When you read that title of the post, you probably thought I meant this:
Don’t stay PURE until you’re MARRIED.
But what if I actually meant this:
Don’t stay pure UNTIL you’re married.
The until makes all the difference.
In the church, that’s the message we’ve been giving young people: you stay pure UNTIL you’re married. But what does that mean? That once you tie the knot, your purity is somehow lost? That implies that sex once you’re married is somehow impure. That you are now tarnished. And that you have lost something you can never get back again.
Nothing can be further from the truth.
Last year a woman wrote a blog post about how she regretted being a virgin until her wedding night, and the post went completely viral. Her point was that growing up in the church she felt that sex was dirty, and by staying a virgin until her wedding it made sex awful. If she had been able to embrace sex earlier her sex life would have been much better.
But the problem is not virginity; the problem is the spin we put on it.
And the best rebuttal that I read to her piece is this one by Sarah, a single woman in her twenties, who made the point I made above: Christians, stop staying pure UNTIL you’re married. Go read it. It is awesome!
Here’s just part of what she wrote:
If your goal is staying pure UNTIL marriage, you’re going to walk into a marriage highly dissatisfied. That’s because you were never meant to lose your purity. In fact, it’s not something that CAN be lost. It’s a lifestyle, not a state of being. Something either you walk in or you don’t. In accepting the exchange of Jesus, you can’t separate yourself from it. It goes with you to both the grocery store AND to the sanctuary, to the doctor’s office AND to the kitchen to make a sandwich.
It also goes with you to your bedroom.
It goes with you, because you go with Christ.
Purity isn’t lost in the moment, it’s an essential key to a happy (and lasting) marriage. It’s what keeps you connected to both God and each other, it’s what helps you stay strong and faithful to one another, it’s what helps you to build trust and affection.
And yes, blushing elders. It’s one of the most important ingredients in having GREAT sex.
Read the rest here.
Now, today is Wednesday, the first Wifey Wednesday of 2015. And on Wednesdays I always talk marriage. And so today I’d do a bit of a rah-rah post to get us ready for great sex in 2015!
One thing I love about all you, my readers, is that so many of you send me articles you think I may find interesting. That’s how I first found out about that viral post, and that’s how I first saw Sarah’s great rebuttal.
Kathy R sent me this note:
One of my friends posted this article [about not being a virgin on your wedding night] on facebook calling it “One Hell of a powerful article” so I wanted to share it with you. While I understand the reasons behind this person’s issues with sex, it still bothers me that she is basically saying “I wish I’d had sex a long time ago because then I wouldn’t have all these problems!” And now that I’m pregnant with a little girl, it scares me to death what to do to train her up in the way God sees sex and marriage, not the fear-mongering that some churches do, but how it was designed!
Elizabeth C and others sent notes that echoed Kathy’s, and several mentioned the same issue: how do we raise our daughters so they don’t think like that?
I think the easiest way to raise kids who have healthy views of sexuality is to have a healthy view of it yourself–and to not shy away from conversations. If we are not ashamed of sex, and if we enjoy sex, our kids will pick up on the fact that sex isn’t something to be ashamed about at all.
So the key to raising kids well is YOU.
We all have issues regarding sex.
All of us. And that’s truly okay. Don’t berate yourself about it; just know that it is universal.
Why wouldn’t we have issues? Sex is so interconnected with our identity and with our spirituality. It’s all tied up in our ideas of true intimacy, both with our husbands and with others, and even with God. And we live in a fallen world. So that means that the parts of us that are the most personal, the most intense, the most vulnerable, will be marred in some way. Some of us will be marred more than others, but we will all be touched.
And that’s okay. There’s nothing wrong with you if you have issues! Truly. I had issues with sex–I couldn’t relax during sex because I had such major trust issues and I didn’t feel that I could let my guard down. And if you can’t let your guard down, you can’t enjoy sex. I even developed full-blown vaginismus that took a few years to really get over. I didn’t even realize I had these issues until we got married! But being married helped me get over those trust issues, and they slowly went away. God used marriage as a vehicle to heal me.
So whatever your issues, know that you are not alone, but also know:
God can handle your sexual issues.
Just like there’s healing for other issues in our lives, like perfectionism or rejection or grief, there is also healing for whatever sexual issues you have. Really. If you’re struggling, it honestly doesn’t always have to be like this!
