The Pros and Cons: What Does Sex Mean to Your Marriage?

The other day, I wrote a post encouraging you to do a pro and con list to find out what sex means to your marriage.

If you and your spouse would like to do the exercise, check out that post first and then come back here.

Here is my list, in no particular order:

PROs of Nurturing Sexual Intimacy in My Marriage:

  • Feels amazing.
  • One of the best ways to worship God, obey God and agree with Him that His design of marriage and sex are holy.
  • Fabulous stress reliever (marriage seems to have plenty of stress… how encouraging to know sex is indeed one of the ways we can relieve it!)
  • Orgasm. Orgasm. Orgasm. Enough said.
  • Helps us extend grace to each other.  Sex softens us in a way that makes the rest of doing life together more enjoyable and more bearable.
  • Good for us physically.  A little aerobics.  Fair amount of stretching.  Good healthy cardiovascular work-out.
  • Wonderful way to affirm each other and to show love.
  • Tremendous example to our kids. Though they do not see us having sex, they see us being affectionate to each other and know that our marriage is a healthy foundation to our home and family.
  • Cheap entertainment.  Simply one of the best ways to have a lot of fun.
  • Strengthens our emotional, physical and spiritual connection.  That one flesh thing is awesome on so many levels.
  • Equips us to better walk in other areas of our life as witnesses for Christ in action and word.
  • Keeps temptation at bay.
  • Reminds Satan to keep his hands off our marriage.
CONS of Not Nurturing Sexual Intimacy in My Marriage:

(Since we do nurture our sexual intimacy, the below is what I imagine would be the detrimental outcomes if we stopped).
  • Increased stress.
  • Disobedience to the Lord, which would then have consequences, as all sin does.
  • Roommate status with the one person who I vowed would always be my partner, lover and spouse — not my roommate.
  • Horrendous example for our kids. What message would we be sending them about the sacredness of marriage and of sex?
  • Weakens our witness as believers in Christ. If we are careless with sexual intimacy in the ministry of our own marriage, we would not be as effective as we could be in other areas as well.
  • Emotional, physical and spiritual distance.
  • Too many bad moods to even count.
  • No opportunity to give and receive orgasm with the person I love.
  • Increased likelihood of temptation (emotional and physical adultery, pornography use and addiction).
  • Invites Satan to capitalize on weak areas of our marriage.

I suppose this is an exercise that could go on and on.

My hope is that when you look at the landscape of your marriage, you humbly ask what sex means to that landscape.

Sure, no two couples would come up with identical lists.  My guess, though, is that if we did indeed gather what people wrote, some pretty clear general conclusions would surface.

Maybe better questions to ask in your marriage…

  • Is sex drawing us closer to each other?
  • Is lack of sex driving us further apart?

Do you know?

Copyright 2013, Julie Sibert. Intimacy in Marriage Blog.

13 thoughts on “The Pros and Cons: What Does Sex Mean to Your Marriage?

  1. workinprogress says:

    Pros of nurturing sex: We laugh together more (not just in bed), we are more gentle with our responses to stress and patient with each others’ quirks. I can at least look forward to a consolation prize when I lose a card game against him. Lots of practice in bed means it gets better and better! We annoy our kids to death with our smooching.

    Not nurturing intimacy: We get grumpy, irritable, and snippy with each other. Infrequent sex makes for no progress in technique and fulfillment. We don’t get to hear our kids say “Get a room! :-)”

  2. Anonymous says:

    Pros of having sex – all of the above-listed.

    Cons – complete loss of all non-sexual romance and intimacy if and when your over-deprived husband gives up trying. If you think he’s going to continue forever to be willing to jump through the hoops if it’s all for nothing, you’re kidding yourself.

