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Is it possible for a Christian wife to be sexually confident -- to love sex, to get crazy with passion beneath the sheets with the man to whom she pledged her life?
Well, certainly it's possible. Anything's possible. But that's not really the issue, is it?
Sure, you may convince yourself that it's possible. But is it likely? You don't have to verbally say "no" to me. I hear it resoundingly clear in the painful and confused expressions I see upon the faces of countless Christian wives.
Now we're getting at the heart of your bewildering agony, aren't we? As a Christian wife, modesty is your hallmark by day. And maybe the only message about sex you heard from the church or your parents while growing up was, "Don't do it."
(Some Christian women in your life may even have gone as far as to tell you that sex is disgusting and is just a necessary marital obligation. A pathway to children. Nothing more. Nothing less).
So here you sit, smack dab in the middle of marriage, trying to flip a switch and reverse the impact of lifelong skewed messages. Feels like mission impossible.
Everything about sexual confidence, including pursuing your man sexually, seems to fly in the face of the standards that were expected of you before you were married. The added element is that possibly you didn't hold to those standards -- and the guilt of that has found its firm footings right at the foot of your bed.
I even had a wife say to me once that there were things she knew how to do sexually that she was afraid to try with her husband, because she worried about what he would think of her and of the sexual technique she obviously had mastered before he was on the scene.
I'm sensitive to what she is saying, but her hesitation is immersed in faulty logic and in her unwillingness to let go of painful past sin. (And honestly, in the moment, I didn't really know how to say, "Uh... I think your husband would be pleasantly impressed.")
Sadly, for many women who had premarital sex, Satan's lie has become their truth -- that they don't deserve great sex because of their past sexual choices.
Can you relate to any of this? Not only does sexual confidence within your marriage feel incongruent with your commitment to modesty, sexual confidence looks painfully similar to your past promiscuity.
Those are some awful murky waters that are sabotaging sacred oneness in your marriage bed.
So, let's peel the layers back. Let's get real. Here are three steps to help you walk in sexual confidence:
1. Context means everything.
Sex -- and all that goes along with it, including a thorough understanding of arousal -- is good and right and holy within marriage. If you had sex before you were married, it was the context of those encounters that made it wrong; not sex itself.
The truth is that you are now married and you are not being punished for your past promiscuity. Sex is a privilege, meant for married couples to thoroughly explore, nurture and enjoy.
To give you an analogy, think of a brilliant scientist upon whom God has bestowed the gift of amazing mental aptitude and research. She can use that gift for good or for bad. She can use it to nurture life or destroy life. Context means everything. Same is true for sex.
2. Enjoying sex with your husband pleases God.
What if you are clinging so tightly to modesty, even in your bedroom, that you are grieving God's heart? What if the very thing that you think is foundational to what it means to be a Christian woman -- modesty -- is actually denying you the very thing God wants for you and your husband sexually?
On the surface, it looks like I'm just talking about racy lingerie, different sexual positions and an occasional sexual adventure in the backseat of the minivan.
All sound a bit appealing, but the issue is bigger than that. Be careful what you sacrifice on the altar of modesty. Those are some mighty high prices to pay.
Begin to embrace that authentic sexual intimacy and intense sexual pleasure are also hallmarks of being a Christian wife (maybe even more so than modesty).
And if we want to break this down to bare elements, the truth is that most guys are very visual... they love the female body. I don't know your husband, but if he is like many husbands, he wants to see his wife's body. And he wants to touch it. And he wants to explore it with fearless abandon. And he wants you to want that.
3. No one at the PTA knows what you're doing in your bedroom (at least I hope they don't).
Are you refusing to embark on sexual adventure with your man because you are paralyzed by this phrase -- "I wonder what all my friends would think of me if they saw what my husband and I do when we have sex?"
What goes on sexually with your husband -- sexual intimacy that is good and pleasing to the Lord -- is sacred knowledge between you, your husband and God.
No one at the PTA cares what you are doing in your bedroom. Your sexual abilities are never going to be considered on your home equity loan. And when you help decorate cookies at the neighborhood kids' Christmas party, not one person there will know that last night you gave your husband absolutely mind-blowing oral sex.
Not. One. Person.
Sacred sexual knowledge is one of the very best parts of marriage. As a wife, make it your goal to consistently add to this knowledge. Never stop learning what you and your husband enjoy sexually. With fervent resolve, use that knowledge to strengthen your marriage.
If you are a wife who has written off sexual confidence as something for other women, it's time to turn the tide on that.
If you are a wife who thinks sexual confidence is the equivalent of "walking the ways of the world," start basing your convictions on God's truth, not on skewed theology or bold-faced lies.
A good place to start is to immerse your heart and mind with resources that celebrate nurtured marriage. Obviously, the Bible is your best resource, but here are a few others to glean from as well:
Is That All He Thinks About? How to Enjoy Great Sex with Your Husband by Marla Taviano. I love this book, chock full of a lot of practical insight and God-honoring wisdom.
The Sexually Confident Wife by Shannon Ethridge. Shannon keeps it real and writes with such a relational style that I couldn't put the book down. You may not agree with everything, but she hits the mark more often than not. The gal knows what she's talking about. And she has a deep passion to encourage women in their sexuality.
One Flesh Marriage by Brad and Kate Aldrich. I've had the privilege of connecting with Kate, and she and Brad have such a tremendous passion for encouraging marriages. They speak out of their own journey with such authenticity. Awesome.
The Marriage Bed by Paul and Lori Byerly. The Byerlys also have awesome blogs, including The Generous Husband and The Generous Wife. The Byerlys are unabashed about speaking about sexual intimacy in Christian marriages. They too have allowed me to write for them, including an article Sex in the Real World.
That's a lot of resources, but honestly, it's just scratching the surface. As Christians, we have no excuse for not learning all we can about having great marriages, including great sex.
So stop letting modesty destroy your sexual intimacy. No one at the PTA knows what you're doing beneath the sheets. Live fully as if you know that to be the truth.
Copyright 2011, Julie Sibert. Intimacy in Marriage Blog.