Tag Archives: God’s design for sex

The #1 Myth Christian Women Learned about Sex

With a title like that, it’s really not fair for me to withhold the answer, is it? But I should first admit that I have no research to back this up, just years and years of hearing from Christian women about what messages they absorbed in the culture around them—church and secular—about sex. And, sadly, they learned this:

Sex is for him.

This myth that God created sex more for men — and its corollary that He thus cares more about men’s sexuality than ours — has floated around like a dark mist that many wives struggle to wave away.

Did anyone say those words to us exactly? No, but it was the underlying message of a bunch of other advice we received. Did you, sweet wife, happen to hear any of the following Greatest Worst Hits?

The #1 Myth Christian Women Learned about Sex from Hot, Holy, and Humorous

Teen guys have a hard time stopping.

“Teen guys struggle with their sex drive, so you need to be the one to stop things from going too far. ” As if SHE doesn’t struggle too?

When I was sixteen years old, two married women in my church offered to teach a Wednesday evening class for young ladies. From a place of wanting the best for us, they warned us about the intensity of a teen male’s sex drive. It was described almost like a bucking bull just inside the rodeo chute; one crack in the gate, and all heck would break loose. (Don’t get the rodeo analogy? Watch the video below.)

And you know who had their hand on the latch? We young ladies.

Since their libidos were wild animals, we had to be in charge of making sure nothing broke out of the pen. Unfortunately, I recall sitting there in class wondering who was going to help me tame my inner beast. Because sex sounded really interesting to me too.

Even gals who didn’t have as strong a drive were at least curious. But since saying so might mean we were wayward young ladies, many of us either denied our drive, interest, curiosity or decided we were fighting a losing battle and should just unlatch the gate already.

Most boys/young men masturbate.

“Most teen boys masturbate because the resulting climax is so satisfying. “This practice might have been accepted, tolerated, or condemned, but it was presumed that he has a longing to experience the physical release of a climax. Ignoring that SHE would also like to know what it feels like to orgasm.

Females masturbate. Not with the frequency that males do, but when your goodies are all tucked away, it’s not so obvious or easy or even tempting to fondle yourself all the way to climax. Some girls do it anyway, and some don’t. 

But most gals are just as curious about what it would feel like to have a sexual orgasm as the guys are. And we are drawn to the physical pleasure and release of climax.

Should we masturbate? That’s a different question. But interest in experiencing the physical sensation of an orgasm? Women have it too.

If you don’t have sex regularly, your husband might cheat.

“You need to have sex regularly in marriage, to help him the avoid temptation to cheat.” Honestly, there’s a thread of truth in this one (see 1 Corinthians 7:5-9), but where is this admonition for husbands? Are we saying that he needs sex a lot, and SHE doesn’t?

And this makes sex sound like merely a preventative measure. Along the lines of “if you don’t need get a flu shot, you might end up horribly sick for a week” or “if you don’t floss your teeth, they’ll fall out.” You and your teeth don’t have equal choice, but in marriage-adultery, both sides are conscious actors. Adultery, therefore, would not be the wife’s fault just because the adulterer didn’t get his groove on as much as he wanted.

Interestingly enough, negative consequences are not a great motivator for positive action (see “What Motivates Employees More: Rewards or Punishments?” – Harvard Business Review). Strong warnings can work well in getting us to not do something — like smoke or cross the street at the wrong time — but not so well if we have to exert effort to prevent the bad thing from happening. So saying do not commit adultery and listing negative consequences makes far more sense than saying do have a lot of sex and listing adultery as a negative consequence. If we want a wife to engage in more sex, we should stress all the benefits to her and the marriage! Because there are plenty.

Men are turned on by looking at women.

“Men love to look at women; it’s just how God made them.” Also not so much a myth—though plenty of women are visual—but growing up, I never heard the other side of how God made women to be aroused. Which made it seem like we didn’t have our own temptations or our arousal didn’t matter as much.

Women are typically more turned on through the senses of hearing and touch. We tend to be auditory and tactile. I wish I’d known that a long time ago. I wish someone had acknowledged how we ladies get aroused, and how that can be both our struggle outside of marriage and our blessing inside of marriage.

I mean, my husband probably should be a little jealous of how in love I am with Dean Martin simply because of his singing voice (though him being dead certainly lessens the competition), but when my husband’s low, rumbling voice whispers in my ear?… 

Sorry, I had to go fan myself for a moment.

Never say no to your husband.

“Never say no to a sexual advance from your husband.” This one has come from so many different circles, I don’t really know where to begin. I understand how well-meaning the advice is, because it’s important for wives to be fully engaged in the sexual intimacy in their marriage. But seriously, never say no to your husband? Does that mean HER needs and desire in the moment don’t matter?

