Throughout the month we’ve been looking at how to make sex great physically, emotionally, and spiritually. Yesterday we were looking at how to experience true spiritual intimacy while making love: that deep knowing, that mutual experience, and that bonding. Most of our posts this month have been on that vein: ways to see sex more positively, to make it more fun, and to create greater intimacy.
But I can’t do the series justice if I don’t also have a post giving a warning. And there is one particular attitude that will make true intimacy virtually impossible to experience, and that’s selfishness. Two kinds of selfishness predominate in the sexual realm to rob sex of its spiritual intimacy: withholding sex and demanding unreasonable things.
Please, if you’re reading this with your spouse, read with an open mind and honestly ask yourself, “am I in one of these categories“? Often we don’t think we are. We think our spouse is to blame if we’re having problems in the bedroom. But don’t look at your spouse; truly look at your own attitude and ask yourself, am I being truly loving and giving with sex?
1. Withholding Sex
Many spouses are just heartbroken and at their wits’ end because they are married to people who think sex is a chore, and it is somehow wrong or dirty to desire it very much.
I’ve received so many emails this month from spouses of both genders who truly want a great sex life, but their spouse rarely consents to making love, and when they do, it often is with a “let’s get this over with” attitude. Or else they tell their spouse to go “take care of it yourself.”
Are you like that? Is sex a chore? Do you wish your spouse would just leave you alone?
Now, if you have a genuine problem, like sex is uncomfortable because you’re too tight, or you’re still getting over past sexual trauma, obviously sex is going to be difficult. And as long as you are actively working towards healing, I don’t think most spouses would be upset. But if you are saying, “this is the way I’ll always be, and he or she should just get used to it“, then you’re not being fair.
It is not God’s will for you that you have a rotten sex life. God created you to have a vibrant, intimate, passionate, sex life. If you do not have that in your marriage, then ask yourself, “what can I do to create one?”, because robbing your spouse of that kind of intimacy is not fair.
Maybe you have low testosterone, and you have an abnormally low sex drive (both men and women can suffer from this). That’s okay. Just get your testosterone levels checked. Maybe you have some sexual issues, like erectile dysfunction. That’s okay, too. Just get it looked at. It is not fair to your spouse to ignore a problem when that problem is robbing you both of intimacy.
And that’s really what I want you to understand. You are not just robbing your spouse of sex–though you are doing that. You are not just robbing your spouse of sexual release–though you are doing that, too. You are first and foremost robbing your spouse of that true spiritual intimacy that sex was designed to forge between you. You are robbing your spouse of that connection, and that’s something that is such a deep need for all of us. And you are robbing yourself of that, too.
So stop seeing it in terms of simple sexual release, and start seeing it in terms of intimacy. Are you doing everything you can to experience real intimacy in your marriage? If you aren’t, then perhaps you need to commit more to embracing all that God designed sex to be, and to figuring out how it can actually be wonderful in your marriage.
2. Demanding Unreasonable Things
The other group that is diminishing spiritual intimacy are those who see sex mostly in terms of how they can get the most sexual release.
Sex is supposed to be a mutual, shared experience. That’s what part of the spiritual connection is. That doesn’t mean that you never do anything “just for him” or that he never does something “just for her”; those can all be part of play. But these things should never take over, or eclipse, vaginal intercouse, or else you lose that spiritual intimacy because it is not a mutual experience.
I’ve received a ton of emails this month, and one of the more common themes is along the lines of “my husband would prefer that I just help him to climax another way”. That really is quite selfish. One of the reasons that people prefer other kind of release is because they can concentrate on their own pleasure and don’t have to think of anyone else at all. But then you’re not “getting lost” in another person. You’re not “connecting”; you’re just using. And it’s not right.
Like I said, there’s nothing wrong with play every now and then; but that play should be part of a healthy relationship where you’re both also experiencing pleasure through intercourse. If the play is taking over, then sex isn’t mutual; it’s almost like you’re having parallel experiences.
If there are health reasons, of course, where this must be the case, that’s an entirely different story, and you can both make an effort to involve the other person by telling them that you love them, by trying to pleasure them at the same time, or whatever. But in general these emails are coming from two healthy people, where one just prefers a shortcut rather than intercourse. That needs to stop.
If you are insisting that your spouse bring you to sexual release without vaginal intercourse on a regular basis, then you are not looking for spiritual intimacy through sex. You are seeing sex solely through the physical prism, and you are diminishing what sex is supposed to be. Again, there’s nothing wrong with occasional play, but the focus should always be on a shared experience. If you are insisting on things which bring your spouse no real pleasure, then you are being selfish.
Similarly, though we have freedom in bed to do many things, that does not mean that couples MUST do those things. Changing positions is great. Really becoming intimate with all of your spouse’s body is wonderful. Insisting on *n*l sex is a horrible violation of marriage. (sorry about the asterisks, but I’m trying to get around the search engine labelling me as something that I’m not). I’m not saying that it’s necessarily sinful, since I personally don’t believe the Bible addresses it in marriage. But it is painful. It does have medical repercussions. And it is not pleasurable to the woman.
Why in the world would anyone risk losing the beautiful intimacy that can come from sex by insisting that his wife give him this–and being bitter and disappointed when he doesn’t get it?
Do you want intimacy, or do you want sex to be solely about the physical? If your spouse is making love frequently and with passion, be grateful. Don’t fixate on certain sexual acts, and how you would prefer them. If you do that, you’re making sex into something which is not mutual, but which is instead about self-gratification. That is totally the opposite of what God designed sex to be.
Let me end on this: God made sex to connect us spiritually, emotionally, and physically. When I conducted the research for The Good Girl’s Guide to Great Sex, I found (as other surveys have found before me) that Christians are the most likely to really enjoy sex, and it’s because we experience this threefold intimacy. It isn’t just about the physical, the way it is in our culture, because we have the commitment and the relationship, too. And we understand that it’s a beautiful gift from God. When all three go together, sex is stupendous.
Do you want stupendous sex, or do you want pornographic sex? God is calling us to make sex holy–and that means that sex will be passionate, and beautiful, and exciting, because God is passionate, and beautiful, and exciting. Are you going to embrace that, or are you going to be selfish? If you do the latter, you virtually guarantee that you will never experience the true intensity of beautiful sex.
Great Sex Challenge 28: If you believe that you might fall into one of these categories–either withholding or demanding–please pray about it. Talk to your spouse about it. Apologize to your spouse. And share with them your dream of achieving a truly intimate and exciting sex life.
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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 27: Experiencing Spiritual Intimacy when you Make Love
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