum has swung to the opposite point: the strategy now is, "Don't repress it; just release it." But release without certain moral restraints, we are discovering, is very dangerous, even deadly. It's like saying, "Let the river flow; forget about the dikes; banks aren't necessary; give the waters natural flow."

How should you handle this great God-given urge? Should you release it? Yes, if it's truly Safe Sex. Yes, but make sure you understand the controls dictated by healthy morality. Restraint, not repression, is the best way to handle sexuality. A
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Title Annotation:includes related article on prayer
Author:Schuller, Robert; Miller, Holly G.
Publication:Saturday Evening Post
Date:Jan 1, 1990
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