29 Days to Great Sex Day 27: Experiencing Spiritual Intimacy While You Make Love

Spiritual Intimacy in Marriage: Making Love, Not Just Having SexSpiritual intimacy in marriage is a beautiful thing. When we have it, we can truly make love, not just have sex. If you’re longing for that kind of intimate connection with your husband, you’ve come to the right place!

We’re in the final few days of our 29 Days to Great Sex, leading up to the release of The Good Girls Guide to Great Sex (update: It’s now everywhere!)

We’ve been leading up in this series to today’s post, which in many ways I think is the most important of the series. Let’s learn how making love is supposed to be a true spiritual union–it’s so much more than just having sex. Let me explain.

If you grew up in the church, chances are you grew up with the King James Version. And do you remember hearing Genesis read out loud?

And Adam knew his wife Eve, and they conceived unto them a son…

And we’d sit there and giggle and elbow our friends, because we thought it was so funny. Instead of saying a word that meant “sex“, the Bible said “knew“. Because obviously God was embarrassed.

But hold on a second. What if there was something else going on?

You see, in Psalm 139, David says, “search me and know me“. In fact, that theme, begging God to dig deep inside our hearts and really “know” us, is throughout Scripture. And the same Hebrew word is used to represent our deep longing for a union with God and the sexual union between a husband and a wife.

What if there’s actually a connection? What if sex isn’t just supposed to be a physical union, but is supposed to also encompass this deep longing to be known, the way that David yearns for God?

I think that’s actually part of God’s plan for sex. Think about it: in sex we bare ourselves physically. But for sex to really work well, we also have to bare ourselves emotionally. We have to be able to be vulnerable. We have be willing to “let go”. We have to emotionally let him in for us to even get aroused. And men have to let their guard down, too, in order to experience the kind of love they long for.

God created people with first and foremost a desperate longing for relationship. We long to know and be known, and in that knowing to be accepted. It’s our deepest need. God gave us this drive to know Him and be known by Him, but He also gave us these sexual longings which mirror how we long to be truly united with our husbands and with God–to be truly and wonderfully KNOWN.

I talk about this at great length in The Good Girl’s Guide to Great Sex, and look at how we can make this spiritual longing and spiritual intimacy part of the sexual experience, because I truly believe that it’s the spiritual intimacy that people actually crave the most. When we focus only on the physical, sex too often can seem shallow. When we combine the physical with the emotional and the spiritual, sex is stupendous, because it encompasses all that we are. One of the reasons that our culture has become more pornographic–and why things that were once considered sexually taboo are now pretty much mainstream–is that our culture has made sex into something only physical because they don’t have anything else. And yet they know they’re missing something, so they try more and more extreme things.

We, who are married, have the real deal. We have the ingredients for an amazing sexual relationship, because it’s real intimacy, not just orgasm. (And, by the way, that makes orgasm even greater!). In fact, the women who were the most likely to orgasm in the surveys I took were Christian women. When you’re in a lifetime committed relationship, you’re more likely to experience all the great aspects of sex–and not just the physical.

That spiritual union that is part of sex isn’t something out of the Kama Sutra or some eastern thing. That’s not what I’m talking about. I’m talking about that deep hunger to connect that is part of sex–not just a desire for orgasm, but a desire to be joined. And to me, that’s actually more profound, and more of an aphrodisiac, than the thought of something specifically physical.

But how, practically, can we experience “spiritual intimacy” while making love? Here are some thoughts:

1. To experience spiritual intimacy, take time being naked.

I don’t just mean taking your clothes off to make love. I mean actually be naked together. Hold each other. Take a bath together. Even pray naked together! Redo that exercise where you just take time touching each others’ bodies. Really feel as if you completely know the other person. It’s actually more vulnerable to be naked while someone touches you than just to be naked while you “have sex”. And so take that time to explore!

2. Take time to be spiritually naked.

This may sound weird, but trust me on it: pray before sex. Or at least read a Psalm or something! When we unite together spiritually first, it’s as if our souls are drawn together. And when our souls are drawn together, we want to draw together in a deeper way. So keep a Bible by the bed and just read passages at nighttime together. Try to pray together. If you’re uncomfortable with freeform prayer, buy a book of prayers, or use the Anglican prayer book. The words don’t matter; the heart does. When you mean it, and you bow before God together, you really are drawn towards each other in a much more intense way.