Also, there’s a convention-center sized group of higher-drive wives reading this right now and wanting to scream: Did anyone ever tell the men to never say no to their wife?! *waves to ladies* Yes, I see you there, and you make a great point: This advice tends to be lopsided.

If Corinthians 7:3-5 should teach us anything, it’s that sex in marriage is mutual. It matters for both husband and wife.

It’s a necessary act in marriage.

“It’s just what you have to do in marriage.” Sadly, some wives who never learned to fully embrace or enjoy sex themselves characterize sex as a clause in the marriage contract you cannot get out of — though you wish you could. As if it’s written somewhere: “The female party, referenced throughout as ‘Wife’ agrees to faithfully, industriously, and to the best of her skill, experience and talent, perform all of the duties required of the position, including that thing where he wiggles around on top you while you mentally make your grocery list.”

Every time I think about this attitude, I am caught between wanting to cry for the wives who believed or experienced sex like this and wanting to scream about the madness and misery of this myth!

Thank heaven that we’re dispelling that myth more and more these days. Thus freeing up wives to express their sexuality, pursue answers when they don’t experience pleasure or orgasm in the bedroom (their right, according to Scripture), and just revel in a good ol’ romp with their husbands.

Hopefully, by this point you’ve identified what wrong messages might have led you to believe, even in the smallest way, that sex is ultimately for him. It’s not, dear wife. It’s for you too.

God was well-aware of what He was creating when He made women — including her unique sexuality, her longings and desires, her mutual contribution to sexual intimacy in the marriage bed.

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.

Psalm 139:13-14 

Your body and your sexuality are fearfully and wonderfully made, and they matter. Sex is for your husband, created and delivered by God, but don’t buy the myth that sex was created mostly or exclusively for him. God longs for you to enjoy it too.

Ready to experience more sexual freedom, pleasure & excitement? Learn about God's design for sex in marriage. Click to buy Hot, Holy, and Humorous: Sex in Marriage by God's Design, by J. Parker.

Q&A with J: Why Did God Make Sex So Hard Sometimes?

Today’s reader question is a short one, with a longer answer.

I had (what I hope is) a quick question. I’ve read that for men, arousal tends to follow desire, whereas for women, desire tends to follow arousal.

Do we have any thoughts on why God created things this way, assuming it was not by accident?

Q&A with J: Why Did God Make Sex So Hard Sometimes?

My first thought is that God has quite the sense of humor. Not only do we have to get naked and get into these awkward positions to have sex, we have to figure out the one we love and all those ways they’re different from us. We plan for our sexual intimacy to look like a passionate love scene from a romance novel, and sometimes it ends up feeling more like putting together an IKEA bookshelf unit with no assembly instructions. (Not that I read the instructions anyway.)

It reminds me of this Yiddish proverb: We plan, God laughs.

We plan, God laughs.

However, God did not design us this way just to have a great big belly laugh, especially not at our expense. He is generous and wise, and I think He created such differences for a higher purpose.

That higher purpose is to make us more like Jesus. Yep, I really believe that.

It’s true that for many husbands, arousal follows desire. He wants sex; then sees, thinks about, or touches you; and bam! he’s ready to go. Yet for many wives, desire follows arousal. Which is why some wives feel they don’t have a sex drive, but if they choose to engage and become aroused . . . their libido kicks in. One way isn’t better than the other; they’re just different. Getting you both on the same page to feel arousal and desire together can be a challenge.

But if husband and wife approach sexual intimacy and satisfaction differently, then they must display traits characteristic of Jesus to get in harmony and experience the best in their marriage. The Bible says that’s how we should conduct ourselves in our relationships with each other, including marriage:

“In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus” (Philippians 2:5).

The passage following (Philippians 2:6-11) is quite possibly a hymn sung in the early church about Jesus’ humility and servant-mindedness as he left the throne of Heaven, became a servant on earth all the way to the cross, and was then exalted by God to the highest place — where He belongs.

And the verses before this one tell us about several Christ-like characteristics we should pursue:

“Therefore if you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from his love, if any common sharing in the Spirit, if any tenderness and compassion,  then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and of one mind. Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others” (Philippians 2:1-4).

Did you see those traits? Tenderness, compassion, like-mindedness, love, unselfishness, humility, consideration of others.

I can’t assume my husband will approach sexuality the same way I do, so I have to make an effort to understand him, honor him, arouse him, and satisfy him. And he should make that effort for me. As we display that kind of tenderness, compassion, love, etc., we become less selfish and more like Christ.

Our sexual intimacy better mirrors the relationship we Christians have to our bridegroom, Jesus. We understand more about our spouse, but we also understand more about Christ and the loving, intimate relationship He wants with us.

