Wifey Wednesday: Should Christians Have Amazing Sex?

Should Christians Have Amazing Sex in their Marriage?It’s Wednesday, the day when we always talk marriage! I introduce a topic, and then you all can comment or link  up your own marriage post below.

Last week Rachel Pietka took the Christian internet community by storm when she wrote a column in Relevant online magazine called, “Christians are not called to have amazing sex“. She claimed that Christians had bought into the world’s view of the importance of sex too much, and were writing all these books on how to have amazing sex, and in the meantime we’d lost the real purpose of marriage, which is a commitment, whether or not the sex was great.

As the author of a book on how Christians can have “great sex“, I’d like to comment on her article, because I think it’s important, and I also think it’s dangerous.

She’s Right: Christians do not have great sex off the bat if they stayed virgins before they were married

Sometimes we give kids the message “wait, it’s so worth it” a little bit too much. They think that sex will be this amazing thing as soon as they get married, and most likely it won’t be. And she gave the example of a couple who married at twenty, not realizing they would be sexually incompatible. And they ended up divorcing. The reason? Because Christians never talked about the fact that you could be sexually incompatible, and that you shouldn’t get married just to have sex.

Okay, perhaps I should have said she’s MOSTLY right. I completely agree that too often we give people the message, “sex will be great right off the bat if you wait!” That’s one of the reasons I wrote The Good Girl’s Guide to Great Sex–to show young women that often the honeymoon isn’t the best, but in the end, it makes absolutely no difference. After a decade, whether your honeymoon was great or not, you experience roughly the same levels of sexual satisfaction. Sex is a learning curve, and the best thing to do is just relax and be happy that you can truly be intimate. Don’t worry too much. Things will happen and will get great with time.

My book is meant to help people think of sex as a journey, not as just the honeymoon. And that’s one of the things new brides thank me for the most.

She’s Wrong: People aren’t “sexually incompatible”

She claimed that Christians that talk up amazing sex are buying into the world’s view, but I think she gives far too much credence to the idea of sexual incompatibility. She says that because Christians aren’t to have sex before we’re married, we never know whether we’re compatible or not. Thus, sexual pleasure, or compatibility, is not the main purpose of marriage.

This gives the impression that in a marriage SHE by herself is a static sexual being, and HE by himself is a static sexual being, and the two may not match. Not true. God designed sex to be a relational thing; it’s not two individuals coming together as much as it is a couple experiencing something together.

Personally, I hate the word “incompatible”. I simply say that people have differences in the bedroom, or problems in the bedroom, because that’s the truth. You’re not incompatible; you just have things you need to work out. It’s an entirely different emphasis. Incompatible makes it sound like you will never meet in the middle. Problems are just obstacles that need to be overcome. And that’s the more biblical view. Where in the Bible does it ever say that two people can’t be compatible, in any aspect of their relationship? When people are chasing after God, they will be transformed to look like Jesus Christ (Romans 8:29). And that makes us compatible on pretty much any level.

Not compatible? Then you’re simply having problems that need to be worked out. They’re not insurmountable; they’re not static. They’re just issues, that’s all. The world talks up “compatibility” as a way to say that we should try each other first. Nothing can be farther from the truth, because it emphasizes the physical aspect of sex over all else, and leads to tons of heartache. Let’s not go down that road.

She’s Wrong: Sex is not only physical

She also gave absolutely no credence to the fact that God made sex to unite us on more than just a physical level. It’s also a spiritual intimacy and an emotional intimacy, not just a physical intimacy.

And because of that, Christians SHOULD have amazing sex, and indeed DO have much better sex than the general public, according to my research and others. Why is that? Because we understand the power of commitment. Because we are also already spiritually intimate. And when you truly are one, sex is something far more powerful. The spiritual intimacy feeds the physical side, and sex can be much more stupendous.

But it’s not just this: God created sex for a reason, and it wasn’t just so that we could have children, and it wasn’t just so that we could enjoy ourselves. It was also so that we could get a glimpse into the deep passion that He has for us. He uses sexual imagery to discuss how He feels about his children. And He put this sexual drive “to know” each other inside of us, so that we would get a taste of true intimacy.

If we deny that, or say that it’s really unimportant, and people should just live with lousy sex, then we’re not just missing out on marriage. We’re missing out on understanding the whole nature of intimacy and passion that God has for us.

I’m not saying that only married people can understand this. Single people can certainly understand intimacy and passion, too. But when we married people have access to the most intimate experience people can have this side of heaven, and then we say “it doesn’t matter”, I think we’re closing ourselves off to intimacy and passion in general, and that can be dangerous.

She’s Wrong: We shouldn’t put up with a marred sinful nature

Ms. Pietka attributes bad sex to our sinful nature, which is true. But she seems to think that this is inevitable, or at least something that is not worth doing very much about. If people find themselves married, with sexual problems, they should realize it’s just part of their sinful nature, and work on other aspects of their marriage.

