My mom and I were having a conversation about beds, because she and my stepdad had just bought a new one.
Years ago, my husband and I bought a fabulously-comfortable bed and we still think it was one of the best investments we’ve ever made for our health and our marriage.
One feature of our bed is that the base allows us to use a remote control to raise both the head of the bed and the foot of the bed, and we can do this independently for each side.
It also has a feature included that the manufacturer calls “massage,” but Randy and I just laugh that it essentially just shakes the whole house with this weird vibration that doesn’t feel anything like a massage. Let’s just say we are beyond grateful we can use the raise and lower feature without having to also turn on the vibration.
The vibration is reminiscent of something that was popular in the 1960s and 70s in cheap motels — “Magic Fingers” vibrating beds triggered by a coin operated device attached to the bed. Not that I ever experienced such a bed, but my conversation with my mom about this made me think of a cheap motel I was in once.
It was the cheap motel where I lost my virginity when I was 18.
I mentioned this in the course of our conversation, because I’m nearly 50 and it hardly seems like the type of thing that I couldn’t mention to my mom at this point in my life.
I have forgotten many of the details of that night in that motel three decades ago with my then college boyfriend. What I do remember is that my driving force for even having sex wasn’t that I loved the guy or even had a strong desire to have sex. Nope. I thought it was just “the thing to do,” because several of my friends were having sex.
That’s not a good reason, by the way.
Yes, I know. The only good reason to start having sex and keep having sex is that there is first an exchange of covenant commitment. A man and a woman, some vows, some rings. But I am a realist too, and I know that many people — including many Christians — embark on marriage having already had sex. Maybe a lot of sex.
Whether you arrive on your wedding day a virgin or not, you likely can’t comprehend in those early days and years how intimacy in marriage can be a bewildering territory. It is for most people. Maybe one or both of you were given a bunch of confusing or outright wrong information about sex.
Maybe the societal landscape skewed your lens of sexuality in such a way that you were left in the dark figuratively and literally to try to then build something in the right context of marriage.
And countless people bring to marriage the scars of sexual trauma committed against them.
What we end up with at the get-go of marriage more often than not is a bunch of stuff that doesn’t make for good building material. It’s as if someone gave you a cardboard box of random discarded broken car parts and asked you to build a beautiful sports car.
What would you tell your younger self about sex?
This is a relevant question, no matter where you are in the marriage journey.
And before you surmise I’m trying to stir up regret and pain, remember that I’m all about helping you build healthy sexual intimacy in your marriage. I think what we would tell our younger selves about sex offers profound insights on how God can radically transform our lens if we let Him — and then accordingly take healthy action in our marriage.
We can tell our younger selves…
“The sexual trauma committed against you was not your fault. Don’t give up on finding healing from God and resources available, so that sex can be a positive and enjoyable experience in your marriage.”
“The promiscuity you engaged in wasn’t a pathway to love and self-worth. But it is covered by God’s grace and redemption when you go to Him with a repentant heart. Past promiscuity does not have to tarnish sex in your marriage.”
“The pornographic images you looked at were harmful for you. But good news, God has something better for you — a renewed mind when you turn to Him and seek godly help. Past pornography use does not have to destroy sex in your marriage.”
“The misinformation or outright lies people told you about sex in marriage no longer have to be your guideposts, even if the church and Christians you trusted were the ones who gave you that information. Study God’s heart and Word on sex. That’s what will equip you to experience amazing intimacy in your marriage.”
“This idea you embraced that sex among singles is fun and sex in marriage is boring is skewed. The cultural and societal landscape misrepresented sex. You didn’t know it then, but you know now. Those skewed views of sexual intimacy no longer have to distort sex in your marriage. Sex in marriage has the greatest potential to be fun, passionate and profound.”
“What’s with this assumption that the man intuitively knows how to sexually please a woman? Such an unfair and wrong assumption. Mutually enjoyable sex in marriage is built when the husband and wife learn together, communicate well and welcome each other’s feedback.”
Maybe you already have told your younger self the above, shooting holes in false tapes and reclaiming healthy sexual ground in your marriage. Or maybe now is the time you need to have the conversation — all to spur healthy growth in your sexual intimacy.
What would you tell your younger self about sex? And what was with my metaphor of the beautiful sports car, anyway?
You’re never going to be able to build it from the box of random broken parts, right? It’s built because we replace the skewed ideas and past experiences with a new way of thinking. We heal from brokenness to then embrace perspectives and behaviors that align with God’s design of sex in marriage. We build with new parts.
I would tell my younger self that the decisions I made in a cheap motel room, the ways I embraced society’s viewpoints on sex, and the heartache of sexual struggles in my first marriage weren’t the end.
God was still working. I just had to turn my head and tune my heart toward Him. His design for sexual intimacy in marriage? It is holy. And pleasurable. And profound. And possible.
What would you tell your younger self about sex?
Copyright 2019, Julie Sibert. Intimacy in Marriage Blog. Links may be monetized.