I’m not saying that you can never pursue your own pleasure in the marriage bed. Jesus fed others, but he also ate and drank plenty, including at supper at people’s houseswedding celebrations, and a dinner in his honor. It’s okay to want the good stuff for yourself, but you must also attend to what your spouse needs.

God making us different forces that equation.

But it acts like a cycle too, where honoring one another’s different sexuality brings us more pleasure in the end anyway. Satisfying one another becomes satisfying for ourselves. I know that in the throes of ecstasy, when my husband is rockin’ my world with a capital R-O-C-K, I feel especially motivated to turn him on even more. Turning him on, turns me on. Turning me on, turns him on.

Sex often doesn’t start that way. It can be a choice one spouse makes to engage and allow their arousal to follow — often the wife, but it can be the husband who has less independent sex drive. And that higher-drive spouse — often the husband but not necessarily — needs to be patient and considerate of their beloved’s need to warm up more slowly.

Your mismatch in drives and arousal could be a big problem, but they could simply be a difference — a difference that pushes us toward being like Christ. Even in the marital bedroom.

So I don’t think God’s trying to make sex harder for us. He’s trying to make us better for one another and more like Him. Our calling is to embrace the sex drive we have or can cultivate and trust His generosity.

“Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience” (Colossians 3:12).

Q&A with J: Waking Up to His (Forceful) Advances

Today’s question is from a newlywed wife who is struggling with how sexual intimacy has gone thus far in her marriage. Her husband has an extremely high drive, but it’s the way he makes his advances that seems to be the biggest issue at the moment. Read on.

We both waited until marriage to have sex — which made it for somewhat of a painful honeymoon, since my husband was under the assumption we’d have sex every day for 2 weeks. It wasn’t the best way to start out a marriage, given the frustrations and lack of understanding.

My husband is the super-high drive spouse whose love language is physical touch; whereas I am the low drive spouse who feels appreciated and loved through words of affirmation and quality time…

A majority of mornings I wake up to my husband trying to put his thing in between my legs and get in my vagina from behind. It hurts. A lot. And is such an unpleasant way to wake up, especially for someone who is not a morning person. I can’t count the number of times I’ve explained this to him. He just doesn’t seem to listen or care. I understand that men have high levels of testosterone levels in the morning and can wake up aroused, but shouldn’t a husband be respectful of his wife’s body? I don’t climb on top of him in the middle of the night while he is sleeping and start riding him when I want to have sex. Perhaps I should?

I am very mindful that denying my husband of sex can be extremely detrimental to our marriage. If I don’t engage in sex at his desire, it quickly leads to resentment, emotional distance and eventually hurtful words. There are plenty of times in the morning when he tries to come from behind and I’ll ask him if he could enter from the front because it’s less painful. But even that makes me cringe and do everything in my power to not cry and feel as though I’m being raped, as he thrusts full force in and out… all the while I’m trying to figure out how I am going to make it out the door in time to get to work.

A few months ago we sought counsel from our pre-marriage counselors. As well, I have looked into possibly seeking a MFT counselor with the way things are going. However, I would be grateful for any advice, wisdom or recommended resources that you’d be able to share to get over this hurdle!

Q&A with J: Waking Up to His (Forceful) Advances

I’ve been called a frank woman at times. I’m going to now live up to that reputation.

OF COURSE THIS IS NOT OKAY!!! Yes, he should respect your body. You are not his sex receptacle, you’re his wife! And you also get say in how your sexual intimacy looks and feels. This husband probably has no idea what he’s doing, but honestly I just want to smack him upside the head, jiggle something loose, and hope that sense enters his over-driven brain. Because noooo! Just no.

Okay, I got that out, so now I’m going to calmly go through the issues I see in this question.

Dealing with his high-drive. I’ve written before that, at the moment, I’m the higher-drive spouse in my marriage. I understand how intense and urgent sexual desire can feel, but it is not imperative that a spouse immediately fulfill that longing. Even if you compare it to something life-giving like food or water, we all know that we can skip a meal or stay thirsty for a bit without damage.

Higher-drive spouses absolutely need to be appreciated, validated, and sexually satisfied in their marriages. However, their drive doesn’t give them license to force or pressure their spouse into sexual activity. Sex as God designed should be a mutually engaging experience.

So that means that a lower-drive spouse may need to work a bit harder to make sexual intimacy a priority, prepare themselves mentally and physically for sex, and choose to engage and even let the pleasurable sensations follow that decision (and not vice versa). But a higher-drive husband has responsibilities as well — namely to treat his lower-drive mate with great care.

From a practical standpoint, I suggest you talk to your husband about frequency of sexual intimacy and how you want to participate more in the experience. Let him know that you want to prioritize sex, but you need input on what that looks like. Sometimes it helps to schedule sex, so that a higher-drive spouse can relax knowing it’s right around the corner and the lower-drive spouse can have a heads-up to prepare their mind and body.

