What does this mean?

July 20, 2013

in Sex Positive, Sexuality

This post, which is sort of a follow up to last Saturday’s post, is a bit different. I suspect someone will misunderstand and say I am advocating sinful behaviour; I am not. I do believe we can learn from all human behaviour, both good and bad, and I do think ignoring what is happening always ends badly. I also like to deal with truth, even when I don’t like the facts. You may be uncomfortable with this post – I get it, I’m not fully comfortable with it. 

For as long as I have been aware of sexuality (the late 60’s) there have been those who said women could have sex the way men do – meaning they could enjoy sex with just about anyone, anywhere, any-time (this, it seems is “equality”). Until fairly recently I rejected this. It didn’t fit with what I believe (see yesterday’s post about how our beliefs colour our reality), so I kept denying it. I said the women saying they were enjoying such sex were lying to the world and/or to themselves. I said they didn’t really enjoy it, rather they enjoyed being rebellious. I said they might enjoy it for a bit, but would pay a horrible price. I said they were rare aberrations.

However, the voices of women saying they enjoy uncommitted sex kept growing in number, and I was eventually forced to examine what I believed.

You want what!? © David Castillo Dominici | freedigitalphotos.net

The belief I had was God had made women so they could not enjoy sex outside a healthy relationship. Some might do it for a time by force of will, but it couldn’t last and they would pay a horrible price emotionally and sexually. Of course, this belief is not biblically based, but I had connected it to some things in the Bible and treated it as if it was a biblical truth. I wanted it to be true, I didn’t want women to be able to enjoy promiscuity, and I wanted them to pay for their sin when they tried. Because of all this, I held on to the belief even when I should have seen real life proved it wrong. I eventually examined and rejected the belief, but it took far longer than it should have.

Now I see a growing number of women who enjoy sex outside of long-term committed relationships. Yes, the data shows sex is better for both men and women in long-term relationships (you know, like marriage) and women often get the short end of the stick in non-relational sex, but clearly some women can and do enjoy sex apart from relationships. When I say enjoy, I mean want it, pursue it, enjoy it physically (orgasm and all) and not feel bad about it mentally or emotionally. 

What does this mean?

It means female sexuality is not what we’ve been taught. There are still clear male/female differences in sexuality, but they are not as polarised as we thought. It means woman have a greater capacity, maybe a much greater capacity, to desire and enjoy sex than we have admitted. Perhaps many men are threatened by this.

It also means sex in marriage can be better than most of us have thought. Sex is not a male desire women indulge and sometimes enjoy; sex is a human desire both men and woman want, seek, and enjoy. This actually fits well with what Paul seemed to think about female sexuality. In 1 Cor 7 both women and men were told their sexuality did not belong to them, but to their spouse. Both women and men were told they could not say no to their spouse sexually. Additionally Paul told Timothy widows under 60 would want sex so much they would not stick to a vow of celibacy and service to God. 

Why don’t we see many women like this in the church?

The church has taught that women are sexuality receptive. Those who experaince something else feel wrong, or at least they realise they need to hide how they feel to avoid problems. We suppress female sexuality, and we say unkind things about those who are not sufficiently repressed. Maybe we expect women to balance men out, fearing what would happen if they didn’t resist to some degree. We want unmarried women to have no interest in sex, and we expect them to say no to the men who shouldn’t ask but “really cannot help themselves”. Perhaps we have made women sexual gatekeepers because our shame about our own sexuality causes us to feel we need a gatekeeper. Maybe they allow us to act a part that makes us feel “manly” knowing they won’t let us do some of the crazy things we suggest. (I certainly can see I did this in the past.)

The women in the world who are enjoying (immoral) sex view sex as something to be enjoyed. They feel good about their bodies, including the sexual parts of their bodies. They put time and effort into learning about their sexuality and finding ways to make sex better. Aside from their willingness to have sex outside marriage, I don’t find anything wrong with this. 

Over the past few years, I have written about being a sex positive Christian (I find 22 references in the last three years). Maybe it is time for the church to start being openly sex positive. A vital part of that is having sex within God’s guidelines, but we need to find and reject man-made rules and restrictions that have nothing to do with God. If secular women can have good sex outside marriage, Christian women can have fantastic sex in marriage. It is clear to me there’s a major change in how women perceive and engage in sex. Let’s give those in and outside the church a godly alternatiuve to the garbage the world is offering.

