I have said for years that obligation sex isn’t sexy.

This week I caused quite a stir on this blog when I wrote my rant about how certain strands of the Christian church talk about men and lust in such a way that it makes women feel just awful. It portrays men like they’re animals who can’t stop themselves from lusting after women, and then it treats wives like we are the gatekeepers, responsible not just from keeping ourselves from sinning but also keeping our husbands from sinning.

After writing that, I received an email that brought tears to my eyes. A woman said:

Oh. My. Goodness. I was just blindsided by this article! Up to this point, this is what I have BELIEVED! [that if I don’t  have sex frequently and look really good, my husband will be tempted to cheat or will lust after other women].  It has suddenly HIT me that…quite possibly…I have been doing things for my husband out of FEAR!  Trying to look my absolute best when my husband gets in from work, so that “those females” at his workplace won’t have anything on me!  Etc. It’s fear-based!  What is the balance to this way of thinking??? Where do I go from here???
Such a great question. And since every Friday I like to leave you with ONE thought, in about 400 words, to take with you for the weekend, I thought I’d tackle this reader’s question and try to wrap up the can of worms I opened on Wednesday.

Sheila’s Marriage Moment: Beyond Obligation Sex to True Freedom

Obligation sex isn't sex in marriage! A way through to real freedom where sex happens because of love, not obligation.

Sex was created to be awesome: we’re able to be completely vulnerable and open with just one person, so that we truly “know” each other intimately. We reach a physical high where we let go of all rational thought and become almost primal. It’s amazing.

But what happens when this truly amazing thing is reduced to an obligation? Instead of it being something truly intimate that binds you together, it becomes more like an animal urge, and it loses its beauty.

It’s interesting that the big dichotomy in the Bible is between works and grace. When we try hard to do the right thing, we will always fail. And, interestingly, we’ll often become rather bitter in the process. Remember the older son in the parable of the Prodigal Son–“all these years I’ve worked like a slave for you…” Working so hard to try to win His father’s approval made him exhausted and, ironically, lost him his identity as a son.

Yet we know that those who truly love Jesus will do good things.

The issue is not the actions; the issue is the heart behind the actions. When we force ourselves to do something to win approval, we feel dejected and never good enough. When we feel approval already, we feel invigorated and energized.

There’s a similar dynamic in marriage. If we women see sex as something we have to do to earn our husband’s affections, then we will feel exhausted before we even try. Sex won’t be beautiful; it will be a millstone around our necks that reminds us that we may not be good enough.

But if we know beforehand that our husbands love and cherish us, then sex is a beautiful expression of that!

If you are married to a good guy, and your fear is mostly self-imposed because of what you’ve been taught about men, then practice believing in him. Tell yourself, everyday, “My husband loves me. He enjoys my body. He chose me.”

Let yourself feel joy instead of fear!

But what if you’re married to a guy who gives you reason to fear? If the problem is porn or adultery, then seek out a counsellor and get an accountability partner for him. If it’s that he has an incorrect understanding of lust, thinking that it can’t be stopped, then work through 31 Days to Great Sex and start having some hard conversations about what sex is supposed to be (and start having more fun, too!)

But no more obligation. Law brings death. Freedom brings life. We are meant to live in freedom in our identity as wives and as children of God. Don’t let any misconceptions rob you of the joy of freedom you should have enjoying sex with your husband!

I’ve written more about how sex should be mutual, which you may enjoy. Also, these top 10 positive things to say to yourself about sex can help, too. And I totally believe in frequent sex by the way. The issue is not sex itself; it’s the heart behind it!

Friday Roundup on To Love, Honor and Vacuum


What’s #1 at To Love, Honor and Vacuum?

This week we’ve got a great mix of older and newer posts rounding out the Tops.  What are some things you and your husband need to work on together?

fb-getting-rid-of-half-our-stuff#1 NEW Post on the Blog: 8 Things We Learned Getting Rid Of Half Our Stuff
#1 on the Blog Overall: Top 10 Tips For Initiating Sex With Your Husband
#1 from Facebook: I Hate It When My Husband Touches Me THERE
#2 from Pinterest: What To Do When Your Husband Disappoints You 

We’re in Arizona Now!

Hubby and I saw 8 new life birds yesterday (we’re birdwatchers, which means that we saw 8 new species we’ve never seen before). He’s very excited.

We’re in the Flagstaff KOA campground, and I’m spending all day today reading through my daughter Rebecca’s book on Why She Didn’t Rebel (based on her blog post on why she didn’t rebel 🙂 ) which is due in at Thomas Nelson publishers tomorrow. Then we’ll head out birdwatching again this weekend!

We’re relaxing for a bit before flying home at the end of the week. But we’ll be back in Arizona, California and Utah in January and then again in March, so if you’re in that neck of the woods and your church may be interested in hosting a Girl Talk event, just email my assistant Tammy!

And I’ll be giving a Girl Talk in my home town in Belleville on October 14. Check out my Facebook Page for more details (just click on the Events tab) or check out the sidebar here.

Have a great weekend, everybody!

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