Wifey Wednesday: Can Christians Use Sex Toys?

wifey wednesday

It’s Wednesday, the day when we talk marriage! I introduce a topic, and then you follow up either by commenting or by writing your own post and then linking up!

Today I want to tackle a rather controversial subject. Except “want” is really not the right word. I’d love to run as far away from this one as possible. But I keep being asked about sex toys, and so I thought it was necessary.

So here goes: Can Christians Use Sex Toys?

Can Christians Use Sex Toys? A look at the role they play--or don't play--in the marriage bed.I want to make it clear from the outset, though, that I am giving my opinion. I do not claim to speak for God. When I was researching The Good Girl’s Guide to Great Sex, I had to think about this and give my opinion in the book, and I did. So what I have to say has been the conclusion that I have come to after speaking at marriage conferences, reading, and praying.

First, the context.

I believe that God created sex to connect us on three levels: the physical, the emotional, and the spiritual.

And sex works best when all three are involved! That doesn’t mean that every time you make love the earth has to move, but the sum total of your sex life should connect you not just physically, but spiritually as well. You should feel connected when you make love.

But here’s the problem.

You can’t connect on a spiritual and emotional level unless commitment and marriage is involved.

You can’t make love to say “I love you” and “I cherish you” unless you truly do. And in our culture, by and large sex has been removed from that committed relationship. So what does our culture emphasize when it comes to sex? The physical. That’s all they have. And when sex is only physical, and there’s not the high that comes from truly expressing love when you make love, then you need more and more physical things to give you that same high, just like alcoholics develop a tolerance for alcohol and thus need more and more alcohol.

Hence we live in a pornographic culture, where sex is supposed to involve all kinds of really weird and wacky things. It’s not enough just to make love anymore. We’re supposed to be gymnasts, and we’re supposed to do all kinds of things that a century ago people would have completely balked at.

Now I’m not saying it’s wrong to have fun, or to stretch your limits, or even to stretch during sex :)! I’m just saying that our culture emphasizes the physical, and misses out on the deep spiritual connection from sex that we should experience.

And interestingly, studies have shown that the people who actually enjoy sex the most, and the women who are most likely to orgasm during sex, are those in committed, religious marriages. Because they’re the least likely to feel divorce is an option, so they’re with this person for life. And commitment is the best aphrodisiac! I had read studies like that before, but when I did my own survey for The Good Girl’s Guide to Sex, I found the same thing. Those who were the most committed Christians were also the most likely to have fun in bed.

That’s the background. Now for the problem. Because the culture emphasizes the physical, it’s easy for us as Christians to start thinking that way, too. And if we’re concentrating just on the physical, it’s also easy for sex to become shallow. Where you don’t feel valued or loved; you just feel used.

It’s like this: we’re SUPPOSED to experience orgasm. But if sex is only about orgasm, there’s a problem.

So now let’s turn back to sex toys. Here are some thoughts:

1. Sex Toys Emphasize Physical Intimacy, not Spiritual or Emotional Intimacy

Again, there is absolutely nothing wrong with the physical side of sex. Sex is supposed to feel great (and if it doesn’t for you, The Good Girls Guide to Great Sex can show you how to MAKE it feel great!). But when we emphasize only that, sex can lose its power to really bind us together. So I’m worried that if people get too into sex toys they will thus get too into chasing the next orgasm, rather than expressing love.

2. Sex Toys Concentrate on Parallel Sexual Experiences, not Mutual Ones

Most sex toys (not all by any means) are really masturbatory in nature. They help you have an orgasm. Even if he’s the one using it on you, then, you’re having a parallel sexual experience, you’re not really making love to your husband.

Now I don’t actually think there’s anything wrong with parallel experiences as a whole. If he, for instance, were to tease you non stop for thirty minutes and then bring you to orgasm while you’re doing nothing to him, I think that’s great. So I’m not against the concept. What I am against is that some people start using sex toys so much when they make love that you feel like it’s the sex toy that’s making you feel good, and not your husband.

Yes, God designed us to be orgasmic, but there’s a thread in our culture that says “everybody is entitled to an orgasm”. And let’s face it; if it’s expected that everybody will have several sex partners, then the only constant in your sex life is you. So you have to figure out how you work best, and you have to concentrate on you, rather than on us.

So if, with sex toys, you start to rely on them, whether you’re together or apart, you lose some of the closeness that sex can bring.

But sex is not supposed to be just about you; it’s supposed to be about the two of you together. Sex is supposed to be mutual. And I’m worried that too much we’re feeling like we’re using each other, rather than sharing or experiencing together.

3. Sex Toys Can Recreate Body Parts in Totally Unrealistic Ways

Most guys aren’t that big. And they can’t vibrate like that. Do you really want to get reliant on something your husband can never be for an orgasm? When I get asked at conferences, “can Christians use vibrators”, I always worry a bit, because I’ve received so many emails from women saying, “I can orgasm with a vibrator, but not with my husband.” We train our bodies to respond to the sex toy, and then when we’re with someone who isn’t that big, or who doesn’t vibrate, the sensation isn’t strong enough to bring us over the edge. So, yes, vibrators can make you more orgasmic. But they can also make you LESS orgasmic with your husband.

And isn’t what we really want to experience that WHILE we’re making love, so that it’s a deep intimacy?

