The Cathedral of the Ozarks again flooded with chattering students Thursday morning to hear Sharon May wrap up the Center for Relationship Enrichment’s Relationships week chapel services.
May built on Tuesday’s discussion of how humans are created for relationships and have a built-in desire to be connected, to care for others, and to be cared for. She dove deeper into the dynamics of how bonds are created, and the pain when they are torn apart.
“God has created us to be in a relationship and the heart of God is for us to love and to love well. We were designed to be connected,” she said.
May said God designed intimacy in romantic relationships to create a strong bond, especially between married couples.
“And to make sure that we would bond often, God made sex very pleasurable, very yummy,” she said. As the crowd burst into self-conscious laughter, she added, “I am a married woman; I’m allowed to say that.”
May explained that we fail to realize that sex has a profound impact on our bodies, and on our brains and on our souls, on who God created us to be.
“That is because God designed sex not just for procreating (that’s making babies) and not just for pleasure (and it is beautiful, thanks to the dopamine rush),” she said. “God designed sex to be part of the context, the wonderful process of connecting and bonding our brains and our beings with our spouse.”
May detailed several hormones that lend their services to creating a bond between man and woman.
For a man, testosterone means, “his heart keeps him directed toward his home, his wife.” The hormones oxytocin and vasopressin when released make him feel more at ease and safe, while bonding him to his wife.
For a woman, oxytocin is what helps her build trust with her mate and increases her desire for more touch from him.
To counteract a culture where behaviors like hooking up and pornography are common, May offered several reasons why these can be detrimental.
Hooking up causes a ripping apart of the bonds, we start detaching the act of sex from the bonding experience of the hormones. People begin to attach the act to only the dopamine rush of sex instead of the bonding God intended between husband and wife.
Pornography heightens the brain to sexual cues and the hormone release this causes. May explained how there is so much that competes with a man’s visual attention and his sexuality in today’s culture.
“You were designed to be narrow and to go home, but now there are many exits on the journey homeward,” May said.
May encouraged students to remember that until the day they get married, “that is someone else’s Adam and someone else’s Eve you’re dating. Respect that.”
“True love is worth waiting,” she concluded.
Sophomore Levi Epstein appreciated May’s thoughts about dating and being what she referred to as a “safe haven.”
“People sacrifice security for temporary happiness a lot,” Epstein said.
In reaction to May saying sex was “yummy,” Freshman Shelby Burchfiel, said, “I was surprised, I wasn’t expecting that.” She found the whole conversation a bit awkward.
Freshman Chrissy Abshier said, “I was surprised by the neurological components of sex. It makes sense but I didn’t know there was an actual brain thing that went on.”
Abshier also appreciated May’s style.
“She was super blunt and honest about everything. It didn’t feel like she was above me. I like her very much,” she said.
Sophomore Deb Garrison is married with young adult children. She said she was not surprised by much May said, but appreciated her message.
“I liked how she approached the issue,” said Garrison. “I have never seen it approached the way she did. She was planting seeds rather than making people feel bad. She gave them things to think about when they are making a commitment or a decision to have sex. I thought she presented in a good way. She had good insight and was able to see the younger views and really relate to the students.”