I don’t presume to know what is going on in your marriage bed.
Although I do admit I would have little apprehension to ask if you gave me an opening.
Oh, not about the specifics, the details, the exact sexual techniques and positions. I mean, I wouldn’t start there.
But definitely I would dive into trying to understand the general gauge of whether sexual intimacy is a healthy place in your marriage — or a place of disconnect, disinterest or destruction. I am more than willing to ask about those things just about any time someone gives me an inkling to ask.
I don’t know why God called me to speak about sexual intimacy in marriage. I believe much of the motivation traces right back to my first marriage and the ongoing and never-really-explored deep struggles we had with sex.
I wish I’d known then what I know now, but I don’t regret that then got me to now. It’s that dichotomy of being sad about what was lost and simultaneously grateful for where you arrived because of it.
I know a lot more about sex now — the mechanics of it, sure, but the subtleties of it, too. And I have a heart to encourage people, women in particular, in their marriages.
I always am fascinated to understand someone’s perception about sex, and whether such perception reflects God’s design and heart and truth.
Often, it seems, it does not, even among Christians. I’ve heard from countless people, casually and more directly, who at best think I’m wasting my time encouraging healthy intimacy, and at worst think I have stepped way over a line to speak and write so boldly and publicly about sexual things that for much of history have been taboo topics for the church.
God and sex and your marriage bed — what is really happening there?
I have come to see that God speaks of sex with the same general overarching theme with which He speaks of money and time and talents — each can be used for good or for evil; each can be celebrated and cherished in the right context, or exploited and tarnished in the wrong context.
Everything we read about sex in God’s word would lead us to believe that it is rooted not in sin, but in holiness, and it was His idea, His handiwork. And not just for the procreation of children. Even common sense would tell us that nearly all the sex happening in marriage (or that is available to happen) has nothing to do with making a baby. Nothing.
Certainly 1 Corinthians 7 — those words telling married couples to not deprive each other sexually — conveys so many realities. But the risk of depriving the world of more babies is not one of them.
1 Corinthians 7 is about something only God could have designed — the physical and spiritual mingling that happens when a husband and wife make love, and the benefits of such mingling.
Profound stuff there, yes? Written eons ago, but still as relevant today in our modern marriage beds with color-coordinated sheets and comforters and matching bedroom furniture.
And hear me out when I say I know it’s not all a bed of roses. I. Know. That.
I know it in the most intimate way, not only because of my struggles in my first marriage, but also because I am married now.
While my husband and I do share an incredible sexual connection, we are not immune to the marital and health and stress hurdles that are inherent with… well… with life! Our sexual intimacy does not escape the toll those life realities take. It just doesn’t.
And this is important.
We are still trying.
I am still hungry to know God’s truth about sex, and when my husband and I hit the mark on that (you can take that phrase however you want), we get a glimpse of His heart. I have no doubt.
So I ask you, as you stare at these words upon your computer screen or tablet or smart phone — what is really going on in your bed?
Have you sought God’s vision and provision? He is in the mix, you know.
When sex is skewed, He is longing for it to be restored to the gift He created it to be. And when sex is savored and sexual pleasure and oneness pursued often in a marriage, He is there as well, rejoicing.
And in the in-between — He is there, too. When you and your husband aren’t on the same page sexually. When there seems to be more long-suffering in the sexual struggles than conquering them. Maybe it’s not trainwreckish, but it is certainly stalled or derailed just a bit.
He is there.
God and sex and your marriage bed. What is really happening there?
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10 thoughts on “God and Sex and What is Really Happening in Your Bed”
Well I can tell you the transformation to a totally sex-less marriage is not satisfying, to say the least. How and why it happens is a mystery to me. I only know that it has happened my marriage. It did not happen over night. It happened gradually over a period of years. I could write chapters about how it changes one’s attitudes and perspectives, but I could not write a paragraph on how to fix it. I have just resolved myself to get used to it.
What’s happening? A very short answer is: almost nothing. Train wreck isn’t the right description because that would imply there was a train, a track, and motion. Our train never got put on the track. It’s still rusting away in the railyard. We passed our ninth anniversary this summer. We waited until marriage. I waited for nothing. Rejected on the wedding night and almost the entire honeymoon except for one guilt-induced episode of pity sex. We’ve averaged less than ten times a year for our whole marriage. Often, we go for several months with no intimate activity at all until she eventually feels guilty enough to give in. I don’t even feel like a man anymore.
I have tried several discussions, written her letters, suggested counseling, and begged her to see a doctor and find out what’s keeping her from putting any kind of effort into our intimate life. She has ignored or rejected everything. If nothing changes by our tenth anniversary, I won’t be staying for eleven. I can’t keep putting myself through this pain any longer. My ability to cope with this emotional abuse has run out and all I can do at this point is drink my hurt into numbness to survive.
