13 Realities of Married Sex: #6 Sex is Receiving

In yesterday’s post we wrote, “Marriage (and the sex within) has a mysterious power to right wrongs and release us from our deep insecurities.”  Sadly, we believe that many couples are missing out on experiencing this power.  Sex is often viewed as fun, enjoyable physical pleasure.  That’s great! But sex is also deeply spiritual. Learning to receive the spiritual benefits sex offers our marriages is certainly worth consideration.

I (Megan) am not sure I would have understood how deeply spiritual, restorative and Healing in Bedhealing sex could be if I hadn’t experienced it in my own life.  After the birth of our second child I struggled with postpartum depression and anxiety. The panic attacks were confusing and really shook me.  I often felt angry, frustrated, sad and out of control.  The first step out of this vicious cycle was to admit I was struggling.  That made a huge difference in the amount of shame and guilt I was feeling.

Aside from that though, God used my sexual relationship with Justin to help heal, comfort and encourage me.  I didn’t know that’s what was happening but it was.  This season of our sex life wasn’t all “hot & heavy”, it wasn’t a barrel of laughs and it didn’t include the worlds biggest orgasms.  It was gentle, caring, healing and restorative.  Sex reminded me during this time that I was loved, respected, cherished, desirable and accepted.  Sex reached deep into my soul and sought out dark places that I didn’t even know existed.  God used the gift of sex to restore me to balance, encourage me and revive my spirit.  And let me tell you, I received so much more than I was able to give.  I received so much more than I even knew was missing. I received the full measure of what God intended sex with my spouse to be and I have never forgotten.

This post could just as easily have been written about learning to receive physical pleasure from sex. Learning how to increase libido and sexual response.  Learning about techniques and approaches that could help make your sex life better. Those would have been good posts.  This post, however, is intended to help broaden your perspective on the purposes and designs of Godly marital sex. God has mysteriously attached spiritual blessings to sex, some we may never be able to fully grasp.  It’s in this mystery that God does some of His best work.  It’s a mystery you don’t want to miss out on.

Here are three things to consider:

1. Consider the possibility that sex may just be able to restore and refresh you in ways you never imagined. Have you lost sight of who you are or what is important to you? Have you forgotten that goodness, kindness and gentleness still exist? Are you in need of comfort?  Sex will not provide the answers to these deep questions we all have.  However, sex can be an avenue that is used by God to confirm our identity, provide us kindness and comfort our aching souls.

2. Consider that the spiritual power of sex may just be enough to shed light into the dark and deep crevices of your soul. Vulnerability and sex go hand in hand.  When a person is vulnerable enough for great sex to occur, sex acts as a light to reveal the best and worst. If we are open to it we can see our own insecurities, our selfishness, our pain, our unforgiveness, our shame.  All those things must be dealt with and if we are willing to be vulnerable and open to it, the spiritual and healing nature of sex can cover those things.  Where there is insecurity, confidence may arise.  Painful memories can be replaced with beauty.  Shame may be put to death so that new life may arise. Do you believe this is possible?

3. Consider that sex might play a role in the restoration and healing we all need.  Though there are many reasons God placed the gift of sex within the confines of marriage, this spiritual mystery may be the most profound.  We live in a broken and marred world. All of us have been affected by this brokenness and we bare the scars to prove it.  Sex is meant to be the highest earthly example of God’s love for His created, His love for you and me.  The oneness that occurs, the mystery of the moment, the purity of husband and wife joining their bodies as one; this is a profound mystery.  We all need healing.  We all need restoration.  And God is the only one who can provide it for us.  Our role is to participate in and accept that healing and restoration in our marriages when we come together.  When you make love in anticipation and expectation of that mystery to occur, the restoration that happens is endless.

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Discuss with your spouse:

1. In what ways do you believe sex can be healing?

2. Do you have any shame at all that may require healing?  Can our sex life be a part of that healing process for you?

3. Challenge: On your own, find 3 Bible verses that discuss the subject of sex.  Do these passages in any way change your thoughts on the spiritual aspects of sex?

Linking with: To Love Honor and Vacuum

When “Tomorrow” becomes “Today”:

I’ll admit it, I am a procrastinator.  In fact I (Megan) have had this post in my head for over a week yet here I am finally writing.  I often have a very unhelpful mantra pass through my thoughts, the mantra that says “I can do that tomorrow.”  If you were to compare my ‘to do’ list from last week to my ‘to do’ list for this week, it might be a bit embarrassing as to the number of things I had to repeat.  I seem to always convince myself, “That can wait till tomorrow.  Or even, that can be done next week or next month.”  Then tomorrow, next week or next month come and well, it still doesn’t get done.  This struggle happens in my personal life, my professional life, and even in my marriage.  See if you can relate to any of these common procrastinations in marriage:

  • Prayer is important but next week when things calm down (yeah right!) we can get around to praying together.
  • Making time to connect through physical touch and intimacy is good for our marriage but right now I just don’t feel like it.  I am sure I will be less tired tomorrow.
  • Ok, the church is offering a marriage class but with soccer, dance and football games it will have to wait.
  • You mean I am actually supposed to talk to my spouse on a daily basis!?!