3. Look into each others’ eyes

The eyes are windows, and yet how often do we close our eyes, as if we’re trying to shut the other person out, and concentrate on ourselves? I know sometimes you have to close your eyes to feel everything, but sometimes open up and look into his eyes. To actually see him–and to let him see into you–is very intimate, especially at the height of passion.

Make Love, Don't Just Have Sex--how to feel truly spiritually intimate together

4. Say “I love you”

It’s such a little thing, but while you’re making love–or even when you orgasm, say “I love you”. Make sex about not just feeling good, but expressing love. Say his name. Show him that you’re thinking of him in particular.

5. Be Mentally Present

This is a tough one for some people, but don’t let your mind wander. Sometimes our minds wander because we’re multi-taskers, and we start creating shopping lists in our heads. But I’m not just talking about that. Other times we let our minds wander in order to get aroused. We fantasize.

Personally, I don’t think there’s anything wrong with remembering something wonderful that you did together that was stupendous, or imaging being on a beach, or whatever it may be for you. But to fantasize about someone who isn’t your husband, or to bring up pornographic images to get aroused, isn’t right. And it hinders your ability to really bond with your spouse. If you’re having trouble with that, my book can help! And here’s a post that offers a little bit of insight into how to stop doing that.

Guys often struggle with this, too, especially guys who have used porn. Images often come into their heads. If either of  you is short-cutting the arousal cycle by pulling up pornographic images, ask God to help you stop, and then practice just being present. Think about your body. Think about your spouse. Trace your fingers along your spouse’s body. Think specifically about what is feeling good and what you love about your spouse, and say some of these things out loud. Keep your mind focused on the here and now, and you’ll find it a much more intimate, and intense, experience.

6. Desire Your Spouse

Spiritual intimacy during sex ultimately depends on that desire to be united with your spouse. And that desire is fed throughout the day–by concentrating on what you love about him, by thinking about him, by flirting and playing with him, by saying positive things about him to others. It isn’t something that “just happens”. It’s something that is the culmination of a relationship that you already have.

I truly believe that for many couples this is THE major roadblock to sex being everything it can be. Tomorrow we’ll be dissecting some of the problems with spiritual intimacy and sex a little more, but I think many people have bought into this idea that sex is only physical, when really sex is the physical expression of a deep drive we have to be connected to one another.

I received a comment on yesterday’s post from a woman who said this:

I always thought “Oh sex is just something that HE needs, I can do fine without it”. So not true. I need it too! We have connected in amazing ways, in and out of the bedroom and I am so excited to have my old husband back!

For you women who are reading this, sex ISN’T something that he needs just for physical release; it’s that he needs to feel really intimate. And we need that, too! Many of us push sex out of the way because it seems like a chore, but what we’re really doing, then, is denying ourselves one of the most powerful tools we have to feel truly connected and accepted by another individual.

If sex makes you feel dirty, or is a constant source of conflict, then wait until tomorrow’s post. But if it’s simply that you’ve never experienced sex this way, then try those steps. Concentrate on what you love about each other. Pray together. Memorize each others’ bodies. Say I love you. Look into each others’ eyes. Truly be joined. There really is nothing else like it.

Great Sex Challenge Day 27: Make love, don’t just have sex. Tonight, while you’re together, do your best to show your spouse how much you love them. Be passionate about it! And see what happens.

Sheila is the author of The Good Girls Guide to Great Sex.

31 Days to Great Sex
New! This 29 Days to Great Sex series has been turned into an ebook, the 31 Days to Great Sex (only $4.99!)

It's expanded, it's written for couples (not just women), and it's easy to use! 31 Days to boost your emotional intimacy, spiritual intimacy, and physical intimacy. You'll talk, flirt, and explore! Ignite your marriage here.

