What You Must Know About Sexual Bonding

Journey with me a moment here.

There is a line of thinking that has ravaged our understanding of God’s gift of sex.  And as Christian wives, I cannot believe we’ve allowed it to perpetuate with so much devastation.

The line of thinking begins like this. In our society, sex outside of marriage has been heralded as more fun than marital sex.  I would even go so far as to say that sex outside of marriage is accepted as more common than sex within marriage.

Within those casual contexts, the reality and relevance of sexual bonding is either downplayed or dismissed all together.

Call it “hooking up.”

Call it “friends with benefits.”

Call it whatever you want.

A deaf ear and heart have been turned to the spiritual, emotional and physical realities happening within those sexual scenarios.

Even in supposed committed non-marital relationships where sex is happening, we rationalize that indeed the sex itself has not really upped the ante.

This is why we see people go from relationship to relationship, even having some long-term relationships, but if sex was a variable in the first one, it is highly likely it will be a component of the next.

Sex is reduced to a “given” in those non-marital relationships, with complete disregard to how it all is going to pan out when the relationship ends.

Stay with me, okay?

Here’s where the irony arrives on the scene.

In a casual context — or even in an actual relationship that includes sex but no ring — we try to convince ourselves that sex is “no big deal.”

But then, when the man and woman part ways, one or both of them intuitively sense a pain that likely would not have been there had they not bonded sexually.

When two people have sex, there is indeed a bond that happens.  I could give you the biology and theology behind all that, but I’ll spare you the lengthy discourse.

And anyway, if we just apply some common sense to this, we clearly see the writing on the wall that sex indeed stands apart in the ways it affects a relationship.

A couple can offer up dozens of other expressions of affection, but once sexual intimacy (intercourse, oral sex, intense hand wandering) has arrived on the scene, the ball game has changed completely.

Ready for some more irony?

If we know this to be true, then why on earth would any married Christian, woman or man, be so quick to overlook the necessary and powerful positive role that sex plays in a marriage?

Sexual bonding is happening whether a couple is married or not.

It’s just that within a marriage, when held with valuable esteem, sex leads to bonding that produces so many tangible and intangible benefits, we couldn’t count them if we tried.

Outside of marriage, the bonding leads to devastation, heartache, remorse, doubt.

I cringe every time I get an email (usually from a husband), heartbreakingly sharing with me that they haven’t had sex within their marriage for numerous months or even years (or even decades, sadly).

And if I have one more wife tell me that her marriage is “so much better since they stopped having sex,” I think I will become physically ill.

I speak so adamantly about this topic because I have my own painful story about a husband walking out the door.  And while I recognize that each marriage has its own complexities and idiosyncrasies, I also know that God is clear about this whole sex issue.

I and so many other bloggers who I dearly respect speak out loud about the very issues that are wreaking horrendous havoc behind closed doors.

Why?

Because the need is there.

What is it going to take for us as a body of believers to right the ship on this whole issue of sexual intimacy?

Christian married couples should be the biggest champions for sex, to the point that we should have generations of young people who eagerly anticipate the sexual ecstasy they will experience in their marriage.

But what have so many young Christians heard from their parents, grandparents, elders and mentors?

Messages that paint sex as obligatory at best and downright gross at worse.

I understand why we emphasize abstinence to young people, but in some homes and churches and circumstances, that message has been delivered in such a way that it has resulted in such a detrimental and lackadaisical portrait of sex.

How dare we as Christians be so careless with something God designed to bond a husband and wife in indescribable ways.

Is it no wonder that Satan capitalizes on this?

Is it no wonder that in our mainstream entertainment, sex within marriage is fodder for comedy or is portrayed as so incredibly boring and routine, that its appeal far misses the mark of what God had in mind when he designed sex in the first place?

Is it no wonder that our young people have been sold a bill of goods when they adopt society’s standards on sex?

What you must know about sexual bonding is that God knew exactly what he was doing.

Orgasm, vulnerability, nakedness and sexual wholeness between two people who have stood before Him and vowed that they are now one — that was all His handiwork.

What you must know about sexual bonding is that if sexual intimacy is not being nurtured in your marriage — and if you are part or all of the reason it is not being nurtured — your marriage is not all God intended it to be.

Just for the record, I’m not talking about marriages that are experiencing illnesses or injury that make actual sexual connection difficult or impossible.

And I’m not talking about marriages that are in the process of trying to navigate and heal from adultery, porn addiction or abusive situations.

