I saw an interesting question today – is sex different for Christians?
My first reaction was “It should be, but it’s not”. My second reaction was “For many it’s even worse than for non-Christians” – but that’s another post.
As to why I think it should be better, I think sex should have a spiritual component. Actually, I think all sex does have a spiritual component. I see hints of this when Paul says a Christian man having sex with a prostitute is joining Christ to a prostitute. I also see it in reference to the mysteries of sex and marriage found in both the old and new testaments.
Unfortunately, the Church has neglected the spiritual aspects of sexuality, and it seems the idea of sex being spiritual is now associated with Eastern religions or “New Age” thinking. Why have we abandoned this truth to the world?
Why not discuss this with your wife? Ask her if she thinks there’s a spiritual component to sex, or if she thinks there should be. What would that mean? What if sex is a holy act? What if sex could be a form of worship?
I read an interesting write up the other day on recent research that suggests many women’s sexuality is different than what’s typical for men and most women.
For virtually all men, and a majority of women, sex is sought because of desire. For these folks, the sex drive is just that, a drive – like feeling a need to eat or sleep. But for about one-third of women, it doesn’t work this way. For some women desire only occurs as a result of sex; arousal brings desire, not the other way around.
But let’s define arousal. Numerous studies have women can be physically aroused (swelling and lubrication) without “feeling” aroused. Some women are unaware of the physical arousal while others are aware of it but don’t feel aroused. It would be like hearing your stomach growl and knowing what that means, but not feeling any sense of hunger. The issue here is not what her body does, rather it’s about what she feels.
For women who don’t feel desire outside of sex, it can seem like a catch 22 – she won’t want sex if she doesn’t feel desire, and she won’t feel desire is she doesn’t start to have sex.
If a woman learns that starting sex leads to desire, which leads to enjoying, everything is good. This would be like knowing if you took a couple of bites of food you would start to feel hunger and would then want and enjoy the meal. For this to work sex needs to start slow, with a good deal of non-sexual and semi-sexual touching at first. Think sensual rather than hot sex, and give her body and mind time to develop desire.
Get your bride’s attention, look her deeply in the eye, and then touch her gently – on the hand, on the face, or where ever else. Hold her gaze as you gently touch or stroke her.
A few months ago my bride and I attended a meeting on “new monasticism” – living in intentional, multi-family groups. Yeah, that can be a commune in all the ugly ways, but it can also be something good. I only mention it here because of something said to me by the man who owned the house in which we met. This fellow, a bit older than I, said he didn’t like entertaining – and I commented on how odd it was given he regularly had a group of 20 or more in his home. He said, “I am learning to die to my preferences“.
Those words have stuck with me – even haunted me if you will – ever since. I frankly didn’t like the idea, but at the same time I heard Jesus so very clearly in those words. The preferences I’m thinking of aren’t things that matter deeply to me, or things based on morality, law, or decency. I have a great many other preferences – little things that really don’t matter as much as I’d like to think they do.
The Bible puts it like this:
Be kindly affectionate to one another with brotherly love, in honor giving preference to one another… [Romans 12:10 NKJV]
That’s probably something I should be doing – and I should probably put my wife at the top of the list.
I am sitting at my bride’s computer tonight as mine is in the midst of an update that has taken it over. In front of me are three stone hearts – one from so long ago I don’t remember when I got it for her, one I found while digging out the basement where we currently live (it’s less perfect than the other two, raw and unpolished, but clearly heart shaped without any chipping or cutting to make it look so) and one I got for her at the place where we took our helicopter ride (something she had wanted to do for a very long time). Next to these are agates we collected on the beach during our anniversary two and a half years ago.
These items are sitting here because they mean something to her – because they bring back memories and make her feel loved and blessed. The cost of these items was very small, but the “return on my investment” in her heart has been very large.
I suspect these tips on sex have not been what some of you expected – or wanted. I know many of you want ideas on what to do in bed to make sex better. I will continue to give some such tips from time to time. I know some of you want to know how to get your wife to want or enjoy sex more (or at all :-x ) . I do what I can on this, but unless your behaviour is the major reason for her not wanting or enjoying sex, there is really very little you can do to change things. Ultimately it’s her choice, and since she knows you stand to benefit from the change you want in her, she will find it difficult to trust you. Sadly this seems to be true even when a wife freely admits her husband is loving and trustworthy in every other way; the problem is that women fall victim to the prevalent “men are selfish pigs about sex” attitude that is so common in our culture. The best you can do it nurture a marriage relationship that makes sex something she will desire (see below).
My primary goal in this series of tips has been to show you sex as something different than how you have seen it – different, and so much better! Men are easily trapped by a counterfeit of sex because it taps into their God given visual sex drive, and promises (but fails) to meet their desperately unmet need for physical release. The counterfeit promises what most men think they want, but it’s all a lie. Aside from the fact that the counterfeit can’t really satisfy, it also draws a man in a direction that his wife can neither enjoy nor respect. The counterfeit is all about the physical aspects of sex, and nothing but the physical. Sure, it can pretend to care about the deeper aspects of sex, but that is just an illusion which may fool you, but will not fool your bride.