29 Days to Great Sex:

Day 1: The Act of Marriage
Day 2: Starting Fresh
Day 3: Loving the Skin You’re In
Day 4: Pucker Up!
Day 5: Reawaken Desire
Day 6: Why Your Hubby Wants You!
Day 7: Moving in the Right Direction
Day 8: 14 Ways to Play as a Couple
Day 9: Prepare for Sex throughout the Day
Day 10:16 Ways to Flirt with Your Husband
Day 11: How to Find Your Hubby Attractive
Day 12: If you’re Having a Hard Time with these Challenges
Day 13: Getting Your Head in the Game
Day 14: What if You’re Not “In the Mood”?
Day 15: What is Foreplay?
Day 16: How to Orgasm
Day 17: The Pleasure Center
Day 18: Foreplay Can Be for Him, Too!
Day 19: How to Come Alive Again
Day 20: Deciding on Boundaries
Day 21: 5 Ways to Spice Things Up
Day 22: How Often is Enough?
Day 23: Quickies Are Great!
Day 24: Initiate, Baby!
Day 25: Sex Once Kids Come
Day 26: Rebuilding Your Sex Life

Day 28: Is Selfishness Undermining Intimacy?

This is an important post that many people need to understand! Can you help by sharing on Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter, or Google Plus below? Thank you!

The Good Girl's Guide to Great Sex

Marriage isn't supposed to be blah!

Sex is supposed to be stupendous--physically, emotionally, AND spiritually. If it's not, get The Good Girl's Guide to Great Sex--and find out what you've been missing.


  1. It really is a whole body, whole Spirit connection. I think that when we are taking care of each other, really nourishing our friendship, and thoroughly enjoying each other during the day, that “spills over” into how we are with each other at our most intimate moments. And when you see it as all being intertwined, it takes the pressure off of each individual experience. Last night, for example, my husband and I began to have an intimate time together, but by the time we were both in bed and with no clothes on, we realize just how tired we were, and that my husband’s stomach wasn’t feeling all that great. So, instead we just laid there, with no clothes on, enjoying each other’s company, and talking about our day. We didn’t feel like we had “missed out,” because that was not the focus. Being together was.
    Megan Elzey recently posted…Two years, and so much lifeMy Profile

    • Megan, that is such an important point: when you see it as a journey and as the whole relationship, then each individual encounter stops taking on such importance. Too often we get caught up in this pass/fail thing when it comes to sex, when the main point is the intimacy in the relationship–not whether each single individual encounter was wonderful. Thanks for commenting (and I hope your hubby’s feeling better soon!)

  2. As I’ve stated before, the issue of sex has been a struggle for my husband and I since the beginning. Throw in abuse, fornication, porn addiction(me), issues during sex, people living with you on and off, control issues… and the list goes on. One thing my husband has said to me recently that really struck. “When we make love, you truly let go. I’ve seen you cry more during than ever before.” Granted, that has happened maybe 3 times, but it’s true. And I think that’s a part of the issue. Being intimate does make us the most vulnerable. When you add everything else that we’ve been through, it just complicates it all the more. I hate being vulnerable. I hate knowing someone else ‘sees’ me… but, as you’ve stated before. God knows. God sees it all. Thoughts and all. A profound thing I read recently was to imagine God standing next to the bed while my husband and I were making love–God is smiling, pronouncing, “It is well. Perfect.” Whoo! That hit me. I really had to think on that and pray. Meditate and search my heart. I am getting there. My heart and shifting towards the beauty, the unity and the power of God’s design. It’s slow progress, but it’s coming.
    Danielle Jones recently posted…Fresh perspectiveMy Profile

  3. Married men!

    If intimacy with your wife is simply all about the “O” for you, YOU ARE MISSING OUT! God blessed us with such an incredible gift… I must implore you to stop wasting it!

    Making love with your wife should be all about the physical, sure… but add in the emotional and spiritual aspects, and WOW! What a difference it makes! It is a package deal, and leaving out any part of the package just leaves it lacking for both of you.

    My wife and I are not perfect, that’s for sure… but we have been learning to pray before making love. To INCLUDE God in our evening’s activities is an honor! Remember, HE CREATED IT! This was one of those “weird” hurdles that I had to get over. My wife kept asking me to pray beforehand, and for a while I felt really awkward about it – but I did it anyway. Over time, the Lord has given me comfort and peace in this, and now I feel that on those times when I either forgot, or CHOSE not to pray before, the experience was somehow less than it could have been.

