But first, I need to tell you about the online marriage retreat!
Awesome Marriage is hosting an online marriage retreat that begins October 14 and includes a session from me on 5 Steps to Better Sex. Early bird registration is open NOW.
Early Bird: $39 (9/23-29)
Regular: $49 (after 9/29)
Enter my special code (PARKER10)
at checkout for an extra 10% off!
- Addressing finances together
- Building your friendship
- Understanding each other’s personality (enneagram!)
- Navigating conflict
- Cultivating a healthy, holy, spicy sex life!
With over 20 speakers, you’ll definitely find something worth your time with takeaways you can apply right away to your marriage! Sign up today.
Okay, on to the blog post!
What is the meaning of sex? Sure, we can answer that generally. God designed sex to express and cultivate exclusive intimacy between husband and wife and to produce children from time to time. Oh, and it’s supposed to feel goooood.
But what does sex mean to you? That is, when you think about sex, what words or feelings come to mind? Excitement? Pressure? Acceptance? Conflict? Intimacy?
Uncovering the answer to that question can illuminate where and why we’re sexually struggling, frustrated, longing for more, or deeply satisfied in our marriage.
Sex isn’t just physical.
While sex is a physical act, it’s not solely physical. Given its vulnerability, interconnection, and physiology (e.g., hormones), sex also involves a lot of emotional content. We bring not merely our body parts but our whole selves into the bedroom.We bring not merely our body parts but our whole selves into the bedroom. via @hotholyhumorous #marriage Click To Tweet
Our minds and hearts are involved. They play a role in our desire, experience, and takeaways about sex and its meaning.
Even the spouse who claims sex is just physical has feelings about the experience. Perhaps they gain a sense of prowess that builds their self-esteem … or they resent the use of their body by their spouse. But such emotions cannot be severed from the sexual experience itself.
Because God designed sexual intimacy to be more than physical.
Sex has a history.
What you’ve learned about sex, your prior experiences, your thoughts and feelings, your full or incomplete theology, your self-image, etc.—all can impact the meaning of sex for you.
For instance, if you were sexually abused, what did sex come to mean? Perhaps pain, shame, betrayal, helplessness, anxiety, anger, and any other number of negative emotions. On top of that, you may have had positive body sensations despite the situation, creating confusion or even greater curiosity about sex.
If you were steeped in a pornography habit, you may have come to see sex as self-affirming, anxiety-reducing, transactional, forbidden fruit, or shocking. You may have issues with shame and guilt.
But it doesn’t even have to be a bad history that shapes your feelings. And even a bad history doesn’t have to kill your view of sex now. For instance, not having had such love before, you may view sex as acceptance or reassurance. Or you may have dealt with a lot of stress and find sex provides relief or comfort.
Sex means something to you.
How many marriages would benefit from spouses being able to express honestly what sex currently means to them? My sense is A LOT.
Whether it’s hard sexual struggles or just the inability to make time for sexual intimacy, it would help to understand how we and our beloved really feel about sex.
Does the idea of sex invoke tense feelings, bad memories, or trepidation? Does sex make you feel desirable, cherished, or loved? Do you equate sex with self-satisfaction or with feeling used?
What does sex really mean to you?
If you and your spouse attribute wildly different meanings to sex, it’s no wonder you’re in conflict. If you have a lot of hangups or erroneous expectations, then you’ll likely struggle. If you feel that sex is just physical and even optional, you won’t prioritize it in your marriage. But if sex has deep, satisfying meaning, you’ll desire and pursue it.
Sex means something to God.
What is the most confusing scripture about sex? Here’s what get my vote:
For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh.” This is a profound mystery—but I am talking about Christ and the church.Ephesians 5:31-32
I’ve said it and I believe it, but I continue to be a bit flummoxed by this “profound mystery”—that my intimate relationship with my husband is comparable to the intimate relationship God has with His people. THAT is some deep meaning, y’all.
But I want the sexual relationship in my marriage to align with the meaning God ascribes to it. And I want that for your marriage too.
Let’s be honest about where we are, what sex means to us personally—given our history, personality, and desires—and our need to continue pursuing the full blessings God wants to bestow on our marriage.
Start by having a conversation with your spouse, telling them what sex really means to you. Why is it desirable or difficult? Begin to discuss what you’d like sex to mean in your marriage. Talk about what God longs to give you and how you can align your meaning to His design.