You will note I have said “perhaps” and “maybe” a number of times in this post. I have more questions than answers. Want to help me kick this around in the comments?

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57 comments
DennisNBeckyBernardi
DennisNBeckyBernardi

In my opinion, as a Christian woman who has been married 32 years, and married as a virgin. I can say that I think we need to define sex between a Christian married woman,  sex as a single Christian, and NON Christian woman. I believed and made the personal decision that I would wait until marriage for sex and I have never had sex with anyone other than my husband. I was baptized at 16 and was raised in a Christian home. I made the personal decision at 16 that I would never subject myself to sexual immorality and keep the covenant between God and my marriage. One thing I have learned is that my marriage is a covenant NOT a contract. Sex is to be pure, yet fun, and enjoyable. Since my 3rd child I had a tubal which definitely made sex alot more enjoyable. I also think, being raised in a conservative christian environment, the majority of my life, that Christian women traditionally are raised to be just that conservative and do not want to feel dirty or cheap in sex. Also, depending on the age of the woman, some maybe modest, and some maybe whorish depending on their upbringing and belief's on sex. Also, PORN is ramped and many woman have been subjected to being the outlet to their husbands lust and some can't even have a fulfilled sex life with their husband because he can't follow through due to  PORN INDUCED IMPOTENCY. Married men and singles who are having sex outside of marriage, or  who are addicted to Porn and Sexual Addiction also try and lure their wives into porn acts to fulfill their fantasy and if their wives don't want to comply they are turned off and no longer desire them. This article brings out the fact that single women are intune with their bodies and their sex is more enjoyable. I think what the underlying issue is that they are single and having lust filled sex. Lust is always pleasurable and having sex with someone you are not married to is an easy walk away so why not fulfill that lustful desire. Lust is cheap but as we know the devil always makes it feel good while your doing it. But you have cheapened yourself in the name of desire. At the end of the day you have taken what is meant to be in the marriage bed and is a covenant holy act and cheapened it to lust and self pleasure which is exactly what the devil wants. Church girls, if you will, need to know that they are beautiful, desired by their husbands, and that he cares about their needs, and  as long as the act your husband is wanting you to perform in the marriage bed is between the 2 of you and you both feel comfortable with it that God is pleased with it. Sex outside of marriage is NOT of God and you open yourself up to trouble.

TheGenerousHusband
TheGenerousHusband moderator

@DennisNBeckyBernardi I agree with most of what you said, but lust is not always pleasurable, for men or women. Women often do it as a way of getting love or getting a date, or getting a husband. All wrong, but not uncommon. Some enjoy their sin, many do not, and it can destroy their chances for a good sex life after they marry.

JSmithIV1
JSmithIV1

I'm relieved to know of this reality.  In fact, I'm elated.  Sexual abuse is a factor in some women's lives that inhibit the kind of sexual expression a wife may allow herself to experience within her marriage bed, even to the best husband that God could have her man to be for all of her needs.  Consequently, the sexual intimacy within such a marriage where the wife has been sexually molested and abused (even once, for seconds) may be a factor contributing to an inability to be the kind of woman described in this commentary.  Conversely, sexual abuse may also be a factor in the ability of a woman could "enjoy sex with just about anyone, anywhere, any-time."  


One thing is for certain.  Insofar as the abnormal use of sex is concerned, nobody gets out of life alive. There is a price to be paid for sex and anyone who operates outside of the boundaries the Lord has set before us will experience that price but by the grace of God, any of us can also experience the balm of God as well.  


Admittedly, for some, it may take longer than others.  Please abide with us as we grow and heal.....or heal and grow.  I, for one, am not all "put together."  I'm not sure if anyone really is....


Ex-sex/porn addict saved by grace of God alone.

