3 Ways the Church is Wrong About Sex. And How We Can Get it Right.

I love my brothers and sisters in Christ, and I know there are individuals and churches that are speaking about authentic sexual intimacy in marriage.

As the Christian community, we’ve come a long way in this regard, right? YES!

BUT I still think we have a ways to go.

We still have a ways to go in generating more genuine dialogue about sexual intimacy in marriage. May the below 3 ways the church is wrong about sex spur us on toward getting it right.

3 ways the church is wrong about sex:

1. We focus almost exclusively on sexual sin.

I am not downplaying the sins of premarital sex, pornography and adultery. All are sinful in God’s eyes, and we cannot shy away from shedding light on them.

But the church as a whole seems to give so much voice to the tragedy of sexual sin, and so little voice to what is fantastic about sex in marriage.

We have countless ministries to help people overcome sexual addictions, but so few ministries teaching people how to have great sex in marriage. I’m not talking about marriage ministries. I know we have a lot of those, which is awesome, and sometimes they do touch on sex, albeit briefly.

What I’m talking about are ministries and studies specifically focused on great sexual intimacy in marriage. Can you see the announcement in the church bulletin or on the screen?

“All married couples wanting to experience phenomenal sex, we will be teaching on this topic for the next 5 Sundays. Join us in the Fireside Room after first service. Coffee and cookies will be served.”

I know it sounds hilarious when put that way, and many of you can’t imagine anything like that showing up in your church announcements. But that’s the problem. Why can’t we imagine it? Why are we so uncomfortable talking about healthy sexual intimacy?

There are Christian books on sex that your small group could go through as couples, as well as books designed primarily for husbands or wives.  Awaken Love also offers classes for women.

All it takes is one courageous person or couple to speak up and say to others, “Hey, we really need a study on nurturing great sex in marriage. Would you like to be involved?”

For a list of books worth considering, go to this page on my site.  It’s not exhaustive, but includes quite a few. I, of course, have a book called Pursuit of Passion, and my friend J has a book called Sex in Marriage by God’s Design.

So many books. Key is to go out and read descriptions and reviews on Amazon, talk to your small group or church leadership, and see what you can get started. Yes, we need ministries that address sexual sin, but let’s also champion ministries and studies that celebrate authentic sexual intimacy in marriage.

2. We offer little or no specific teaching to prepare ENGAGED couples for great sex in marriage.

Many Christian teens and young adults have been primed with this broad sweeping theme: “Wait, wait, wait. And then sex will be great, great, great.”

Hmmm. How’s that working out for most couples? Not. Great.

Our churches are filled with countless couples who are heading into marriage with a naive and romanticized vision of sex, believing every sexual encounter in their marriage will unfold seamlessly.

And whose to blame for that vision? Those of us who know better but haven’t told them the truth.

No one has told these engaged couples that phenomenal sexual intimacy takes effort and communication. It is messy. It is awkward. And it certainly doesn’t look like it does in the movies. But it is full of so much potential!

We should be proclaiming good news to those engaged couples. We should be calming their fears, addressing their uncertainties and dispelling their misconceptions about sex.

We should be telling them, “Here’s what you need to know about your body and how God designed it. Here’s what you need to understand about sexual arousal, foreplay and orgasm.”

We should be pointing to specific scriptures that are the underpinnings of these bold tenets:

“God is a huge fan of sex in marriage”

“God wants both a husband and a wife to initiate sex, enjoy it and protect it.”

“God designed sexual arousal and orgasm. Those were His ideas — His gifts to us.”

We need to stop putting all our teachings in one proverbial basket of abstinence, and hoping for the best.

We set young couples up for sexual success and oneness in their marriage when we also talk with clarity and confidence about what nurtured sexual intimacy means to a marriage and how they can get there.

And a third way the church is wrong about sex…

3. We feed the lie that sex in marriage is boring, chore-like and “just for the man.”

In too many Christian circles, women have made an art of what I call justification by camaraderie.

Here’s how this plays out… a group of Christian wives gathers to socialize, and if the topic of sex comes up, it becomes a source of jokes.

Women banter back and forth about “he wants it all the time” and “I just do it so he’ll stop nagging me.”  Before long, the tone about sex is negative, not positive. Sex is viewed as “something to check off the list.”

Pervasive through this tone is that sex is mostly for the husband, and a wife’s sexual pleasure doesn’t really matter that much.

