I’ve read it over and over: Sex is the icing on the cake of marriage.
I understand the intention of that statement: Sex is something sweet and tasty added to marriage that makes it that much more delightful. It sounds great really — an appealing sentiment.
The problem is . . . I don’t like icing. No, really. Give me a piece of cake, and I will be scraping that icing right off.
Okay, okay, that’s not really the problem. But my dislike of icing did get me thinking about the statement of sex-as-icing. And I think it’s flat-out wrong.
Because when I remove the icing, I still eat the cake — every single bite. I eat and enjoy the whole cake — just not the last addition, the part that went on after the whole thing was mixed, baked, and cooled.
And sex wasn’t an addition to God’s plan for marriage. Honestly, it’s all of two verses between “then the Lord God made a woman…and he brought her to the man” and “they become one flesh” (Genesis 2:22, 24). Hardly a Heavenly afterthought!
Sexual intimacy is an ingredient in the cake. It’s essential.
Pick which ingredient. You could argue it’s the sugar that sweetens the whole thing or the baking powder that causes it to rise or the egg that binds the ingredients together or the butter that — well, it’s butter, and butter is just yummy awesome. It could even be a bit of vanilla extract that gives the cake some kick. But whatever it is, sex is in the cake, part of the plan for marriage.
If you leave sex out of marriage, things don’t taste right. Something is missing in the intimacy a husband and wife can truly have. You still come out with something, but it’s not good cake. Even slapping some icing on top won’t rescue a cake without egg or sugar inside.
Too many marriages relegate sex to being the icing on the cake — added to their relationship when everything else is put together and handled. Sex becomes what we do when the household is in order, when kids’ activities and desires are fully met, when conversation and romance have been maxed out, when time and circumstance allow. It’s what we squeeze into our weekend after cleaning the house and going to the grocery store. It’s the indulgence we allow ourselves when our husband manages to hit just right in that ten-minute window between our head hitting the pillow and sleep settling into our weary body.
All those other aspects of marriage are important, but sex is too. You may even think sex is wonderful. But is it deeply baked into your marriage cake? Or is it something you sometimes scrape off the cake and move to the side of your plate?
It’s not the only ingredient of a good marriage, but sex is certainly in the mix. God created it that way. When we put the right ingredients into our marriage, we can’t help but turn out a great cake — the sort of cake a decorator would be thrilled to add piped designs, iced latticework, and blooming flowers. A delicious masterpiece.
Do you treat sex like an essential ingredient or simply the icing?
(And yes, I know some of you avoid the cake and eat the icing. But that’s not exactly the point either. And of course, if we meet at a cake-worthy event, you’ll see scraped-off icing on my plate and you’re more than welcome to have it.)