Sex is a natural expression of human nature, but there are many additional factors that sweeten the draw.
Disclaimer: Illicit sex (e.g. sexual promiscuity, casual sex, premarital sex, fornication, adultery, etc.) is immoral and destructive to one’s overall satisfaction in marriage. This article is not intended to endorse the practice of illicit sex, but only to examine why illicit sex is so enticing, satisfying, and so prevalent in society and the church.
My Pastor was very amused by my earlier testimony given as a response to his question, How is illicit sex related to one’s spiritual state? (2019 May 22), and so he asked me another question related to the first.
He said he’s working on a project in which he’s trying to understand why illicit sex is such a huge problem in the church, and for people in general. He pointed out that there are two varieties of illicit sex on a sliding scale. On one end is the fleshly nature. On the other end of the spectrum is the experience of falling in love.
He drew the following figure to help visualize the dichotomy.
He posed a question for me to contemplate: On the raw copulation end of the spectrum, it’s obvious that sex must be included in the relationship, because that’s the point of it all. But over on the other side of the love experience, why must sex be included in the interaction?
I could easily extend this same question to myself; I kept my virginity for years while waiting to find a wife, but I never found a wife, and it was ℏǝll. So why did I have to start engaging in fornication before my spiritual life came alive, making me feel blessed?
I answered this question from my own personal, spiritual standpoint in my previous post, but after contemplating this question further, I’ve identified a large multitude of very compelling reasons that would apply to everyone.
Note: Points in blue font are uniquely dependent on one’s sense of discernment, a trait arising from one’s spiritual health and vitality. Thus, a lack of discernment, or a greenhorn’s clumsy use of discernment, stands out as a fundamental generator of sexual indiscretion.
Biological and Phenomenological Incentives
- Up to 30 different parts of the brain are activated during sexual stimulation, including those responsible for emotion, touch, joy, satisfaction, and memory, as well as the reward center associated with Classical Conditioning.
- In addition to (1), there is a plethora of biological chemicals that are released during sexual stimulation. These include dopamine, endorphine, epinephrine, oxytocin… These chemicals produce an addictive high, such that once a person becomes sexually active, it is exceedingly difficult to return to a life of celibacy. For some people, it is impossible.
- It’s good to be natural! You don’t have to torture yourself by refusing gratification, and then regret it later on.
- People tend to justify their decisions, and so they seldom experience regret for having sex with anyone they willingly chose to have sex with.
Some of the spiritual phenomena related to illicit sex were discussed in the previous post.
- Feeling alone and unloved often drives one to the comforting idolatry of illicit sex.
- The effects of the Law on the sinful nature (for the new Christian, or one who is weak in faith). When you’re expressly forbidden to do something, the fallen nature becomes obsessed with doing that thing.
- There are emotional and relational rewards inherent to the act of coitus, whether it be the fulfillment of the feral desire for sex on one end of the spectrum, or on the other, the transcendental experience of being in love. These significantly satiating rewards give one the experience of Grace. That is, they do something that is morally corrupt, but they get something better than what their actions deserve. (At least for the time being.)
- Experiencing this grace (or disgrace, for those who need their liaisons exposed before the satisfaction kicks in) may give a person the subjective impression of feeling loved by God. Note: This is not actually a result of illicit sex, but appears as a cofactor of being humbled and having a trusting, open heart.
- Experiencing God’s unconditional love and grace gives a person a sense of liberation. They feel free to be authentic, including sexual exploration and experimentation. They get the impression that they can pursue personal authenticity in the form of illicit sex and not have to face any dire consequences.
- When a person gets closer to God, their sense of spiritual discernment will usually grow. For some people (like myself), a heightened sense of discernment subjects them to more intense temptation by making them aware of opportunities.
- Humility is a characteristic of people who are close to God. For some people (like myself), humility makes them more emotionally expressive of their needs to others, and this can make them feel more vulnerable to temptation, and succumbing to it as well.
- Generational curses (or in general, the curse of the Fall) may cause one to be blind to, or in denial of the spiritual consequences of illicit sex.
- In general, people are lacking a healthy sense of Innocence and Guilt that would allow them to discern how illicit sex detracts from their spiritual vitality. Instead, people get supercharged by being proud and selfish, and they do not feel blessed through being obedient to God.
Incentives from Society
Social trends in Western societies over the last 40+ years have decreased marriage rates, and promoted hook-up culture.  These trends are detailed here.
- Modern women are sexually liberated by feminism, and the church is not that much different. Theoretically, this means that 80% of the women are chasing and bedding the top 20% of men. As a result, the top 20% of men don’t want to limit their opportunities by getting married, and the bottom 80% of men have no chance to marry. 
- More women have an advanced education and economic independence. Improvements in the relative wage have facilitated women’s independence by reducing the monetary incentive for marriage, and can account for 20% of the decline in marriage between 1980 and 2010. 
- Rigged feminist-inspired laws have caused a disincentivizing of marriage for men and an incentivizing of divorce for women. [2,3]
- Easy peasy no-fault divorce laws indoctrinate people to take their marital commitment lightly. 
- The widespread sexualization of the mass media normalizes a casual view of sex.
- Widely available hardcore porn reduces both men’s and women’s motivation to marry. 
