Why God Wants us to Wait Until Marriage for Sex

Sex Before Marriage: Why God wants us to wait until marriage to make love.

“Wait until marriage”. “Don’t have sex before marriage.” If you grew up in the church, you heard those things ad infinitum. At every youth retreat. At every youth group activity. It was drilled into us.

Yet few of us did it. In the surveys I took for The Good Girl’s Guide to Great Sex, I found that only about 40% of Christians were virgins on their wedding night. That means that 60% weren’t. And from their responses to the surveys, and from emails I get, it can have profound consequences on your sex life within marriage.

I’ve written before on why people should wait until they’re married, and I don’t want to rehash all of that again today. But I do want to deal with just one aspect of it: what are the repercussions, once you are married, if you had sex before? Now, I’m not trying to make any of you feel guilty (and, in fact, here’s a post on how God wants to deal with any guilt you feel over sex before marriage). It’s just that I know a lot of you are dealing with very specific problems, and I want to try to help you with some suggestions on how to overcome this.

So let’s start with what those problems may be.

1. Sex Before Marriage Has A Different Meaning Than Sex Once You’re Married

Here’s the central issue: sex after marriage and sex before marriage are two very different things. Within marriage, sex is the combination of a spiritual, emotional, and physical union. It’s everything we are, because we’re committed to one another, and it’s expressing the sum total of that commitment. Outside of marriage, though, sex is primarily physical. It isn’t a spiritual union in the same way because there isn’t real commitment present–even if you are engaged. And so sex takes on a flavor that it really wasn’t intended to have.

When you do get married, then, you could still be stuck in that mindset (or your husband could be stuck in that mindset). I received an email recently, for instance, that said,

Before we were married, we had sex a lot. Now, it feels like just the same thing. My husband always wants to rush through it. He feels great, but I never feel like it’s a truly intimate experience the way you talk about in your book.

Very common. The husband rushing through is an issue often even for people who have waited for marriage, so you’re certainly not alone! But it is very common in this situation. You’re married, and you want sex to take on a deeper meaning. You want it to feel sacred. But it’s hard, because that’s not what it was in the beginning.

2. Sex Before Marriage Makes Sex Feel Dirty

The other extremely common problem is that sex feels like it’s somehow wrong. When you have sex before you’re married, you know you’re not really supposed to. And so it’s something forbidden. Then, when you do get married, you feel as if you’re always getting second best. It would be so much better if we had waited. And, if you have any sexual problems or sexual issues, you start to feel like it’s all because you had sex beforehand.  It would be bliss and we wouldn’t have all these problems if we had waited.

Let’s try to unpack that. First, let me assure you that many people who wait until they’re married still have sexual problems (I certainly did). The tendency, when you have problems, is to blame yourself, or your husband. But sometimes it’s far more complicated than just “we had sex before we were married”. So please, take that burden off of you.

But the only way to remove that burden is also to forgive yourself. God does not intend for you to beat yourself up in perpetuity for sin. This being Easter Week, it’s a beautiful reminder that Jesus already paid for what you did. If you keep feeling guilty, it’s as if you’re saying that His death didn’t do a good enough job. Would you really like Him to climb back up on the cross again? Of course not. And so maybe this week God is calling you to really examine what the cross means in your marriage.

It means that no matter what you did before your marriage, if you have accepted Christ, before God you are pure.

It means that you have a new start:

If anyone is in Christ he is a new creation; the old has passed away, the new has come! (2 Corinthians 5:17)

And it means that even if you did sleep with your husband before you were married when you were already a Christian, Christ’s blood still covers you. (1 John 1:9). You honestly do have a new start. Take it!

If you can forgive yourself, then ask God to let you see that sex is not something dirty. It may have felt dirty if you did it before the wedding, but it is blessed and sacred now–even if it doesn’t always feel that way. That is an objective truth, not just a subjective one. It is true regardless of your feelings. And if you can tell yourself that truth, then it’s more likely that your feelings will eventually jump on board!

3. Sex Before Marriage Can Make Sex Kinda Lousy

When you have sex before you’re married, chances are it wasn’t a long, drawn out affair. There likely weren’t candles and flowers and lots of romance, the way you may picture your honeymoon or romantic interludes after you’re married. It was likely rather quick.  It wasn’t necessarily something planned; it was something that “just happened”.

But if you both have experienced sex primarily in that way–when it is rushed, and hurried, then it likely became far more for him than it is for you. After all, for women to feel good, we tend to need a lot more time and care. It doesn’t really go well with the whole “getting carried away in the moment” thing.