    Sheila, allow me to say a hearty “AMEN!” to all 6 of your points in the article. I wish I had known these things as a young hubby… to take the time to ENJOY my wife in so many ways. Wow, where was an older brother in Christ when I was a young man – a man who could pass on this wisdom to me? Thankfully I am not yet “OLD-old” and can still put this into practice for quite awhile yet… as long as the Lord will give me!

    Guys, if you are still young, PLEASE take this article to heart. And you old dogs… learn a few new tricks! Your wife will thank you for it!
    Jason recently posted…Tell Us Your Story!My Profile

  4. I like the idea of just hanging out naked more often with my spouse, we don’t do that very much.
    Sexy Christian Wife recently posted…I Knew You Loved Me WhenMy Profile

  5. I did this challenge last night, and the night before and this morning…but if you insist 😉

  6. BTW, cheeky comment above aside, I agree with you on this. It makes such a big difference to be emotionally connected…and that doesn’t necessarily have to mean you out pour emotionally every time, it can be as simple as laughing and teasing each other. I think feeling connected is what it is about. Actually, I think that’s why people enjoy “make-up sex” because usually, in a fight, we really share our feelings(even if it’s not in the most pleasant way). When we are done, yes we feel relieved not be fighting anymore, but we’ve also shared our emotions with each other, so we feel closer. Not always, but I think that happens a lot. I feel my friskiest, though, after we’ve had an intellectual discussion about something going on in our world or after we have laughed really hard together. So talking=intimacy=sex.

  7. This might be one of my favorite posts of the series (although, I did benefit greatly from the first week…). Anyways, connecting on a spiritual level is often forgotten. It does become so shallow when it’s only about the physical. I think women (and men, but I only know the woman perspective) can feel used if their man isn’t connecting with them emotionally and spiritually. It makes me sad. My husband and I have read Song of Solomon together before making love – those are some of my favorite memories. When I’m particularly struggling, my husband will faithfully remind me that “this is a form of worship.” Oh, the mysteries of which I will never understand…but I’ll enjoy not knowing. 😉
    Leigh Ann @ Intentional By Grace recently posted…Comment on A Surrendered Marriage When You Have a Sexual Past by Leigh AnnMy Profile

  8. This is a hard concept to explain to those who have had a skewed perspective of sex or simply haven’t experienced what you talk about. But the spiritual connection involved in physical intimacy is real. It can and does happen.

    I also think that — like our spiritual connection to God — our spiritual connection with our spouse occurs not in a single ecstatic moment or even a single sexual encounter; it grows as we spend more time and effort fostering that deep intimacy. I feel more connected on that spiritual plane with my husband now than I did early in our marriage, even though the sex was physically rockin’ back then.

    You did a great job covering this topic, Sheila. So excited about reading your book!
    J (Hot, Holy & Humorous) recently posted…Intimacy After an AffairMy Profile

  9. Nicole Burnett says:

    I’ve enjoyed your series and am looking forward to the deeper sections in your book. I ordered your book (actually I ordered both “TO Love, Honor & Vacuum” & “The good girls’ guide to great sex” via Amazon yesterday does that enter me in the contest?

  10. Heather (aka FLAKES!) says:

    Hey Sheila!

    I JUST got on board with this blog series (we just moved so it’s been a super crazy busy month!) but I just ordered your new book – I can’t wait! :) We just celebrated our first anniversary ( <3 ) so we've had a pretty spicy few weeks (including setting a pillowcase on fire at a hotel because we were "living it up" too close to candles hahaha)… but I'm interested to read about these tips and put them into practice too!

    ALSO, small world! Rowan and Mara from "CoupleThings" are our new pastors! We're helping with a church plant that they're heading up. They did our pre-marriage counselling and Rowan officiated our wedding! I saw that you re-tweeted something of theirs and I thought about what a CRAZY small world we live in! They say hello <3

    Wish you guys lived closer – it would be AWESOME to have you in a small group :) I love you guys as marriage mentors (and I always have… I'll have to email you about my favourite memory of you and Keith from when I was younger)

    Lots of love,

    Heather xoxo

  11. I realize that this is quite an old post, and that it’s a bit funny to comment on it. But I got married over the summer, and wanted both to thank you for this series of posts which have given me good things to think on, and to tell you about my awesome husband. So first of all, thank you! And second of all, before marrying, my concept of sex was very physical — I wanted to give and receive pleasure, and felt strange – almost distracted – by emotion being involved. After our marriage, my husband was the one to bring – almost insist on – emotional and spiritual intimacy and realness. He tells me he loves me when we make love and says nice things about me. I have more and more become comfortable with reciprocating, and enjoying it! It is so great to be connected in a real, and not just in a fantasy way. Hope that makes a little sense. Thesis: I thank God for my husband.

