On Mondays at lunch, we fast and pray – for men to become godly leaders at church and at home; for soft hearts that are responsive to the Lord; and for strong, Christ-centered marriages for those who desire them.
Shortly before I got married this past May, I got the “Sex Talk” from a few close friends and in a preparing-for-marriage class we took at our church.
One friend shared with me, “Emily, it’s not like in the movies. It doesn’t last all night.”
Another friend shared that her husband showers immediately after sex.
The older married ladies leading the girls-only time during our marriage class gave tips on avoiding infections and dealing with discomfort.
So why am I sharing this with you?
Because if you’re like me, you probably have some misconceptions about sex. Whether these misconceptions come from Hollywood where they edit out all the bloopers, or not learning/thinking/talking about sex and sexual desires because it’s easier and less shameful that way, or you grew up hearing that you will have the best sex of your life and be fulfilled sexually if you abstain until marriage, you are believing lies that the enemy is using to discourage you now and will use to discourage you in your marriage.
The world often presents a distorted view of the purpose for and the practice of sex. As Anna and Amy wrote earlier this year, the church doesn’t always promote a healthy view either. Growing up in a conservative church, I heard “don’t have sex until you’re married.” If anything, we were to be modest and asexual until marriage. I didn’t hear about married Christian couples struggling with their sex lives because “sex in its proper context [of marriage] is how God designed it.”
Several years ago, a friend and I had a conversation about how we secretly hoped Jesus wouldn’t return until we were married and could have sex with our husbands (isn’t that the highest good this world has to offer?). Such thinking illustrates misplaced hope and turning sex into the fantasy it’s not meant to be.
Lest I sound like I’m complaining or anti-sex, while sex can be awkward and complicated, it is wonderful to be with the man you love and trust and is key in developing and maintaining intimacy with your spouse (not to mention procreation). Sex does provide pleasure and an outlet for natural sexual desires, but sustaining healthy relationships requires commitment, hard work, vulnerability, and prayer. Something our culture often neglects to mention or model.
This week, let’s pray for discernment and protection from the lies about sex that lead to discouragement and discontent, both among singles and those who are married. Our sex life or lack of a sex life is not meant to define us – our faith and trust in a Heavenly Father and our identity as His children is where we find confidence and purpose.
Partnering in prayer with you,
P.S. Hundreds of churches from the D.C. area are gathering on Monday at the Lincoln Memorial to confess our sins and pray for our nation. Would you pray for protection for this time and for God to do a mighty work? And isn’t it cool/just-like-God that this prayer service corresponds with our fast.pray. time?
P.P.S. If you want to read more about a balanced view of sex while remaining celibate, here’s a link to an article another fast.pray-er shared with me that greatly helped re-frame my thinking about abstinence and sex.