Did you come into adulthood with a completely healthy and mature view of sex? If so, you are extremely fortunate.
And quite rare.
I’ve talked to so many people about sex from so many backgrounds. More often than not, they either still have some skewed views about sex OR they have had to work incredibly hard to untangle those skewed views to arrive at a healthy perspective.
Whether we are raised in a Christian home or not, there is so much that impacts our perspective about sex.
Some of you have amazing parents who did a great job of teaching you correctly about sex, but even so, they weren’t able to completely shield you from the messages flooding in from society. Or maybe your parents gave you negative views about sex, leaving you thinking sex is always gross and sinful.
Sadly, for some of you reading this, there were people in your life who took advantage of you, manipulating you physically and/or emotionally. Without a doubt, the damage of sexual abuse carries on long after the abuse has ended.
In other instances, the adults in your life were silent or vague about sex and you were left to figure out a lot on your own, picking up information from society and friends along the way. Sometimes your own choices took a toll on your ability to develop a healthy perspective on sex.
The landscape was confusing, to say the least, whether you were receiving half-truths or lies about sex or you were fabricating them out of what you had seen or done.
Below are some common messages and/or experiences that chip away at a godly, passionate and authentic view of sexual intimacy in marriage. Skewed messages and perspectives can be blatant or subtle. Sometimes they can build upon one another, making it even more difficult to discern God’s truth about sex.
Read through the below messages and experiences and make a note of the ones you think are still tripping you up. I am presenting them randomly, but I imagine more than one may resonate with you.
Any of these sound painfully familiar?
I was promiscuous in my past, so there is no way I can truly enjoy God’s gift of sex in my marriage.
As a young man, I just remember all the talk about sex when I was around other guys. I felt less than if I didn’t at least try to have sex with a girl.
I’m damaged goods because I had sex before marriage.
I had an abortion that no one knows about. I just can’t forgive myself.
I had an abortion that some people do know about. I just can’t forgive myself.
The women in my life growing up never had anything positive to say about sex.
The men in my life growing up objectified women, making jokes about sex frequently.
No one ever talked to me about a healthy view of sex.
My friends talked about sex like they knew all about it. But a lot of what they said seemed confusing to me.
I was sexually abused.
One of my parents cheated on the other one. I’m bound to be a cheater, too. That’s just what happens in our family.
I’ve looked at pornography so much that there’s no way I can ever have a healthy view of sex.
I’ve never liked my body. I just don’t think someone could be attracted to someone who looks like me.
I never felt like I had anyone I could ask questions about sex.
My parents found out I had sex before I was married. I was the family’s failure. I still feel like I failed them.
I have had sexual experiences I can’t even remember because I was drunk.
I never saw my parents be affectionate with each other. Their coldness made me think that’s just how marriage is.
The purity message I received at my church made it sound like virginity was the only thing that mattered. They never really said that sex in the right context of marriage is amazing.
My parents slept around. There were lots of people coming in and out of my life.
I am convinced the reason I don’t have good sex in my marriage is because God is punishing me for sexual things I did before I was married.
It was considered a right of passage when I was growing up to have sex for the first time. Everyone I knew had sex when they were in their teens or early 20s.
I had a reputation for being easy. Some people even referred to me as a slut.
Having fabulous sexual intimacy in marriage is all about looking a certain way. There’s just no way that average people have great sex in their marriage.
It’s up to the guy to know what to do sexually. He’s supposed to know all about sex and teach her about it.
All I’m good for is my body. My identity has always been in what I can do sexually.
I can’t get certain explicit and erotic images out of my head, whether they are of people I have had sex with in the past or things I’ve seen in print or video.
I remember as a teenage girl, the responsibility was all on me to make a boy stop. I was always the one having to say no.
God’s just not going to forgive me, not for sexual sin. I just know He won’t.
I thought God would reward me because I waited until I was married to have sex. I thought sex in marriage would be easy.
Sex is just about what the guy wants. Good Christian wives don’t express their sexual desires.
I spent so much of my life saying no to sex. I am having a difficult time flipping the switch and enjoying sex now that I’m married.
The only godly purpose of sex is to have babies. Even in marriage, sexual passion and pleasure should be limited.
Clearly this list is not exhaustive. But you get the idea, right?
If you didn’t see in this list the skewed messages or experiences that are still haunting you, then write in your own words what those are. Which skewed sexual messages and/or experiences are still causing damage in your life? Seriously, write them down. It’s easier to tackle something if we have named it—seen it right there in print.
Contrary to how it may feel, you are not obliged to keep carrying damaging messages around. But I know it can seem monumentally hard to replace them with a healthier godly perspective on sex.
In this follow-up post, I unpack how to diminish those skewed messages so you have room in your heart and head for God’s perspective on sex in your life. This is hard work; in no way am I going to minimize how painful it may be. BUT it is transformational, too.
It could change your life and your marriage for the better. If you let it. Don’t forget to read 3 Tips on Blasting Beyond Skewed Messages About Sex.
And I have a 5 video series available on building better sex in your marriage. Great way to invest in your marriage! You can find out all about it at this link: Better Sex in Your Christian Marriage.
Copyright 2020, Julie Sibert. Intimacy in Marriage Blog. Links may be monetized.