When that’s how sex starts, though, that tends to become your “routine”. And to him, it works, because he gets his release. To you, it often doesn’t. And so sex feels empty, rushed, and not for you. How do you change that?

That’s a big issue, and so we’re going to tackle that tomorrow. It will be a “How to Push the Reset Button on Your Sex Life”, and I hope you’ll come back and join me!

4. Sex Before Marriage Can Make Married Sex No Longer Exciting

One last problem that many people encounter: sex is no longer exciting. I received an email from a man recently who said this:

Before we were married, my wife (then fiancee) had sex with me all the time. She loved sex! We had a great physical life. Then we got married and it slowly stopped, to the point now where she has completely shut off. I feel as if she sucked me in under false pretences. She was saying, “look how great it’s going to be”, and then she turned into a cold fish. She lied to me!

I understand the man’s comment, but I have to admit that I was a little perturbed. The man was a Christian, and he was saying that all of this was his wife’s fault, because she advertised something to him that she didn’t then follow through with.

However, sin is exciting. The forbidden has an allure. And so before you’re married, sometimes sex is very exciting. Then you get married, and it’s no longer forbidden. And you start to feel guilty for what you did. So you can begin to shut down.

What this man needed to do, I believe, was to honestly see that what they did before marriage was wrong. His wife saw that; he did not. If he could see that he shouldn’t be pining away for something that was wrong, I think they could have made headway in their relationship. It’s very common for people to enjoy sex more before they’re married (the opposite is also common; that’s the weird thing about humans. We don’t all react the same way). But that doesn’t mean that if you’re having a lousy sex life now it would have been better if you had had sex earlier. What it means is that the act of making love first can mess you up later. If you don’t get messed up in the first place, everybody is better off.

Still 30% off at Amazon!

So if you found sex better before you were married, the steps are the same. Understand that you’re forgiven. Understand that God sees you as a new person, and that your relationship now is sacred.

And finally, perhaps it’s time for a reset on your sex life. That’s what we’re going to tackle tomorrow for Wifey Wednesday!

And if you want to dig deeper into this subject, or if you want to see more about what my surveys showed about what happens when you wait vs. you don’t wait, pick up The Good Girl’s Guide to Great Sex! It’s getting some wonderful reviews at Amazon, and I know that it will enhance your marriage!

Should We Really Wait for Marriage to Make Love?

'Holding hands at vigil' photo (c) 2009, Keshet: GLBT inclusion in the Jewish Community - license: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nd/2.0/Waiting until your marriage for sex. That’s a quaint idea, isn’t it? And rather unrealistic, right?

I can understand why people think that. After all, sex is something enjoyable, and we don’t want to get so uptight that we don’t live life to the fullest. And with most couples living together now before marriage, it’s assumed that everyone will have sex.

Even those in the church don’t really wait. In the survey I did for my research for my new book, The Good Girls Guide to Great Sex, I found that only 37% of Christian women actually did wait until their wedding night. Most of us are starting marriage with sexual experience. So if that’s true, is it really such a big deal?

Yep. Here’s the thing: of those who did make love to their now husbands before they were married, many expressed amazing regret. But of the virgins, not one said, “I wish I had been more experienced.”

And that makes sense, because sex is so much better when it’s kept between marriage. I know abstinence seems impossible, but it’s not. And when you wait, you open yourself up to the best sex life possible, because those who tend to enjoy sex the most tend to be those who waited for marriage. And there’s reasons for that: you have less sexual baggage; you end up being better friends; you feel closer to God; and you learn to appreciate all aspects of sex, and not just the physical pleasure. I wrote a long article about the benefits of waiting a while back, and it’s been linked to a ton on Pinterest this week, which reminded me about it, and made me think that perhaps I should remind you of it, too.

Sex Before Marriage: Why God wants us to wait until marriage to make love.So please read it, and share it with your friends who aren’t married yet. Waiting until you’re married is a blessing. It sets you up for marriage right. And it is absolutely possible.

I was also reminded of this by this YouTube clip I saw passed around Twitter lately: a young man explains “sex, love, and fairytales”. Again, excellent. Please share it with young people you know!

And the best way to share? Just hit the Facebook buttons or Twitter buttons below, and then tell your friends to read & watch these.

Wait until marriage. It’s such an important issue. And we’ve forgotten that it’s not just possible; it’s actually wonderful and freeing. And in all of February, we’re starting the 29 Days to Great Sex for those of you who are already married! So stay tuned.