Truth seeker 1982
Truth seeker 1982

From someone that has been promiscuous, I can tell you, that at the time it was happening, I THOUGHT I enjoyed it too. Now that I am married, and have experienced what true intimacy with another person is, I know how wrong I was. I realize now, that at the time, I was just needing attention and affection from someone, anyone. I was just using them to fill a void in my life. I would give anything to take it back and be able to give my husband all of me in that aspect, to have been able to give him the gift of my virginity. If someone says they enjoy it, they just haven't experienced the real deal yet.

TheGenerousHusband
TheGenerousHusband moderator

@Truth seeker 1982 I agree it's way better when it's part of a relationship, and I suspect virtually all women would agree. However I see this as one more place where Christians state as fact something which is not a fact, and it makes us look silly and is hardly evangelistic.

Truth seeker 1982
Truth seeker 1982

You have a good point with that. I think the primary leaders in our churches are from older generations where sex was taboo. We just don't talk about it. It's God's gift to husband and wife, abstinence until marriage, and then it's for making babies. And that's all there is to it. But they're preaching these things to a generation that is much more untuned to their sexuality, and they don't want to hear that. They're not going to draw people in by telling them how bad they are for doing it. But I stand by what I said previously, from experience, one-night-stands and booty calls just don't cut it. If that's all you know, you don't know that it can be so much better than that. Only after 2 people have feelings for each other, care enough about the other person to know and do the things they like, to feel that emotional connection at the same time, do you experience that earth shattering sexual connection that everyone dreams of. It truly is a gift from God.

Eleutheros
Eleutheros

@AndrewTheLesser You described your problem well and so, for you posting this, I am assuming that you are seeking a recommendation. After consideration of your reply, I am inclined to ask you what your limits are for what you are willing to do and above that, what you are willing to risk giving up in order to see things change.

Improvement would be ideal, but regardless, a change is what you apparently need, unless you become accepting that this is your fate for your marriage. Of course, a belief that this is your ‘fate’ would be for your believing whatever you believe that would make such a resignation seem to be your only ‘choice’.

In short, if you want a change, I would recommend Dr. David Schnarch’s book Passionate Marriage. If you can accept it and after comprehending it, apply it, it could change you, for the better. Hopefully, then-and Andrew, hope is all you or anyone will ever have- you will then lead her into a change for her seeing the changes in how you respond to her.

It will be painful; I guarantee it, with no guarantee whatsoever of improvement from her. But, it could become a beginning, of change. So, again, I will ask, “What are you willing to do and what are you willing to risk giving up to see things in your marriage change?” Only you can answer that question.

AndrewTheLesser
AndrewTheLesser

My wife tells me that women who actually enjoy frequent sex are an internet myth perpetuated by porn addicted men.  The older I get the more I am convinced that she is right, and further, there are no christian women who enjoy sex.  I read about them on the internet, but I grew up in the church and I have never met one, so to me it feels like a myth.  Any christian women I have heard talk about liking sex followed that up by saying they had to repent of their lustful hearts and now they no longer are as interested.

A happy marital sex life seems like a beautiful fantasy to me, one that I will never experience.  I have almost given up on reading sex positive blogs because it just gets my hopes up, only to be dashed upon the rocks of my wife's complete lack of interest in sex.

TheGenerousHusband
TheGenerousHusband moderator

@AndrewTheLesser I certainly understand why you feel as you do. To some degree this is a confirmation bias thing - your wife believes it is a porn myth, so she listens to those who say the same and dismisses those who say something different.

A big part of the problem is that women who really like sex are afraid they will be criticised or looked down on if they speak up. This is not a false fear, it does happen. This is the status quo being enforced, even when it may not be the majority opinion.

SexWithinMarriage.com
SexWithinMarriage.com

First off, of course we don't see the word revival in the bible, the bible was mostly likely written in Hebrew, Aramaic and Greek, while revival from French origin.

Plus, I think your church's revival must be very different than mine...for us, revival comes with the concept of sharing this "re-life", because its too good to keep secret.

e_mc2
e_mc2

I can relate to how we as Christians tend to make "truth" out of combining different biblical teaching with wishful thinking. Something may seem to be in line with Gods character (or rather our opinion of Gods character) and also be how we would hope things to be, so therefore we teach it in our churches as if it was a biblical teaching.

