It’s a conversation that seems to be missing from the Christian community. But in the silence, our views of sex and sexuality are taking shape from the influences of media, entertainment, and the world around us–often with no gauge of what’s healthy or good. If we’re honest, we’ll realize that our concept of sex is being distorted by lust rather than love; by casual rather than commitment. In order to keep a healthy perspective, and enjoy sex for what God made it to be- we need to learn to start talking about sex.
It’s time to speak up about sex because our silence is allowing others to speak for us.
As Christians, we’re often bombarded by the harm of sex before marriage, without being told enough of it’s beauty within marriage. In my book, I start one chapter with the phrase “Say Yes to Sex”, because you know what- sex is awesome! It’s time for Christians to stop treating sex like a “say no to drugs campaign” (True Love Dates, pg.107), but rather take the time to bring balance to the truth that sex done in God’s way is totally worth saying yes to. It’s time to hear less about why it’s wrong, and more about why it’s right.
In an attempt to engage more in the conversation about sex, the following is the latest He Said/She Said post from an interview with a married couple. My hope is that this is just one step in starting the conversation about healthy sex.
Please remember, as with all He Said/She Said posts, these are two real people with real perspectives. Please be respectful in your thoughts and comments. Also, remember that as the author of this blog, I may or may not agree with the following perspectives.
He & She:
Due to the nature of this conversation, and out of respect for the privacy of the couple, the identities of the interviewees will remain Anonymous. Thanks for understanding!
How long have you been married?
He & She Said: 9 years
What was your view of sex (good and/or bad) before you got married and what influences shaped that view?
He Said: I perceived sex to be an easy activity and that women could be turned on just as quickly as men. My wife could simply touch my elbow and I’m ready to go! I also believed that women could experience an orgasm at will, no matter the position. It turns out that the female anatomy is more complex than that.
My premarital views of sex were shaped by guy movies like American Pie, sex stories from my college roommates, and exposure to pornography at an early age–all of which portray women as females that are no different than men when it comes to sex and what they find arousing.
She Said: My view of sex was basically that it seemed like it would be fun and exciting. My view was shaped by media and my friends at school. To this day, I have never even heard my parents say the word sex.
How has the church helped/hindered your view on sex and sexuality?
He Said: Local church groups that we’ve been apart of were simply silent when it came to sex. They talked about how great sex is inside of marriage but they never talked about the challenges of sex and how different men and women view sexuality. Thankfully, the church is not limited to a locality. I received good sex education from various Christian authors that gave me an accurate view about sex, especially when it came to females and their bodies.
She Said: The church didn’t have much impact on my view of sex, other than the idea that you shouldn’t do it before marriage. Even now, I think the church underplays the importance of sex within marriage, because they too often only talk about avoiding it beforehand.
How does our society portray sex through the media, and how does that view hold up compared to “real” sex?
He Said: The media typically portrays sex like it is nothing but a casual activity, like eating fast food or buying an app. It fails to express the vulnerability and emotional impact that occurs between two people before, during, and afterwards. The media trivializes sex.
She Said: I think that sex is portrayed as fun and easy and casual, basically not a big deal. While sex can definitely be fun and exciting, it is so much more intimate than the media portrays. “Real sex” in a relationship takes serious vulnerability and communication, but adds so much more depth and intimacy than the media shows.
What expectations did you have about marital sex?
He Said: I thought sex would happen frequently, regardless of how busy or tired we were. I thought it would be easy and that my wife would always be in the mood for it.
She Said: Basically, that sex would be enjoyable and easy.
Before you were married, what role did you think sex would have in your marriage? Has that view changed since being married?
He Said: I thought sex would play a role just keeping the relationship fun. However, I’ve learned that sex did more than spice up a boring day. It made my wife and I more secure in our relationship. By entering into a place of mutual vulnerability, sex has made us more open not just about our bodies but also about our emotions and heart. I also learned that my wife found my sexual desires for her to be proof that I find her beautiful and attractive.
She Said: I didn’t think about it with any real depth, just that it would be great and it would happen often.
What has been the biggest blessing of sex?
He Said: Sex is freeing. For a moment, sex has the impressive ability to drown out distractions and get two people to focus exclusively on each other. Sex reminds me what’s important: pleasing my wife–and that goes beyond the physical.
She Said: The intimacy it adds, but also that it is stinking fun.
What has been the biggest struggle or challenge of sex?
He Said: The most challenging aspect of sex is how to deal with rejection, when the other partner is not in the mood. My wife and I are very open about our desires or lack of, but it’s sometimes difficult knowing when it’s the right time to initiate, or who should initiate sex first.
She Said: Overall, I think the biggest challenge is working out the frequency. There will almost always be one person that wants sex more often than the other. How to work that out without hurt feelings is huge.
Has your sexual history (or lack thereof) impacted your relationship within marriage?
He Said: I was a virgin before I got married, but my history of pornography and secular sex-culture influences gave me unrealistic expectations about my wife and sex life, which has sometimes lead to disappointment and frustration.
She Said: Since neither of us really had much of a sexual history when we got married, we learned together what worked and what didn’t. Very early in our marriage we bought a few books on sex that we read together and that helped us figure out how to make sure we were both able to “enjoy sex to the fullest”. Reading those books together also really helped us get past any embarrassment in conversation and be comfortable talking about anything.
What is something you now know about sex, that you wish you would have known before you were married?
He Said: I wish I knew that sex is really a process, a really fun process; that expecting all fantasies to happen in one night is not only unrealistic but ignorant, selfish, and empty. Sex is more than seeing my wife naked or having an orgasm. Sex is a process whereby we get to study one another and learn of the various ways that we can be stimulated physically, mentally, and emotionally. Sex is not about me. It’s about my wife.
She Said: That sex is not as easy as it is made out to be; there is definitely a learning curve if both people are going to enjoy themselves.
What advice or encouragement would you give to those who are waiting for marriage to enjoy sex?
He Said: Check your expectations at the door. Your partner will not experience sex the way you do, so expect sex to be a learning process. Don’t go into marriage without having an understanding of the male and female body and mind. Get your facts about sex from strong couples, not the media. Good sex takes work.
She Said: It is such a cliche answer, but it is so worth waiting for. Being able to discover the intricacies of sex with the person you will spend of rest of your life with brings incredible intimacy to the relationship.
What, if anything, do you think God has to say about sex? (Your opinion, or what he’s spoken to you—not necessarily biblical perspectives)
He Said: I don’t know what God says about sex, besides his command to be fruitful and multiply. But from the stories, poetry, and letters found in Scriptures, I gather that sex is fundamentally vital to not only ensuring the continuation of God’s image on earth but also gluing a marriage together. Scriptures portray sex to be wild, passionate, liberating, sublime, and even dangerous. Because of these stories and my own personal life experiences and prayer, I believe God made sex to be enjoyed and respected.
She Said: I think that God designed sex as immensely pleasurable for a purpose, not just for having children. I think it is a gift in marriage for the sake of purely enjoying each other, additionally adding depth to the relationship.
**Having a great sex life begins with having a great marriage. To learn more about becoming finding and keeping true love- and creating a healthy marriage, check out my new book, True Love Dates:Your Indispensable Guide to Finding the Love of Your Life, now available for purchase!
If you’re new to the He Said/She Said series, you can catch up on the first three posts: