Why It’s Okay to Think About Sex

Thinking about Sex: Hey, married women, maybe we should do this more!

It’s Wednesday, the day when we talk marriage! And today best-selling author Shannon Ethridge is joining us with an excerpt from her new book, The Passion Principles, where she shares about how thinking about sex is perfectly okay:

In the summer of 1999 we took our young children for an afternoon outing to the Caldwell Zoo in Tyler, Texas. As we entered an area called the “Texas Petting Zoo,” Erin and Matthew were thrilled over the thought that they’d actually be getting hands-on experience with the animals. Our first stop was the Longhorn cattle pen, where several dozen parents and children waited their turn to pet the new baby calf, which just happened to be tucked up underneath his mama’s udders for an afternoon snack.

My three-year old son watched this scene in amazement, then boldly inquired of me in his loudest outdoor voice, “Mama, did you do that to me when you was a cow?”

Every adult within earshot giggled, and I had to join them. It was an honest question, so I gave an honest answer and replied, “Matthew, I actually did feel like a cow when I was doing that to you!” The giggling turned to guffaws of laughter, and thus a precious memory was made that afternoon.

Not only did Matthew learn how baby calves and baby boys were fed by their mothers, he also learned how many baby animals are made. It seemed like every cage we encountered was filled with animals in heat. The giraffes were necking, the gazelles were horny, the camels were humping. It was like someone spiked the hay with some powerful aphrodisiac. And of course, there was always an inquiring child in the crowd wanting to know, “What are those two animals doing?”

Although humans are certainly on a much higher intellectual and spiritual plane than animals, our basic physical instincts are really not very different. We have four main activities that we naturally gravitate toward over and over—eating, drinking, sleeping, and sexually connecting with our mates. It’s simply how God wired us, and it’s a beautiful thing if you consider the big-picture purposes He had in mind.

Why did God wire us for hunger and thirst? So we wouldn’t starve to death or get dehydrated and make ourselves sick. So our bodies could thrive and manufacture the energy we need to function when we respond to these natural instincts with healthy food and water.

Why did God wire us for sleep? So our bodies and brains could rest and get reenergized for another day of living for His glory. So we could go about our days feeling refreshed, at least until our batteries needed to be recharged once again.

Why did God wire us for sex? Just to name a few reasons:

• to bring beautiful babies into the world,
• so our bodies and brains could experience intense physical pleasure,
• to release stress and tension,
• to medicate emotional pain,
• so our hearts and spirits would feel intimately connected and passionately bonded to another human being,
• so we would feel passionately loved, and have a powerful way of communicating to another that he or she is deeply loved as well.

Most of us can accept our hunger, our thirst, and our need for sleep as perfectly natural, but the fact that we’re sexual creatures can be hard to accept, at least not without a certain degree of guilt. But do we ever feel guilty for experiencing true hunger several times a day? Or genuine thirst? Do we ever feel sinful for growing sleepy every eighteen hours or so? Of course not. It’s how our bodies function, and, like those zoo animals, we don’t waste much time analyzing it at all. We just feed those needs in order to satisfy ourselves.

So why do we waste time and energy analyzing, justifying, fretting, or feeling guilty over our sexual needs and desires? Seems silly, doesn’t it?

I believe the reason we worry about our sexuality is because we have somehow bought the lie that sex is dirty, shameful, base, animalistic, and hedonistic rather than natural, instinctual, spiritual, sublime, and holy. As a result, some of us have lost our ability to accept, embrace, or celebrate that facet of our humanity. Instead, we may shudder with shock and embarrassment to seriously consider how often our brains entertain sexual thoughts. In fact, many of us wish we could just flip a switch and never think of sex at all. Some have actually mastered a variety of techniques that allow them to do just that—to ignore and neglect their natural, God-given sexuality altogether. While I’m certainly not trying to shame anyone, I think the fact that we’ve grown so adept at absolutely starving our natural sexual desires is, indeed, a crying shame.

But what if we learned to accept the fact that God has created us as sexual human beings, and a natural, healthy sex drive comes part and parcel with that blueprint? That sexual thoughts are as natural as a hunger pain? Or a dry mouth? Or sleepy eyes? What if we could grow as comfortable with and ecstatic over a delightful afternoon tryst in our marriage bed as we are with, say, a plate full of our favorite holiday foods, a cup hot cocoa or apple cider, and an afternoon nap to ease the calorie-induced coma? Yes, it is possible to enjoy sex as freely as we indulge in satisfying these other natural cravings!

We must grasp the fact that God placed these human desires in us for a reason—for many divine reasons, actually. If we had no internal compass pointing us toward food, couldn’t we starve to death? If we had no recurring thoughts of drinking liquids, we’d dehydrate within forty-eight hours! No natural gravitational pull toward a pillow means we’d become physically exhausted to the point of delirium within a few short days. Although individuals can live without sex for long periods of time, or even a lifetime if they so choose, let’s think in terms of the bigger picture.

What if humans in general didn’t have any sort of sexual appetite at all? What would happen? Not only would we become painfully disconnected and isolated from one another, but the human race would eventually die off within a century or so! Heaven forbid!

God gave us natural, healthy appetites for everything that our minds, bodies, and souls need. These appetites guarantee our optimum survival. As such, these appetites are certainly a blessing, not a burden. So let’s embrace, cherish, and celebrate them fully!

PRAYER: Thank you, God, for healthy sexual appetites, and for godly ways to satisfy them! May husbands and wives both find great pleasure in one another, and may our marriage relationships bring you great glory as we learn to love each other fully and unreservedly!