This is a short list, but I’m sure it makes a few us (including myself) squirm a little in our seats.  I know I am guilty of these things and more on a regular basis.  So today, I am making a conscience choice to not put off till tomorrow what I  can do today.  This is not in an effort to do more or be more.  It is simply an effort to take simple steps in the right direction towards goals I have in my personal life, my marriage and my professional life.  Will you join me in putting off the “tomorrow” mindset and taking captive the “today” mindset?

Now, as for me, I am off to run a 5k* before the day gets away from me and I lose any desire to such a ridiculous thing!  What are you going to do that you were thinking could wait till tomorrow?

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Do you ever struggle in the are of procrastination?  What can you do to make strides to accomplish today what you might normally put off till tomorrow?

* I am taking part in an online fitness challenge so as not to put off taking care of my physical body till “tomorrow”.  Inspiration came form Clare at Peak313.

Linking with: Revive Your Marriage

Sex Begins Outside The Bedroom:

Exciting, passionate, exhilarating, satisfying, fun.  These are words which every married couple wants to use to define their sex lives. Often times though other words get in the way; exhausted, boring, busy, frustration, conflict.  When the second of these lists becomes the norm it’s time to think about sex outside the bedroom.  Although a quickie in the shower or a romp in the living room may fit the bill this post is not about logistics of where but rather the preparation.  How you think about sex throughout the day can actually assist or inhibit your sex life.

Thoughts concerning sex are formed over many years of information; some good, some bad.  What happens in marriage then is that as husbands and wives we often have a very different understanding of what sex is or can be. Having brought our own experiences, perceptions and expectations into marriage often causes sex to become a breeding ground for arguments and fights. When discussions about sex lead to fights and disagreements it is most likely due to differing views about the purpose of sex.  Here are some ideas to get you thinking about sex outside the bedroom.

1.  What is the purpose of sex?  What does God have to say about sex?  Taking time to evaluate, study and understand the purposes for which sex was designed will change your life.  Honestly, we believe that if we understood all the purposes and blessings God designed sex to fulfill in our marriages we would never want to miss out.  Read, study, pray, seek out the answers using God’s word as a guide.  Though silence or negative thoughts have been pervasive in much of Christianity, God is not silent about sex and in fact has a great deal to say about the subject.

2.  What inhibitions do I have and why do I have them?  A lot of inhibitions are based on the way we were raised or our past sexual experiences.  When either of those are negative it clouds our understanding about how free and exciting sex can be.  Take time to evaluate how your family of origin thought about sex.  Now take time to look at the difference between that and what you discovered when answering question # 1  (God’s purposes for sex).  If you have past experiences with sex that have left you clouded in your understanding, take all the more time to study and understand what God says about sex then believe it!

3.  What small changes can I make to apply my new understanding of the purposes of sex to my marriage?  The great thing about sex is that the shift from bad sex to great sex is often found first in the mind.  Learning to control the way you think about sex outside the bedroom greatly increases your ability to enjoy what happens inside the bedroom.

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Linking with: The Alabaster Jar Marriage Monday

Crystal Clear Communication: 3rd Party Communication

We wanted to make one more post in our current series on the importance of communication.  Thus far, the one thread that has  been significant in our understanding of marriage comes from Genesis 3:24.  It is here that God’s purpose for the marriage relationship is made clear.  A husband and wife are no longer 2 separate individuals, they are one flesh.  Because of this, all conversation matters.  Non-verbal dialog within the marriage will have an impact on the marriage, for better or worse.  Verbal dialog will have an impact on the marriage.  To those who are married, everything you do impacts the marriage relationship.  Therefore, outside of personal relationship with God, the marriage relationship must come first.

Some may ask, “What about other friends outside of the marriage relationship?”  Well, we believe other friends are wonderful!  Especially when they have a hobby or interest that your spouse may not have.  But your husband, or your wife, that’s your best friend.  That’s the one who’s with you.  That’s the one who’s going to go through everything you go through.  And you can take significant delight in knowing that no matter what happens, you’re not going to go through it alone.  You’ve got a partner.