Update: You can read the 29 Days to Great Sex here.

Wifey Wednesday: Recovery from the Guilt of Your Sexual Past

Christian Marriage Advice

It’s Wednesday, the day when we talk marriage! I introduce a topic, and then you follow up either by commenting or by writing your own post and then linking up!

For the last few weeks we’ve been talking about how to radically transform your marriage by focusing on meeting his needs–rather than waiting for him to meet yours. I issued a challenge to all of you to do these five things for six weeks, and see what happens:

1. Thank your husband once a day for something (try to make it something different each time)
2. Compliment your husband to your mother, your children, your friends, whatever, within earshot of your husband, every chance you get.
3. Do not nag.
4. Do not give the silent treatment.
5. Make love with relative frequency (say at least 2-3 times a week).

Today I want to talk to the women out there who find initiating sex, or even thinking about sex, hard because of guilt from their pasts.

I’ve been working on “The Good Girl’s Guide to Great Sex” for the last little while, a book that will be out with Zondervan within the next year (Update: It’s out now! You can get it here.) I conducted several surveys for the book.

One thing I’ve found is that less than half of Christian women are virgins on their wedding night. And more than 1/3 of the women who weren’t virgins expressed major regret over that. It’s really impacting their relationships now. (You’ll have to get the book to get the exact numbers! :) )

I received an email this week from a woman who’s living with this guilt right now. Here’s a synopsis of her email (which I’ve edited to take out any identifying details):

I had a great number of sexual partners before I met my husband, starting in my early teens. I had a horrible upbringing. He didn’t have as much experience, but he did have some bad habits when we met. Our engagement was short, but filled with pre-marital sex almost from day one. Our entire dating and engagement period, even our wedding feels like one big shame to me. I can’t even look at pictures of us when we were dating because I feel so disgusted, knowing what we were doing. I don’t like looking at our wedding pictures either. Ever since the honeymoon the sex has been strained, always. I feel that I can’t trust him. He was willing to take anything he could before we were married. True, I wasn’t stopping him, but that doesn’t help now.

He once asked me why was the sex so great before we got married, as if to ask what he was doing right at that time. I told him we shouldn’t have been doing that in the first place, and I have no fond memories of our pre-marital sex, although I suppose it was compelling at the time. It just makes me feel like he doesn’t understand what happened. Very discouraging.

She goes on to say how she wants to initiate, and she wants to make her husband feel loved, but she just doesn’t enjoy sex with him very much because it still feels wrong.

Can you relate at all? Even if you can’t, please read on, because some of your friends probably might, and you may be called upon for some advice in this area one day! Most of us, after all, aren’t virgins anymore when we marry. And that is really wreaking havoc with our sex lives now.

Here’s what I said to this woman, and here’s my message of hope for you who are in the same situation:

First, you’re right that what you did before your marriage was wrong–both with him and with other guys. God didn’t want you to do it, and you did it anyway.

But that is in the past–and when you married, you became one person, not two different people anymore. You are different in God’s eyes. And remember that He has already paid for all the things that you did. He has erased it; it’s time for you to erase it. Yes, you did something wrong. Yes, people seriously took advantage of you (and sounds like they hurt you in the process). But please do not let that become your identity. You are more than that. You are precious. You were bought at a price.

If you keep feeling shame and keep feeling that anger at yourself, and at your husband, for what you’ve done before, then you’re not really giving that sin over to Jesus to cover. You’re saying, “What Jesus did isn’t big enough for me.” And it is.

You will always have regrets about your wedding night (I do, too, for different reasons.) It is a letdown. It is a disappointment because you had tainted it before. But nonetheless, that is in the past, and you don’t want the past to impact your future.

You need a clean break, where you start allowing yourself to associate sex with something completely new. The problem when we give ourselves to people that we’re not married to is that sex becomes something which is dirty, shameful, and focused solely on the physical. There’s no commitment, and so the only reason to have sex isn’t to say “I love you”, it’s to say “I want to feel good”. And yet we know that’s not right. So that whole idea of “feeling good” becomes something shameful.

You need to rediscover what making love really is. When we give our bodies away as teenagers, we teach our bodies that sex is solely physical, and that it’s something cheap, that we give to try to get something in return (a boy to love us; someone to tell us we’re beautiful). It’s a commodity, not an expression of love.

So how do we make it an expression of love? We need to make it about the connection far more than it is about the physical rush. That doesn’t mean you don’t experience the physical rush; indeed, most people find that when sex becomes about that connection, the physical rush is deeper. But work on the connection first.