  12. Mr.Earl says:

    When my wife is having a hard time climaxing, I have prayed silently while stimulating her, and the clmax comes. God cares about our married joys.

  13. Intimacy and sex hasn’t been apart of my marriage, in fact its been very one sided and lonely. I’ve been married 45+ years
    and my husband and I only had sex once on our wedding night. This has been the only time for intimacy, sex and love that we had. He told me that sex with me was pointless, disgusting, messy, gross, smelly and something that two people should never have to do. I was the one with the problem who provoked husband into having sex. This hate went to his head and immedeatly moved to our basement and told me to never talk to him again and all intimacy with him won’t ever happen again. My story goes on and I thought I could fix everything. Here it is 45 years later and I’m just a nobody to him and some one who takes up space in the house. I’ve accepted my life and just turned around decide to just be me. At my age (mid 60’s) I don’t care any more about him or myself. I know It may not be right but that’s the way I feel.

  14. daisylovelife says:

    As one who has experienced emotional/verbal abuse, I know how very painful that can be to a woman’s heart.. and how the enemy uses that to speak lies over our lives about who we are. My heart broke for you this morning reading this. I pray, in Jesus’ name, that you would be filled today with all of the beautiful TRUTH of Gods love for you and ALL that HE speaks over you!!! You are PRECIOUS. You are BOUGHT WITH A PRICE. You are BEAUTIFUL. You are DESIRABLE. You are ONE OF A KIND. You are WANTED and LOVED beyond all you can ever imagine by the God who made you and knows everything about you!!!! I pray you know His Love. I know it grieves His heart how your husband has treated you.. but I pray you would still care for yourself and live with joy in Gods love. There are others who need your special heart and care in this world! May you find them!! You are NOT forgotten!!!!

  15. Dear Sheila,

    Your work has helped me tremendously through some rough patches of my marriage and I am a HUGE fan. However you frequently use the term “non-Christian women” (e.g. when you speak about the survey that showed that “Christian” women are most likely to have orgasms). I am a Muslim woman who saved myself for my husband (like the Christian women you describe) and am not quite sure what to make of these statements. When you say “non-Christian” do you just mean women who have no faith in God or do you actually mean women of any religion besides Christianity?

    Thanks a lot and please keep up the great work!

    • Hi Nedda,

      I’m thrilled you’re here on this blog! Welcome.

      I’m not exactly sure how to answer this question, though. When I did the surveys for my book I had three categories–Christian, other religions, and not religious at all. Those who were Christians did come out as enjoying sex more and having a more intimate life, but I’m not sure that stat can honestly be taken as rock solid in regards to those with other religions because I didn’t have a very large sample. The numbers of Christians and the numbers of non-religious were quite large, and so those results can be definitive, but not the other religion categor, so I think that particular number has to be taken with a grain of salt. Perhaps there are other studies out there? I’d have to look.

      However, the stats for those who were virgins when they married were quite accurate because I had large samples of both virgins and non-virgins, and definitely the virgins did rate their sex life and their intimacy higher once they were married, and you would fit in that category.

      I hope that helps, and thanks for asking!

  16. Dear Shelia
    I have been really blessed reading through the different topics. I married as a virgin and sex was really a difficult task for me. First i was shy, a novice, and couldn’t get my mind tune to it. It started affecting our marriage. I had to go on my knees and pray. I asked God to teach me as I was a novice and he did. Its getting better and God has been faithful.

  17. Hi Amy,
    It was just heartbreaking reading your reply to the post. I’m so sorry that your husband missed out on a wonderful life of joy with you. Please know that you are valuable to God and a source of joy to Him: you are his precious, dearly-loved daughter.

  18. Cheryl Linder says:

    Great Article, Sheila!

