C.S. Lewis said in Mere Christianity: “Starving men may think much about food, but so do gluttons.” He was making an analogy of food to sex, arguing that those who are obsessed with food or sex are either terribly hungry or overly indulged. I agree.
One of the charges laid against Christian sex or marriage intimacy bloggers is that we overemphasize sexuality in marriage. Perhaps, some believe, we are obsessed with sex.
I admit that I think about sex a lot. Hey, I write this blog! I hear people’s stories, I come up with topics, and I research the subject in both secular sources and the Word of God. I have long been passionate about passion so I thought about sex more than the average Christian gal, but since writing this blog, sex is on my mind even more.
But while I consider the broad topic of sexuality quite often, I don’t give my own married sex life a whole lot of contemplation. I anticipate it, I flirt with my husband about it, I remember special times, and I engage in beautiful intimacy with my man. But I’m not obsessed.
Well, let’s break down Dr. Lewis’s descriptions more.
Starved. I recently had to have fasting blood work done and, through my own foolish planning, my doctor’s appointment was not until mid-afternoon. Thus, I did not eat anything from around 10:00 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. the next day. Around noon, almost all I could think about was how hungry I was! I packed a snack to eat and a soda to drink in the doctor’s office as soon as the lab siphoned my blood. Even after that, I drove through a fast food place and gorged on a hamburger, fries, and a drink. I kept eating the rest of the day, feeling the desperate need to feel the hole that had surely formed in my stomach from those several hours of not eating.
Yeah, I was kind of a drama queen about it. But you can already see the analogy forming here, right?
If you are in the presence of delicious food and can’t have any, your mind is drawn to thinking about eating. Even if it’s a buzz in the background of your brain, you are aware that you are hungry and unable to satisfy that hunger.
I believe the same happens in marriages where one spouse is around the person they love and yet are unable to sate their intimate desire for that person. The lack of what you need and want is on your mind because you cannot scratch that itch often enough, or in some sad cases ever, so your mind turns its attention to that aspect.
The spouse who desires physical intimacy and doesn’t get it anywhere near enough can become obsessed with sex, even pleading or begging their mate to engage in acts of intimacy. Because they are sex-starved! It’s no wonder that sex is seemingly always on their mind.
Saturated. On the other hand, don’t ever let me work in a bakery. If I spend my days surrounded by donuts, cinnamon rolls, scones, croissants, empañadas, or whatever, I will be the next contestant on The Biggest Loser for sure. I LOVE pastries, and the last thing I need to do is line the walls with them. I won’t be able to stop eating those delicious, sweet, wonderful…
You get the idea. It’s easy to obsess about sex when you metaphorically line the walls with it. Thus, looking at porn, reading erotica, shopping at sex stores, always looking for the next big thrill, etc. can cause you to obsess about sex as well. You may be having sex with your spouse, but it will never seem like enough if you saturate your environment with the subject.
Frankly, this is the setting of much of the secular world regarding sex. Our music, our movies and TV, our magazines and newspapers, and our conversations are inundated with sexuality. Because it’s constantly given the stage, the spotlight, and paparazzi, sex is forever on people’s minds.
With so many ways to partake, it’s easy to fall victim to indulgence. Such a person can get obsessed with having sex more, better, riskier, until the person with whom they are engaging is little more than cheesecake on a plate to satisfy a sweet tooth. The sex-saturated don’t feel that they’ve had enough or maybe are enough because their attention is rapt by sex itself and not intimacy with their mate.
Satisfied. Years ago, I changed how I approached Thanksgiving. We used to eat very little in the morning, waiting anxiously for that midday meal, and then stuff ourselves until we had to unzip our pants and take a two-hour nap to recover. Now we eat a reasonable breakfast, and I serve a slightly larger meal than usual, but nothing too extensive. Once everyone has declared themselves sated, we pack the remaining food into the refrigerator. I find that I am much more thankful for the meal when I get to enjoy it as a special treat without starving for it or becoming a glutton during it.
When the physical intimacy in marriage is healthy, you don’t need to obsess about sex. It’s there when you need and want it, and if it isn’t available at the moment, it won’t be long before you have a taste of it again. Moreover, the sexuality between a couple isn’t the focus of their relationship, although still an important aspect of it.
Just as the body needs food, sleep, exercise, etc. to remain healthy, so a marriage needs emotional, spiritual, and relational intimacy in addition to physical intimacy. All aspects are important in keeping a marriage healthy.
I write about one aspect of marriage. Other bloggers write about others.
My goal is to encourage Christians to avoid starvation or saturation and find true satisfaction in marital sexuality. Sure, I’m on this topic a lot, but I don’t think I’m personally obsessed. I’m like the person advocating for feeding the starving in a third-world country or your personal trainer batting away that Hershey bar and telling you to get on the treadmill already. For myself, though, I am in category number three: sex-satisfied. I’d like to see more of us here.
In Song of Songs 5:1, the Lover (husband) makes a food comparison as well: “I have eaten my honeycomb and my honey; I have drunk my wine and my milk.” The Friends respond: “Eat, O friends, and drink; drink your fill, O lovers.”
So are you satisfied? Starved? Saturated? Do you find yourself obsessed with sex?