In general, as traditional norms surrounding sexual morality have collapsed, the institution of marriage has come under intense attack, and has fallen by the wayside. This has a snowball effect of increasing the proliferation of illicit sex.
Incentives arising from the Socio-Sexual-Marriage Market Place
- In general, people are desperate for love, and sex is the next best thing.
- Peer pressure, especially during adolescence, can be a powerful motivation to “go all the way”.
- Refusing to have sex puts one at a disadvantage in the Sexual Market Place.
- Women are the so-called “Gatekeepers of sex”, not men. (A Gatekeeper is the person who possesses and controls the resources that the other person desires. Alternately, men are the “Gatekeepers of Commitment”.) All this means that sex doesn’t happen until the woman says so, and when the woman decides to have sex, the man she chooses must always comply. If a woman gives a man an invitation to bed, and he turns her down, she will never talk to that man again. In sum, most men would rather have sex than reject sex and be rejected by her in turn.
- In modern society, there are a sufficient number of women described in (3) that now, “satisfying sex” has become a defacto prerequisite for a long-term relationship.
- Sex is the lowest common denominator between any two people. Despite the ease and ubiquity of internet communications, it’s too difficult to find someone who shares your values and life purposes. Instead, most people are just looking for a suitable sex partner, and then they deal with the other things as they come. (No pun intended.) The internet is well suited for this purpose.
Incentives arising from Family Expectations
- In general, a dysfunctional family environment creates many types of contexts which provide various incentives for illicit sex. This is deserving of a separate study.
- Most parents in east Asia (i.e. China, Japan, South Korea, Taiwan) expressly forbid their children from having a boyfriend or girlfriend until they’re in their mid-to-late twenties. In Western nations, parents don’t need to do this, because it’s already the cultural norm. They are also urged (in Taiwan), or encouraged by various means (in the West), to postpone marriage until they’ve finished their academic preparation, established a career, and saved some money, which usually pushes marriage into their 30’s. This social ontology cuts against the normal human sexual development. Nature dictates that young people should be marrying, having sex, and having children much earlier than this.
- As a consequence of (1), many young people are motivated to abstain (i.e. Japan), have secret relationships (i.e. Taiwan), or ride the carnavel carousel (i.e. the West). For the Asian, the power, intrigue, and draw of a secret partnership is deeply satisfying. For the Westerner, the free spirited, fast and loose lifestyle proves to be extremely gratuitous, if not addictive. Hence, the longitudinal effects on one’s soul cannot be understated.
- The experiences described in (2) teach young people how to manage clandestine love relationships (Asian), or handle monkey branch swinging with ape-like dexterity (Western). These habits tend to become engrained, and continue on, even after marriage.
- If Asian lovers are found out, parents or spouses usually react by joking about it, or looking the other way. In the West, people are expected not to be judgmental. So there is a lack of positive punishment for sexual indiscretions.
- Many women in sexually liberated societies, (e.g. U.S.A., Taiwan) have had at least 3-4 partners, and an abortion or two, before they even think about settling down.
In total, the above factors undermine one’s satisfaction in marriage, which is often to a different person than one’s first lover. If the dissatisfaction is sufficiently profound, then an affair is likely to happen.
Problems with Opportunity, Responsible Agency, Accountability, and Impunity
There are a number of things in modern society that allow one to bypass most of the natural consequences of illicit sex. These include the following.
- One of the main problems with exercising personal responsibility concerning sexual behavior is that people hardly ever feel guilty about any sort of sexual transgression. So this seldom leads a person to do any sort of introspection, much less come to repentance.
- Cheap, effective and widely available contraceptives (the pill, condoms, IUD’s, etc.) eliminate the chance of pregnancy. 
- Abortions are cheap, safe, discretely private, and easily obtainable, and are commonly used in ~95% of the cases as a de facto form of birth control.
- Penicillin and other antibiotics have reduced the risk and cost of contracting STD’s.
- The widespread social acceptance of sexual liberation. Slit shaming is condemned as misogynistic, so there’s literally no opportunity to be held accountable for it. Even within the church, the flaccid “love and forgive” social atom-osphere broadcasts the message that illicit sex is no big deal.
- Social media and dating websites provide women a constant stream of countless opportunities with men.
- The proliferation of SMS and internet communications which are easy to hide and delete.
It is well known that the surety of being punished is a larger motivator for good behavior than the severity of the punishment. In total, all the above factors have eliminated both the surety and severity of any consequences related to illicit sex.
In light of the above factoids, we can be thankful for the small miracle that 4% of women are virgins on their wedding night!
The Boomers’ wishes came true! The Sexual Revolution is HERE!
Unfortunately, women are less happy, men are foundering in porn, purposelessness, and increased suicide rates, and people are having less sex overall. That’s not quite what they expected. But that’s how it goes whenever you make a deal with the Devil!
- Quillette: Attraction, Inequality, and the Dating Economy (2019 March 12)
- Chateau Heartiste: The Four Sirens Of The Sexual Apocalypse (2016 March 17)
- Dalrock: More grim news for carousellers hoping to jump at the last minute. (2012November 24)
- Σ Frame: On the discernment and wisdom of true morality (2019February 2)
- Christianity and Masculinity: The Demise of Marriage: Cause and Effect (2019 May 17)