Thursday, May 1, 2014

Let's Talk About Sex

Ok, so this is Jen's book release week and the blogsphere is bursting with that subject, which is awesome!  I love reading everyone else's posts about Something Other than God.  However, my copy will not be arriving until Saturday (according to Amazon).  So to amuse myself in the meantime I am going to throw out this post about christian married sex.  Let me reiterate, I'm talking about conjugal relations between a husband and wife.  Maybe there's some unwritten rule about blogging while in a state of aggravation?  I read a post on-line yesterday that has been getting lots of "likes" that just fired me up.  I'm not going to link to it, because it's the same thing I've seen over and over in the evangelical christian community.  It goes something like this...

  • "You need to be having more sex"
  • "It's your duty to make sure your sex life is spontaneous, passionate, and fun."
  • "If you're having problems in your marriage, it could be your sex life is off.  Your spouse's sexual frustration could be causing friction.  Try having more sex to see if that fixes the issue."
  • "You should have sex everyday for X number of days." (The "X" varies, from 30 to a whole year...I'm not even kidding.)

The basis for all this advice comes from very well quoted bible verses:

"The husband should fulfill his marital duty to his wife, and likewise the wife to her husband.  The wife does not have authority over her own body but yields it to her husband.  In the same way, the husband does not have authority over his own body but yields it to his wife.  Do not deprive each other except by mutual consent and for a time, so that you may devote yourselves to prayer.  Then come together again so that Satan will not tempt you because of your lack of self control"
                   I Cor. 7:3-5, NIV

First off, the above verses are usually taken out of context.  The verses preceding talk about how "it is good for a man not to have sexual relations with a woman" (verse 1).  The verse immediately following mentions "I say this as a concession, not as a command" (verse 6).  It is true that you give your spouse the gift of yourself (body, mind, and soul) on your wedding day.  A gift, by definition, is something you give away.  If you retain the rights to take it back it is not truly a gift.  In our fallen human nature it is impossible to give yourself perfectly, but through the sacrament of marriage Jesus helps us and gives us the graces we need to become a better spouse.  He uses our marriage to sanctify us, to transform us to become more and more like Him, and more and more like an authentic version of ourselves...who God created us to be.  The conjugal act is a renewal of our marriage vows, it is holy and sacred.  That doesn't mean it can't be fun and spontaneous, but it should never become desecrated.  You must always remember that your spouse was created to be an eternal being.  They are a son or daughter of the King, He loves them with a fierce and jealous love and He entrusted their well being to you.  They were never intended to be just an object for your sexual pleasure.  This is the meaning behind the verse "the marriage bed should be kept pure" (Heb. 13:4).  It is a hard teaching, and we fallen humans are a generally selfish bunch but thankfully God didn't intend for us to do this marriage thing by ourselves.  That's why Jesus is a part of our marriage union, His graces help us root out and overcome the selfish parts.  Marriage can act like a mirror, so we truly see our faults in the reflection.  Then we allow Jesus to help us transform into the image He wants to see.

What I noticed the above advice never mentions?  Birth control.  I suppose it's just assumed that either the couple is using some sort of pill/surgical sterilization/condom, or they're trying to become pregnant.  Because that is usually what happens when you have lots of sex.  Also, I don't know a whole lot of women who appreciate having sex during the heaviest days of their period.  Just saying...

What about those couples who are truly having difficult issues in their marriage (abuse, infidelity, addictions).  Will just "having more sex" fix those, or will it do more damage?  What about the couples who physically can't do this?  What if your spouse is in a wheelchair, or recovering from illness, or just had a baby, or deployed?

The biggest issue I have with this blanket advice is it places your struggle with sexual frustration on your spouse.  The christian community expects sexual abstinence from a whole host of people.  Those who are too young to be married, singles, widows and widowers, people who are married but not physically able to be with their spouse (see above paragraph).  But it appears once you have a ring on your finger you no longer need to develop self control over your sexual appetite.  I mean, that's why you got married, right?  Now it's your spouse's job to take care of your sexual needs.  There is such a thing as "marital chastity" and it goes farther than not looking at pornography.  It is being in control of your own sexual needs and placing them at your disposal.  There's even a bible verse on this...

"It is God's will that you should be sanctified:  that you should avoid sexual immorality; that each of you should learn to control your own body in a way that is holy and honorable, not in passionate lust like the pagans, who do not know God; and that in this matter no one should wrong or take advantage of a brother or sister...For God did not call us to be impure, but to live a holy life."  ~~ 1 Thes. 4:4-7 NIV

Just like there is a difference between being "anti-abortion" and "pro-life".  Anti-abortion means just that, you do not agree with abortion.  But being pro-life takes it a step further, that all life is a gift, even if it was unexpected or doesn't fit within our timeline.  Sexual abstinence is good if that is your station in life.  But it is not the same as chastity.  Everyone is called to live a chaste life, no matter what state of life.  Whether young or old, married or single, male or female.  What better way to teach our young people how to live chaste lives than to live out marital chastity in our own lives?  Lust is never a good character trait, even if you are "lusting" after your spouse!  Even children can distinguish the difference between love and lust.  It's like the difference between "hot" and "beautiful".  If you had a friend comment to you that your daughter looked beautiful in her Easter dress you would take that as a compliment.  How would you feel if they said she looked "hot"?  At best, you would have one less friend.

Sorry, post is really long and has no pictures.  Just my little big vent and ramble, take it or leave it.


  1. I'm sharing this on our local CCL-NFP blog. :)

  2. Amen! I especially like the line, "Everyone is called to live a chaste life, no matter what state of life," but you have a lot of good lines in here. :) Thank you for posting!