You May Be More of a Fool About Sex Than You Thought

July 6, 2010

No restriction on sex seemed so odd and unexpected as sex itself….  Keeping to one woman is a small price for so much as seeing one woman.  To complain that I could only be married once was like complaining that I had only been born once.  It was incommensurate with the terrible excitement of which one was talking.  It showed, not an exaggerated sensibility to sex, but a curious insensibility to it.  A man is a fool who complains that he cannot enter Eden by five gates at once.  (Chesterton, “The Ethics of Elfland,” Orthodoxy)

Chafing against God’s restrictions on our sexuality isn’t unique to our culture, as hypersexualized as that is.  Man’s fallen flesh has always been excessively hungry.  If something is good, we tend to think that more of it will be even better.  So what was God thinking when he installed a marital fence around our experience with sex?  What was Jesus thinking in warning us about our desires to play around outside of the fence?

Chesterton’s point is that God’s boundary for sex shouldn’t be irritating to us just because it is mysterious.  Instead, we should wonder that God has given us sex at all.

My neighbors just brought home two puppies.  We all sit there with smiles on our faces watching those tiny black fluffballs tumbling over each other playfully.  Never once have we been silly enough to think, “You know, if these puppies could fly, now that would be even more enjoyable!  Why does God restrict these cute little creatures to the ground?”

I find Chesterton’s way of thinking not only helpful but delightful.  Wonder over the way God has designed sex — and the world itself, which is Chesterton’s larger concern — encourages simple faith and joy.  And purity.

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One Response to “You May Be More of a Fool About Sex Than You Thought”


  1. […] You May Be More of a Fool About Sex Than You Thought — G.K. Chesterton on why we have no reason to complain about God’s restrictions on our sexuality. […]


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