Chapter 5 tends to lean more toward the consequences of sexual sin, but also correctly puts the correct emphasis on God's allowance for intimacy within His boundary of marriage. Too often, the history of the church was to portray sexual intimacy as lewd- but this chapter lists a lot of positive encouragement for experiencing the pleasure of intimacy within marriage.
Look at the passion in verses 18-19:
18 May your fountain be blessed, and may you rejoice in the wife of your youth. 19 A loving doe, a graceful deer— may her breasts satisfy you always, may you ever be intoxicated with her love.
Does this sound like inhibited expression- only for the procreation of children?
But most of this passage has to do with the deadly consequences of adultery. Our culture has backed away from pressing hard for sexual purity. Some would say that it is a 'victimless' action and if we could remove the guilt attached to old fashioned mores- we could liberate human society.
But we know deep down that this is a lie. You cannot remove the harmful consequences because of how we are wired. Even science is supporting the importance of monogamous relationships. An abstinence group at Harvard is asking students to remain pure because of research which shows the body releasing powerful hormones- one called oxytocin which can create deep wounds when secure relationships are not a part of sexual intimacy.
The writer of proverbs doesn't need the data- he sees the damage: bitter wormwood-death-hell-wayward paths-loss of honor- loss of labor-regret- physical disease-trapped-a fool.
I firmly believe the battle against sexual sin begins in the mind- Jesus points this out in the Sermon on the Mount- fight it mentally and there is a better chance of winning. If you wait to battle it physically, the failure rate is much higher.
I have always credited Dr. Frank Barker and the movie, 'Fatal Attraction' as two excellent sources for warning about sexual sin. Dr. Barker used to preach about mentally rehearsing what would happen to me if I committed adultery: I would lose my wife- my children- my reputation- my job.... is that worth it? And 'Fatal Attraction' portrayed the narrative of what can happen when the seductress is turned loose to destroy- mentally thinking through these things is good ammunition.
I also want to always thank the late Mr Bill Stegall for warning me that temptation to commit adultery never leaves. He used to tell me that for young men it was about the passion and for older men it was about pride. An older man falls because he desires to be desired- especially by the young and attractive. But the price! Oh the pain of that price!
I never teach on this topic without speaking of God's grace and keep encouraging everyone to struggle well- win- but if there are failures- keep struggling and find forgiveness- the modern psychologists are right- the guilt is a deadly poison- but only the love of God can remove the sting.
I am so thankful to have the wife of my youth- may the warnings of Chapter 5 remind us- this is no pet sin... this one has way too high a price to pay.