I’m going to try to introduce a new idea that depends on a complex argument. This is a dangerous thing to do on the Internet. Yet I keep hoping it will work.
Here it goes…
I’m sure you’re familiar with Leviticus 18. It’s that passage you kept returning to as a teenage boy when mom and dad weren’t looking. It’s the one with the miscellaneous laws about sex. Stuff so perverted that it didn’t even cross your mind until you read it in the Bible.
Most Christians read Leviticus 18 and they only see restrictions. But, because we live in such a sexually retarded age, I think we miss the point. We don’t stop to consider why God might command such things.
We know from Genesis, that God is not a scarcity-minded God. He creates in abundance and he wants us to eat in abundance. He only adds sensible boundaries to protect us from harm as we go about enjoying the good things he created.
In the beginning, only one commandment was required: do not eat of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. But this command assumed there would be an abundance of eating. So it was necessary to warn where the boundary was.
I believe this assumption, that God is graciously abundant and only gives sensible restrictions, is the key to understanding all of God’s commands. God is not giving these restrictions in Leviticus 18 because he wants to put a damper on sexual fun. He knows his children are sexual beings and He fully expects them to explore their sexual instincts.
But God also knows that, sooner or later, some dumbass is going to take a good instinct and do something depraved. Get enough dumb people doing dumb things and the whole culture goes into a downward spiral of one-upmanship depravity. This was the kind of culture Israel was going to be rubbing shoulders with. So God had to introduce some boundaries.
So I believe the proper frame for interpreting Leviticus 18 is not as a group of miscellaneous sexual restrictions. Rather, they should be seen as sensible boundaries to what are natural and (if I may dare say so) good sexual desires.
I’m going to go out on a limb here and guess that most conservative Christians don’t have too much trouble avoiding bestiality and not sacrificing their children to Molech.
Christians today are far more likely to have problems with sexual suppression than with depraved heathen sexual expressions. But I think Leviticus 18 can be used to restore an understanding of healthy sexual instinct. Once you understand what the boundaries are, you can start filling in the picture.
So, enough yapping. Let’s get on to the good stuff…
Boundary Point #1: Incest (Lev 18:6-16)
The Desire: Women want to have sex with someone they are in a close familial relationship with, particularly with a male who protects and guides her. Robert Greene refers to this as “sexual regression” in The Art of Seduction. This is why terms like “daddy” and “princess” have strong erotic connotations to most women. It’s also why many men call their wife “babe.”
The Folly: This desire and erotic play is fine and dandy until some idiot decides it would be a good idea to knock up his grandaughter. Umm… no. That’s not good for the gene pool. Leave and cleave. Leave and cleave.
Boundary Point #2: Mother-Daughter / Sister “Threesomes” (Lev 18:17-18)
Hmm… not going to touch this one right now. Let’s just say it’s not a good idea to marry two women from the same family. It gave Jacob a lot of headaches.
Boundary Point #3: Menstruation (Lev 18:19)
The Desire: Women’s sexual desire is strongly tied to her hormonal cycles. When it’s “that time of month” a woman body wants nothing more than to get a baby inside her ASAP. As Rollo Tomassi has pointed out, this is the time of month when a man needs to get his alpha on and give her the rough breeding she craves.
The Folly: I’m not an expert on this, so correct me if I’m wrong. But my guess is that ancient heathen cultures understood there was a connection between female horniness and her blood flow. Someone probably got the idea that the best time to pound away was right in the middle of her flow. This probably resulted in “uncleanness” and perhaps was harmful to the woman.
Boundary Point #4: Adultery (Lev 18:20)
The Desire: A woman wants a man who is better than her and better than other men. She wants a strong man. She wants the best man she can get.
The Folly: Alpha males get the idea that they can go ahead and knock up any wife they want. Wives get the idea that it’s okay to cheat if her husband is a “loser.” Society becomes okay with it. Rather than getting their balls back, beta men settle for bad sex and an emasculated existence. They embrace cuckoldry as a sexual fetish. Family structure falls apart. Hmm.. this one actually sounds familiar…
Boundary Point #5: Child Sacrifice (Lev 18:21)
The Desire: Something valuable must be given up in order to bring forth life and blessings. In a healthy culture, the woman sacrifices her youthful nubile body in order to bring forth children. (In the right context, a man “deflowering” and “ruining” a young woman’s body so she can bear his children is an erotic sacrifice. Even to participate in the sexual act, a woman’s pristine body must endure some pain and be stretched in order to accommodate the man.)
The Folly: In a backwards culture, rather than sacrifice to bring forth children, the children are sacrificed in order to bring about or preserve supposed blessings. Hmm… this one sounds familiar too.
Boundary Point #6: Homosexual Sex (Lev 18:22)
The Desire: The phallus is the symbol of masculine potency and dominance. In arguably more sane cultures, it was revered. Even to this day, women have a subconscious need for seed and a desire to adore this sacred vessel of life.
The Folly: “Hey, if one phallus is so great, why not put two of them together? Double the masculine power, right?”
Boundary Point #7: Bestiality (Lev 18:23)
The Desire: A woman wants to be bred like a wild animal.
The Folly: It’s a bad idea to breed with an animal.
Well, those boundary points should give you a good outline of normal sexual desire. God understood these desires and placed sensible boundaries so that we wouldn’t do anything too stupid.
Conservative Christians tend to be experts on sexual sins. They have such an advanced understanding that they’ve even managed to invent several new sexual sins. But they tend to be ignorant about sexual desire.
As a married man, it would behoove you to spend more time exploring feminine sexuality rather than cataloging the various sexual sins of depraved heathens. No woman ever jumped into bed with a man because of his impressive knowledge of what wasn’t allowed.