5 Ways to Get Your Church to Address Sex

So your church doesn’t address sex. You’re not alone.

But if you’re like me, or you’ve read the Bible past Genesis 1 and know that God didn’t shy away from sex, you think your church should be able to have a grownup conversation about sexual intimacy in marriage. So how can you get people talking about this important topic in a respectful, helpful, godly ways?

Here are five actions you can take to move the needle.

Blog post title + basic illustration of a church building

1. Offer to teach or facilitate a class.

You know there’s a need, but many churches don’t know how to present material that encourages healthy and holy sex in marriage. Pastors are also in precarious positions, expected and even pressured to teach solely on certain theological issues.

Why not suggest an alternative within your current educational structure? Offer to lead a class or small group. I admit to being a bit nervous myself when I offered to teach a women’s class at my church, but my class was welcomed and well-attended. I came up with my own material, because…well…me. But if you’d rather facilitate, tap into some excellent resources where others will do the teaching portion for you.

Here are three I can recommend for wives:

Awaken Love Class. Led by Ruth Buezis. “The Awaken-Love class is available to women all over the world through our 6-week video series…Together you will watch the videos, read through Song of Songs and discuss the material. Opening up the taboo topic of sex with women you trust will help you uncover a new level of intimacy in your marriage as you learn to talk about sex.”

Passion Pursuit Study Led by Linda Dillow and Dr. Juli Slattery. “For each of the ten weeks, you will watch a 30-45 minute video of Juli & Linda teaching and then have 5 days of homework to complete in your workbook. Each group will need one woman to step up as the facilitator, but Juli & Linda will do all the teaching through the DVD & workbook.”

Boost Your Libido (affiliate link). Led by Sheila Wray Gregoire. “We’re going to have FUN—as I show you how you can move your marriage from BLAH to Blazing, just by understanding how your brain, body, and relationship all work together to impact your libido! This 10-module video based course has lots of information and awesome exercises that will get YOU anticipating sex more!” Now perhaps 70-85% of wives are the lower-drive spouse, but even as the higher-drive spouse in my own marriage (currently), I appreciated this course for addressing distinct ways that sexual intimacy works for wives. While originally designed it for individuals online, it would be easy to facilitate this course in a small group setting.

2. Gift resources to church leaders.

The following three things are true for a majority of pastors:

  • They didn’t receive much ministry training on God’s design for sexual intimacy.
  • They don’t know exactly how to address the topic of sex with their congregations.
  • They don’t make a lot of money, so they’re limited in buying products to research or consider.

Thus, if you want your pastor to address this topic or be an advocate for sex-positive programs and classes, maybe you could gift resources to your pastor(s) that address sex with a godly perspective. Let them see that Christians are speaking out in holy and healthy ways, and your church can do it too.

For instance, my devotional book, Intimacy Revealed, shows how Scripture can be applied to a number of issues couples face in marriage about sex, and even includes prayers for sex. I also have a list of recommended reads here.

3. Host an event.

Sometimes what can kick-off the conversation is an event that gets church members thinking and talking. In this case, you just invite the speaker to come in, and he/she will do the rest. At least during the event. Afterwards, it’s up to the church to follow up and follow through.

Here are just three great speakers you could host, who all speak to women honestly and biblically about sex:

Juli Slattery, clinical psychologist, author, speaker, Authentic Intimacy Conference and Ladies Night Out

Sheila Wray Gregoire, speaker, blogger, an award-winning author, Girl Talk Event.

J. Parker (oh, that’s me!), speaker, author, silly-joke-teller. And I’ve waived my speaker fee for the remainder of the year!

4. Give your testimony.

For years, I was scared to give my personal testimony, because I figured it would go like this:

Me: So perhaps the biggest area in which God saved me in my sexuality. You see, I was quite the tool before I got married—sheesh, half of you would barely recognize that girl!—and then there’s all the C-R-A-P my marriage went through, some of which was due to serious sexual baggage. But woo-hoo! God rescued me.

Them:

If you’re frightened to speak up too, I get it. I really do. But those faces are not at all what has happened.

In fact, when we confess our struggles to one another, most of the time we discover that others are struggling too and people are glad someone spoke up. You could be the first one to break that unspoken rule of silence that isn’t helping any of us and instead introduce honesty and a willingness to support one another, even one another’s marriage beds.

