My background is only relevant inasmuch as it has a bearing on my mission and ability to fulfill it. Which is why I’m totally transparent about my past sexual baggage and how God redeemed my marriage.
I’m also authentic about struggles I’ve had and the minor frustrations of life. Because I want people to recognize that a happy marriage doesn’t mean a perfect marriage. After all, we’re all sinners (Romans 3:23, 1 John 1:8), and that includes both husband and wife. We will let each other down, but we can continue to strive for the best and show agape love that covers over our sins when we fail (1 Peter 4:8).
But I’ve wrangled with whether to say anything about what I’ve been going through lately, because it doesn’t directly impact this ministry. Except I concluded there’s something worth learning from it.
A Foundation Shaken
Long story short: I recently learned that my mother perpetuated a 16-year deception on an issue of significance. Whatever trust we’d built before shattered, and the fallout has been difficult for my family of origin.
As a consequence, I’ve been distracted and distraught. Like someone grieving, I have good days and bad days. On good days, I cross off the to-dos on my list and interact with others with a genuine smile. On bad days, I end up on an hour-long phone call with a sibling, escape into writing fiction where the real world doesn’t exist, or simply cry a lot.
A Strange Way to Cope
Oddly enough, I’ve been having more sex in my marriage. Or perhaps it’s not odd at all, because that is also a way of providing balm to a weary soul. Those moments of connection with my husband and intense pleasure for myself have taken me away from the heaviness of my heart and allowed me to reset my mind and heart, even if for a short while.
There is a beautiful verse in the last chapter of Song of Songs, almost a summary of the marital love portrayed in the book: “Many waters cannot quench love; rivers cannot sweep it away.”
When other parts of our life seem to have been swept away by a raging river, the covenant love between husband and wife—expressed in the sanctity of the marriage bed—can make us feel grounded, safe, solid.When other parts of our life seem to have been swept away by a raging river, the covenant love between husband and wife—expressed in the sanctity of the #marriage bed—can make us feel grounded, safe, solid. @hotholyhumorous Click To Tweet
Sex That Soothes
Not all sexual encounters necessarily have this effect. Rather, you may need to cultivate the atmosphere or specifics that result in sex that soothes. And your emotional needs are specific to you.
Let’s look at what I mean with some examples:
- Spouse A may desire slow, deliberate caresses that calm their nerves and comfort their soul.
- Spouse B may want sex that’s hot, heavy, and even fast, thus taking their mind from what’s happening and engaging it in solely in passion.
- Spouse C may want to focus on giving their mate sexual pleasure, as that provides them some sense of control when the rest of life feels out of control.
- Spouse D may want to try something new, giving them the reminder that they can choose a new direction and find positivity from it.
Sex is not just sex, but often reflects where we are in life and/or reminds us what we can do and be in life. Many spouses, especially husbands, say that a satisfying sex life makes them feel like they can take on the world. When that world has been particularly shaken, sexual intimacy with your beloved can soothe your tender places and infuse you with courage to take on the struggles you’re facing.When your world has been shaken, sexual intimacy with your beloved can soothe your tender places and infuse you with courage to take on the struggles you're facing. #marriage @hotholyhumorous Click To Tweet
Getting What You Need
I do not have the magic formula to get you the sex you need/want for your whole life or marriage. That’s a process which my ministry certainly helps with, but it isn’t a quick fix. Moreover, this section presumes two good-willed spouses—imperfect, sure, but good-willed.
But let’s say you’re in the midst of a foundation-shaking life event, and you desire sex that could soothe your soul, how do you go about getting the specific kind of sex that would accomplish that goal? How can you communicate to your spouse what you desire in a way most likely to result in you getting just that?
Well, you have a few choices, and you can pick which one you think will work.
- Talk about it outside the bedroom. Tell him/her how you’re feeling, what sexual experience you believe would help, and then invite them to have that kind of intimacy with you.
- As you’re starting a lovemaking session, be specific about your desires. Explain that you’d like to try X, Y, or Z because you long for the comfort that provides you in the midst of your current challenge.
- Give ongoing feedback to guide your spouse. Using verbal encouragement or moving either your or their hands, mouth, body, etc. to where/how you want it, and then give positive reinforcement when it’s going the way you need/want.
- Take charge and make it happen. Go directly for what you want, inviting him/her with your actions to go along with the lovemaking you desire.
If you’re both going through the same earth-shattering event, you may be on the same page with what you want, or you may need to take turns getting what you each need. Be willing to minister—yes, minister—to one another through sexual intimacy.
You’re Not Alone
One of the most beautiful aspects of sex in the midst of emotional pain is the sense that you are not alone. God created human sex such that it involves the penetration of one’s body part into the other’s body part—a physical connection that meets the “one flesh” description in the Bible. In that moment of intercourse, husband and wife are not separate, but joined…literally and relationally.
When life is not just giving you lemons but lobbing them at you like a game of fruit dodgeball, you can feel very alone. Sexual intimacy can remind us that we’re not alone. Not only is God in our corner, always beside us, but He has provided a partner in life who will be there too.
It’s true: sex can help you cope.