Can we really experience spiritual intimacy during sex?
To be truly spiritually intimate is beautiful. It’s the difference between making love and just having sex. If you’re longing for that kind of intimate connection with your husband, you’ve come to the right place!
We’ve been leading up in this series to today’s post, which in many ways I think is the most important of the series.
Let’s learn how making love is supposed to be a true spiritual union–it’s so much more than just having sex.
Let me explain.
If you grew up in the church, chances are you grew up with the King James Version. And do you remember hearing Genesis read out loud?
And Adam knew his wife Eve, and they conceived unto them a son…
And we’d sit there and giggle and elbow our friends, because we thought it was so funny. Instead of saying a word that meant “sex“, the Bible said “knew“. Because obviously God was embarrassed.
But hold on a second. What if there was something else going on?
You see, in Psalm 139, David says, “search me and know me“. In fact, that theme, begging God to dig deep inside our hearts and really “know” us, is throughout Scripture. And the same Hebrew word is used to represent our deep longing for a union with God and the sexual union between a husband and a wife.
What if there’s actually a connection?
What if sex isn’t just supposed to be a physical union, but is supposed to also encompass this deep longing to be known, the way that David yearns for God?
I think that’s actually part of God’s plan for sex. Think about it: in sex we bare ourselves physically. But for sex to really work well, we also have to bare ourselves emotionally. We have to be able to be vulnerable. We have be willing to “let go”. We have to emotionally let him in for us to even get aroused. And men have to let their guard down, too, in order to experience the kind of love they long for.
God created people with first and foremost a desperate longing for relationship.
We long to know and be known, and in that spiritual knowing to be accepted.
It’s our deepest need. God gave us this drive to know Him and be known by Him, but He also gave us these sexual longings which mirror how we long to be truly united with our husbands and with God–to be truly and wonderfully KNOWN.
I talk about this at great length in The Good Girl’s Guide to Great Sex, and look at how we can make this spiritual longing and spiritual intimacy part of the sexual experience, because I truly believe that it’s the spiritual intimacy that people actually crave the most. When we focus only on the physical, sex too often can seem shallow. When we combine the physical with the emotional and the spiritual, sex is stupendous, because it encompasses all that we are. One of the reasons that our culture has become more pornographic–and why things that were once considered sexually taboo are now pretty much mainstream–is that our culture has made sex into something only physical because they don’t have anything else. And yet they know they’re missing something, so they try more and more extreme things.
We, who are married, have the real deal.
We have the ingredients for an amazing sexual relationship, because it’s real intimacy, not just orgasm.
(And, by the way, that makes orgasm even greater!). In fact, the women who were the most likely to orgasm in the surveys I took were Christian women. When you’re in a lifetime committed relationship, you’re more likely to experience all the great aspects of sex–and not just the physical.
That spiritual union that is part of sex isn’t something out of the Kama Sutra or some eastern thing. That’s not what I’m talking about. I’m talking about that deep hunger to connect that is part of sex–not just a desire for orgasm, but a desire to be joined. And to me, that’s actually more profound, and more of an aphrodisiac, than the thought of something specifically physical.
But how, practically, can we experience “spiritual intimacy” while making love? Here are some thoughts:
1. To experience spiritual intimacy, take time being naked.
I don’t just mean taking your clothes off to make love. I mean actually be naked together. Hold each other. Take a bath together. Even pray naked together! Redo that exercise where you just take time touching each others’ bodies. Really feel as if you completely know the other person. It’s actually more vulnerable to be naked while someone touches you than just to be naked while you “have sex”. And so take that time to explore!
2. Take time to be spiritually naked.
This may sound weird, but trust me on it: pray before sex. Or at least read a Psalm or something! When we unite together spiritually first, it’s as if our souls are drawn together. And when our souls are drawn together, we want to draw together in a deeper way. So keep a Bible by the bed and just read passages at nighttime together. Try to pray together. If you’re uncomfortable with freeform prayer, buy a book of prayers, or use the Anglican prayer book. The words don’t matter; the heart does. When you mean it, and you bow before God together, you really are drawn towards each other in a much more intense way.
3. Look into each others’ eyes
The eyes are windows, and yet how often do we close our eyes, as if we’re trying to shut the other person out, and concentrate on ourselves? I know sometimes you have to close your eyes to feel everything, but sometimes open up and look into his eyes. To actually see him–and to let him see into you–is very intimate, especially at the height of passion.
