Today’s questioner has not had sex. In fact, she feels completely unprepared to have sex in a future marriage. Here’s her story:
I’m a 22 yrs old mega-virgin and the concept of intimacy is new and kinda scary to me
My mother and I never had the talk, mainly because our family is very conservative when it comes to this stuff and she always tell me to refuse any physical interaction from guys until i got married and that’s it. (also i had found out that she and my grandmother never had the “talk”, figures right?)
o.k so i know what i’m NOT to do…but how do i know what am i SUPPOSE to do?
the only thing i look up on google is what happens to my body physically when aroused in wikipedia (pathetic, i know)
but i don’t know what else to look up, the world is dying to show me what they know but i don’t want to learn from that. i’m against porns!!! where do i start? What should i read? Please i need your advice!!!
First, let me reiterate how important it is for parents to step up and talk to their children about sex, infusing those conversations with godly values. And notice I said conversations — plural — because one talk ain’t gonna cut it. Here’s more on that:
Talking to Your Kids about Sex: No More One & Done
Is “Don’t Have Sex” Enough for Teens?
Teach Your Kids the Correct Words for Body Parts
How to Talk to a Teen about Sex
Top Ten Things I Want to Teach My Teens About Sex
And now . . . Wikipedia. I wonder just what kind of information you get from there on this subject. It’s likely accurate, but it obviously can’t tell the whole story. And you won’t get the godly viewpoint of sexuality.
Which is why I wrote Hot, Holy, and Humorous: Sex in Marriage by God’s Design and keep up with this blog: I believe our world desperately needs the truth about God’s gift of sex to marriages.
While I primarily speak to marrieds, specifically wives, let me tackle this question with some ideas of what you should know before marriage.
Your sex drive. Song of Songs, the Bible book about sex in marriage, warns three different times: “Do not awaken love until it so desires” (2:7, 3:5, 8:4). The charge is given to the “daughters of Jerusalem,” presumably unmarried women looking forward to the promise of sexual intimacy. This means we shouldn’t poke and prod sex, thinking it won’t wake up until we say I Do. We shouldn’t awaken it until the time is right — in a covenant marriage.
But have you ever watched babies, or maybe a dog or cat, sleep? They don’t just lie there sleeping like the dead; there are twitches and stirrings, moments when it looks like they might be waking up, but then they quickly return to sleep.
I think that’s where the Church and many Christians have gotten this wrong: We tell premarrieds to not awaken love, to shut down any possibility of sexual contact, and expect their sex drive to lie there completely dormant until they cross the marriage threshold. And then it’s supposed to leap from sleep. But after all that time of shoving their libido down, it can be hard for many wives to flip the switch.
Here’s what I’m going to tell you instead: You will have stirrings.
Your body will be aroused, likely many times over, before it’s the right time to engage sexually. And trying to shove those sexual feelings back in a box and tape it down isn’t the best approach. Rather, recognize those feelings for what they are—reminders that God created you as a beautiful, sexual woman who will one day be ready to fully awaken that love in marriage.
Now if you want to know why you should wait until marriage, and how, check out these posts:
Sex Before Marriage, Part 1 (Guest Post) on Preengaged
Sex Before Marriage, Part 2 (Guest Post) on Preengaged
How Much Should You Learn about Sex before the Wedding Night? from Heather & Eric Viets
The Premarital Sex Felt Great
How Premarital Sex Affects the Marriage (Guest Post) on Preengaged
Q&A with J: What To Do with Sexual Desire Before Marriage
Your anatomy. We don’t all respond the same way, but there are some fairly universal sensations. Let me describe a bit of anatomy and then discuss what happens.
Your privates are comprised of several basic parts: vagina, outer and inner vaginal lips (labia majora and labia minora), and clitoris. (There’s some other stuff like G-spot and Skene’s glands, but you don’t need to know that until you’re having sex. ) When a woman gets aroused, her vagina lubricates, her vaginal lips swell, and the clitoris enlarges. Not all of those have to happen together. Sometimes you’re just “wet,” and usually the clitoris becomes more visible with direct stimulation. But these are things that happen to our bodies when we’re sexually stimulated.
When you start having sex in marriage, the thing to remember is to take it slow and let your body become sufficiently aroused with lubrication and swelling (especially the inner vaginal lips) before engaging in intercourse. But for now, know that if your panties get wet from time to time, that’s normal. It tends to happen more frequently while we’re ovulating, but it can also happen just when we’re attracted to a guy or feeling more sensual in general. Consider it a reminder that God has created your body to engage in sexual intimacy with your husband when the time is right.
