Enjoying the Gift of Sex in Your Marriage
Sex was designed for marriage and is meant to be a beautiful thing.
As a teen, I was part of an amazing youth group that discussed all of the "hot topics" of the day. They would even have question-and-answer sessions in our small groups. So, when sex happened to be the topic, many of us were eager to hear what our leaders had to say.
One of my friends nervously raised her hand and asked the leader, "Um…how far is 'too far' when it comes to making out." The leader paused for a moment and then proceeded to tell us in Christian code language-that she was one kiss away from an orgasm, so it was probably wise not even to kiss a boy until you are married. As you can imagine, I left that small group conversation very confused and kind of grossed out. I couldn't believe that kissing was considered off limits too.
For years, I had learned that sex was a HUGE, shameful no-no, and I would nearly ruin my life if I ever even thought about doing it. I know my parents and church meant well, but to be honest, it just made me scared of sex.
Now that I am a mother of four boys, I get what my parents were trying to do. I know they had good intentions. As parents, it's hard to understand how to properly address sex without revealing some holes in our own stories. None of us are perfect. We all make mistakes. But, we can't let this keep us from having honest, age-appropriate conversations about what the Bible says about sex and there is a lot.
So, what does the Bible have to say about sex?
1. It is a BINDING covenant that is physical, emotional, and spiritual. (Genesis 2:24)
2. Sex is designed for a HUSBAND AND WIFE within their marriage. (Genesis 1:27 and Hebrews 13:4)
3. It is GOOD. (Genesis 1:31)
4. Sex is meant for PROCREATION AND PLEASURE. (Genesis 1:28, Proverbs 5:18-19, 1 Corinthians 7:3, and Song of Solomon 7:1-3 and 6)
These are all POSITIVE things about sex within the union of marriage. They aren't something to be scared of at all. Each of these points back to the fact that sex is truly a gift from God-not something to be feared. So many of us were raised to view sex as a shameful, dirty act that is only for procreation and certainly not for pleasure, and this can negatively affect our marriage.
This is where I found myself so lost as a young married woman. In an effort to keep me chaste, my parents and youth leaders had primarily taught me about the life-altering consequences of careless sex instead of how sex masterfully fits into God's plan for marriage and family and that it is a GOOD thing.
So, I pushed my feelings down deep and prayed for God to help me to save myself for marriage, and I did-with God's help. I couldn't wait for my wedding night, but I was honestly scared to death. The only thing I knew about the actual act of sex was what I learned in health class and what I saw on television--so, not much.
My husband and I had a wonderful wedding night but took me a long time to overcome the belief that sex is a shameful, hurtful, and terrible act. I had a hard time "flipping the switch" from a young, willfully chaste woman to a married woman who could fully embrace the beautiful gift of sex with my husband. I'd been bound and determined to not do "it" at all costs for all of my youth, and then-boom- I could be uninhibited.
It was difficult for me to reconcile this in my mind and heart, and it took some time for me to shake this negative programming. For a long time, I felt like it was a sin to enjoy making love with my husband. I just saw it as my marital duty. I've found this to be a similar hurdle for many young women who've been raised in the church. Thankfully, over time and with lots of prayers and Christian counseling-I was able to embrace and even enjoy physical intimacy with my husband.
Sex is a beautiful gift from the Lord that He designed especially for marriage. As Christians, we should have the BEST, most-fulfilling sex lives around because we are married sons and daughters of the One who designed it and His Word defines it. However, I know from experience that this is much easier said than done. Friend, if you also struggle with this, I want you to know that you are not alone, and your marriage and sex life are not doomed.
Here are some steps you can take to embrace sex as an enjoyable part of your marriage fully:
1. Talk openly with your spouse about your apprehensions and insecurities when it comes to sex and why you think you feel this way.
2. Ask your husband about his, and listen intently.
3. Honestly talk about what you like and don't like when it comes to making love, and ask your husband about his preferences as well. Be sure to state your likes and dislikes, and be careful not to attack or criticize one another personally.
4. If you are still having a hard time getting past some of your hang-ups, consider seeing a Christian counselor on a regular basis. They can be an excellent resource and confidante.
5. Remember that sexual fantasy can be a good thing when focused solely on your spouse. It can aid in priming our minds and hearts for sexual intimacy with your husband. You might even want to initiate!
6. Most importantly, pray. Ask God to renew your mind and strengthen your marriage, and He will.
*It's important to note that these conversations should NOT take place when you are in the midst of trying to make love. It's best to discuss these issues when you are alone having lunch or hanging out on the couch after putting the kids to bed.
These questions might make you feel a bit awkward at first, but your willingness to be honest and transparent about your feelings and perceptions will ultimately bring you closer together and give you both a greater understanding of where each of you is coming from. Honest, heartfelt conversation is the gateway to real intimacy and connection. So, Friends, be willing to have these kinds of vulnerable, or "naked," chats. You will feel the fear and/or shame of sex melting off of you, and both you and your husband will be more willing to embrace the gift of sexual intimacy fully.
For more on how to cultivate a deeper connection, stronger marriage, and thriving sex life with your spouse, be sure to check out our book, The Naked Marriage, available on Amazon and where all books are sold.