We, who are married, have the real deal. We have the ingredients for an amazing sexual relationship, because it’s real intimacy, not just orgasm.
4. Say “I love you”
It’s such a little thing, but while you’re making love–or even when you orgasm, say “I love you”. Make sex about not just feeling good, but expressing love. Say his name. Show him that you’re thinking of him in particular.
5. Be Mentally Present
This is a tough one for some people, but don’t let your mind wander. Sometimes our minds wander because we’re multi-taskers, and we start creating shopping lists in our heads. But I’m not just talking about that. Other times we let our minds wander in order to get aroused. We fantasize.
Personally, I don’t think there’s anything wrong with remembering something wonderful that you did together that was stupendous, or imaging being on a beach, or whatever it may be for you. But to fantasize about someone who isn’t your husband, or to bring up pornographic images to get aroused, isn’t right. And it hinders your ability to really bond with your spouse. If you’re having trouble with that, my book can help! And here’s a post that offers a little bit of insight into how to stop doing that.
Guys often struggle with this, too, especially guys who have used porn. Images often come into their heads. If either of you is short-cutting the arousal cycle by pulling up pornographic images, ask God to help you stop, and then practice just being present. Think about your body. Think about your spouse. Trace your fingers along your spouse’s body. Think specifically about what is feeling good and what you love about your spouse, and say some of these things out loud. Keep your mind focused on the here and now, and you’ll find it a much more intimate, and intense, experience.
6. Desire Your Spouse
Spiritual intimacy during sex ultimately depends on that desire to be united with your spouse. And that desire is fed throughout the day–by concentrating on what you love about him, by thinking about him, by flirting and playing with him, by saying positive things about him to others. It isn’t something that “just happens”. It’s something that is the culmination of a relationship that you already have.
I truly believe that for many couples this is THE major roadblock to sex being everything it can be. Tomorrow we’ll be dissecting some of the problems with spiritual intimacy and sex a little more, but I think many people have bought into this idea that sex is only physical, when really sex is the physical expression of a deep drive we have to be connected to one another.
I received a comment on yesterday’s post from a woman who said this:
I always thought “Oh sex is just something that HE needs, I can do fine without it”. So not true. I need it too! We have connected in amazing ways, in and out of the bedroom and I am so excited to have my old husband back!
For you women who are reading this, sex ISN’T something that he needs just for physical release; it’s that he needs to feel really intimate. And we need that, too! Many of us push sex out of the way because it seems like a chore, but what we’re really doing, then, is denying ourselves one of the most powerful tools we have to feel truly connected and accepted by another individual.
If sex makes you feel dirty, or is a constant source of conflict, then wait until tomorrow’s post. But if it’s simply that you’ve never experienced sex this way, then try those steps. Concentrate on what you love about each other. Pray together. Memorize each others’ bodies. Say I love you. Look into each others’ eyes. Truly be joined. There really is nothing else like it.
Great Sex Challenge Day 27: Make love, don't just have sex.
Tonight, while you’re together, do your best to show your spouse how much you love them. Be passionate about it! And see what happens.
Up next: Being Mentally Present when Making Love
29 Days to Great Sex: The Series
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: Dealing with Differences in Sex Drives (BONUS content in 31 Days to Great Sex)
Day 8: 14 Ways to Play as a Couple
Day 9: Prepare for Sex throughout the Day
Day 10: Ways to Flirt with Your Husband
Day 11: Show Affection (BONUS content in 31 Days to Great Sex)
Day 12: Hitting the Reset Button on Your Sex Life (BONUS content in 31 Days to Great Sex)
Day 13: Getting Your Head in the Game (BONUS content in 31 Days to Great Sex)
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: Little Changes that Increase Pleasure for HER and for HIM (BONUS content in 31 Days to Great Sex)
Day 20: Deciding on Sexual Boundaries (BONUS content in 31 Days to Great Sex)
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 (BONUS content in 31 Days to Great Sex)
Day 26: New Positions to Try–to Ramp Up the Fun! (BONUS content in 31 Days to Great Sex)
Day 27: Experiencing Spiritual Intimacy when you Make Love (This one!)
Day 28: Being Mentally Present When You Make Love (BONUS content in 31 Days to Great Sex)
Day 29: Celebrate! And Keep Up the Momentum (BONUS content in 31 Days to Great Sex)