Now, these are my objections and reservations. This does not mean that you can’t ever use sex toys. You may be even thinking to yourself, “the thing that I want to use wouldn’t even fall under those categories”. Okay, then. I’m not trying to pronounce a blanket statement. I’m just trying to issue a cautionary warning: remember, studies have shown that what feels the best is two people in a committed marriage making love. It’s not two people doing weirder and weirder things. I truly believe that if we completely jumped in with gusto with all the things that we can do together that don’t require batteries, the idea that we need batteries to spice up our life would disappear.

Good Girls Have More Fun!

There is nothing wrong with fun; fun is good. There is something wrong with making sex into something that’s purely physical, or that’s primarily masturbatory. How you find that line is really between you and your husband. But I just urge you to think about those things, and then decide what you’re going to do!

I elaborate a lot more on what I think is okay to do/what’s not okay to do, how to feel really “one” while you’re making love, and how to experience spiritual intimacy during sex, in The Good Girls Guide to Great Sex! Don’t miss it!

 

Comments

  1. I would have to agree with your opinions on this. SO glad God’s called you to tackle these issues instead of me, haha. ;) Someone’s gotta do it.

  2. I love that you talked about this! There are some sex topics that are just so hard to talk about, and yet it’s important to be real and deal with them. If people are dealing with them in marriage than the Christian community should be willing to talk about it. That said, it can be extremely uncomfortable to discuss in such a public forum. But I think you did a fantastic job! :)
    Jamie M recently posted…To Busy To Get BusyMy Profile

  3. I love what Jamie said about being willing to talk about whatever is being dealt with in marriage. Great balanced approach, Sheila. We do all make our own decisions in our own relationships but we need to be reminded to stop and think it through carefully. Perhaps this discussion might encourage someone to enhance their lovemaking or get back to love-making.
    Candy Troutman recently posted…Guest Posting TodayMy Profile

  4. I love your perspective on this. I don’t have a problem with sex toys per se, but I have wondered if some people are looking for a short-cut. It can take time and effort to get to know your own body and your spouse’s body, to learn how to arouse your beloved, and to achieve orgasm. A vibrator is probably quicker. That said, I know couples who incorporate items into their lovemaking and seem to have wonderful intimacy.

    So glad you tackle the tough stuff, Sheila! (If I can find my past post on Sex Toys, I’ll link to it. Now . . . where is it?)
    J (Hot, Holy & Humorous) recently posted…Top Marriage Blogs 2011My Profile

  5. I just want to agree with LauraLee and thank you for tackling (again) the tough topics! Awesome post.
    Sarah S. recently posted…Marriage Monday: Ask for What You Need or WantMy Profile

  6. Sheila, such GOOD stuff and I’ll echo the others and say SO glad you tackle the “hard” topics! I LOVE everything you had to say. Some things… well, let’s just say you’ve given me a great perspective and I can’t WAIT for you new book to come out!!!! If you need help promoting it.. count me in!!! ;)
    Chelsey recently posted…Do Not WorryMy Profile

  7. Great post Sheila. Well said!
    terry@breathinggrace recently posted…Back on God’s Time…My Profile

  8. Woman! I just love you, and love your boldness. I have to say I cracked up when I saw the link to this on Facebook. Oh how we need more Christian Women sharing openly about typically secret topics. I loved the way you brought it all together with such balance Sheila. I have always believed that creativity in the bedroom is between you and your hubby, it’s when you bring a ’3rd’ person, or maybe ‘object’ into your bedroom that issues can develop. Honestly, since you were!! … for me, going through medications through the years that have had extreme side effects, toys can serve you both well, together. That’s an article or book in itself. Sex is about intimacy, but it is also very physical. I feel so bad for christian women who do not push past what some may ban or accept to be ok in God’s eyes & also actually help their marriage. Even if for a season.
    Noelle Mena recently posted…How to Link your Facebook Page to your Employment on your Personal PageMy Profile

    • Awwww….Noelle, you’re sweet! Yes, I think there are different cases–on Facebook someone else mentioned a lengthy deployment, too–where situations are different. That’s why I find blanket statements not very helpful. I think we just have to work through first principles about what God made sex to be, and then look at how that works in your own situation! Great to see you here, girl!

  9. This is an awesome blog post! Thank you so much for once again addressing such an important topic that is seldom talked about. I love reading your thoughts and opinions. I will be sharing this with many of my girl friends. Thanks again!
    Kim recently posted…The paths of lifeMy Profile

  10. Ahhh…finally! I’ve always wanted to formulate an answer to this question. Thanks for taking the time to address this matter. You answered it just as I would have!
    SharonTOGETHER recently posted…Perfect EmptinessMy Profile

  11. For the record, sex toys go great with marriage. I like the physical, but enjoying the physical doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy the emotional & spiritual. Sex isn’t something that you have to tip-toe around, being constantly worried that if you do something “wrong” it will ruin everything. So long as everything is consensual and everyone feels good, who are you to say that they’re wrong?

    • I understand that you feel that way, Jane. Many people share your views. I only tried to share what my concern is. I believe that we’re living in an increasingly pornographic culture that is trying to make sex into something more and more extreme. I absolutely believe that the physical should be wonderful. But there can be a danger in recreating body parts or focusing too much on the physical at the expense of the other, and I do believe that happens. I am not trying to say that I believe they are sinning. I said that I am speaking for myself, not for God. So I sort of wonder about your last comment, “who are you to say that they’re wrong?” I’m giving my opinion. That’s what people do when they blog! But I am not condemning anyone. I am simply saying what I think. You are absolutely free to think differently.

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