I’ve written before about how I am incredibly thankful my mother talked to me about sex before I got married. Unfortunately there are many girls who didn’t have as good an experience as I. These same girls often go into marriage carrying with them damaging misconceptions and/or expectations. I’ve had women confide in me such things. Some say they have been married for years–and yet feel guilty thinking about their husbands in a sexual way. Others say they have never enjoyed intimacy with their husbands. Still others can’t bear to talk to their husbands about sex – still embarrassed despite years of marriage.
This needs to change.
Since that first post I have been listening to what others have been asking and saying about their own experiences, and trying to understand better where such misconceptions could have come from. Having come from a family that taught me well, it was hard for me to fully understand.
How is it that Christians who know God’s word, and know that God created intimacy for marriage, think that sex is dirty and wrong? How is it that so many have difficulty reconciling their daily walk of purity with their sexuality?
I believe that the problem starts when girls are not taught a proper view of sex at home, have curiosities, and so have to find out and piece together the fragmented information for themselves. If they are extremely lucky, they will pick up a good book, discover good things and develop their own healthy ideas in regards to the sexual union. If they are not so lucky, they find worldly literature and try to reconcile what they find there with God’s Word.
…and what do they find? Advice on how to be naughty, and talk dirty.
Unfortunately this is what happens more often than not… and what effect does this have on our girls? This leaves the conscientious Christian girl with a problem: “How do I reconcile the sanctification I am supposed to display with being naughty and talking dirty?”
That’s a good question. How can we reconcile these ideas? How do we reconcile being dirty and naughty with our need to be sanctified?
I want you to realize this fact, and keep it in your mind: The world didn’t create sex. God did.
The publications that the world put out will have you think that they invented things and are the masters and lords of the sexual realm. They think they have it all figured out, and can tell you whether you are doing things right in the bedroom, pleasing your partner, having enough sex, or are sexually daring enough.
But they can’t tell you every thing. They are not the masters and lords of the sexual realm. Despite what the world may think, God is the Master and Lord of sexuality. He created it. He created it in the very beginning, and He created it to be enjoyed, freely and guiltlessly in its right context.
“Have you not read that he who created them from the beginning made them male and female, and said, ‘Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh’? So they are no longer two but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let not man separate” (Matthew 19:4-6 ESV).
“And the man and his wife were both naked and were not ashamed” (Genesis 2:25 ESV).
Because He is the Creator of it, He gets to determine what’s naughty or dirty, and what’s not. No one else. So since God created a husband and wife to enjoy the sexual act together, no amount of sensuality that is expressed between them physically or verbally can be anything but pure, lovely, and right.
Not only does God see sexuality as pure and perfect when expressed in the right situation (marriage), but He also wants His creation to understand this as well.
“Let marriage be held in honor among all, and let the marriage bed be undefiled, for God will judge the sexually immoral and adulterous” (Hebrews 13:4).
See what He is saying there? This is a command. Marriage, and what happens in the marriage bed, must be held in honour among those who wish to have the mind of Christ.
So what can we do?
The warped perception and confusion our girls experience is only going to go away if we talk about it more openly and freely. I understand this is hard. Since writing about this, I have even had people tell me I shouldn’t talk about it. It’s uncomfortable to start these conversations.
But we must consider the alternative: What happens if we say nothing? There really is far too great a need for something to be said. This cannot be simply brushed under the rug and ignored. The risks are too great. So many of our girls are so confused they end up either giving up completely and listening to what the world says, or having strained relationships with their husbands for years because they just can’t reconcile naughtiness with sanctification.
This tells me that something is out of balance. Something has to change.
We need to talk about this.
So how can we talk about sexuality with the girls under your influence?
- Be available. Let your children – and any girls in your sphere of influence – know that you are available if ever they want to ask anything, and stay true to your promise.
- Be open. There’s nothing more excruciating than talking to someone about a subject they are not comfortable with or embarrassed about. It only serves to make everyone feel uncomfortable, and will likely deter them from asking questions they need to hear the answer to! Make sure you are ready to tell them what they need to know – and if you really can’t, find someone who can! Remember that the marriage bed is to be honoured, so you don’t have to be embarrassed about talking about it (Hebrews 13:4).
- Be honest. No matter how old someone is, there is never any reason to tell them that babies come by stork. Sure, reveal truths as they are ready to hear them, and go easy on the details for younger ones – but never, ever lie. This just perpetuates the whole idea that sex is something to be ashamed of. Sex is definitely not something to be ashamed of!
- Be encouraging. Sex is not merely “a duty that you have to perform,” It is something good that everyone can enjoy with a bit of knowledge, patience, and some trial and error. Be realistic and tell them that they may not enjoy it at first, but give them hope. Tell them they can enjoy it. Tell them that it’s probably not going to be all Hollywood-ish at first, but that it just gets better with time and experience. If you can’t tell them that honestly, and you feel negatively about intimacy, then please don’t pass that negativity on to those who don’t know any better. Sort out your own issues first, and in the meantime find someone else who can talk to them.
- Be appropriate. This is where people get confused. What is appropriate to say or not say? My general rule of thumb is this: give information, not details. It’s the difference between telling someone some things they could possibly try, and giving someone a play-by-play account of what went down in your bedroom last night. It’s the difference between saying how they don’t have to worry about the wedding night, how they’ll have fun, and telling them all the positions you tried on your honeymoon. You get the picture I’m sure. The Bible (especially in the Song of Solomon) talks of sex a great deal, but it always closes the curtain when it comes to giving intimate details of the actual sexual act. Again, bottom line: tell them the how, tell them the why, but don’t describe your life like you are the main character of a raunchy romance novel.
- Be understanding. One reason why we shouldn’t describe juicy details is because every marriage is different. Not everyone likes the same positions or playful ideas. Telling others all the things you do in detail can serve to create jealousy, self-doubt, or unrealistic expectations. Communicate this to those you are mentoring. The world does enough to make the young girl feel inadequate sexually, without hearing us say she needs to climax so many times, have sex so many times a week, try such-and-such a position, or perform such-and-such for her husband. Give suggestions, give basic guidelines, give ways to overcome challenges that she may face – but make sure you don’t press your ideas of what a good sex life looks like upon her. Let her decide that between her and her spouse.
- Be informed. Find good books that you can recommend to those who need more information. Make sure that you’ve either read them yourself or had them recommended by someone who you completely trust. You don’t have all the answers for every marriage, no matter how great your sex life is. Be humble, realise this, and give them places to go to find more information.
Let’s do what we can to dispel the doubts and misconceptions of those around us in regards to this topic and create a brighter future for the next generation of the church! Let’s work so that the next generation can have stronger marriages quicker, and not have to go through fear and doubt. Nobody should ever have to be afraid.
Show them what Biblical, sexual love looks like, and set them free.
“There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear. For fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not been perfected in love” (1 John 4:18).
May God be with you–and with me–as we start these uncomfortable but important conversations.