Sex: Blazing Fire, Mighty River, Walled Garden




Analogies can be a way for us to understand ideas or experiences better. Here are 3 good analogies I’ve heard used to describe sex, and why I find them helpful:


The weekend-getaway we do with our 12-year-olds is called “Passport2Purity.” That is the first place I remember hearing the analogy of sex as a blazing fire.

A blazing fire can be a dangerous thing, or a wonderful thing.

Two summers ago, here in Washington, firefighters gave weeks of their lives, to fend off out-of-control blazing fires. One of them, near us, started from two young guys fooling around, shooting at propane tanks. People had to flee their homes and their land. Sometimes people even lose their lives in fires like this.

Sex can be like that.

People can die from the results. Relationships can die. Families can die. When used in an out-of-control way, sex destroys life, and will wreck the things unfortunate enough to be nearby.

We have a fireplace here in our living room, and like to have fires going in the winter. A blazing fire in a fireplace offers warmth to everyone who comes near. Several years ago in Texas, we built a fire pit together as a family. Sometimes we burned huge pieces of lumber in that spot. Songs were sung. Marshmallows were roasted. Hands were warmed. Jokes were told. Memories were made.

Sex can be like that.

Families are brought together. The married couple can grow closer and flourish. It can be fun and memorable. When used in a controlled way that recognizes the power of the blaze, sex can enhance and even give life, giving warmth to the things fortunate enough to be nearby.







“Classical Jewish sources describe sexuality as a mighty river. If harnessed, it can bring irrigation and magnificent energy to countless communities. If unharnessed and out of control, it brings floods and destruction.” (Jewish resource about sex here)

Anyone who lives close to water can appreciate this analogy.

Hurricanes, seasonal flooding, torrential rain, a leaky roof– we know the damage that water can do when unharnessed and allowed to go anywhere it will.

Sex can be like that.

It can storm in and out of places it doesn’t belong. Sex outside of God’s bounds wrecks everything in its path. Pornography, fornication (sex outside of marriage), using it as a bargaining chip or means of manipulation… when sex is used wrongly, it harms, ruins, kills, destroys.

But wow! Water is so refreshing on a hot day. During our 3rd day on the Wonderland Trail, we’d gone up and up and up and up and used up all our water. We were hot and thirsty and tired. When the ranger pointed us toward a cool, ground-fed spring, it refreshed and invigorated us all.

Sex can be like that.

It can refresh the soul, give life to the weary, and provide a safe place of joy after exhaustion, grief, sorrow, and toil.





What a beautiful analogy for sex inside of marriage!

God has made sex to be a private experience for two individuals. Those two people, as long as they stay within the protective “walls” of guidelines God lays out in His Word, can experience beauty, life, health, and fun together.

  • The two people inside the garden can plant things the way they want. They can choose to put a tire swing in one spot, or a bench in another. Within the safety of God’s boundaries, no one else can tell them what their garden should look like.
  • The more that’s planted, the more enjoyment there is to be reaped.
  • Each season can bring new, surprising colors and refreshing fruit.
  • New, pretty little unexpected plants can crop up from time to time, but there is also strength and beauty that can come from steady growth over time.
  • Weeding your garden, and ridding it of pests, will be to your own advantage, both in the short-term and the long-term.
  • The garden can become a retreat from the world, a balm for wounds, a place of joyful memories, free exuberance, and solace-giving quiet.

The Song of Solomon uses this analogy as well.


IN THE COMMENTS: Do any of these analogies help crystalize something important in your understanding of God’s designs for sex?

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Jess Connell

Jesus-follower, Happy wife, Mom of 8 neat people. Former world-traveler, now settled in Washington. Host of Mom On Purpose podcast ( I write and wrangle kids.

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2 Responses

  1. Jessica H says:

    Beautiful post!
    The key thing that stands out for me in all three analogies is the importance of appropriate boundaries.
    Without boundaries, a fire can rage and destroy, a river can flood and drown, and a garden can be trampled and have all it’s flowers picked.
    The confines of the marriage covenant is what sanctifies sex.

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