If you’re not married yet, how can you best prepare yourself for a good sex life in marriage?

On Mondays I like to try to answer some reader questions. Lately I’ve been doing that through videos, but I had a 4-part question about singles and sex that I decided might be easier to do the traditional way, especially since I reached out to some other bloggers to get their input. So here we go:

1. Often times in the church women are taught to not think or talk about sexual things unless they are married. Assuming that singles are already preparing emotionally, financially and spiritually, how do you suggest singles prepare themselves for a physical/sexual relationship with their future spouse?

Deb Fileta from True Love Dates answers this one:

As a married woman as well as a professional counselor, I think one of the hardest parts about sex in marriage is dealing with the differences between our expectations of what sex looks like compared to the reality of what sex actually looks like in marriage. In my upcoming book, Choosing Marriage, I start the sex chapter by full fledged glimpse into a real life honeymoon story — my personal honeymoon story. The bottom line is that first-time sex in marriage was clumsy, awkward, hilarious, and not even close to how they portray it in the movies! It was a hot mess. Figuratively, and literally. But looking back, that night could have set the stage for some major disappointments, had I not been aware of “what to expect”.

I believe one of the most important things we can do to prepare for our future marriage and equip ourselves for a healthy sex life, is to begin by setting our expectations straight. Before I was married, I met regularly with a trusted mentor, and let me just say: I picked her brain about the reality of sex in marriage. Not what the movies tell you. Not what Hollywood tells you. But what it actually looks like in real life and in real relationships. My mentor helped me get my expectations straight about the joys and struggles that come with sex in marriage, and personally, I suggest every single woman find a godly woman they trust who can pour into their lives and answer the hard questions that sometimes go unasked. And if you don’t have a woman like that in your life right now, my friend Sheila’s book is a great place to start.

Deb has a great blog on getting ready for marriage at True Love Dates!

2. If masturbation is ok in marriage with consenting partners, can it also be ok for singles if they are not using pornography or fantasizing about someone?  How can single women experience relief from sexual tension?

I asked Julie Sibert from Intimacy in Marriage to handle this one:

First of all, if you have given this a lot of thought and prayer and determined masturbation is not okay for you, then feel at peace with your decision. It’s a personal decision and you need to feel comfortable with your choices.

If, however, you want to explore masturbation as a way to relieve your sexual tension, then here are key guidelines:

Are you doing it alone? You can’t masturbate in the presence of another person. If you are single, your masturbation has to be a solo activity in private.

What is your thought life? This is probably the hurdle that some people won’t be able to clear. If the only way you can masturbate is either by fantasizing about someone else or looking at provocative material, then it’s not okay. In other words, you have to be able to stimulate yourself by focusing only on the sensation itself. You can’t be thinking about other people, whether they are real or imagined.

Could it become addictive? It’s one thing to bring yourself to climax every now and then to simply take off the sexual edge. It’s a completely different thing if you are choreographing your life around when you can masturbate or if you are constantly thinking about it. If you know you have an addictive personality or are prone to becoming obsessed about something, masturbation likely is not a good choice for you. Masturbation that leads to isolation is destructive. Also, if you are using masturbation to avoid other issues, then it’s probably hurting you more than helping you.

Do you also explore other ways to relieve your sexual tension? Masturbation can’t be your only way to relieve tension. You need balance. Make sure you are engaging in plenty of activities that have nothing to do with sex, such as spending quality time with friends, exercising, eating healthy, enjoying hobbies, and growing in your relationship with God.

By pondering on the above questions, you as a single woman will be able to decide if masturbation is a viable way to curb your sexual tension. Arrive at a decision that works for you!

Julie Sibert writes and speaks out of her own story, encouraging couples to nurture authentic sexual intimacy in marriage. She lives in Omaha, Nebraska, with her husband, two sons and a dog named Stella who is busy destroying the yard. You can follow Julie’s blog at Intimacy in Marriage.

And also, I have written more in detail about masturbation in marriage here.

Here are some key guidelines for single Christians to prepare for intimacy in marriage! You don't have to be nervous if you know what to expect!

The more we can look honestly at ourselves now and start breathing life and truth into areas of ourselves that may be dark, the better marriage (and sex!) is going to be.

3. What resources do you suggest for singles who are just curious in general about sex? I have always gone to marriage websites (like yours!), do you recommend this or would you suggest something different?

I’m going to take this one! I think it’s very important for every adult to thoroughly understand the reproductive system and how it works. I think too often we try to ignore all of “those parts” of our bodies because they seem X-rated or something. But it is so important to know what everything is, to know how to identify if something is wrong, to understand our own hormonal cycles, and to understand what the opposite gender’s body does, too. Even medical sites can help you with this!

I hate how we tend to say, “she had to go to the doctor with female problems,” as opposed to “she may have fibroids.” There is nothing wrong or embarrassing about the female reproductive system, and the more you understand about how all the different parts work, then the more you’ll instinctively understand a lot about sex.

You can also, of course, read The Good Girl’s Guide to Great Sex! It’s everything about how God created sex to be–physically, emotionally, and spiritually. It explains how sex works, how to make it great, and some of the problems that we often run into.

God made sex to be AWESOME!

It’s supposed to be great physically, emotionally, and spiritually.

Feel like something’s missing?

4. Do you have any other thoughts for abstinent women who are looking forward to marriage?

I think we’ve covered a lot of the sex parts. So let me turn to something else: I think the best thing a single person can do is to deal with their baggage. We all have some, even if we came from good families. We all have some negative thinking patterns that need to be defeated, or some shame that needs to be dispelled. We live in a fallen world.

I think the more work you can do now asking yourself things like, “how has my family of origin impacted my view of sex? My view of my body? My confidence in being able to state what I think or want?” Or things like, “what are my biggest fears? What are the roots of those fears? How can I take those fears to God and replace them with truth?”

The more we can look honestly at ourselves now and start breathing life and truth into areas of ourselves that may be dark, the better marriage (and sex!) is going to be.

I’ve also written quite a few posts on how to choose a good mate. You can find links to all of them here!

Anyone have any other advice for singles and getting ready for sex? Leave it in the comments!

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