Would You Tell Your Married Children to Avoid Sex IN Marriage?


avoiding-sex-in-marriageI think we intuitively know that marriage without nurtured sexual intimacy is not the preferred model.

God made us, and He designed sex to be holy and necessary and beautiful in its right context of marriage. So by our very nature of being God-made, we have the capacity to seek Him and His model of sex.

Wherever sex becomes skewed and taken out of its right context, that’s on us as humans in our sinfulness. God has no role in skewed sex. And yes, I know. Many people experience not only the consequences of their own sinful sexual behavior, but also of the sinful sexual behavior of others.

But stay with me here. I’m getting to my point.

The church has gone to great lengths to rightfully teach that sex is for marriage. Sure, we haven’t always executed the message well (the purity movement of the 80s and 90s fell flat in some areas, for sure). And sometimes the church has been way too silent about sex. But for the most part, we collectively as a body of believers for centuries have emphasized that sex is meant for marriage and that is where it should be experienced.

So let’s mosey back to my headline.

Would you tell your married children to avoid sex in marriage?

I was pondering this because I hear from so many married people who are not having sex for no reasonable reason. There’s no physical reason they couldn’t be having intercourse or, at the minimum, healthy sexual touch. And here’s no relational betrayal (such as an ongoing affair by an unrepentant spouse) that would warrant sexual refusal by the betrayed spouse.

One or both spouses (usually it’s just one) has arbitrarily decided they don’t like sex, so they aren’t going to have it, even if such decision is detrimental to the marriage. End of story. 

But I wonder if these same people who are so bent on sexual refusal in their own marriage would advise their adult married children to do the same? Would you tell your married children to avoid sex in marriage?

It sounds preposterous, right? Especially for Christian parents, who possibly went to great lengths to tell those same kids when they were growing up to wait until marriage to have sex.

I’m lovingly offering up a gut check here. 

Not surprisingly, I hear from many people who say they did not grow up seeing healthy affection between their mother and father. And often, the parents were silent on sex or outwardly spoke negatively about it.

A cycle of seeing sex as anything but holy and good was perpetuated by the Christian parents who readily would have said sex is for marriage.

Now to be fair, I think there is something profoundly helpful about parents acknowledging they didn’t display healthy affection with their spouse or talk about sex in a positive light. If you as a parent feel you didn’t set a good example of healthy sexual intimacy in marriage, don’t hesitate to bring this up with your adult children, particularly the ones who are engaged or are married.

It’s helpful to be able to say, “We didn’t follow God’s example and take care of our intimacy. I’m telling you this because I want a better path for you.” And depending on the specifics of your situation, you possibly can elaborate about what made sexual intimacy a difficult aspect of your marriage.

Do you see, though, how it is contradictory to continue to speak or behave poorly about affection and sex, and yet expect your adult children to enthusiastically embrace sex in their marriage?

My guess is you would never tell them to avoid sex in their marriage. But if you’ve modeled sex as something unworthy of attention, then aren’t you essentially telling them it is fine if they too avoid it in their own relationship?

Pay attention to cycles that are perpetuated. Are you perpetuating unhealthy cycles of ongoing sexual lethargy in marriage? Or are you breaking unhealthy cycles? And let’s not forget that healthy cycles also can be perpetuated or sadly, in some cases, broken.

Our actions and words are what perpetuate cycles or break them.

I doubt you would tell your married children to avoid sex in their marriages. My guess is you want them to enjoy sexual intimacy, especially if it has been a struggle in your own marriage. 

If sex has been a struggle in your marriage, my hope is you will baby step your way toward changing that pattern.

I also hope, though, that even if you think it’s “too late” for your own marriage, that you won’t miss this opportunity to speak truth and light into your children’s marriages. Doing so could spare them a lot of relational discord.

For more reading, you can cruise through my list of past posts, as well as my page with a bunch of posts on orgasm.

Copyright 2020, Julie Sibert. Intimacy in Marriage Blog. Links may be monetized.

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2 thoughts on “Would You Tell Your Married Children to Avoid Sex IN Marriage?

  1. The Other Side says:

    -What if you really don’t like sex?