Denying sex once isn’t “depriving” your spouse of sex. I am pleased this wife understands the importance of not shutting off her body to her husband: “I am very mindful that denying my husband of sex can be extremely detrimental to our marriage.” However, I do not buy the line of reasoning that says you can never say no to your spouse when it comes to the marriage bed.

I think many Christians have had 1 Corinthians 7:3-5 used like a cattle brand, searing its harshest interpretation into our brains. The passage says:

The husband should fulfill his marital duty to his wife, and likewise the wife to her husband. The wife does not have authority over her own body but yields it to her husband. In the same way, the husband does not have authority over his own body but yields it to his wife. Do not deprive each other except perhaps by mutual consent and for a time, so that you may devote yourselves to prayer. Then come together again so that Satan will not tempt you because of your lack of self-control.

Okay, so we can’t deprive each other. But what does that mean? If I miss a meal, am I literally deprived of food? I don’t think so. I just have to wait. Now if I can’t eat for days, we have a genuine problem. We have absolutely no biblical standing to refuse our spouses over and over the sexual intimacy God intended for them, and us, to have. (Also see Sheila Gregoire’s fabulous article on the meaning of this scripture.)

However, there can be good reasons to delay sexual intimacy, like recovering from a health issue or needing that time to take care of something more urgent (family care?). Notice that I said delay and not deprive. If you say no, which is one option to a spouse’s advances, then be willing to suggest another time. I’ve referred to that as rain check sex. Then, you’re not saying no; you’re saying not now.

It is just fine to say to your husband, “Not this morning,” when he tries to put “his thing” in between your legs and get in. That is not denial. It is requesting greater respect than he’s showing. Because your body is both yours and his, but his body is both his and yours. Right now, he’s acting like both bodies are his possession. And that doesn’t reflect what the Bible says about marriage and intimacy.

Sex is becoming (or has become) a bad experience for you. From your email, I glean that your husband is not giving your feelings and opinions sufficient weight. In fact, his actions are making something God intended to be beautiful and connecting into a harsh and divisive act. You have to speak up about this!

Sweetheart, God wants you to enjoy the sexual experience. He created sex for you too. And having a penis shoved into you with no warning and no lubrication flat out hurts. He may have had erroneous assumptions prior to marriage about sexual frequency, but he apparently also has erroneous assumptions about how your body and his body work together. If he doesn’t know, someone has to teach him — and that someone is you.

Away from the bedroom, talk to him about how your body works and what would help you get in the mood. Explain honestly that he is hurting your body and your heart. He likely doesn’t understand the full consequences of what he’s doing. Indeed, he may have received bad teaching that wives aren’t supposed to ever deprive their husbands but you can’t expect them to enjoy it as much and sex is clearly for the husband. Au contraire! If you read Song of Songs together, you’ll see how mutual the marriage bed can and should be.

Tell him you must have foreplay and lubrication before he can enter. Period. I don’t think that’s negotiable, because without it you’ll likely experience pain, soreness, even abrasions and a greater tendency for infections. Explain that you want to learn to enjoy intercourse with him and you both need time to explore what that looks like. Ask or show him what you would like.

For most husbands, once he experiences how he can use his hands and his body to turn you on, he will experience pleasure that will encourage him to continue that practice. Many husbands report that seeing their wives in ecstasy, especially an orgasm, makes them feel terrific. Your man can be incredibly potent in the bedroom by paying attention to your needs and fulfilling your sexual desires.

Seeing a counselor. If this isn’t resolved quickly, yes, you should see a counselor. Find a Christian counselor who will listen to your concerns. If your husband will go with you, that would be best. If he won’t, go alone and get ideas that will nurture your marriage and resolve the sexual intimacy problems.

Respecting yourself. You asked whether a husband should respect his wife’s body. Yes. But you should respect your own body as well. Embrace that you are more than a tool to meet a man’s sexual needs — you are rather the beautiful wife of your Christian husband who wants to engage in sexual intimacy that provides pleasure and deeper meaning to your relationship.

In moments you’re not sure about your choices, try to consider how God would view what’s happening. Would He approve of a spouse shutting down and refusing their spouse sex all the time? Of course not. But would He condone a husband thrusting himself into his unprepared and weeping wife? Of course not.

You absolutely have a responsibility to pursue sexual intimacy with your husband. But you needn’t ignore your worth before God to do it. Speak up and advocate for the long-term health your marriage. You two need to address this problem, because your sex life does not currently reflect all that God longs for you to have in your marriage.

God can redeem any situation, and your sexual intimacy is just waiting for His redemption.