Your body image. Having heard from so many wives on this topic, this is something you can work on right now and for the rest of your life. Learn to love your body!
It’s going to be hard someday to bare it all for your husband if you don’t have any confidence in the beauty that God gave you. But He really did make you beautiful! Practice positive self-talk, noticing what your personal assets are and celebrating those. Don’t bat away compliments, but learn to say “thank you.” Take care of your body with a healthy diet and regular exercise. Don’t sweat the stuff you don’t like so much. Cherish those aspects that make you feminine — your softer skin, your curves, your private parts.
If body image is a struggle, mark this verse in your Bible or memorize it and remind yourself:
For you created my inmost being;
you knit me together in my mother’s womb.
I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
your works are wonderful,
I know that full well.
Someday your husband is likely to adore seeing your body — your gorgeous, naked body — and it will be easier to engage in sexual intimacy if you believe his assertion that you are a beautiful woman. Not to mention that it’s God’s assertion as well, so believe Him. Remain modest, but appreciate the body you have — the body that will one day be used for sexual intimacy.
Your sexual baggage. You don’t only have sexual baggage if you had premarital sex. Sexual baggage is anything you drag into your marriage that is an obstacle to true physical intimacy. Even a poor theology of sex can be a load that burdens your marriage bed.
What I wish I’d deeply understood before marriage was how pro-sex God was. Just in the right context. I had internalized the prevalent stance that Christianity believed sex to be a carnal activity and women to be the gatekeepers regulating oversexed men. But when I personally had experiences that conflicted somewhat with that teaching, I was confused and I strayed. I basically rejected the whole thing because parts of the theology I’d been taught weren’t true. While I bear all the fault for not seeking the real answers in the Word of God, it would be easier for young people if we told them the real deal: God wants you to have sex and enjoy it immensely, but in His sovereign wisdom He reserved it for marriage.
It’s worth asking yourself what messages about sex you’ve internalized and whether those really comport with what God says about sex. Some well-meaning Christians can present erroneous information, oftentimes because it’s what they were taught. We need to seek real answers from God’s Word.
Develop a healthy theology of sex, so that you understand it as (1) a blessing, (2) intended for reproduction, pleasure, and intimacy, and (3) reserved for the covenant bonds of marriage. By the way, that last one is not because God wants to deny us anything; rather, He wants us to enjoy the full measure of His gift and He knows that sex outside of marriage can easily damage one or both people. As Deuteronomy 10:12-13 says: “And now, Israel, what does the Lord your God ask of you but to fear the Lord your God, to walk in obedience to him, to love him, to serve the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul, and to observe the Lord’s commands and decrees that I am giving you today for your own good?”
Find a godly mate. Finally, my best advice is to find a godly husband. I’m not talking about a perfect husband, that man who doesn’t exist except in romance novels and imaginations. Rather, if you want a great sex life someday, your best bet is to marry someone who also seeks God’s will — in everything.
Listen, whatever challenges you have in the marriage bed — whether it’s just wedding night awkwardness, or medical issues that create obstacles to sexual intimacy, or past sexual encounters that left wounds — having a mate who also understands the importance of sexual intimacy in marriage and who is loving and respectful of you will make everything smoother. Most marriages have ups and downs in the sex department, but being a team to work through those peaks and valleys is a far better situation than being at odds with one another.
The people who write me with major issues typically have one spouse who doesn’t want to tackle the problem head-on or who stubbornly pursues their own selfish ways. If you’ve got a guy, though, who’s committed to 1 Corinthians 13 love, you can weather all kinds of stuff. Of course, you should also be committed to that kind of love as well. I’ve often said that single women should spend less time looking for Mr. Right and more time becoming Mrs. Right.
I haven’t read it, but I understand The Sacred Search by Gary Thomas is an excellent book for singles on finding a godly mate. (I did read Sacred Marriage by the same author, and it was really good.) I’m also rather partial to The Jane Austen Guide to Happily Ever After by Elizabeth Kantor, which is not a Christian book but still a good resource for mate-picking.
One final note: When you do find The Guy, get some premarital counseling. And make sure it covers the topic of sex. Preengaged has some great resources in that regard, and I guarantee Heather and Eric there can talk biblically and honestly about sex.