The world is dominated by sex. It’s nothing new. Thousands of years ago through today, the mastery stands. With media, technology, and screens, it’s more obvious now, but sex has consistently been in the forefront.
Think of old religions and new spiritualities. Think of what dominates people when they “do what they want.” Think of our TV shows, movies, advertisements, and clothing. Think of rulers in the past, celebrities today. Think of what ruins people, from teenagers to adults. Think of this constant buzz in our world. Sex dominates.
When we consider it all, it’s pathetic.
It’s “pathetic” in both the informal and formal senses of the world. In the informal sense, we use the word “pathetic” to mean “pitifully inferior or inadequate” (Merriam-Webster). Hence, a pathetic attempt at a joke, a pathetic argument, et cetera. In the formal sense, the word “pathetic” means “having a capacity to move one to either compassionate or contemptuous pity” (Merriam-Webster). In this classic sense, something pathetic leads to compassion.
In both senses, we can witness how pathetic it is that sex so soaks our world.
Sex-Soaked and Unsatisfied
We can start with the informal sense. But as we do, let’s be clear: God is the one who invented sex for beautiful unity and intimacy. “Now Adam knew Eve his wife…” (Genesis 4:1). This is a God’s good design. Sex is not bad, nor gross, nor something only for procreation. There’s wonderful enjoyment to be had and love to be felt in its God-given context.
But how off-track this has gotten in our world! Sex has been dominant since the fall, it still is, and it’s woefully inadequate (“pathetic”) when we look to it to give us purpose or satisfy our longings. Now, it’s true that when we’re caught up in the passion—caught up in a ‘large’ way like a sexual act, or in a ‘small’ way like being titilated by an advertisement—illicit sex can feel enjoyable. But let’s be honest: when we’re sober-minded (not intoxicated by sex’s titilations—like you possibly are right now), don’t we taste how “inadequate” or “pitifully inferior” this is? When we look at all the advertisements, songs, movies, clothes, and we see how ridiculously sexual everything is, don’t we taste that we’re made for more? Don’t we feel that there’s so much more to us, that we have a greater purpose, that sex shouldn’t be as big as it is? Don’t we taste that this can't be it?
The answer we almost all agree on is, Yes. Yet we're still in a sex-soaked world, and we're very unsatisfied.
So, sex is "pathetic" in that it’s woefully inadequate. That’s the informal definition. But the formal definition—something arising compassion or pity—might be even more fitting when we speak about our sex-focused world.
We can know that sex isn’t all there is, that we were made for more, that it’s (informally) pathetic how much people are living for it. But if we stop there, we’re missing something. We’re missing the heart of the issue: many people do think it will satisfy and give them purpose. Many people are living for it! This is literally “pathetic,” not that we should feel pride nor disgust, but sadness. It should make us not mainly be critical, but compassionate.
Individuals all over the world are living life in this sex-soaked world caring way too much about the pleasure of sex. They weren’t made for it, and it’s crushing them. Whether it be seeking out physical sex itself, or as simple as over-fixating on looking good, or indulging in shows that gives them that sexual thrill, or looking at illicit videos on their portable screens, many people (maybe even you, the reader) are dominated by this.
Most of them know that there’s got to be more. They feel how it doesn’t satisfy like it promises. Because sex isn’t as prominent nor meaningful nor satisfying as the world advertises, people—even those living so much for it—sense that it’s not enough. Yet, it still has such prominence in their lives. And so, for the Christian, this is "pathetic" in that it stirs compassion. We know that sex isn't what the world advertises it to be. We know that they’re missing out.
What the Creator Knows
All of this is a reason why many of the “vice lists” in the Bible, predominantly by Jesus and the apostle Paul (eg. Matthew 15:19; Colossians 3:5), mention sex. This domination isn’t anything new. It’s always been soaking our world.
But more importantly, this domination isn’t newly hurtful either. It’s such a big deal in the Bible because our Creator knows that someone living for sex is asking for less happiness, not more. They’re asking to diminish their humanity, not enhance it. They become a machine of the media, and robot of the rulers, believing the lie that sex is of utmost importance. It’s not. It won’t satisfy the search. It is created by God for his good, fitting purposes in marriage. But it’s not what the world advertises it to be.
Resist the Atmosphere
This is why, to say it one last time, it’s pathetic. There’s much more to us, to life, to love, to happiness, yet look around and see what our world, and so many people in it, are fixated on. When we have eyes to see sex’s dominance, it's jarring. But for us Christians, we know it is and always has been an inadequate place to find purpose and joy. And the fact that many are seeking for deep happiness there should lead us to compassion.
So, next time you and I feel the fluttering of temptation for illicit sexual titilation, let’s realize how pathetic it is, how ridiculous it is that our valuable world is often vulgarly reduced to sexual fulfillment. Teenagers in high school, college students in dorms, adults at work, all of us on on phones, we’re all smothered with this haze. For our own good and happiness, and for the flourishing of who we are as human beings, we do well to resist getting comfortable in the atmosphere of our world, the pathetic sex-soaked air we breathe. Such an emphasis on sex is surprisingly everywhere, but it’s so inadequate.
There’s so much more to life—there so much more to you and I—than sex. Don’t believe the lie of the world. Let’s live for the superior joys and greater purposes in Christ.