It is natural to desire loving relationships, but does sex always express love?

Estimated reading time: 4 minutes

The 2021 series of the dating reality TV programme Love Island has recently begun. The show is now in its 7th season and involves a group of contestants, who in order to remain on the show and win £50,000, are forced to ‘pair up’ with another contestant. The show begins with the contestants coupling up based on first impressions, ‘but over the duration of the series they are forced to “re-couple” where they can choose to remain in their current couple or swap’ [1]. Viewing figures of this year’s launch episode peaked at 3.3 million (and averaged 1 million), and amongst the 16-34 audience demographic this ITV2 show is the most-watched digital channel programme of the year so far [2]. What can we learn from its huge popularity?

We are designed to be in relationships

We are all need to be loved and to love. This is no surprise, since God created us to be in a relationship with Him and with others. He also created the relationship of marriage so we could experience a committed, faithful and sexual relationship with a husband or wife.

The Lord God said, ‘It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him a helper fit for him.’… …Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh.

Genesis ‭2:18 & 24‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬

What kind of love matters

Love is difficult to define, but it can be identified by the behaviour it produces. The culture we live in tells us that it is all about getting what you want out of a relationship for as long as it suits you, not about what you can give. We are told that we should be guided by our ‘feelings’, although these change all the time. We are encouraged to believe that sex expresses love, but sex that hurts others and messes with their feelings leads to heartbreak or anger, as Amy and Shaughna both showed in the last series when they were “dumped” for another contestant. True love is about giving sacrificially to another person, not simply about how they look, what they can give us or how they make us feel.

Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave Himself up for her.

Ephesians 5:25

Jack and Dani, the winners of the 4th season of Love Island in 2018, were affectionate to each other and built a strong friendship. They chose not to be sexually intimate in the villa – an unusual decision for most contestants on the show. Sex is a very precious gift, given to us by God, and we should not treat it casually. It is only within the emotional and spiritual protection of marriage that sex has its full expression of true love.

Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.

1 Corinthians ‭13:4-7‬

These verses often read at weddings describe the kind of love we all seek. Imagine a world where we all loved and were loved like this!!