Note: Before you read on, please consider that there may be content here that is triggering if you have experienced trauma related to sex or sexuality. Proceed at your discretion.
It can be challenging to discuss the topic of sex with your spouses, children, and church communities. So, we wanted to bring it into the open and talk about it!
We believe that we need to be willing to engage in conversations about sex and sexuality as Christian men and women. As leaders. As parents. And, especially, as spouses because we also believe that this is one area of relationship that “the thief’s purpose is to steal, kill, and destroy” (John 10:10).
So what’s good, helpful, and permissible when it comes to sex and intimacy?
On their website marriedchristiansex.com * husband and wife team blog about various answers and insights surrounding the topic of sex. One of the important questions they answer is this: Are there any sexual limits or boundaries in a Christian marriage?
We agree with their words: “God has given us a wide field of freedom that is fenced with a few rules for our protection… outside of these perimeters, the possibilities are limitless. ” They go on to say, sex in marriage:
- Must involve only the married couple
- Must be consensual
- Must be satisfying for both spouses
- Must honor God/be done in faith
My wife and I have learned the importance of being very open about the subject of sex with each other in our marriage. We regularly practice verbally exposing any sexual discomforts and communicating our preferences to each other. We have become more comfortable redirecting each other or talking about specific desires. But this was not always easy. This is the product of coaching and counseling, intentionality, and established trust. Communication about this topic with our spouse can feel daunting and intimidating.
So, what gets in the way?
When it comes to healthy sexual communication and fulfillment, it is crucial to expose and confront the ultimate, ugly intimacy killer. The thing that seeks to steal, kill, and destroy… So, what is that killer?
Many people had horrendous experiences growing up that taught them to associate their nakedness and any reference to sexual activities with words like: danger, punishment, dirty, abuse, rape, Satan, used, worthless, disgusting, taboo, manipulation, hurt, and many others…
One of the most important things that we, as mental health counselors, have the privilege and honor of being a part of is the process where clients and their loved ones: heal from a continuum of past and recent sexual abuse, reconcile skewed, broken sexual identities, learn about and restore fulfilling, healthy, holy, passionate sexual activity in marriages, and overcome fear that seeks to prevent communication about this important God-designed subject.
Shame and sex are, unfortunately, inextricably linked. Sadly, this can tend to be exacerbated in highly conservative Christian circles and churches as well.
Brené Brown, a leading researcher in this area, defines shame as, “the intensely painful feeling that we are unworthy of love and belonging. It’s the most primitive human emotion we all feel—and the one no one wants to talk about.”
Many of us (myself included) have had experiences in our recent or distant pasts where the act of sex or sexually-related experiences have been perverted, distorted, and hurtful. It is extremely important for husbands and wives to discover ways to talk about sex openly and honestly in order to have a connected, thriving marriage.
Years ago, we decided to invest in some intentional pre-marital classes before our wedding day where we discussed, at length, past sexual abuse, incidents where we had been sexually deviant, as well as any exposure to and use of pornography. This was money and time extremely well spent whether you are engaged or married 20 years!
Shame is at the root of so many problems that seek to inhibit positive sexual connection such as:
unmet expectations, self-confidence, fear and various types of anxiety, insecurity, emotional disconnection, and unbalanced priorities. You are not alone in your search for sexual health as an individual and/or in your marriage.
Here at Cornerstone, we care deeply about people’s holistic selves, included in which is the topic of sex. We have several counselors who are passionate, equipped, educated, and well-versed in discussing issues surrounding this subject as well as any role that faith may play in relation to it. Please give us a call at 303-902-3068 or email us at: firstname.lastname@example.org if you’d like more information about setting up an appointment with one of our qualified, professional mental health counselors to help you in the process of overcoming these barriers to healthy sexuality.
*For Christian married couples wanting their challenging, important questions answered… this website is dedicated to improving the frequency and quality of sex in a committed Christian marriage and decreasing the stigma and fear connected to dialoguing about sex. Explore at your own discretion! http://marriedchristiansex.com/
From their main page:
“The site is pretty explicit and we aren’t prudish, so if that’s going to offend you then you should go elsewhere. The content is also definitely not work-safe or kid-safe. You’ve been warned.
There are a lot of other sites that give relationship advice, help couples “communicate”, and guide people past hang-ups and emotional trauma. This site is not about those things. We’re going to focus on the sex.”