  3. Dave 2 says:

    Whenever a survey about sexual frequency, desire, variety, experimentation, satisfaction, etc. comes up on a blog, the greatest percentage of dissatisfaction is expressed by the husbands. The wives haven’t reached parity on that point by far. If you ever need to be RE-encouraged to keep blogging about sex in marriages, that single fact speaks volumes as to how necessary further and continuing education is. Wive’s fault? Husband’s fault? No need for me to argue that point to acknowledge more work is needed from both sides of the relationship. There are no doubt times you find yourself plowing the same field ad infinitum because there is always someone who is a newbie showing up on the blog. As long is sex keeps creating more of us there will always be someone who does not know something. Hang in there. Better sex can result in a better world. It may sound like a platitude, but I do believe it to be true. When your mind is focused on physical, emotional or spirtual hunger, there is little else to which you want to devote your energy. When our “belly” is full, we can focus outward to the needs of others. Better sex/better world.

  4. P says:

    I can think of nothing more wonderful than making love with my wife. It draws us closer together emotionally and spiritually and as already said we are much more patient with each other, and with outsiders, for that matter.
    Unfortuantely my wife has still got continuing health problems which seems to affect her ability to have an orgasm.
    Now, ladies please help me. My wife says she still enjoys it even without an orgasm but I feel a failure as her lover and rather as if I am just using her for my own enjoyment which actually is not really much fun if she does not have an orgasm.
    Do you ladies agree with my wife that you can enjoy sex without an orgams at the end? I feel she is just saying this so as not to hurt me.

  5. JulieSibert says:

    @P… I think it is true for many women that they do not have to have an orgasm every time but can still consider the lovemaking very good! However, I wouldn’t want to go very often without one.

    But if the medical reasons really do make it unlikely she will have an orgasm (and doctors have not been able to offer possible solutions/suggestions), then indeed I would listen to her and realize that maybe she is fulfilled with the sexual intimacy even if orgasm isn’t happening.

    I wouldn’t look at it as you are a failure… I would look at it as another opportunity for you and your wife to grow deeper in communication about her pleasure, try new things, etc.

  6. Larry B says:

    Great essay, Julie.

    Frequent sex likely helps to balance the hormones in both women and men. Sex is not just good for the body, it is also good for the brain.

    A loving Creator made it that way. Those who have a poor view of sex in marriage are not honoring God’s design for men and women. (That includes those religious folks who erroneously think that sex within a loving marriage is somehow bad or tainted or dirty.)

  7. Julie says:

    Love your blog and this title especially. Having sex with my husband is a huge foundation of our marriage. It is a gift from God and I think not using it is a disservice to ourselves and to our marriage.

    If I can respond to P’s post. If she is having alot of medical issues getting in the way of her having an orgasm then my thoughts are that her mind can still be used to really enjoy sex and that is what it sounds like she is doing. Now, if she told you what specifically she wanted to get aroused and you ignored it then it may be something that I would try looking into way.

    I have been blessed with a great sex drive until early menopause and whamo! There it went and my poor husband was so patient. But since it was important to me, I fought hard to get it back and I did everything under the sun to do so!!! Good luck!

  8. G says:

    Hi Julie,
    I am completely stumped! My wife and I have been married 8 years and we have a wide variety of intimacy problems. One of them is that the more often we have sex (anything over once every 4-6 weeks) the more impossible it seems for my wife to orgasm. This leaves her more and more disappointed (often crying after sex) and leaves me feeling like sex is actually detrimental to our relationship. I have a moderate sex drive and after only two days start to desire sexual connection again. I feel like there’s no way to describe the pressure I feel. I am a fairly fit 31 year old, and I consistently get signals from other women. I feel so lonely, useless, and TEMPTED. I love my wife and am so attracted to her, but am seemingly incapable of satisfying her (unless we wait for a long time in between). God preserve me…

  9. JulieSibert says:

    @G… I’m not a counselor or a doctor, but it sounds as if you and your wife could likely strengthen your intimacy through some communication about your sexual intimacy.

    You say that she has difficultly climaxing. Are you trying to bring her to orgasm through intercourse alone or are the two of you open to trying other stimulation as well (such as use of her hand and/or your hand, oral sex, etc)?

    We can’t reduce sexual intimacy to a “capability of satisfying” her… sex is so much more than that, so don’t put it on yourself as a failure.

    Interestingly, I wonder if the two of you actually were intentional about having sex MORE, not less… I wonder if that would give you the opportunity to spend more time learning each other’s bodies, etc.

    Also, consider more foreplay, as this is so vital, particularly for a woman, to get the heart and mind and body focused on sex.