I find this extremely strange. On the one hand: yes, the problems we have in the bedroom are all caused by our sinful nature. If one spouse wants to make love much more than another, and this causes hurt, it’s sin, because one (or both) are not loving each other as Christ did. If one is being selfish in bed, demanding unreasonable things, or refusing to learn how to pleasure the other, it’s sin. If one is using porn or erotica to get aroused, it’s sin. If one is feeling ashamed of sex, that, too, is sin, though it may not be theirs. Perhaps they grew up in a house where their parents made them feel ashamed of the fact that they were sexual, and now they need healing. Or perhaps they were abused (someone else’s sin) and that, too, has impacted their ability to enjoy sex.

All of our problems stem from either from our own sin (selfishness) or from being sinned against (brokenness). And so we need to go to God for healing and restoration.

And that last part is so important. She seems to be saying we should be content to live with the marred sinful nature. In what other area of our lives do we do this?

Take Christian community, for example. We, as Christians, are notoriously bad at finding unity. But did Jesus say, “you’ll find it really difficult to act as one body, because of the marred sinful nature, and you just need to realize that”? No, he said, “they will know you by your love for one another.” Paul wrote a whole book (1 Corinthians) on how Christians should get along with each other.

Is getting along difficult? You betcha. Does that mean that we should give up and say, “on this side of heaven, we won’t achieve unity”? Nope, God doesn’t give us that escape clause. He wants us to keep working towards unity.

And He wants us to do that in our marriages, too. Will our marriages ever be perfect? No. Will all of us have amazing sex? No. But on this earth, we are to seek Jesus in everything. We are to seek restoration, and renewal, and healing. We are to aim to be more selfless and more understanding. And all of these things apply just as much to sex as anything else. In fact, perhaps they apply more so because our sexual identity is so close to our personal identity. Everything is really intertwined. If we start to deny our sexual being, we tend to cut ourselves off from true passion.

Ms. Pietka said that by emphasizing amazing sex we’re emphasizing the wrong thing. We should be emphasizing a marriage based not on sex but on commitment. I agree that commitment is vitally important. But to deny the importance of sex, or to downplay our responsibility, once we’re married, of making it the best it can be for both of us, is also to distort God’s plan for marriage.

She’s Wrong: She gives people an excuse to say, “you shouldn’t expect more”

Here’s my real concern. Let’s say that you’re a woman with a low sex drive. You find sex a hassle. Your husband is always saying he needs it more, and you’re sick of it. Then you read her article. And now you have an excuse to go to him and say, “see, Christians emphasize sex too much, and you just should just live with it.

That is not biblical. Paul said, in 1 Corinthians 7, “do not deprive each other except by mutual consent and for a time….” (I’ve written a three part series on what that verse really means here). There’s a whole book in the Bible (Song of Solomon) celebrating sex.

So what I want to say to Ms. Pietka is that I agree that Christians perhaps sound too glib about how easy it is to have amazing sex. But the simple fact is that we SHOULD have better sex than others because we know the author of sex. We know a level of intimacy that others don’t, and that should already make sex better. And if we still have a ways to go (and don’t we all?), then we should be working towards that, not settling for less. Jesus called us to an abundant life. If something is not abundant, why would you not want more of God–selflessness, passion, intimacy–in that area of your life? Why would you settle for less?

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.

Christian Marriage Advice

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  1. Hi Sheila! I LOVE your openness & think you just gotta write, write, write (when you hubby can stand for you to be away for a few minutes!!!). I so agree with what you say here on our sexuality because it is Biblical. Yes, all God’s idea! I tried to email you because I love when you post on my Wednesday link-up party, (can you add that to your to do’s every week!) but your email came back! ( I hope everything is okay with you up there in Canada. I’m thinking you are too good to be true (I mean that in a GOOD Wray/Way! Christian wives should be the best that’s out there, and, boy, you are girlfriend!) for your hubby and he hid your computer?
    Juana Mikels recently posted…A Word on Asking God & Wednesday’s Prayer Girls & Link-Up Party!My Profile

    • Yep, I’m still here! My email was just down for a day because we’re migrating servers. That email should be working again tomorrow!

  2. “This gives the impression that in a marriage SHE by herself is a static sexual being, and HE by himself is a static sexual being, and the two may not match. Not true. God designed sex to be a relational thing; it’s not two individuals coming together as much as it is a couple experiencing something together.”

    Your book sure opened my eyes to the fact that I thought more like Rachel Pietka and that a “good girl” shouldn’t really worry about enjoying sex, it was her job to be there for her husband, she was his gift. So sad it took me all these years to realize he was my gift too! Since reading the book, Holy Sex, by Gregory Popcak and then your book, The Good Girls Guide to Great Sex, sex has become a joy instead of a chore! My husband and I thank you!!! :)

  3. After reading her article I am a bit perplexed as to where she has come up with many of her claims. Perhaps I’ve lived under a rock, but I’m a girl in her early/mid twenties who has never been married, has been a part of the Christian community most of my life, and I have never heard anyone say that, from a physical perspective, sex on your wedding night would be awesome. Actually, I’ve not heard very much talk of the physical aspect of sex at all, so where she’s getting that is a bit perplexing. When I’ve heard it talked about it was always about keeping in accordance with God’s will for us, and in doing so being able to protect yourself emotionally, not (for lack of a better word) fracture your heart so that it is not wholly your spouses’, and things relating to commitment. I’ve been to many different churches, of many different denominations, all over the United States, and I simply haven’t heard the things she’s claiming.