One example would be the widespread Christian myth that God has a perfect someone for us to find, or - if not else - what whomever we marry becomes that perfect someone. I'd like to believe that, and for years I did. But I cannot find any of that in the Bible. I now believe it is very possible to marry someone who is far from a perfect fit. That does not mean you should give up and divorce - it means you need to work harder (maybe much harder), than had you married someone else. (Still without saying there are marriages that do not require a lot of work).
I could go on with other examples not related to sex or marriage.

I think we need to be very careful about not adding to Scripture what is not actually there.

TheGenerousHusband
TheGenerousHusband moderator

@e_mc2 @SexWithinMarriage "Instead we lock ourselves up in our churches and pray for revival - with the implication that the Holy Spirit will do all the work so we don't have to do anything but pray."

PREACH!

e_mc2
e_mc2

@SexWithinMarriage Generally I think the concept of "revival" may be one of the most misused in church. Some pastors/movements have a great focus on "revival".

Yet, the word doesn't even exist in Scripture. Yes, there are a few depictions of events that could be described as "revival". But it seems to me that in the modern day, "revival" is rather used as an excuse for not doing what Jesus actually told us to do: make disciples. Instead we lock ourselves up in our churches and pray for revival - with the implication that the Holy Spirit will do all the work so we don't have to do anything but pray.

SexWithinMarriage.com
SexWithinMarriage.com

@e_mc2 I agree, the whole concept of soul mates comes from Greek mythology where Zeus made humans with 4 arms, 4 legs, 2 faces, but he feared them, so he split them in half, forcing them to spend half their life searching for their other half.

This teaching has no place in Christianity, nor can I say I've heard it preached in a church.

Would love to hear other examples.  Send me an email jaydeeblogs@gmail.com if you want to share them.


TheGenerousHusband
TheGenerousHusband moderator

@e_mc2 "I think we need to be very careful about not adding to Scripture what is not actually there."

It does seem to be a favourite Christian past time!

Ktram
Ktram

I am one of those women and honestly I don't feel very comfortable in church. I simply can't relate to other women there. I spent years trying to be something I wasn't and wondering what was wrong with me. Christian radio shows, books, and blogs said women aren't supposed to be this way. God made us with little to no sex drive and to only be responsive. I stopped initiating sex because I thought my husband would finally start initiating if he felt more like the man. It didn't work. I found THe Marriage Bed forums and started posting there only to be accused several times of being a man posting as a woman.

Thanks, Paul for finally affirming me as a woman and as a Christ follower.

SexWithinMarriage.com
SexWithinMarriage.com

@Ktram I had a pastor who always used to say "People are people, and people do people things".  And the marriage bed is a community made of people, like any other community, and yeah, people do people things.  Which means we get things wrong, we sin, we make fools of ourselves, and we put our collective feet in our collective mouths.

If you haven't seen my second latest post at http://sexwithinmarriage.com/2013/07/i-want-my-husband-to-want-me/, I urge you to come take a look.  In the comments you'll see many women in the same position as you.

You are not alone.

Ktram
Ktram

Thanks. I enjoyed reading that!

TheGenerousHusband
TheGenerousHusband moderator

@Ktram Find who God made you, and be that person as best as you can!

You are not the only woman who has questioned their God given sexuality because it does not fit the bogus one size fits all model of female sexuality we promote in the chruch.

Eleutheros
Eleutheros

My own conclusion is that it is really our divinely created capacity for sexual arousal that is being enjoyed. This, of course, leads us into enjoying the sexual acts that follow any particular arousal’s triggering desire and this is fun for us humans because our sexual arousal is like a color palette that can create a different 'picture' in our soul of powerful intermingling emotions each time it is engaged. That is one reason why porneia, the immoral extraction of our sexuality from Eros, has come into existence. Pornea contributes to and is sustained from our enjoyment of arousal and in this age this extraction is readily available to all.

So, yes, because of porneia, women are becoming more aware of the pleasures to be found in triggering their arousal, even more so as this avalability leads to the sloughing off of the social and religious restrictions that formerly held this awareness in abeyance by downgrading it.

This is the reason why I think Paul said to the sexually-charged Corinthians, “...because of porneia, let each man have a wife for himself and each woman have her own husband” (CLV).