Try to make sex into something that is new and beautiful. Take baths together and just touch each other. Lie naked together and talk and explore, just with your fingers. Cuddle naked and talk–about memories, about dreams. You can even read a psalm together! Make nakedness and intimacy something that is beautiful, rather than dirty.

Try to spend some time, in bed, just kissing, rather than “getting to the main event”. You take the initiative rather than him, and focus on trying to kiss him to show him that you love him, rather than just to get him aroused (you’ll likely find this gets you far more in the mood, too). Practice touching him to say, “I love you”.

And tell him what you’re doing. Pray about it. Go before God and tell God that you’re sorry for what you did before your marriage, but you want a new start. And ask God to help you get that new start.

Then walk in it. Think everyday, how can I tell him “I love him” in a new way? Challenge yourself like this. Do it inside the bedroom and outside the bedroom. As you start focusing on your connection, you’ll find that sex life takes on a new turn. It’s not just about that physical rush; it’s about cementing a bond. Don’t focus so much on “I have to have sex with my husband” as much as you’re focusing on, “I have to find new ways to feel love for him and show him love!”

'Intimacy' photo (c) 2010, MissTurner - license: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/

This change won’t happen overnight. It takes work to retrain your brain to think of sex in a new way, especially when you have a lot of scars. But Jesus is big enough for your scars. And He wants you to enjoy your husband. Don’t let sin which has already been forgiven rob you of a great marriage now. Commit yourself to moving forward, and ask your husband to commit, too, and then make it into a game to find new ways to express how much you love him. Kiss him a bunch of different ways and ask him which one makes him feel the most loved. Ask him to do the same to you. Make it fun! And you just may find that your body reawakens!

Finally, I want to leave you with this thought:

Don't let memories of your past wreck your marriage today

Featured Products in this Post:
The Good Girl’s Guide to Great Sex
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Wifey Wednesday: Why Wait?

Christian Marriage Advice

It’s Wednesday, the day when we talk marriage! I introduce a topic, and then you follow up either by commenting or by writing your own post and then linking up!

Today I want to write a post that perhaps some of you could have better used five or ten years ago. But it’s an important one, so if you like it, please pass it on!

When I wrote the book The Good Girl’s Guide to Great Sex, I conducted a “Wedding Night Survey”.

Among those who are very committed Christians, only about 30% waited until they were married to have sex. Of those who did not wait, though, a tremendous proportion volunteered on the survey that they wished they had. So many said, “Why didn’t we just wait the extra two weeks?” Many say they’ve been plagued with guilt since.

First, if you didn’t make it until your wedding, and you did have sex first, you need to let the guilt go. Jesus died for that, and to carry around the guilt only hurts you, your marriage, and your sex life. To carry around the guilt is to say that Jesus’ sacrifice wasn’t enough for you, and that’s just adding to the problem! So let it go.

But the real thing I want to talk about was this comment: One woman said,

“I grew up with everybody telling me why I should have sex. Nobody took the time–not my parents, not my teachers, not my friends–to give me a good reason not to. I should have waited, and I’m going to make sure my children know why.”

I thought that was rather sad, but also rather typical. So in this post, I want to give you the reasons why you should wait.

Why God Wants us to Wait for Marriage to Have Sex

1. God tells us to. It’s a matter of obedience.

Some people question if God really DOES tell us to, because no where in the Bible does it say, “don’t have sex with someone you’re not married to.” You’re right. The Bible does not use those words. But it does use the words “sexual immorality”, which is a more modern translation of the word “fornication”. And what does fornication mean? Having sex with someone you’re not married to. So the Bible DOES say it; it just uses older words to do so, and we sometimes forget what they mean.

But God doesn’t just do this to stop us from having any fun. There are good reasons to, like these:

2. Having sex can make your friendship less powerful.

Here’s a comment another woman made:

I wish we had waited until we were married, because our relationship became nothing but sex. We didn’t know how to do anything else.

Sex is a powerful force. It is physically amazing (or at least it can be), and once you start, it’s hard to stop. It seems like that’s what you should be doing all the time.

And many couples, once they become sexually active, find that their relationship does now revolve around sex. Instead of finding other things to do, they stay in. Instead of socializing with other people, they jump in bed. And what happens? They lose their friendship.

3. A relationship can’t survive on sex alone.

You need other things to keep you going. One of the benefits of not having sex while you’re engaged is that you’re forced to find other things to occupy your time. You talk, and find out about each other. You find hobbies or sports you can do together. You go biking, or hiking, or you play golf. You volunteer together. You DO something.