But while non-verbal and verbal communication are a huge component of the “one flesh” purpose for marriage, third party communication is extremely important as well.  Third party communication is how we speak about our spouse to other people.  It may not come naturally, but we believe it’s essential to talk about each other in very positive ways. The reason it doesn’t come naturally is because within our culture, there are a number of temptations, for both men and women, to speak poorly of our spouse around our co-workers and other friends.  Here’s an example:

My (Justin) original degree was in elementary education and I worked in a child care resource center for 6 years with…you guessed it… all women. During this time I heard women in the office talk about their husbands pretty regularly…but not in a good way.  I’ve heard women talk about how their husband doesn’t provide as well as they’d like them to for the family, and even heard discussions about how their husbands are no longer sexually satisfying them.  I’ve heard them say things like, “I really wish I had married up instead of marrying down.”  And men, I’ve oftentimes heard husbands talk about how “tied down” they are at home or other negative thoughts toward their spouse.  This is important: what and how we communicate TO our spouse is extremely important, but what and how we communicate to others ABOUT our spouse is important as well.

If you’re looking for others to look up to you and your marriage – speak well about your husband in all occasions.  If you’re looking for others to think well of you AND your wife – speak well of her and only say positive things about her to others.  And if you’re looking for others to speak well about your marriage to others they know – speak well of your spouse.  Speaking well about your spouse with others shows the overall commitment you have to one another, it shows that the “one flesh” mentality lives and breathes outside your home as well as inside your home, and we fully believe that doing this will ultimately lead to better communication within your home as well.  And don’t forget, a third party conversation has a way of traveling and getting back to your spouse.  Use that for the best.

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Which of these forms of communication (non-verbal, verbal, third party) do you struggle with the most?  What changes do you hope to implement in the weeks ahead to make communication within your marriage a higher priority?

What other questions do you have about the “one flesh” purpose for marriage?  Feel free to let us know below.

Linking with: WLW and WW

Sex is…Connection

Have you ever really taken time to think about the purposes for sex?  It is one of our favorite things to do.  As evidenced by our on-going series “Sex is…” we believe sexual intimacy has been given to us as a great gift by our Creator.  There are few joys in life that come close to the experience of sex as God designed it.  Sex is meant to connect husbands and wives to one another.  To cement their bodies and their souls in a union that cannot be torn apart.

In a world that is fast paced, hectic and busy, marriage is meant to be a place of respite and renewal.  A place where a man and a wife can be fully known and  fully present.  To give and receive respect, affection, understanding and love.  Within marriage, sex is designed to be a place of great connection and oneness.  No other act in marriage has the ability to connect a husband and wife in the way that physical intimacy can.  It is possible to just look at sex through the eyes of physicality and make it all about the release but this is not the way God designed it to be.

Sexual intimacy is designed to connect a married couples on all different levels; physical, emotional, spiritual.  The deeper our emotional, mental and spiritual connection the greater our satisfaction in our physical connection.  In her new book The Good Girl’s Guide to Great Sex, Shelia Wray Gregoire states it like this; “When we’re vulnerable with our mates, we feel a deep sense of connection because we vow that we are in a situation together.  And that connection is very powerful.  It’s that urgency to devour your husband, to consume him. to be consumed by him,  just so that you can feel even more connected.  It’s that hunger that God put in us to yearn for each other.  And to feel that for your husband, you also have to realize how God feels about you.”  Though she is writing specifically to wives if you replace the word husband with the word wife you will have the same effect.

Now we know that for some of you it is still quite a stretch to think about God and sex at the same time but we pray that over time you would truly come to recognize that anytime you exclude God from sex you are missing out on His full design.  His design to protect your marriage and to provide a deep connection with your spouse.  Never underestimate the way physical connecting of your body with your spouse can lead to a deeper connection in all the other areas of life.

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Have you felt the connection

Linking with: Alabaster Jar Marriage Monday

Sex is…Stressful?

For many, sex isn’t stressful at all.  When sex occurs as it was designed, couples become closer, their marriage is strengthened, and the difficulties in life seem to fade away.  However, sex (or even conversations with your spouse about sex) sometimes becomes quite stressful. If one spouse is “fine” with how their sex life is going and the other is decidedly “not fine”, problems will arise. If these problems make the subject of sex more stressful than stress relieving, the marriage can suffer.  While every marriage encounters “I’d rather” moments, some allow those moments to become the norm.  For whatever reason, sex just isn’t viewed as exciting, fun or worth their time.  The newest episode of The Big Bang Theory does more to relax them and disconnect them from their day than sex with their spouse.

If sex has become stressful, consider the following:

1.  Do you believe what God says about sex?  While our culture is continually screaming, “SEX” as loud as possible, many Christians today rarely discuss it openly. But God discusses it openly.  In fact, the first command God gave Adam and Eve…was to have sex.  Literally, God said, “Be fruitful and multiply,” but it was the first thing God told them to do.  Look at one another.  Have no shame in your nakedness.  Become one.  There was no stress. No anxiety. No fears. No hindrances. And no limits. God did not create sex to be stressful, nor does He desire conversation with your spouse about the subject of sex to be stressful.  In His eyes, you are one unit, not two individuals.  He desires you to be one, and your oneness should not cause stress.  Read what the Bible has to say about sex, and read it often.  You’ll continue to discover that sex with your spouse was designed to be stimulating, not stressful.