Thus I think that the message of Christians to women should be unanimously changed to, ‘unleash yourself in the marriage bed and enjoy sharing your arousal with your husband and the husband should do likewise'

TheGenerousHusband
TheGenerousHusband moderator

@Eleutheros Well said! If you first taste chocolate because you steal it, you have sinned in stealing, but you gain a desire for chocolate because you like the taste. So what I am suggesting is that the church should proclaim chocolate to be a good thing within sinless parameters!

ForgivenWife
ForgivenWife

I was taught absolutely nothing about a woman's sexual desire as a young woman. There was all sorts of dating advice on what to do if a boy tried to go too far and how to handle his desire, but nothing even implied that I might have desire. I knew how to say no. I remember the first time I felt sexual desire when a guy kissed me. Running through my head were the words, "What? Now what do I do? I never read what I was supposed to do if I didn't want to say no!" That was the beginning of an internal battle with my own sexual desire that lasted well into my marriage.

If Cosmo magazine can be openly positive about women and their sexual desire, why can't the church?

TheGenerousHusband
TheGenerousHusband moderator

@ForgivenWife Exactly the problem! If we base our war on premarital sex on a false premise, we are doomed to fail - which is what we see.

SexWithinMarriage.com
SexWithinMarriage.com

I think we do see some of these women in our church, we just don't know we're seeing them.  The problem is that no one is talking about it, and we are continuing to create an atmosphere in our church where it is a hostile place to have such conversations.

But I agree, there are probably many more than have been put in this box of the sexless, or low drive or refusing/gatekeeping wife because it's almost expected.  It seems to be a self-fulfilling prophecy: we say so many women are less interested in sex, so they grow up becoming that way to fit into the norm.

We need more people to be willing and say to other Christians "my sex life is amazing!",  and follow up with "but it hasn't always been so".  We need more Titus 2:4 women teaching about how sex can be amazing and how it can give glory to God, it's creator.  We need more discussion about what sex is and isn't, about how to improve sex within marriage and how to confront issues, struggles and deal with problems in the marriage bed.

I'll be here right beside you Paul pushing the sex-positive view to Christian audiences, and looking for answers to the same questions.

TheGenerousHusband
TheGenerousHusband moderator

@SexWithinMarriage I agree, they are there, hidden in plain sight.

Social norms are extremely powerful and shame is debilitating. I've always seen shame as the result of people playing Holy Spirit. The Spirit brings conviction, not shame. The Spirit convicts over God's truth, while men try to being shame based on human traditions and rules.

jsdelcamp
jsdelcamp

While I agree more so from working among women of the world than from any other source, I wonder if we as men don't desire it to be true because we like that kind of woman and want our wives to be that kind of woman.  I also agree that the biggest reason Christian women don't want sex even in their marriage is because of the past teachings of the church, which were wrong and extremely unbiblical but because those teaching fit into their concept of God (their box), they believed them to be true.  The real question is how to we change the way women were taught and still teach them that sex outside of marriage is sinful?  I think this is why the church has taught what it has taught. It believes that if you don't open the can, the worms will never get out.

SexWithinMarriage.com
SexWithinMarriage.com

@jsdelcamp It's not hard to uphold the sex within marriage only construct if you truly believe that sex has a much higher potential within marriage, and so much research is coming out every month upholding this concept, from secular sources.  Most of them aren't coming out and saying that marriage is the best place for sex, but I see research that constantly asserts that sex is better in long term relationships, sex is better when you have no fear of the partner leaving, sex is better in a loving relationship, and on and on and on.  No ones saying it on the secular front, but they are all pointing to the fact that sex is better within the marriage God intended (self-sacrificing, no divorce, monogamous).



jsdelcamp
jsdelcamp

@SexWithinMarriage @jsdelcamp Oh, I agree, but my point is that the church believes that if you never go into a bar you will never drink, if you never watch TV or go the movies you will never see porn, if you build a wall between you and the world so you never get close to sin you will never sin. With that mindset, they have taught sex is bad even within marriage (only needed for having children - which is painful) to place this wall between them and temptations to fall into immorality.  It has not worked as you heard almost monthly in the news of this church person, this pastor, this religious group caught being involved in immoral acts. Instead of building walls to keep temptations away, we should have been building strong spiritual lives to overcome temptations. That leads me to my question - how do we change the church?

jsdelcamp
jsdelcamp

@Oysterbed7 @jsdelcamp @SexWithinMarriage I agree 1000% ! We need to get back to God's way of doing church - edify and teach one another until we are perfect (Eph 4).  God did not call us to save people - only He can do that - He called us to make disciples which means we are to teach them to be like Jesus in every way!