Once you get married, you settle into a routine. You go to work. You come home. You have dinner. You watch TV. You go to bed. You have sex. The problem is that, for women especially, you’re not going to want to make love unless you’re also connecting on different levels. And sex should be the culmination of the relationship, not the basis of the relationship. Sex should flow out of your friendship, affection, and companionship; your companionship, affection and friendship can’t flow out of sex.

We need to feel connected first. But so does he. For sex to be meaningful, it has to be two people who truly love and want to be together. But how do you know if you want to be together if you don’t really know each other? You can have sex a ton and not really know each other, because you’re not doing anything else.

That’s why we have that period, in engagement, to get to know each other. And the habits we develop then will carry over. If you’ve been helping out at church together, you’ll keep doing that. If you’ve been hanging out with your siblings, or with your friends, then you now have friends you can spend time with together. If you’ve been biking, you know you like doing that together.

But if you’ve been doing very little of anything at all, what is going to hold you together once you’re married? You need to have a friendship; you need a reason for that connection. Sex can’t be that. And couples who have learned how to build their friendship beforehand do much better in the long run.

4. Sex cements you together, when perhaps you should stay apart.

Another woman wrote, “I confused sex with love. I thought that since we were having sex, we were bonded and meant to be together. I was wrong. I shouldn’t have married him.” Sex gives you a false sense of intimacy. When we have sex, we release the “bonding hormone” oxytocin, which makes us feel close to the person we’re with. We start to experience those fluttery feelings, and the wistful longing for that person.

But it doesn’t mean it’s based on anything real. Many people have “fallen into” marriage because they’ve been having sex and it seems like the next logical step. But while the physical side of their relationship accelerated, the rest of it didn’t. And now their friendship is stunted and it doesn’t look like they can build it up again.

One more thing on this point: the more people that you are “cemented” together with before you’re married, the harder it will be for sex to cement you together later. Sex can cement you together; but if you have sex and then break up and have sex and then break up, you start teaching your heart not to bond. And that’s setting yourself up for problems in your marriage, because sex becomes something distinct from love. You may still love your husband, but you don’t do it through sex, because sex has become only the physical. That’s sad.

5. Good sex before you’re married does not mean that you will have good sex afterwards.

Many people make love to see if they are “sexually compatible”. That’s pretty stupid, because any two people can be sexually compatible as long as they love each other. Love should be the basis for sex, not physical prowess in the bedroom. But sex after marriage tends to be different from sex before. Over and over again, my respondents said, “I can’t believe how sex changed. It used to be fun, but now it’s a chore.” Or, “he used to care for me; now he doesn’t.” Once the commitment is there, sex changes. And if you’ve been making love already, it often changes for the worse.

Sex used to be something forbidden, and that gave it excitement. Now that it’s not, it’s become hum drum. Or he used to care about you; now he doesn’t. That’s because you started having sex when you were courting, and he had to impress you. Now he doesn’t.

But isn’t that the way with any marriage? Not really. If you don’t have sex until you’re married, it’s new, and you learn together. He learns how to please you. It’s now part of your marriage. Have sex first, and it can easily become something that is treated in a more lacksadaisical way after you say your vows.

6. You don’t know how to make love.

Sex is supposed to be about connecting you together on all levels. When you have sex without the commitment, you take the bonding part out of the equation. And it’s very hard to get it back. So it means that sex, once you’re married, won’t be the powerful emotional force that it can be for others. It’s still focused primarily on the physical, and not on the rest. The emotional is not the primary consideration.

And so, dear friends, I urge you to wait. It helps clarify your choice for marriage, and helps you to marry your best friend. It gives you a tool once you’re married to cement you together. And, of course, waiting helps you obey God and not become pregnant when you don’t want to.

Does all of this mean that if you did have sex before you were married that your marriage is doomed? No, of course not. It’s just that you have some obstacles in your marriage that need to be talked through. You just have a few hurdles, and God can help you get over those hurdles. I’ve written before, for instance, on how to make sex about intimacy, and not just the physical, and perhaps we’ll return to that next week again.

But if you’re not married yet, my question would be this: why set yourself up for hurdles? Keep yourself pure; you won’t regret it. Nobody said they regretted waiting in my survey; the majority of those who didn’t said they did regret not waiting. Listen to those voices, and wait. There’s a reason God did what He did, and it wasn’t to punish you or rob you of fun. It was to protect you.