Of all your posts, I think this one gets to the heart of the matter the most. Of course, in Christian theology, God commands us from Genesis forward to have sex with our spouses. The issue is, “What kind of sex?” Is one person trying and the other just “rubber stamping” the commitment? In other words, is he or she just fulfilling the specifics of the contract? Or, are they really TRYING?
You say, “I know a lot more about sex now — the mechanics of it, sure, but the subtleties of it, too. And I have a heart to encourage people, women in particular, in their marriages.”
I really wish you could speak to my wife. She fulfills the “terms of the contract”, and lets me know she has done that, and only that.
Moving forward, do I push for more, when I know pushing just causes more angst? Is it worth it, knowing what we have had, and what we could have? Or, do I stay in place, unhappy, because I know asking for a passionate relationship could result in a totally sexless marriage?
The last time I gently brought up these issues, she told me, (screaming), “Just divorce me, or get a girlfriend.” Of course, later, she said she didn’t mean it, etc. This statement has been repeated over and over in different ways over the course of our marriage.
The best sex in our marriage has come when she requests it. These are “count on two hands” experiences over many, many years.
The last time, it was amazing. Just AMAZING. I felt so close to her, and so giving toward her in every way. It was like dating almost. Then, NOTHING.
I was told, “It can’t always be like that.” Why the heck not? Is there like a quota on passion?
Is it guilt? A medication? Something someone said? Something I said? A phase of the moon? I would love to know, or love to just be done. The difference between obligation sex and good sex is so small in some ways, and as far as from here to the end of the Milky Way in others.
I see everything, created, as the lesser than to God, the greater than, & His Kingdom. All of God’s creation is a lesson about Him. Our lesser than existence as humans points to a greater than existence in God. I think marriage sex does that, in many different ways.
Recently, I’ve noticed something about the bride. A lesson I’m learning through women/wives & what they reveal through their side of the act of sex. This was especially enlightening to me, as a man.
We are Jesus’ bride. Both male & female have to submit to being the church, the bride. The female body & mind, in sex, reflect the essential attitude the church needs in relationship to Jesus. The Bible speaks of softening our hearts, or being hard hearted, toward God. The female body with butt, breasts, & genitals is soft. For sex to be a victorious success, she becomes warm, open, welcoming, & receiving in the act. She opens to allow the seed to be placed, & for her & her husband to enjoy sex. This is of the mind & body. She can be soft, or hard, hearted toward her husband, or sex itself, & the results equal what is put in the equation.
Jesus is the hard word of God. Truth is hard, & rigid, with grace appropriately buffering. Like a man’s genitals are hard & soft at the same time, in the act of sex.
My heart, the heart of everyone of us, is pictured as the woman in the sex act. That actually helps me see the degree & kind of receiving, submission, & surrender I must have in my heart. In relationship with Jesus, as His bride.
Also, sex is intense, fun, & capturing. Sex builds & heats to orgasm. My mind is free to enjoy my participation with Jesus. His teaching me, His loving me, His correcting me can be received with joy & sensation of gladness.
This has taken my belief to higher ground. Previous, my receiving of Christ had been masculine where I had to be tough enough to die to myself. Dying to self isn’t the most fun thing to do. But, I had to man up. My focus was on my ability, & my failure because my ability isn’t enough. There’s an aspect to following Jesus, as a man, that can be learned from women, & vice versa. If I’m not soft hearted to surrender myself, completely, to Jesus then I will have problems. Failure & disappointment. I hope no one takes this as any kind of gender/sexual identity thing. This is not that, at all. God says He made male & female in His image. We all have testosterone & estrogen in us. This is about us learning from God’s creation to be God’s children. It’s all there for both women & men to learn from. I’ve learned the nature of submission to Christ through God creating woman. Thank you ladies, & thank You God.
This is the surrender Jesus wants & needs from His church. I can embrace the resurrection of Christ. I don’t have to be tied to my death only. I’m learning the death, burial, & resurrection, of Jesus, are all a part of who I am. God is in sex. The dance. The fun. The embrace.
Thanks Julie, for the opportunity to share. You are a blessing. This is your best post ever.
There is a lot more to this & I am excited to dig for the treasure. God is awesome just like sex is! And the awesome of sex is just a glimpse of the awesome of God.
To the first three replies, I feel your pain. I don’t know everything you’re going through but I sympathize. I understand.
If I could share my experience. Our marriage went form fights & tears, from sporadic sex to no sex to now my wife WANTS to do me a sexual favor during her period. Started out great before we were married (sin) then things dwindled down after marriage. We are celebrating our 27th anniversary this month. We didn’t have kids till late, because of our problems. 5 years in we separated. Now we are actually having party sex, but that didn’t happen until the last 4-5 years. We recently stayed the night in a resort with a private pool, in the room. We’re doing things now we never imagined. Don’t take this as salt in the wound. The hurt & rejection you feel is real. The anger you know is the worst feeling. I’ve tried to help other guys. I think I have a testimony. But, when I tell them what led to the change, no one sees what I see. It might sound cliche but God gets the glory. People think that’s all well & good, but they tune out when my next point drops. I ran our marriage into the ditch & only doing it Jesus’ way got it back going better than I could do it.