  19. Cheryl Linder says:

    Great article, Sheila

Comment Policy: Please stay positive with your comments. If your comment is rude, it gets deleted. Any comment that espouses an anti-marriage philosophy (eg. porn, adultery, abuse and the like) will be deleted. If it is critical, please make it constructive. If you are replying to another commenter, please be polite and don't assume you know everything about his or her situation. If you are constantly negative or a general troll, you will get banned. The definition of terms is left solely up to us. Sheila Wray Gregoire owns the copyright to all comments and may publish them in whatever form she sees fit. She agrees to keep any publication of comments anonymous, even if you are not anonymous on this board.


  1. […] Gregroire, from To Love, Honor and Vacuum, has an excellent post titled, Experiencing Spiritual Intimacy While You Make Love. She […]

  2. […] 24: Initiate, Baby!  Day 25: Sex When You Have Kids Day 26: Rebuilding Your Sex Life Day 27: Experiencing Spiritual Intimacy when You Make Love Day 28: Overcoming Selfishness Day 29: A Contest & a […]

  3. […] one of the ones I talk about at length, why do we crave a shallow version of sex, rather than a truly intimate one? Maybe it’s because we’ve never taken the time to experience how wonderful sex can be […]

  4. […] Healthy sexuality in marriage becomes transcendent in some ways, as you experience a connectedness that is blessed by the Father himself. […]

  5. […] If your sexuality has been dented and scarred because of pornography or erotica, you can be remolded and rebuilt so that you can truly make love. […]

  6. […] is not supposed to only be physical; there’s supposed to be an emotional and spiritual element to it as well. We’re supposed to truly “know” each other when we make love. In fact, it’s […]

  7. […] 24: Initiate, Baby! Day 25: Sex When You Have Children Day 26: Rebuilding Your Sex Life Day 27: Experiencing Spiritual Intimacy when you Make Love Day 28: Overcoming Selfishness in your Sexual Life Day 29: A Round-Up and a […]

  8. […] But once you make sex into something solely physical, instead of something which gives you spiritual intimacy, too, you start sending a positive feedback loop between your brain and your body when you see that […]

  9. […] 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. […]

  10. […] a spouse but anonymous encounters, pornography, or something else. And soon we lose the ability to experience true intimacy, let alone the fullness of sexuality that God designed us […]

  11. […] Spiritual intimacy in marriage is a beautiful thing. When we have it, we can truly make love, not just have sex. I think that’s actually part of God’s plan for sex. Think about it: in sex we bare ourselves physically. But for sex to really work well, we also have to bare ourselves emotionally. We have to be able to be vulnerable. We have to be willing to “let go”. God created people with first and foremost a desperate longing for relationship. We long to know and be known, and in that knowing to be accepted. It’s our deepest need. When we focus only on the physical, sex too often can seem shallow. When we combine the physical with the emotional and the spiritual, sex is stupendous, because it encompasses all that we are. One of the reasons that our culture has become more pornographic–and why things that were once considered sexually taboo are now pretty much mainstream–is that our culture has made sex into something only physical because they don’t have anything else. And yet they know they’re missing something, so they try more and more extreme things. We have the ingredients for an amazing sexual relationship, because it’s real intimacy, not just orgasm. (And, by the way, that makes orgasm even greater!). Excerpts form an article found at http://tolovehonorandvacuum.com/2012/02/29-days-to-great-sex-day-27-experiencing-spiritual-intimacy-&#8230; […]

  12. […] drive. In fact, it’s the largest cause of a man not wanting sex. And it ruins any sense of spiritual intimacy when you make love. The effects of porn are so damaging to both the man and his wife, who is left to feel violated and […]

  13. […] God wants us to know Him.  He wants to know us.  He wants husband and wife to know each other completely.  Supernatural sex is more than sex, it is Spirit-filled lovemaking and loveknowing. See Julie Sibert’s post, “Worship the Lord, Make Love to Your Spouse.” See Megan at DoNotDisturb’s, “Sex is Receiving.” See Sheila Gregoire’s thoughts, “Experiencing Spiritual Intimacy While You Make Love.” […]

  14. […] love—experiencing genuine intimacy through sex—is truly beautiful. But too many couples haven’t experienced that because they’ve bought into […]

  15. […] question! Physical intimacy, after all, is wonderful, but spiritual intimacy is the glue that holds everything together. Couples who pray together feel closer in other ways, […]

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