The sad irony is that the only way to satisfy your physical sex drive is to choose to make it less of a priority. In truth, he who seeks to satisfy his body will fail, while he who seeks the deeper aspects of sex is the one who can find physical pleasure and fulfillment beyond imagination.
Sex, real sex, great sex, satisfying sex, is an integral part of a deeply committed and intimate relationship with your bride. You can’t have great sex without a great marriage, and if you are not willing to put in the time and energy needed to have a great marriage, you can forget about ever being sexually satisfied. If your sex life is not what you want it to be, the odds are your best bet is to say and do nothing about sex, and do all you can to make your marriage better. There may come a time when you need to nudge your bride about her wrong ideas about sex, but you have no hope of her listening to you if you have not given her reason to think you are all about her and what blesses her.
Great sex requires a long term investment. You need the ability to not get too excited when things improve, and the ability to not get upset when things seem to be going in the tank. The changes in a marriage, and in a sex life, are very erratic in the short term. If you were to chart the level of intimacy you have with your bride, based on what you see and feel, there would be some significant drops that could be very depressing. There could also be some short term improvements that look better than they are, and you can easily get despondent when the “upturn” proves to be short lived. Learn to look at your intimacy year to year, not day by day or month to month.
Don’t let the chance for a short term “good time” get in the way of what you need to do to build the intimacy needed for great sex. Most of us have pushed just a bit at some time, with the immediate result of what seems to us to be very good sex, only to discover later that our pressing injured our bride, and set back intimacy a great deal. This can even happen when she is the one who pushes for something because she is caught up in the heat of the moment and will do something she will regret later. As difficult as it is, don’t just run with anything she seems open to – better to take it a bit slow and not cause harm that will take weeks or months to heal.
What if you really are not “getting enough”? I know this is a valid issue, and I know from personal experience that a lack of sex with your bride is very difficult in many ways. I know it hurts, not just physically, but emotionally and mentally. I understand how this situation pushes you to lust after other women, and to pressure your bride for sex. I understand the temptation to look at porn, or to masturbate secretly and frequently. I also know that all of these things are counter-productive to the goal of having a deeply intimate marriage and a great sex life. The more you can hold back, the more you can sacrifice, the better your chances of someday having the sex you really want.
Finally, a rather personal comment on this: For years I pressed my bride to take care of my physical sex needs. She became very generous in taking care of me, by hand at least, whenever I asked – and I asked very often. In looking back it seems to me that this “benefit” cost both my bride and I a good deal. It took her a good deal of energy to get to where she could give me what I desired. Once she got there, it sometimes took a good bit of energy to provide what I wanted, and at times it interfered with developing greater intimacy. Had I been willing to settle for less, much of that energy could have gone to her healing – resulting in her getting to really wanting and enjoying sex much sooner. Had I not focused so often on sex, the rest of the marriage would have grown much faster, and that would have brought about the sex I really wanted much sooner. If I could go back and do it again, I’d ask for significantly less sex, and I am sure I would gain so much so much sooner. I think I failed to take as much of a long term approach as I thought I was – putting my immediate physical needs ahead of building a foundation that would support great sex.
This comes from a post recently made on the TMB message boards. I have modified and used the post here with the permission of the woman who wrote the original
We hadn’t made love in almost a week due to some stupid misunderstandings and scheduling. We really needed a date so we planned to go out. [My husband] asked me to find a restaurant. It looked like we’d have to pay through the nose for a nice ambiance, decent food and a degree of privacy to have a good conversation. I was getting discouraged because I knew even though we were going to spend all this money we still would come back to a house with kids (a friend staying over) and not much privacy for some intimacy which by now we were both badly needing.
Then I thought, wouldn’t it be so nice to just go check into a hotel for the night? But we couldn’t leave the kids all night. Then I had a brilliant idea! I believe it was the Lord. I thought why don’t we dispense with the expensive meal, and just check into a hotel for a few hours instead! When I asked him about it, he thought it was deliciously naughty and we should definitely do it. Using Hotwire.com we got a place for $60. We got into the room about 7:30pm, and stayed till about 10:30pm, then going out for dessert, and getting home around midnight. It was so wonderful. It gave us the privacy we needed for some truly amazing sex and then time to reconnect on an emotional level. It was so worth it and truly we didn’t spend any more than we would have on a nice dinner. I don’t think this will be the last time we do this and next time we can plan better and get there earlier.
Anyone surprised by a woman who choose hotel sex over dinner out? Look at the part I bolded, it’s critical. This was not just sex, it was intimacy, sexual and otherwise. This was reconnecting on many levels. This couple has learned great sex is part of a deeply intimate marriage – they have also learned that both great sex and an intimate marriage take thought, effort, and sometimes choices about how to spend time and money.