TheGenerousHusband
TheGenerousHusband moderator

@jsdelcamp I think you are spot on. We see it as a dangerous truth, one not worth the risk. Of course this is wrong, but I get why we feel that way. The Bible tells us that truth brings freedom.

What freedom would come from his truth being proclaimed in churches?

TheGenerousHusband
TheGenerousHusband moderator

@jsdelcamp @SexWithinMarriage Again, spot on. The problem that causes is that those who want to learn about sex are forced to go outside the church. When "The Joy of Sex" was published a lot of "good Christians" bought it because there was no Christian source for that information. We have, in a way, created a false dichotomy - follow God or have good sex. This pushes those who follow Jesus to go to the world, and it makes a necessary block to reaching the world and to their coming to the Lord.

jsdelcamp
jsdelcamp

@TheGenerousHusband @jsdelcamp For 1 - church people would have happier marriages and 2, the divorce rate for church people would be lower than the worlds, not equal to or higher than depending upon who statics you look at.

jsdelcamp
jsdelcamp

@SexWithinMarriage @jsdelcamp  The statics said "Christians" but if you notice I said "church people."  I did so on purpose because I agree with you that people who are in love with Christ and are His disciple would work at their marriages, not walk away from them.

TheGenerousHusband
TheGenerousHusband moderator

@SexWithinMarriage @jsdelcamp And we know that doing that will bring criticism! There are those who are deeply invested in the status quo, and they will fight long and hard against change.

I suspect there are far more sex positive folks in churches than we guess, but they keep their heads down for good reason. As a brave few speak up, others will follow. We've seen that happening over the last decade, and it is very promising!

e_mc2
e_mc2

@jsdelcampYes, I think one reason for men to spread the myth may be envy.

I personally struggle with not adding to the stereotype, because "If I'm not getting any - I sure hope nobody else is getting any. If there are women out there, who not only (after years of struggle have learnt to) enjoy sex, but actually (from the start) desire and pursue it, I 'picked' the wrong wife".

TheGenerousHusband
TheGenerousHusband moderator

@e_mc2 @jsdelcamp A very honest reply - thanks! I see how it could be a way of not being upset with your wife.

Gottman says that those who enter marriage with HIGH expectations, have better, more enjoyable marriages. It seems we do live up to or down to our expectations. This to me is a good reason to share realistically high sexual expectations. It probably won't do as much for those married for years, but it should help those folks too.

SexWithinMarriage.com
SexWithinMarriage.com

@jsdelcamp We are the church, and so the only answer to changing the church is to change the people in it, one at a time.

But, it means those who are already changed have to speak up, be noticed and see what freedom is like.

Oysterbed7
Oysterbed7

@jsdelcamp @SexWithinMarriage My opinion, changing the church is going to take a grassroots effort.  It'll take utilizing every opportunity in real life to speak up in a gentle way.  I know I'm a broken record but I truly believe it takes ladies mentoring ladies and men mentoring men.  I'm starting to pray for God to bring me more opportunities.

jsdelcamp
jsdelcamp

@TheGenerousHusband @jsdelcamp @SexWithinMarriage   That is why I believe God has called the church to lead the world, not follow it!  We need to lead in every aspect including sexual issues but instead today we have the church world following the world in sexual issues !

SexWithinMarriage.com
SexWithinMarriage.com

@jsdelcamp Those statistics are deliberately misleading.  You have to look at what they call a "Christian".  As soon as they run the stats with Christians who actually attend church on a regular basis, it drops well below societal norm.  

I bet if you narrowed it again to those who have an active prayer life, read their Bible and tithe, you'd see a massive drop.

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