Be careful how and when you spill your story, of course. But go ahead and talk about how God has worked in your sex life. I know my Heavenly Father has worked wonders in mine.

Be careful how and when you spill your story, of course. But go ahead and talk about how God has worked in your sex life. I know my Heavenly Father has worked wonders in mine. Click To Tweet

5. Be a positive voice for sexual intimacy.

Just be the voice among friends who speaks positively about sex. You wives know what I’m talking about: Sometimes the discussion among women turns to sex, and the comments are, sadly, negative. “Ugh, he wants it all the time!” “I’m too tired for sex.” “What’s the big deal anyway?”

Or they might in favor of sex in marriage, but still wrong: “You need to have more sex for your husband.” Um, how about more sex for your husband and you, since God made it a mutual thing we gals are also supposed to really enjoy!

You can slowly but surely start to turn the tide by being the positive voice in the room. Positive doesn’t mean pushy, but let others know that God is the author of pleasurable sex, that it’s an act intended to create and express intimacy, and that it’s worth pursuing a healthy and holy marriage bed.

Even if you only convince one woman, that’s one wife who now has incentive to seek God’s design for sex and has an advocate for her marriage—you. One by one, we make a difference.

What couples resources do you recommend for churches? What has your church done that has been helpful in promoting positive, godly sexuality?

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11 thoughts on “5 Ways to Get Your Church to Address Sex

  1. Brian

    I’m really glad there are now women like Juli Slattery (she saved my marriage) who will now teach classes or speak at events. This kind of thing was unknown in the church when I was going up and it’s a huge step forward. But, are there no men or couples who do the same kind of thing? I noticed that all your resources were aimed at women and all the speakers were women. Maybe this is because your core audience is women, but for a man’s point of view all we seem to get in the way of sex is how to avoid porn. Now, I think porn is one of the biggest issues sexually for men, but it’s far from the only issue and from my point of view porn is more a symptom than the core problem for many men.

    Reply
    1. J Post author

      Yes, I targeted this post to wives. Are there resources intended for men or couples? Yes, I’m sure there are. However, (1) I haven’t done as much research into that stuff lately, so I wasn’t quite sure which ones to recommend, and (2) a lot of resources aimed at men or couples (often provided by male presenters) doesn’t just cover sex but marriage as a whole with sex as one component.

      But let me say that I entirely agree with you! Some of the male presenters about sex are talking to husbands almost completely about sexual sin. And while I believe that’s important, it’s not enough. Sure, we need to move away from sin but TOWARD something better. Also, not every guy is looking at porn! We need to talk about what healthy and holy sex in marriage looks like, so we can aim for that.

      Reply
  2. Brian

    I guess it makes sense that porn and lust are targeted because these are huge problems for almost every man. But there are a whole lot of other areas men need solid teachings about sex. Actually, I wish there was a directed effort towards young men both before and during the teenage years to show them what sex and their sexuality should be about. It’s during this pivotal period in a boy’s life that his view on sex is developed, usually with no useful instruction from parents. By the time a boy becomes a man so much damage has already been done that we’re basi in damage control and repair mode.

    Reply
  3. Ruth

    Sorry, but at this time the class for men is only taught locally. Jim and i just got funding to make videos for the men. Hopefully we will release them sometime in the next year.

    Reply
  4. Brian

    I wish there were. I honestly don’t even know what good teaching for boys on sex should look like in the modern culture.

    Reply
  5. Charlie O

    As a pastor I am whole-heartedly in favor of sound Biblical, practical instruction on marital sexual relations. However, be careful what you wish for. No teaching is better than bad teaching. I have been stalking the Christian ladies’ blogs for years, and there is some really good stuff on them, so I’m not finding fault with them. Even as a man I have benefitted a great deal. Howver, I am reminded of the statement I heard as a child when an outrageous stunt was performed on television: “Don’t try this at home.” I tremble when I think of some of the preaching that I have heard about married sex from pastors, evangelists, etc. Let’s do it, but let us observe extreme caution. Obviously, one need not be a certified sex therapist, psychologist, physcian, etc. But one must combine the Biblical understanding of the role of sex in marriage with the knowledge of God’s description of marriage. Unfortunately, this is often not grasped by many pastors. Those who know their limitations could call in specialized help. Those who don’t could cause more harm than good.

    Reply

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