The Sex Talk

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,

Emily

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.

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8 Responses to The Sex Talk

  1. Honest Newlywed says:

    Thank you for this — as a sortof newlywed (15 months) and former single (and still praying for you ladies!), I needed to hear this. I felt like I was always fighting lust as a single, had an active sex drive and that married sex would be wonderful since I had waited so long. I think that’s a lie Christians are told and believe — waiting leads to perfect sex as if God is rewarding you for obedience. But in reality, sex takes work too!

    It has not been easy. It’s had wonderful moments, but it has also been pretty disappointing at times.To make matters worse, my husband has not been too responsive when I try to bring it up (its an incredibly difficult topic to discuss) And I think that no one wants to open up and admit some of the difficulties. I tried opening up with a couple of my also recently married friends, hoping to get a little encouragement of “we’re struggling too, it’s taken awhile, it has ups and downs, etc” BUT everyone else seemed to respond that “sex is so great, we do it all the time” I felt like the only one who was struggling or disappointed. I doubt that was true, but had a few people been honest with me then I would not have felt so alone. Finally, a couple friends admitted that its not easy and that helped me realize that I was not the odd man out on this whole sex issue.

    Sorry for the long story, but the good news is things have slowly gotten better. Like anything else. it takes time and prayer. And I have come to realize that our sexual life is often about intimacy just as much as pleasure. Sometimes I look back on our first year of marriage and get sad that it wasn’t this wild year of sex (as so many people portrayed that it would be) but I am blessed with a Godly husband who loves and leads me and we are working at this together. Plus, who wants their best year of sex to be the first year, then there is nothing to look forward to!!

    All that to say — married women, be honest and encouraging when newlyweds ask about these issues. Don’t portray a fairy tale to them. Also, commit to pray for this area of your life. I felt silly praying for my sex life at first, but as I did, I started to notice God working.

    • Emily says:

      Thank you so much for sharing your story and for continuing to fast and pray on Mondays. As a newlywed myself, it was an encouragement to hear how God has been working in your heart and in your marriage. Blessings!

  2. Maria says:

    I am so happy to hear you got married, I think in the midst of dealing with work and health issues I missed that so congratulations. Thanks for the realistic view of married sex. Years ago before married friends also shared this real info with me I believed in the view we were all taught – that is if we remained pure we were 1. guaranteed a husband (a fabulous one at that) and 2. the sex would be amazeballs (can I say that here) at first go, choirs would burst into song, and fireworks would go off all over the world and you will forever and ever have a smile of holy blessed sex upon your face. Which makes no sense at all. As a non christian friend said to me not even when 2 people first “hook up” is the sex amazing much less if you have two people with little to zero experience. So if I do ever get married I simply ask for love, humor, lots of humor and the willingness to keep trying.

    • Emily says:

      Thanks for your comment, Maria! It’s good to hear that others are speaking out against these falsehoods as well. Praying for you today!

  3. Jenn says:

    I think for most of us here sex is not even on the radar as we’re all single. I know it is for you, as you are going to marry soon, but this article just makes me feel even worse about being single and not even having a sex life to contemplate about.

    • Emily says:

      Hi Jenn, I am sorry you feel that way as it wasn’t my intent. I know this is a sensitive subject, and I felt the Lord leading me to speak against some of the misconceptions many of us have around this topic as I know they contributed to my personal struggle with singleness and not having/doing what everyone else always portrayed as almost essential for living.

      As I concluded in the post, your sex life or lack of a sex life should not define you (as the world would have you believe). You are precious in His sight as His child!

      It might be helpful if you read the “Virginal Blessings” article I linked to in the P.S.

      Praying for you today!

      • JT says:

        Personally, my sex life (or lack of) does not define me at all. But its just something that would be nice to have that I don’t have and can never have as single Christian. No different from having a lifelong companion in a spouse – it doesn’t define me but that doesn’t mean I can’t feel occasionally lousy about not having someone to hug, without it being seen as a “misconception” about the significance or joy of sex or relationships.

        When you’re a certain age there aren’t such misconceptions anymore. Maybe you’re addressing a much younger audience that has fairytale expectations of sex or married life but so many of us on this site are in our 30s or 40s, I really don’t think we have any such misconceptions anymore.

        • Emily says:

          This is a really good point. I’ve had conversations about this with single, never-married women in their 40s, and they do have a different perspective from those of us in our late-twenties, early-thirties. Thanks for sharing!

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