The justification by camaraderie comes in when one woman starts thinking to herself, “My friends don’t seem to like sex, so I guess I’m not supposed to enjoy it either. This must just be how it is in marriage.”

The scenarios and conversations may vary, but you get the point. Instead of the standard being that wives enjoy sex, nurture it and look forward to it, the standard is mediocrity and indifference.

If you are a Christian wife who enjoys sex and recognizes the value it is to your relationship, can you courageously be a champion of this tone in your social gatherings? Your friends don’t need to know the specifics of your sexual intimacy, but certainly you can raise the bar on viewing sex positively.

And if a woman in your circle of influence is struggling with sex in her marriage, can you be a safe sister in Christ who comes alongside her, listens and points to helpful resources? You could have a profound effect on her marriage simply by being a safe confidante and positive voice for sexual intimacy.

One resource I highly recommend is a podcast by four of my Christian friends called Sex Chat for Christian Wives. These four gals are true to the core and are addressing a variety of issues regarding sexual intimacy in marriage.

As a body of believers, we can start getting more right about sex than wrong. We can be champions of sexual intimacy in marriage.

I long for the day when across the world, we see announcements in church bulletins like this…

“All married couples wanting to experience phenomenal sex, we will be teaching on this topic for the next 5 Sundays. Join us in the Fireside Room after first service. Coffee and cookies will be served.”

Copyright 2018, Julie Sibert. Intimacy in Marriage Blog. Links may be monetized.

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8 thoughts on “3 Ways the Church is Wrong About Sex. And How We Can Get it Right.

  1. Brian says:

    I agree with everything here and this has been my experience with the church 100%. Sex is almost never talked about and the few comments in a Sunday school or small group setting I’ve heard seem to revolve around how men should be nicer or more understanding she that your wife will want to have sex with you as the husband. Of course most women apparently believe this and fully feel this way so it’s a hard thing to change.

  2. Ruth says:

    Thanks for being such a huge part of trying to change the culture of sex in the church. Thanks also for the Shout out for the Awaken Love class. What you are talking about is exactly what we do – Really talk about sex – with a group of Christian women. You could host the class at church or just invite a few friends to your house.

  3. mepharisee says:

    Couldn’t agree with you more. It seems the church picked up their ball & went home back in the ‘60s & the sexual revolution. Then came the next 30 years where we made it our goal to look nothing like the sex of the world.

    I once asked my small group why the church is silent on sex when the world has never shut up. An older woman said because it is private to them. It’s not all that private if God speaks about it.

    What will turn the tide?
    1. Patience & persistence. Keep trying to break the ice. But use God’s word as the reason.
    2. Christians need to get over themselves. We are human just like the unbeliever. We all use the toilet, we all have to blow our nose, & we all have sexual bodily fluids. We are the archetype. Sin sex is the counterfeit.
    3. We need to learn to enjoy things in the context of scripture. Instead of voting for our rights we need to understand that the majority of people in the Bible were under the rule of other nations or at least under threat of it. Yet, they still had God’s instruction to enjoy, to not compromise, & let their light shine. We need less morality police & more children that have fun in the midst of a dark world. That will convert people.
    4. Unite. John 17:20,21 says for us to be 1 with each other & 1 with God as Jesus & the Father are 1. The church hasn’t had that unity since the last apostle died. Example, the Bible tells us to have 1 baptism yet we all have different beliefs on it. I think if we got our 1 voice right with God He would show up in God like fashion. If you think he’s great now…

  4. Tom says:

    I’m in the “it’s private” camp. I don’t want to talk about personal stuff to anybody. The world talks to much.

  5. OKRickety says:

    “We offer little or no specific teaching to prepare ENGAGED couples for great sex in marriage.

    I agree, but it’s ignoring the elephant in the room. Based on the statistics I’ve seen, almost all of these individuals, even though they are Christian, have had sex before marriage with their fiances and, in most cases, with other partners previously. Not surprisingly, their sexual experience is going to significantly impact the sex in their marriage. I don’t know how to change this, but until this reality changes, teaching engaged couples about sex is likely to be too little, too late.

  6. Daniel Hobson says:

    My father was a Southern Baptist Missionary to South America, and the one and only time he gave me a talk about sex, it took him only two words: ”Don’t Masturbate!” Not only the worst advise given to an 11 year old boy, but he gave me nothing constructive to look forward to. Fire and Brimstone, Sodom and Gomorrah, beware of sex! I totally agree with you Julie, you are a Godsend, literally.

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