One of the greatest obstacles to intimacy in marriage, for many women, is figuring out how to feel about sexual pleasure. Our mothers’ generation was probably brought up to reject the idea of women enjoying or discussing sex—even within marriage (even though good sex starts with good communication). For many of them, the great challenge was conquering the “good girls don’t” mentality. For the younger wives who’ve been raised in a world saturated in sexual images and talk, the challenge may be discerning where to draw the lines of sexual morality.
In order to be able to draw the right lines and have a healthy sexual relationship with our husbands, we need to know the lies that we have bought into about sex. There are at least 3 lies about married sex you shouldn’t believe.
Lie 1: Sexual pleasure = sexual immorality
I believe God designed our bodies and brains to enjoy sexual contact. It’s only when those experiences are carried outside the safe—and sacred—confines of the marital relationship that they become destructive. Our culture has hijacked this gift of marital sex and carried it into arenas where it was never intended to exist. In these unintended uses, sex does become laden with risks, negative consequences, and guilt.
As married women, we have to be intentional about acknowledging and celebrating the gift of pleasure and intimacy designed for husbands and wives, reclaiming it from a culture that has greatly distorted it. In Scripture, if you read Song of Songs, you’ll see one of the greatest pieces of evidence that married sex is intended to bring great pleasure.
Lie 2: There are no boundaries for married sex
A group of psychologists did a study involving fences and anxiety in children. A group of children was allowed to play on a playground with no fence, and for the duration of the playtime, they stayed nervously near the center of the playground. The same group of children was set free on a playground with a fence around it, and they played much more freely, enjoying the full space available to them. The fence made them feel safe.
The same phenomenon can take place in our bedrooms. The purpose of sexual morality is not to make things uptight and remove fun. I believe God has given us some “fences” around the marriage relationship. Outside stimulation, such as pornography, for example, can have the unintended consequence of reintroducing guilt and confusion into what was designed to be our carefree playground. Our reliance on these outside sources of pleasure is evidence of our believing the lie that the pure gift of sex God designed is not enough. The over-arching principles of mutual respect and love can help us discern where the boundaries are. If a particular practice feels wrong or questionable, that may be the red flag that it’s not healthy for your marriage.
Lie 3: Sex is All About Men
Many wives find themselves thinking that sex is a service they provide to meet the desires of their husbands, with little or no relationship to their own pleasure. But God designed the experience to be mutually pleasurable, and couples who approach it with that expectation find greater satisfaction.
Sex that becomes one-sided can cause resentment on the part of both spouses. That alone is evidence that it wasn’t supposed to be this way! Married sex, pursued with the desire to build emotional and spiritual intimacy through physical closeness, keeps a husband and wife connected on a deeper level. Talking with your spouse about what aspects of sex bring you the greatest pleasure can equip him to love you in the way you need to be loved, and will inspire you to return the favor.
Tell us! Are there any lies about sex that we missed?