I’m talking about the vast majority of marriages where there is absolutely no valid excuse for sex to be put on hold, taken for granted, pushed to the wayside or endured with half-hearted obligation.

What you must know about sexual bonding is that God intended it for good.

But we must intentionally walk in that direction if we are ever to comprehend the depth of its significance.

I say “walk often” in that direction.

Let it become an integral aspect of your relationship; a reflection of His goodness and heart.

Copyright 2012, Julie Sibert. Intimacy in Marriage Blog.

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14 thoughts on “What You Must Know About Sexual Bonding

  1. Blake says:

    I am blessed to have had two parents who, for all of the difficulties they encountered (both internal and external), always paid attention to that aspect of their marriage and subtly left it clear to us their children that they did. They would occasionally joke about it playfully in front of us and they often did not hide the fact that they bought protection during our routine stops at Target and Walmart. My mom and I discussed the topic several times (not in graphic detail, mind you, but enough for me to know that it was an important part of her marriage) both after my dad passed on and after she remarried. That I could talk to my mom about this subject is something I’ll always be grateful for.

  2. Greg says:

    “What is it going to take for us as a body of believers to right the ship on this whole issue of sexual intimacy?”

    Boldly speaking the truth about it inside and outside the church–every chance we get. Those opportunities won’t be handed to us; be appropriate, but talk to everyone you know who will listen. A great place to start is in your Sunday School or Adult Bible Fellowship group. We must pray and be intentional, because fear of criticism and judgment abounds. I believe young people are especially key, because they are more receptive to the issue. But by God’s grace, it is possible to reach everyone because the church faces serious consequences if we don’t. May God give us the courage and wisdom to prevail.

    Excellent post, Julie–thank you!

  3. J (Hot, Holy & Humorous) says:

    “Christian married couples should be the biggest champions for sex, to the point that we should have generations of young people who eagerly anticipate the sexual ecstasy they will experience in their marriage.” – I love this sentence. Unfortunately, there are so many Christians who still can’t manage to say the word “sex” aloud. Never mind that most Christians are watching TV and movies which advocate sex outside of marriage; we can’t seem to say the word in church. We must get over our discomfort and embrace God’s blessing. Keep championing the cause, Julie! Your lamp fights against Satan’s darkness.

  4. Robert says:

    Julie – You da man.

    Wait, wait. That’s not it. How about “You go girl.”

    What I just love about your writing is that you speak the truth boldly, but with compassion.

    As usual, spot on.

  5. UK Fred says:

    **RANT ALERT…RANT ALERT**

    I have been Christian for 32 years. The nearest I ever heard anyone get to mentioning sex was an ordained clergyman who should have known better say “Paul wants us all to be celibate” around a year ago.

    Without the internet, and access to blogs like this, many people would not hear biblical teaching on sex within marriage. I cannot speak for churches on the west side of the Pond, but in the UK preachers are terrified to upset anyone because the congregations are dwindling. I sometimes wonder if the dwindling is down to the fact that the preachers never have anything beyond pious-sounding inoffensive platitudes to say whne there is so much to speak out about in today’s society.

    Another of my pet subjects is that with so many denominations, pastors are terrified to ask anything of people who come to them asking to get married in their church. There are programmes out there, Marriage Savers and Family Life to name two, which could help newly marrieds, especially in the church, to make a success of marriage. Now maybe in the church I attend we have been particularly unfortunate, but in the last year we have seen four marriages of people with some connection to the church break down. This is a church with a nornal Sunday attendance of around 80. In two of these four cases, both parties to the marriage claim to be born-again believers. Why can the church leadership not see that we (the church) need to actively support marriage and have mutual support through small groups and other informal activities, not just sitting or standing shouder to shoulder for about an hour once a week on a Sunday morning?

    Rant over.

    Julie, thank you for bringing up the subject and let us all pray that the message that marriage is important finally gets through to the leaders of the churches.

  6. Gina Parris says:

    Oh Julie,

    No kidding! Thankfully I do attend a church that’s pretty comfortable with all kinds of conversations, but then we leaders find our selves every week talking to dozens of teenagers on the subjects of love and dating and intimacy and sex – and they are completely (as you know) raised by media, especially since tons of them are not churched kids at all. They look at us like we are from a different planet! But I’ll stay right here in their space and love them and hopefully model love that works, while my own kids pretty much take over the “preaching” for me. Thaaaank God.

