Christian Marriage Advice
It’s Wednesday, the day when we talk marriage (though, to be honest, I talk about it most days!) :). You can even link up your own marriage posts in the linky below.

Today’s post is by an anonymous blogger, who has not gone public about her past. But she has written me a wonderful post that explains how one’s view of sex can get so warped–and how God wants to redeem it.

I am passionate about what Sheila does in writing, blogging, and speaking the truth about God’s plan for sex, because I know from experience that a skewed view of sex creates challenges in life and especially in marriage.

Friends these days know me as a Jesus-loving wife and homeschooling mom, involved in ministries both in and out of church – but I am also a former strip club dancer who used sex for anything other than the purposes God intended.

I always knew Jesus.

Healthy View of Sexuality When your Past is All Messed UpGrowing up in a conservative Christian family, I can never remember a time when I didn’t believe in Jesus. I planned to wait to have sex until I was married, but after getting into a serious relationship, it seemed “good enough” that we were planning to get married someday. (Sadly, I think that’s the story for far too many Christian girls.) Looking back, I realize even then I was learning to use sex. In order to keep this boy head over heels about me, I felt like I needed to keep things ever more exciting so he didn’t stray. Even so, after a few years, he found someone more exciting, and we broke up.

As a pretty girl with a flirty personality, I learned I could easily attract attention from men of all ages. I convinced myself that as long as I didn’t actually have sex with all the guys I made out with, then I was still a “good girl.” Little by little, I got better at distancing myself emotionally from anything that should’ve been intimate, and I liked the power that gave me. I became more promiscuous and being a “good girl” wasn’t important anymore. Friends told me I thought like a [stereotypical] guy, because I was the one that dumped my lover before things got too serious, or hooked up with someone I met at a bar just because I could.

I started “using” sex for power

By the time I was 21, I was working at a strip club, making a living as a real-life pornographic image. This was an “upscale” club so there was no touching allowed between the patrons and the performers, but we stripped down to nothing and paid our bills by creating lust. I can’t blame my choices on drugs or alcohol; I was never into drugs and nearly everything I did in the club and out of the club was while purely sober. I’ve heard porn stars say they feel empowered by what they do; as strange and messed up as that sounds, I understand those feelings if they are based on believing Satan’s lies about sex. There were moments on stage, with men lined up to pay me to take off my clothes, that I felt a crazy sort of power over them. Now, however, my heart breaks to think of how much sin I encouraged in the minds of so many men.

All that time, I never doubted God’s existence, or His power, or His authority. I believed in Jesus, but didn’t give Him control of my life. Even while working as a strip club dancer, I still prayed – but these prayers were mostly me explaining to God why I was doing what I was doing, somehow hoping I’d get His approval for living how I wanted to live. Even while so deeply involved in sin, I could see that God was protecting me, and it is only by His grace that I did not end up falling one step further into prostitution. No one in my life was willing to call me out on this sinful lifestyle. After all, I was a “smart and responsible” young woman who owned my own home, didn’t do drugs, and had never gotten pregnant. My parents divorced when I was a teen, and my dad was living with a stripper he’d met at another club, so there was nothing he could say about it without being completely hypocritical. Only one friend told me she didn’t agree with my choice – but she did so by calling me names and vowing never to speak to me again: this approach was hurtful, but not effective in changing my way of thinking.

Eventually, I moved in with and later married a man I’d met in the club, and I quit stripping. Our relationship was based on a messed up ideal of sex, not intimacy. He had spent a great deal of time in strip clubs over the years, had been at least as promiscuous as I had been, and was addicted to porn. With this basis to our relationship, we decided it was time to “settle down” and start living a Christian life the best we knew how.

We couldn’t forge a good marriage because our ideas about intimacy were so messed up.

Because our sex life was based on pornographic ideals, it was never healthy. Neither of us had any clue what truly intimate sex was suppose to be. Once we had a child, it was not uncommon for us to go six months or more without sex. A few struggling years later, he was still looking at porn, and I began an emotional affair that became the last straw in breaking a marriage that was precarious at best.

It wasn’t until the midst of my divorce that I finally reached rock bottom, abandoned by some of my closest friends and family, and facing the possibility of losing custody of the child I loved more than life itself. Never before had I felt truly out of control. God used this time to break me so He could rebuild me. After a lifetime of believing in Him, it was then I surrendered to Him.

Now I’m moving ahead–but with a lot of baggage.

I want my children to understand how important purity is because it affects more than the just the now. It is far bigger than whether or not they get pregnant or catch an STD; it affects their hearts, minds, and souls. To this day, I still struggle with overcoming all that I messed up in regards to sex. I am married to a wonderful man who loves the Lord, but I struggle with being the kind of wife I want to be. I struggle with learning what real intimacy is, and I struggle with allowing myself to be vulnerable with my husband because for me, sex had become a power game.

Thankfully, God’s grace covers my past – all of it. But if I’d made different choices, I wouldn’t have this baggage that adds to the many challenges that already exist in marriage. That’s why I so fervently want our kids to understand the truth of God’s plan for sex.

Thanks so much for sharing that! And I just want to add something: what she said about how in her first marriage, they would go for 6 months without sex–that’s really common. I hear that all the time from people. When your view of sex is skewed, it becomes so much about the physical, and about power, and not about love, that you can actually lose your drive for another person. That’s why porn and erotica don’t actually BUILD your sex life; they level it. I’m glad she shared, and I’d just challenge all of us to understand that our view of sex has such an impact on our sex lives. And if your view is skewed, take it to Jesus, because He so wants to breathe His truth into your life.

Sheila is the author of The Good Girl’s Guide to Great Sex, which talks about how to see sex as emotional and spiritual, and not only physical. And it shows you how that combination creates the best physical fireworks!

Now, what would you like to share with us today? Link up a marriage post in the linky below (please enter the URL of your post, not your blog). And be sure to share Wifey Wednesday on your blog, too, so that others will come here and see all these great marriage posts!