Interview: Ed Young on 'Sexperiment' and Why His Preaching Style Is Not Gimmicky

CP: A lot of people consider sex a taboo discussion. Some people say that sex should only be discussed in certain contexts and to certain audiences. For example, not to singles who may be tempted by sex or to kids who they say are not ready for that kind of discussion. They would argue that sex should only be a subject of discussion among married couples. How would you respond to that?

Young: That is absolutely ridiculous. Ridiculous. Because just the basic research is that when kids are 5 to 6 years of age, they are bombarded with and understand about this subject. First of all, it needs to happen at home. Secondly, in the church. The church needs to underscore and highlight the values that need to be talked about at home.

Singles desperately need this. In fact, Sexperiment is as much as it is for singles as it is for married couples. Why? Because we are always preparing for the next station in life. Ninety percent of singles will get married. So to sit there and say it's not for singles is ludicrous. It's just ridiculous.

CP: What age did you start talking to your kids about sex?

Young: There is not an age. It begins from the moment the doctor says, "It's a boy," "It's a girl." Sex education begins there.

The talk is not a definitive process. Obviously, there are times when you give them more and more information when it's age-appropriate. We have people who say, "Oh, I need to talk my daughter or son out because they are 10 or 11 years of age. They're not ready." I say, "No, they're ready. Here's the problem: you're not ready."

I would say, sadly, so many people in the church world aren't ready. They have their head in the sand of denial. It's time to wake up and smell the espresso. As believers, we should be the "sexperts." We should be the ones who are talking about the beauty of it. So it's time to talk about it with singles and your kids.

You got to keep the open lines of communication with your kids. You have to. Most parents wait too long to have "the talk." But what I'm so happy about is the fact that the book Sexperiment is out there and churches are openly talking about it because God was so open to create it.

I tell people all the time that sex is not something you do, it's who you are.

CP: You have said that your book is not meant to be a sex manual. Mark Driscoll, pastor of Mars Hill Church in Seattle, also recently published a book on sex called Real Marriage: The Truth About Sex, Friendship, and Life Together. Have you heard about it?

Young: I've heard about it. I have not read the book but I've heard about it.

CP: Well, he has some chapters in his book that has been considered provocative. He's been criticized by some evangelicals for speaking candidly about sex acts the Scripture approves and the book has a chapter on Song of Solomon and another called "Can We Do______?" You say we should be speaking about sex but how far is too far when speaking about sex?

Young: I think you obviously have to be tasteful. I've never read the book so I can't speak to Mark Driscoll's book. I know Mark is a brilliant guy who knows the Bible and he's been very open about his marriage and all that.

I mean as long as it's tastefully done and it's direct, I don't have a problem. I don't.

I think we've allowed our culture to hijack sex. It's time for us to take it back. As I've said for years, we've taken the bed out of church and God out of the bed but it's time to bring the bed back into the church and God back into the bed.

CP: Now, also you speak about Song of Solomon as a way of romancing your spouse. Some people say that Song of Solomon is more about the relationship between Christ and the Church, not about sex. How would you respond to that?

Young: I mean, I understand what they're saying. Obviously, they have the right to view it that way. I believe it is showing how man and woman grow in the context of marriage. That's what I believe.

Even without Song of Solomon, the Bible is clear ... it's obvious to me that God gave sex for recreation as well as for procreation. If it's just for procreation then my wife and I would only have sex for four times since we have four kids, you know?

It's not just about sex. We use the word sex to be acrostic. It's supernatural. It should be enjoyed for life. It's not X-rated, it's God-created.

CP: You also say in the book that God's design for sex needs to be regular. Is it your contention that spouses who aren't having regular sex are not fulfilling the will of God for their marriage?

Young: Definitely! I think if you look at Scripture and see just like 1 Corinthians 7 where you see Apostle Paul says, "Stop depriving each other of one another." I think that too many of us are saying "No" in marriage. It's fine to say "No" but "No" with a caveat: "No, tomorrow morning," "No, tomorrow night," etc., etc. I think when you say "No" you have the spirit of rejection on your marriage. 1 Corinthians 7 says your husband has rights over the wife's body and the wife has rights over the husband's body. I think one day we will be held accountable regarding how we satisfied our spouses sexually.

I would, in fact, off of Romans 12:1 say that sex is even an act of worship because Romans 12 said we can present our bodies as living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God which is a reasonable act of worship. Everything we do in the act of marriage is the act of worship.

CP: So, Christians should be having better sex than everyone else?

Young: Better sex, more sex, and creative sex. Yup. When I say creative sex, I mean romance, etc…

CP: In mid-January, the Pew Research Center released a study that found 72 percent of all adults ages 18 and older were married in 1960; but today just 51 percent are married which is a record low. So they are saying there are more divorces or people are not getting married. Do you think having more sex will save more marriages or lower the divorce rate?

Young: Yea. I mean it's not just sex. It's the whole intimacy piece we talked about that culminates with sex. Yes, all of it. I think all of it will turn the tide during these tumultuous times. We talked to people who've read the book and have done the experiment and are really buying the biblical principles in the book and they said, "Wow, it's changed our lives. It's changed our marriage."

CP: What has been the most encouraging story that you have heard from a couple trying the "Sexperiment?"

Young: Oh, there has been so many.

I'll give you one story. A guy who is not a believer. I sent him a book, saying that the title is sex but this book is about nonsexual things. But anyway, what he said was about the chapter on lust. He said he was on a flight to "Lust Vegas" right after he read the book and an attractive woman was seated next to him on the plane. This woman asked him if he needed a ride to his hotel. And he said, "You know what I did? I just pressed the delete button. I said, 'No, thank you.'" And here is a guy who is not a follower of Christ telling me that.

One of the reasons why we did the sexual chocolate and seven chocolates is to remind people of National Marriage Week. That's why we did that is that the seven-day sex challenge is to go along with the devotionals we had online. We did that on that end and then we launched with the bed on top of the roof and then for Valentine's Day we did the sexual chocolate.

CP: We can't talk about sex today without talking about porn. A lot of times when pastors talk about strengthening marriages, there is a big elephant in the room which is porn because it presents such a big hindrance to intimacy in marriage. In the book, you said that you once spoke with a girl in the adult film industry and told her, "When someone looks at porn, they are stripping the humanity of the people they are watching and of themselves." Can you elaborate on that further on why porn is so detrimental to achieving as you call it a "SucSEXful" marriage?

Young: Yea, what it is is you are cheating on your spouse and if you are single, cheating on yourself. If you are watching it, you're stripping yourself of your humanity, you're stripping the person that you are lusting after. You are downgrading yourself to an animal. The problem is our culture has animalized humans and humanized animals. God made it clear that we are not animals.

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