    The idea, and I hear this often from my generation, that sexual compatibility is something that must be determined before getting married is a rather baffling and illogical thought. I suppose if the sole purpose of getting married is to have sex then I guess that logic almost holds up, but if it’s about commitment and honoring God with our lives/actions, then it would seem more like just another part of the relationship that will need to be worked on/negotiated.

    So glad that there are people like you that are giving Christians a different voice than Ms. Pietka. Like I said, not married, but I’m in a committed relationship where both of us have marriage in mind, and reading your blog gives me a lot of hope that Christians can still have marriages that are different from those that are of the world.

    • Thanks for your comment! I appreciate it.

      Yes, I think the whole “incompatibility” thing is really off-base. It’s sad to see Christians paying lip service to it, too.

  4. Great job pointing out falsehoods of Pietka. Until you are married, you don’t realize how important satisfactory lovemaking is to the health of the marriage. But I have 2 cents I thought I’d throw in, because both original articles are written by women. (The “we were incompatible” one and the Relevant one.) Before we were married, my husband and I were very interested in each other. After we got married, I could care less most of the time – I had to consciously put myself in a concentrated mental state to make love… until I stopped taking the Pill. It represses your sex drive. So I urge women who are feeling “meh” about sex or have low drives who are on the Pill to strongly consider getting off it and using an alternative like a barrier or Fertility Awareness. It’s better for your health anyway. And it sure helped our intimacy and increased time in the bedroom :)

    • The “pill” has done wonders to balance out womens hormones at times, but IMHO it has been “the big lie” by the Father of Lies Himself in taking away ones own responsibility for their fertility and the way God designed our bodies sexually. My wife and I used NFP over 30 years ago and was one of the best decisions we ever made. We had the one additional child she wanted. Our choice was in response to her earlier using the pill in her first marriage and the problems she incured with it. I encourage young couples of today to look into NFP. It is very simple today especially with technology in apps. for charting your cycle. The Pill is only making the drug companies rich and us less aware of the awesomeness of our own God given sexuality.

  5. The “incomparability” thing drives me crazy. Saying it is an illogical position is a huge understatement. The logic has holes so big you could steer an aircraft carrier through it. Seriously. Lets take the reductio ad absurdum approach shall we?
    Let’s say two people really can be incompatible. So what are you going to do? Just going to sleep with a bunch of people until you find one with whom you have amazing sex and marry them?

    What does incompatible mean? You don’t like the same things in bed? If both people are a virgins how do you even know? You’re discovering it together right? And if you discover you like different stuff, so what? Are you incapable of compromise? If you are so selfish that you can never have sex a little differently that you prefer you have deeper issues. Why have sex at all? You could just masturbate. That way it’s exactly what you like each time right? Much less hastle.
    Why get married at all? You’ll have to compromise on a lot of things. If you just stay single you can have everything your way all the time. And be a really insufferable, miserable, lonely person.

    That’s just two problems off the top of my head. Sorry to preach to the choir. But it really, really gets on my nerves when people throw such idiotic, poorly considered arguments around. Specially when the “tolerant” liberals are attacking you for being a virgin at 27.

    Ok off the soapbox now. Thanks for your awesome blog Sheila!

  6. Hi, Sheila…..I have never felt a spiritual or emotional connection to my husband during sex, to me sex is just sex, a way for my husband to release his sexual tension. Is there something wrong with me, or are we doing something wrong. I have never actually enjoyed sex, well i enjoy pleasing my husband, but its just not pleasurable for me. Could that be the reason?

    • Rita, absolutely. That could definitely be the reason. It sounds like you guys could just really use a reset in a way, where you start from scratch and try to rediscover what sex is supposed to be–intimate but also pleasurable. If you’ve never experienced that, don’t settle for mediocre when it’s supposed to be so much more! I have a lot of resources on this site to help with that, and you can follow some of the links in this article, but likely the best one is 31 Days to Great Sex, which takes you step by step to starting to communicate more about sex, starting to understand what real intimacy is, and working on how to make it feel great. I hope that helps!

  7. I read a book by Catholic Priest Andrew M Greeley that made a great point about why great sex is important to a marriage. He said that all the stresses of married life tend to push us away from each other and a good sex life was Like a rubber band that pulled us back to each other when those everyday stresses we’re trying to push us apart. I thought it was a wonderful analogy for how a healthy sex life helps heal the stress and hurt life puts on a marriage.

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  1. […] Should Christians Have Amazing Sex? from To Love, Honor, and […]

  2. […] Gregoire writes and speaks on marriage and sexuality in her blog, “To Love, Honor and Vacuum.” […]

  3. […] can read the whole article here. I already wrote a long post responding to it, talking about why great sex is important in a marriage and shouldn’t be just “pooh poohed”. But one point that I thought merited more […]

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