Sex reveals our insecurities, and here are a few posts that may help you:
Getting over your own sexual baggage
Getting over your husband’s sexual baggage
Getting over the effects of sexual abuse
Developing a healthy view of sexuality
If you never had a healthy view of sex because of the same issues as the original blog poster, here’s my take:
I echo a lot of Sarah’s points there with my own spin on them.
If you enjoyed those posts, and if you’ve really struggled to get a healthy view of sexuality, you really need to pick up The Good Girl’s Guide to Great Sex. In it, I explain in detail (and with a lot of humor) why God created sex the way He did, and how we can see it as a fun, low stress, intimate thing. When you read this blog, you get bits and pieces. If you want it all in one place, get that book! It will help. (and give it to girls who are about to get married so they don’t have the same regrets as that blog poster!)
But sex also reveals our sin, and lays it bare. Here are some posts that can help with that:
Practice makes perfect–even when it comes to sex!
Sometimes it just takes time to figure out what you like, and to figure out how to make sex feel good.
And the more you do it, the better at it you’ll get! That doesn’t mean that sex will be an awesome trajectory, where you start out lousy and you continue getting better all the time, so that each encounter is better than the last. Hormones may interfere for a few months (or years), little kids may make you tired, you may go through a stressful period. But if you stand back at the end of several decades and take a look at your marriage, most women do see that it gets better over time. Indeed, in my surveys for The Good Girl’s Guide to Great Sex, I found that the best years for sex in marriage are around the two decade mark.
Here are some posts that can help you with that:
And, of course, my book 31 Days to Great Sex has challenges that build on each other. It starts with the first week addressing how we feel about sex. Then we do a week on feeling more comfortable and flirty with each other–emotional intimacy. Then we turn to a week of challenges on embracing physical intimacy and making sex feel great. And then we end with challenges on how to feel more intimate–that spiritual intimacy. It’s okay if the book takes more than a month to get through! You’ll find that you talk more about sex, and you learn more about each other and yourself.
Sex really is a journey in marriage.
Sometimes you’ll have months where everything is amazing and you work like clockwork and you both have libidos that are through the roof. And sometimes you’ll have months that are a bit of a struggle.
But those struggling months help you to pull together. They point out the problems that need to be dealt with. Maybe one (or both) of you is too stressed or overworked. Maybe you’re going through a depression or hormonal changes and you need to see a doctor. Maybe you’re grieving something and you need to be able to lean on each other. Problems in the bedroom can be a sign of other things, and when we deal with these other things together, it ultimately brings us closer.
I think sex shows us why we need the vow. Without that marriage vow, when things got tough in the bedroom many may throw in the towel. But because of the vow, if sex isn’t working well we can figure it out. We can weather the storm.
Think about that woman who wrote that article. If she had had sex before she was married, would things have been better? No. She still would have had the same sexual hangups. And sex wouldn’t have worked well. But because they weren’t married, they would have wondered: should we even be getting married if we don’t work in the bedroom? Are we sexually incompatible?
I know if my husband and I had had sex before our wedding that wedding may not have happened. It was so disastrous that we both likely would have had second thoughts. But instead we were able to work through it. It’s a journey.
And I think that’s a wonderful thing.
I don’t know where you’re at in your marriage. I don’t know if you’re in crisis, or if you’re in blahdom, or if you’re in ecstasy. But wherever you are, know that 2015 will have its ups and its downs. It will be rocky. But regardless, it can also be very good. Sex can be one of the vehicles where God does great healing in our lives. It can be a vehicle where God helps us embrace more freedom and helps heal some of our perfectionism and control freak tendencies. It can be a vehicle that God uses to bring you and your husband closer together.
And let’s not forget–sex can be a great stress reliever! 🙂
So embrace it this year. Don’t despair if you have issues–just work on them and take them to God. Don’t despair if it’s never felt very good. Just consider it a great research project for the year ahead. Don’t despair if you’ve been going through a rough patch. It’s a new year–and new beginnings!
And I wish you a very great new year, even in the bedroom. We’re going to talk a lot more this year about what real intimacy is, and about how to deal with more of the common problems we have in the bedroom. So stick around! But whatever you do, don’t give up on sex. Don’t believe it’s hopeless. It can be awesome–and it will be for you, too. Just give it time.
Now, do you all have any advice for us today? Just enter the URL of your own blog post in the linky below. And be sure to link back here so that other people can read these great posts!
Sex is supposed to be stupendous--physically, emotionally, AND spiritually. If it's not, get The Good Girl's Guide to Great Sex--and find out what you've been missing.