Do you have teens you know or engaged couples who would benefit from reading this? Why not share it to Facebook or Twitter or Pinterest by clicking the buttons below!
About to get married? Sheila’s book The Good Girl’s Guide to Great Sex contains lots of info for your honeymoon–and help to get your marriage started the right way, even if you wish you could change your past.

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Wifey Wednesday: Reconciling Your Sexual Past with your Marriage

Christian Marriage Advice
It’s Wednesday, the day when we talk marriage! I introduce a topic, and then you follow up either by commenting or by writing your own post and then linking up!

Today I want to talk about something rather personal. What do you do when you have quite the sexual past, but you want to have a pure marriage, with a great sex life? Can you rid yourself of the baggage from everything you’ve already done?

Here’s a letter that I received recently:

I am single, in my late twenties. In my earlier twenties, I did not live a Christian lifestyle. I had sex with two men. The first was a great friend, and we had fun. I really enjoyed it. The next guy, I was engaged to, and I HATED sex with him. I found ways to make myself unattractive or unavailable to him…. I have dedicated my life to God, and have been single for 3 years now. I have decided not have sex again until marriage… This is going to seem pretty childish to ask… But,… how do you bring this up with an adult? How many grown men are going to be okay with this? How much of my past do I tell?… .and then, what if I do meet someone, and we decide to get married? I have a fear of not enjoying sex with… How do make sure that doesn’t happen? Also, how do you learn how to connect sex and love together? Because of my past, I learned the two separately, and cannot seem to make the connection… I know this sounds crazy.. But, any advise on anything you can give would be greatly appreciated.

First, I don’t think that does sound crazy. I think it sounds quite normal.

But let me relay another story to you that may help how we think about this. When I was in Kenya recently, my husband and I were asked to speak to the teens about adolescence. And one night a boy put up with his hand with a question. He asked, “Is there a disadvantage to being a virgin when you’re married?” After beating around the bush and trying to figure out what he was really getting at, I finally asked, “Do you mean will sex be bad if you don’t have practice first?” Everybody laughed, including that boy, because that is what he meant. And so Keith and I went on to answer him.

No, you don’t need practice first, because sex once you’re married is very different from before you are married. When writing my book, The Good Girl’s Guide to Great Sex, I conducted a “wedding night” survey, asking women about their honeymoons. one woman wrote about how sex was very emotionally different afterwards. She and her fiance had already slept together before the wedding, but it was different. And she so wished that she had waited.

Here’s the thing about sex once you’re married: you have a lifetime to get it right. It doesn’t have to be perfect right off the bat (and it rarely is). But when you love someone, and you’re committed to someone, you’ve got a lifetime to figure out how to make it good for both of you. There’s no hurry. And for women, our sex drives are very closely related to how loved we feel. When we feel cherished and loved in a relationship, we’re more likely to feel rather energetic sexually, if you know what I mean. So just because sex was bad with other men before you were married has very little bearing on whether or not sex will be good once you are married.

The more thorny issue, I think, is how to use sex as a way to say “I love you” when it’s only ever been a way to say “I want you”. If you’ve had sex before you were married, it had primarily physical meaning, because the commitment wasn’t there. Once you’re married, other dimensions come in to it. You truly are becoming one flesh. You’re declaring your commitment to one another. And so it IS different, whether or not we think of it that way.

Many married women, though, have this problem. How do I think of sex differently? How do I turn it into something really beautiful, when it’s only ever been something hurried, a little guilt-inducing, and focused only on the physical. I’d suggest that you just spend a lot of time with your husband. Have a bath naked together. Touch each other while you’re naked. Spend time talking. Make it romantic. The more you love each other with words and with your eyes, the more you’ll be able to love each other with other body parts.

Unfortunately, most women, even Christian women, do have sex before they’re married, and when we do that, we rewire our brains so that our brains associate certain things with certain sexual feelings. And we stop associating love with that feeling. But that doesn’t mean that we can’t rebuild that again. This is the man you love. If you completely and utterly love him, sex can definitely be good because it’s in the right context once you’re married. So talk about how much you love him. Show him love. Show him how to show you love. And then the physical parts of sex, which can be very stupendous, too, will follow in a different context. And that’s what really makes this beautiful.

I’m sorry I can’t explain this much more because I’m really running late today, and have to prepare for a conference I’m teaching at this week. But I’d love to know your thoughts. How do you feel love through sex? How do you turn it into something beautiful? Or do you have other advice for us?