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Intimacy, Sex & Bonds in Relationships: Featuring Reuben Smith

Hey, I’m Reuben and it’s to great to be writing to you guys today! I’m 18, currently living in Exeter and working at Rediscover Church Exeter.

I’m going to be writing a little bit today about what I’ve been made aware and convicted of on the topic of sex and sexual activity. I pray it can help you in the same way it has in my own personal journey.

Before I start, I just want to give a disclaimer: This is NOT coming from a place of condemnation or pride; you can make your own decisions and opinions from what you read!

Time for some honesty…

 Due to my past, particularly at parties I may have earned a ‘F boy’ reputation, that I am not very proud of, and realistically although I was always set on not doing any kind of sexual stuff and taking things further, it never stopped me from ‘getting with girls’ casually. And in my own experiences that has caused some relearning of my own. The idea that a ‘kiss could be meaningless’ therefore meant that a kiss could never be anything other than meaningless. I had to change the way I viewed and interacted with women, something that I’m still going to be working on for a while to come. I needed to simultaneously dispose of the lad-culture mentality alongside changing my perception of women being a challenge for a potential ego boost and reprogram my interactions by removing any ulterior motives.

This is a personal struggle, however my reasoning for not engaging in sexual activity outside of marriage is because I believe marriage should be permanent, and nothing else is as permanent and unbreakable as marriage.

Although it’s easy to look at your relationship through rose tinted glasses and say you’ll never break up, sadly this is not always the case. If you are choosing to form this physical and neurological attachment on top of the existing emotional attachment, then how much harder will that be if/when it breaks? 

The thing is we know it’s going to be hard! This is why we see so many people unable to break up, they keep going back to the people that hurt them. They’re not only emotionally connected, they’re physically and neurologically attached as well. This deeper attachment just makes it so much harder to escape that cycle!

Next, I want to delve into this concept of ‘sex glue’

‘Sex Glue’ is a crazy thing! Every time you have an orgasm you are bonding to your surroundings. During an orgasm, your body releases a chemical called oxytocin. That oxytocin is creating a bond between you and your partner; the more sexual encounters you have, the stronger the bond becomes.

So, by indulging in anything that leads to the release of oxytocin, or preparing your body for such an event, you are making yourself bond to that surrounding (person). And if that surrounding is constantly changing you are teaching yourself to bond to variety, leading you to bond, eventually, to nothing.

Whenever a person is sexually involved with another person, neurochemical changes occur in both their brains that encourage limbic, emotional bonding…sex is enhancing an emotional bond between them whether they want it or not.

DR DANIEL AMEN, NEUROPSYCHOLOGIST

Then think how hard it would be to not only retrain your mindset but to have to retrain your own body’s chemical and neurological attachments to bond with one person and remain faithful in marriage.

One reason for personally withholding sexual activities until marriage is because I never want to go through that added pain in a breakup knowing I could have prevented a more painful outcome. Sex is one of the greatest expressions of love, yet I believe the best way I can love my unmarried partner the most is to not have sex with them. If my partner felt unhappy in the relationship, I wouldn’t want her to stay in that unhappy situation because of an unnecessary bond that we chose to create. A bond that, if broken, would inflict so much more pain on both sides, pain that I knew could have been prevented.

When you open up that desire and realise how good it is, it’s hard to turn back! You’re either going to go all the way or you’re going to have to fight your body and stop yourself. I only want to make that bond once, and that bond will allow me to love and build a strong attachment with one person, my wife. And that deep bond will be another thing supporting my life-long marriage and something that only enhances the love I’ll have for my wife.

But don’t worry, It’s never too late!

I believe God’s grace and love can heal all the damage and pain of casual sex. As I have said I’m not here to make you feel guilty but to help inform you in what I believe.

If you feel like you have some of these attachments…that they have damaged you in the past or are still on-going, I believe in a God that can heal you from those things and help you break those bonds.

If this is something you have/are struggling with or this post has spoken to you in someway, I encourage you to talk and pray with a friend or mentor about it. If you have any questions/want to speak about this further I would be happy to chat to anyone about it, just pop me a message on Instagram! Also remember that prayer is such a great way to approach these sort of things and is just a conversation with God.

Massive thanks to Reuben for writing for the ESC Blog! We hope that this post was able to speak to you all in some way. As Reuben said, if you have any questions or additional thoughts, please be sure to contact us or Reuben OR feel free to leave a comment down below. Again, a huge thank you to Reuben for this post.

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