    Sex is not detrimental to your relationships. These stumbling blocks and miscommunications are detrimental, but they are not insurmountable. Look at it this way… if you stopped having sex completely, would that benefit your marriage? Of course not. The better approach is to have some open and vulnerable communication… as well as be willing to seek Christian resources (like Christian counselor, Christian sex books, etc)… to move toward a place of having improved and healthy sexual intimacy.

    It is possible! Don’t give up… Consider writing your wife a letter about your deep love for her and your commitment to do whatever it takes to have sex be an enjoyable and valued aspect of marriage for BOTH of you.

    It’s no wonder you are tempted. The solution to that temptation is to dig into what it will take to have nurtured sexual intimacy OFTEN in your marriage.

  10. Greg says:

    Hi Julie,
    Thank you for your kind reply. Without going into too much detail my wife won’t allow me to perform oral. Though she enjoyed it with past boyfriends she has never enjoyed it with me. The few times she’s agreed to let me try she has also made it very clear she is not enjoying herself. The only touch she seems to really like is massage, but only if I avoid all erogenous zones.
    We actually tried every other day for a while (she recognizes this is an issue as much as I do). She cried after each time. I actually chose to end that experiment.. I guess the truth is it doesn’t seem as if she likes me much. Here I am complaining about the sex, and she hasn’t even let me sleep with her in our bedroom for the last four years. Maybe I will try to find some counseling through our new church.

    Thank you for your kind and Christ led ministry. Counseling hasn’t helped in the past, but maybe it will now! Third time’s the charm as they say. Sometimes I wonder if, despite the prayers of my heart and my intentional desire to please my wife, The Lord has placed me on a lonely path. Well I suppose that any path that ends with Him ends with love and hope! There are still things I can do to love more and better. I will wipe away the tears and pray for my own heart to change!
    I feel kind of stupid for saving myself for marriage. I know this must be part of God’s plan, but it seems onerous right now. I guess now I’m just babbling. Time to get up and spend the day with my beautiful children. Good morning!

  11. James says:

    Regarding counseling at church: how many of your churches actually have a marriage ministry and how does it function ?
    I have been at this one Bible-professing church since 10 years, and the one topic virtually ignored all the time is marriage.
    Our relationship to Jesus is first and our marital relationship is supposed to be second, and there are many Bible verses in support of sexual intimacy between a husband and wife. But it seems like foreign missions enjoy a much greater priority than marriage in the church. In just the past several weeks I have learned so much from Christian blogs and youtube videos about marriage than in 10 years of attendance at church.
    I do not understand why the pastor and elders are so reluctant to preach the benefits of the physical, emotional and spiritual aspects of a healthy Christian marriage. Not once in 10 years have I heard a sermon about the Song of Solomon. That book is full of eros. For starters the pastor could say each Sunday at the end of the benediction: “Go ye married couples this week and make love often.” That by itself might be enough of a stimulus to encourage husbands and wives to enjoy their one-flesh union, as is pleasing to God.
    On Father’s Day one elder told the congregation that his daughter is now divorced and she is now financially dependent on her parents. I do not know the details, but this sounds contrary to the command of Leave Your Parents and Cleave to Your Spouse. Earlier the pastor shared that his own daughter divorced her husband because the husband’s employment situation caused him to move the family several times to other states….as if that would be such a strong reason to end a marriage ? I was stunned when the pastor said it was not a big deal to him that his daughter divorced her husband for that reason only. My Bible says the husband is called to be the responsible leader and the wife shall be his helpmate and ultimately submit to his leadership. How many of these marriages could be saved and improved if the church actively promoted marriage ? Comments ?

  12. JulieSibert says:

    @James… thanks for the comment. While some churches are trying to do more to strengthen marriages, I agree that we still seem to have a long way to go as the body of Christ, especially when it comes to encouraging healthy and frequent sexual intimacy between a husband and a wife.

    My theory (albeit not scientific) is that pastors and lay leaders are often hesitant to address sex because they feel ill-equipped to speak authentically and specifically about the topic AND/OR they have huge struggles sexually in their own lives and marriages… addressing the topic would compel (force?) them to have to look at where they need healing, restoration, etc.

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