  7. Robert Gonzalez says:

    I love the boldness with which you beseech the body in the area of married sexual intimacy. I tend to think sometimes though that there is a vital human element missing in all of this. As much as we are to believe that God gave us sex for our benefit and, as such, a means to glorify Him in our marriage we have to remember that men and women are also human, with real feelings, real emotions and real hang ups that can play a major role in the allowed levels of intimacy between husband and wife. I’m not saying its ok for sex to be a problem for spouses. In reality, as Christians, we should be able to lean on God to craft us into the people we need to be to unlock our spouses desires for us. But too often people allow themselves to fall victim to their own hearts and minds, leaving the heart of God out of it. And when that happens it becomes entirely too easy to just not be “in the mood”.

    My prayer is that all husbands and wives listen to their spouse, really hear each other and strive to be the model of the person that acts to unlock their spouse’s most intimate sides. And even if that doesn’t happen, that spouses would just do it anyway because they love their spouse and want to please their beloved.

  8. Paul H. Byerly says:

    Yup, it turns out that sex does “make love” – or at least feelings of love. Unfortunately if that’s all there is, that love is not real and does not last. But it can be enough to drag us into something bad, or out of something good.

  9. Beth says:

    I really appreciate your passion on this subject and how you are waving the banner for healthy sex within marriage, Julie. I have a similar passion to help married couples–not just with sex–but in all areas of marriage. Most importantly, I’m going to be a frequent visitor around here from now on! 🙂

  10. JulieSibert says:

    Thank you all of you for your comments! Always appreciate people stopping by, and you all add so much to the discussion.

    Glad to meet you Beth… I didn’t know about your blog, so I’m thrilled now to know about it.

    Paul, Mrs. Hot Holy Humorous and Gina — you know I love you guys. Your respective blogs teach me so much.

    Greg, Robert, thop, UK Fred, Blake and Robert… thank you so much. We must shed more light on this issue and be advocates for all that is good about sexual intimacy in marriage.

  11. Amy says:

    Good article!
    I’m sure what you write about is true, But what happened in my married life is depressing, disappointing and some times unbelivable.
    I’ll try to not to go into to much detail, becasuse even though our problems started years ago they still hurt me very much. I get very teary eyed !!!!!
    Weve been married 45 years and we only had sex once in all those years. That was my first,last and only time and if I remember it was uncomforable. My husband told me it was disgusting, messy, not worth the effort, to much work for so little and told me that will never happen again. Lots of things changed right after that night. I’ve only slept with him maybe an hour and from our wedding night till present time he has slept in our basement. I was told to leave him alone and don’t even try to talk to him. I was immediately shut out of his basement domain. He also worked the midnight shift so he wouldn’t have to be with me. For all these years I’ve been confused as to what happened, and wonder why it happened. To be tossed aside is a horrible feeling..

  12. Cas says:

    My wife cheated on me 4 years ago, we managed to work through it, but I just wonder, the Bible teaches whenever you get intimate you become one, you bond, does that mean that she and the other man will stay bonded in a way for life, keeping also in mind what happens to you biologically in your brain with bondig hormones being released during intercoarse, or does it work out over time? She told me that she still think of him some time.

    Kind regards

  13. JulieSibert says:

    Thanks @Cas for your comment… It is encouraging that you and your wife were able to heal and restore your marriage after her infidelity.

    Some Christians do believe in “soul ties” — meaning that when two people have engaged in sex, their souls have intermingled, and that these ties need to be broken (through prayer, intercession of a counselor, etc.) Some Christians do not believe in soul ties. I can’t really tell you which way to go on this, but if you wanted to research it, there are books out there on it.

    Regardless though I think what we need to look at is the condition of your wife’s heart (that’s what God cares about the most). So, if she has repented, asked for forgiveness and decided to walk the way God desires she walk going forward, then I think her past promiscuity does not need to be stumbling block.

    You and your wife cannot change the decisions of the past. Many marriages have survived infidelity and actually gone on to be stronger marriages… because of the husband and wife’s dedication to truly nurture their marriage, heal, etc.

    When you and your wife intentionally decide to make intimacy a priority (sexual, emotional, spiritual), then this pleases God. And the bond you develop will be reflected in all areas of your marriage.

    If she is having difficulty letting go of the past or hasn’t truly repented, then definitely seek wise Christian counsel on how to restore your marriage fully. But if she is walking in forgiveness and repentance, then by all means, embrace that and continue to seek God’s Word on how to best glorify Him through your marriage, your testimony, your love.

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