    -What if when you were younger and first married sex was OK, but not the mind blowing experience that everybody seemed hyper focused on?

    -What if as you got older and your body changes and that slightly stronger drive from youth has vanished and now you just seriously want to avoid it?

    -What if your natural chemical makeup does not support a high drive? Yes I believe some people are born with the DNA/Chemical makeup that is high drive (interest) and some are low drive (interest). Everybody declines in age. If you start low, that decline is more noticeable.

    This is not a new problem. Look back at history and look into the Bible back to the beginning of time and you see affairs, mistresses, multiple wives, etc. We have always had high drive/low drive problems and even after thousands of years we have not found the solution for the issue. All I see is a constant message that the low drive spouse needs to be “fixed”.

    Heading into the stereotypical American mid-life portion of my life as a man, I ponder “what if” a lot. What if I found myself single at this point of life? No I would not seek out a new partner or even date. I don’t want the pressure or expectation of sex. I have plenty of blessings that actually fills me up, like my kids, their families, all the family activities, work, etc.

    The older I get the more I like calm, simple, quiet, and ROUTINE. I like traditional church service and really do not like contemporary service or contemporary Christian music. I like routine. I like predictable. After a crazy day at work with crazy people and a crazy world I like routine and calmness at home. I absolutely love bedtime and finally falling asleep, but bedtime is for sleep. It’s really the only part of my day that I fully control. The only part of the day that rivals bedtime is early morning. The calm, the birds, the sunrise.

    Does all of this make me bad? A sinner? Boring?

    Yes, boring, but I like it. Bad? No. A sinner? No. How can I be a sinner when this is how I was made and have always been? Are we sinners because our body changes as we age and sometimes we want less/no sex and some people’s body changes make them want more?

    So many life things to ponder.

  2. oldermarried says:

    @the other side,

    I enjoyed reading this, especially as I understood you are male. When my wife and I married, almost a half century ago, we both had baggage, as I guess we all do.

    However, I felt a sex drive much more strongly than she did. However, the way it was explained to me was that “all would be different once we married.” In other words, the implication was that she had the same need for sex that I did–the same desire–and this would all work out when we had been legally married.

    Yes, I was extremely naive. I assumed…maybe hoped… that this was true.

    If you married, and you both expected a full, complete, regular sex life, you may not have understood what that would mean. You may have assumed that meant “Once a month.” (Make up a number here.) She may have assumed twice a week. (Again, just a number for comparison.)

    If those numbers differ a lot, it is not a good place to be, for me at least. And I’ve come to believe it is bad for her too. She is, on some levels, living out that difference, and it lurks beneath the core of what is otherwise a really good marriage. (Speaking for me here.)

    In other words, she probably feels as bad about wanting more sex as much as you feel about wanting less.

    As to the “sin” part, we are ALL sinners. And we are ALL forgiven, if we ask in the name of Jesus.

    I would talk to your wife. See if there is “enough” for her. Maybe you can reach an agreement, where you can enjoy your routine pleasures–which seem wonderful by the way. Getting sleepy and sleeping soundly, to wake up to the cool dawn is also a pleasure of mine.

    And she can enjoy her routines.

    Maybe occasionally, you can be sexual with each other. I don’t mean “keeping up the appearances”. I mean making love when one or both of you want it.

    From your letter, it seems like you feel guilty for living your life. I feel a lot of guilt too, and some of it is sexual guilt.

    Sometimes, I feel guilty for wanting sex. You seem to feel guilty for NOT wanting it. Both positions need God’s intervention. Sex was created to enjoy, not feel guilty about.

    I would say, “Talk to your wife.” It will be difficult. Telling her how you feel will probably cause a row, but I guarantee you are already mapping each other. (She knows how you feel, and you know her feelings.) Get it out into the open so it won’t be between you.

    Just an opinion, but your feeling you might be a sinner for wanting less is just as wrong-headed as my feeling like a sinner for wanting more. I think the author of this blog has mentioned before: We were created with different desires to force us to work together–be mindful of meeting each other’s needs, when possible. You might be closer than you think.

    Old married guy

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