Shannon EthridgeShannon Ethridge is a best-selling author, speaker, and certified life coach with a master’s degree in counseling/human relations from Liberty University. She has spoken to college students and adults since 1989 and is the author of 21 books, including the million-copy best-selling Every Woman’s Battle series. She is a frequent guest on TV and radio programs and mentors aspiring writers and speakers through her BLAST Program (Building Leaders, Authors, Speakers & Teachers). Her most recent book is The Passion Principles. Find more information on Shannon here.

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Comments

  1. Just got this book from the library and looking forward to reading it! Shannon’s other new book To Know You kept me up WAY too late last night! Sheila it was neat to see your quote on the cover of that one! :-)
    Leanne recently posted…Options for the dreaded tax returnMy Profile

  2. “I believe the reason we worry about our sexuality is because we have somehow bought the lie that sex is dirty, shameful, base, animalistic, and hedonistic rather than natural, instinctual, spiritual, sublime, and holy.”

    We’re in a battle for truth. Speaking for myself, I fully know and embrace that God intended it to be beautiful, holy, and satisfying on so many levels. But frankly, as a 40+ year-old virgin, with all the real-world obstacles and challenges that have to be overcome for ongoing, fulfilling sexual intimacy, I still really struggle to *feel* that in my heart.

    And Satan knows that. He wins when consistent–and biblical–sexual intimacy becomes an impossible dream rather than a satisfying reality.

  3. This is a beautiful post – and refreshing to read about sexual desire in a positive light! I’m interested in hearing more about what this means for single people. I am single, in my 30′s, and haven’t been married/not sexually active….but I still have a libido, and think about sex often. I also believe that God intended sex to happen within a marriage. How does the food/water/sleep comparison apply to single people like me? If this sexual appetite is valid & appropriate, and has as much importance as my hunger/thirst/tired desires – then is it just as relevant for me to satisfy my desires for pleasure and release? I wouldn’t stop eating or drinking or sleeping if I don’t have a refrigerator or a bed. I’m just trying to wrap my mind about how God would want me to honor and enjoy satisfying all of my needs, when my life currently does not include a husband.

    • “So why do we waste time and energy analyzing, justifying, fretting, or feeling guilty over our sexual needs and desires? Seems silly, doesn’t it?”
      There seems to be a big gap left as most people get married later in life. Men generally reach their peek in their early 20′s and most will have to cope for several years before getting married! Woman tend to reach their peak in their 40′s so it is more likely for them to be married by then.
      Frequency of need varies from person to person. For a boy, the hardest time is generally in the early years after puberty – when the “need” is most intense and the “maturity” not yet there to help put things in perspective. The urges can be repressed to some extent, but not completely – at least not for a young man.

      So Clair, I am sorry there is no easy answer. The usually approach taken by Christians is to “sin and then ask for forgiveness” or, better yet, stray while you are young and the urges strong, then convert (born again) when older and the urges are easier to control. Neither of these seem particularly good to me. Another option sometimes used is to marry young – but that requires that you meet the right person early and that is not something you can control.
      The only advice I can offer is pray and take comfort in the knowledge that you are not alone.

    • Christine C. says:

      Honestly (and I know others might disagree with me on this), you always have the option to masturbate. It’s certainly possible to do it without inappropriate fantasies, and since it’s not ever mentioned in the Bible, I don’t know why so many Christians think it’s sinful.

  4. I think we have to acknowledge as well tho that people can go without sex. We need food but we don’t necessarily need sex in the same way. I am probably putting out a bad vibe here but I know that I can go without sex for a lot longer than my hubby. That is the way men and women were wired differently. I am thankful when I feel the urge but I come from the mindset that Sheila talked about in the Good Girls Guide, where sex was taboo and bad and you spelled the word out rather than say it. 11 years of marriage later and yes I have overcome a lot of that but I still struggle. (Sex was sexy cuz it was taboo while we were dating. My pastor married us and we said I do and there was no magical change except it was allowed, not taboo. That took some fixing too.) so I still struggle to think about sex during the day and want my hubby at the end of the day. Your book was so helpful Sheila and for that I thank you a lot! But I am still leaning to think about it during the day and not feel like it is a bad thing to do. It’s so sad that the world has turned it into such a dirty thing. I want to feel sexy but not dirty. So we have replaced ‘sexy’ with ‘sassy’ and that has helped. It doesn’t have the same negative associations for me. But all that said, thank you for this post. I am learning every day and I am so thankful for this blog and for all you ladies do!

  5. I enjoyed this post. I seem to have a higher craving for sex than my husband does (although I don’t work 10 hours a day in the cold, heat, rain, snow, whatever weather either). Anyhow, sometimes I feel like an oversexed freak, especially when I read about how many women wish they could just not have sex. I am happy to read that sexual desire is normal and okay within a marriage. I am blessed that my desire is very much for my husband and him alone. Thank you for the post, it was very encouraging!

  6. Well done, Shannon! I can’t wait to get your latest book. I also can’t believe how quickly you write them. It was just last September that I met you {bearing tea!} at AACC conference where you were signing copies of Fantasy Fallacy! God certainly has blessed you and in that we are blessed as well! And thanks so much to you, Sheila, for sharing Shannon’s wisdom with us today! It was a treat!
    Beth recently posted…Pathway to ReconciliationMy Profile

  7. A beautiful and helpful message that Shannon shares with us. This needs to be widely read. Thank you Shannon.
    Larry B of larrysmusings.com recently posted…the 2 sides of the coin of justice and the lack of justice in this worldMy Profile

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