Proverbs 19:2 (ESV)
Desire without knowledge is not good, and whoever makes haste with his feet misses his way.
Both my wife & I thought about divorce, now we can’t fathom the thought. I desired a great sex life without the actual knowledge of what I wanted. We desired divorce without knowledge of of why, or what that really was. We all desire marriage, sex, or money. Then we all desire divorce, adultery, or more money. We are missing our way. I missed my my way.
There’s a concept with Jesus that says if we want to save our lives we will lose it, but if we lose it for Jesus’ sake He will give it back, more than we will ever know. I’m a witness to this. If anyone would listen & believe me they would be too. I’m sure of it. But, I know why it’s so hard. I know why people don’t do it. It’s because we have to give up trying to save what we want so badly. I had to give up myself. My sex. My wife. My marriage. I had to start back at square one relearning it all. My wife & I, now, are truly a minority. We are happily married, our kids behave, & we have great sex. We are best friends in marriage benefits. But, we are different too. Ever see the movie Grease? At the end is a big celebration. Danny & Sandy are in love & they get back together. At the end Danny gave up his gang mentality for Sandy, & Sandy gave up her virgin mentality for Danny. My wife loves Grease & she would say the moral is you shouldn’t have to change for the one who loves you, I say the moral is to change for those you love. My wife & I have different ideas. We are different people. Her journey of change was different than mine. I started wrestling myself down to the ground & started a journey of dying to myself. Her change was more of a result of seeing me change than her actually taking the bull by the horns. All this change was a span of 17 years or so.
Bottoms line I had 3 things in mind & still do
1. Instead of saving my marriage I had to let Jesus save me.
2. Married or divorced, I had to be the man that could do either sold out to Jesus.
3. I had to love Jesus more than wife & sex, but had to become the man my wife could be married too.
Sorry, about the length of this reply, but last, I learned to take Jesus’ teaching literal. I took God at His Word.
Ephesians 5:25 (ESV) Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her,
As far as I know, Jesus was the worst treated man I know. It’s not any fun. But, I know the resurrection of Jesus is real. To get there though, I had to go to the cross.
Hope this helps
P.S. Julie I notice you like Grease, from your post about yourself. Couldn’t resist sharing that insight.
I find the comments shocking and saddening at the same time. I have never known sex to be an exchange, to give one thing to receive another. It’s a woman and a man being free from gender based stereotypes and shameless showing the other their sexuality.
The way a woman is ‘meant’ to function sexually largely is something like a porn star or she has to happily oblige in an act .Fortunately I don’t have to deal with that but I know many women have to. To be a sexual wife in certain parts of the world means a performance on demand and sexual independence isn’t recognised due to a woman’s lesser physical strength.
Having the pleasure of fully observing a naked man in full glory I can tell you many parts of his body are very soft. I recall seeing a very soft butt, inner thighs, back neck and scrotum.
Women aren’t just soft receptacles that observe sex happening to them, for a woman to be ready for sex faster she has to strongly desire sex independently of her husband ( i.e. Be allowed to possess her own sexuality) a woman’s genitals aren’t all soft they can push out a baby so are actually exceptionally strong. I also don’t recall the clitorius being soft ether.
Sex is only amazing when both man and woman don’t have fake expectations. For a man to feel secure and at his best a woman has to feel strong sexually therefore allowing him to focus on creating the emotional ties during sex (which a husband is naturally brilliant at) I would advice women to acknowledge this in your man and see what a difference it makes.
I have a blog on Christian marriage and have been studying this topic in particular. My blog is called The Glorious Wife. Focus on the Family did an excellent series based on men’s sexuality that I think brings out a lot of the problem. It’s because of the different expectations men and women have about sex. Women largely want affection, where men want the physical side of it. This series was based on Dr. Juli Slattery’s No More Headaches. It opened my eyes for sure after having been married for 38 years and it can help marrried women to understand their husband’s needs. Women need to be initiators of sex so that they can obtain their emotional need for affection is the basic crux of the matter, and I recommend this many people I speak with. Another book, and older one which is more for women who have trouble achieving orgasm is the Power of Sexual Surrender by Marie Robinson. I do think however that Christians need to be careful about sex manuals because some can recommend things are not in line with our morality.
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MePharisee, I loved your reply about the testimony of your wife and how your marriage changed and what you had to do for yourself totally apart from your wife. I think that is where I am in my marriage. It would be great to get more insight from you about what changed in your marriage and for you.