2.  Which causes more problems for you, the thought about sex or the physical act itself?  If your thoughts and perceptions of what sex is cause you problems then study, pray and ask God to help you view sex as He views sex.  If it is the act itself, here are some things to consider.  Performance is a big hang up for many men and women alike.  If we come to bed thinking our spouse is supposed to react one way and then they don’t we can leave disappointed.  Here are some specific thoughts for both men and women:

Men – Understand that many women do not orgasm with every sexual encounter.  Sometimes this is because they don’t know their bodies well enough or communicate well enough about how to climax.  Other times it is simply because they don’t feel the need to orgasm with every encounter. Don’t pressure your wife to orgasm.  If she doesn’t ever orgasm, encourage her to communicate with you about how to please and then do it!  Also understand that what works one day may not work the next day.  Women are complex and if you try to…kiss here, rub here, press here, jackpot…you will never get the results you want.  Show up to each sexual encounter with a fresh perspective of how to please your wife in that moment not with preconceived ideas of what may have worked before.

Women – If you think that sex is just for your husband then think again.  God designed our bodies with a specific knob of flesh (the clitoris) that has no other purpose than to provide sexual fulfillment.  Men can’t say that about their bodies.  If you are one who has never or rarely experience orgasm, then please read what we have written here and here.  Those are just the basics but are a good place to start.  If you do experience orgasm but feel pressure from your husband to orgasm every time you have sex communicate to him how that makes you feel.  But be sure he knows you want to make yourself available to please him.  And the more you make yourself available, the more you’ll learn how he can help get you there.

Sex is meant to be pleasurable and satisfying.  This pleasure and satisfaction combine not just the physical side of things but also the emotional, mental and spiritual levels.  If sex is not pleasurable on any of these levels we encourage you to pray about it, communicate about it and work on it.  We all need a place in this life to relax, find release and connection.  Sex is meant specifically to meet many of those needs in marriage.

Sex is….Not a Dirty Word

Just mention the word sex and you will likely get a wide variety of reactions.   Some may blush. Some may giggle or laugh. Some may steer the conversation in another direction. And some may add a distasteful joke.  Whatever the reaction, the word sex conjures up a lot of thoughts and memories.  Many times, these thoughts and memories are not pleasant or beneficial.  This is not as it should be.

You see, the world has done a great job of distorting and perverting what God created to be meaningful and beautiful.  God intended that sex would be the highlight of a husband and wife’s marital intimacy and that the experience would bond them closer together.  From the beginning of time, sex was God’s idea.  Imagine that!  He created our bodies to give and receive pleasure and He is pleased when we do just that.  God is not shocked or embarrassed about the pleasure we feel when we connect our bodies.  He designed it that way.

It does seem a bit awkward to some people, maybe even you, to think about God and sex in the same sentence.  Many have the misconception that sex is “dirty”, base even.  With the hype of causal sex and “hooking up” it is often hard to rectify that sex and God have any relation at all.  Often we allow ourselves to separate God from sex, the seemingly secular from the spiritual.  When we do this we miss out on God’s purpose.  By segmenting our lives into secular and spiritual categories we miss out on the fullness of living a satisfying and fulfilling life.

If you are like many of the people we have talked with and you have trouble understanding how sex and God can be spoken of with ease and fluency at the same time, here are a few thinking points.

1. God invented sex.

2. God talks about sex.

3. God encourages us to enjoy sex.

If you don’t believe us, check this out:

“She is a loving deer, a graceful doe. Let her breasts satisfy you always. May you always be captivated by her love.”

That is an ancient proverb from one who is claimed to be the wisest man who ever lived.  And yes, it’s found in the Bible.  If God gives a stamp of approval to actually enjoy sex in marriage who are we to think it is dirty?

Our marriages and intimate lives would be much stronger if we would actually take time to understand what God believes about sex rather than what culture tells us about sex.  Any number of things, many very serious, make it difficult to have a Godly view of sex.  We began dialog about some of these last week in part 1 of our series on the Pain of past sexual experiences.  It is our hope that over time  you gain and experience a greater depth of freedom in the area of intimacy within your marriage.  The road to freedom begins with truly  understanding what God believes about sex.  Knowing that sex is not dirty but a wonderful gift from God is a good first step toward freedom.

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Why do you believe it’s so difficult for many to openly discuss sex as a “Godly” experience?