Yesterday I staked my claim that good sex can revolutionize marriage, family and church. (Check out How Good Sex Can Change the World.)
But the truth is there are painful obstacles to having good sex. It’s more than just being frigid or disinterested. Its more than making time. Its more than getting past those few extra pounds. There are real intimacy killers that we have to overcome before good sex is possible.
But I say, anyone who even looks at a woman with lust has already committed adultery with her in his heart. Mt. 5:28
Whether before or during marriage, Porn kills intimacy. Porn totally warps our reality of what good sex is and what is even physically possible. Porn buries us in a fantasy world where we don’t have to connect with anyone but we still get the pay off. Porn leaves us striving and hungry for more of its rotten fruit. Because porn is sin and it steals our ability to have God-centered, phenomenal sex.
2. Premarital sex
Therefore a man leaves his father and mother and embraces his wife. They become one flesh. Gen 2:24
When you follow the desires of your sinful nature, the results are very clear: sexual immorality, impurity, lustful pleasures… Gal. 5:19
One flesh. We were created and purposed for one flesh sex in marriage. When we mess with that purpose we mess up a lot. We bring baggage of bring insecurity, jealously and shame into our marriage. Despite forgiveness, premarital sex pollutes sexual intimacy. Keeping the marriage bed undefiled is job before marriage as much as after.
She said, ‘I’ll run after other lovers.” Hosea 2:5
Affairs are happening not just with Christians, but between Christians in the same churches. Husband and wives are running into the arms and beds extramarital lovers. Whether it’s a one-night stand or a continuous relationship, the feelings of desire and entitlement that led to the affair obliterate trust and sexual intimacy.
4. Sexual Abuse
Now David’s son Absalom had a beautiful sister named Tamar. And Amnon, her half brother, fell desperately in love with her. Amnon became so obsessed with Tamar that he became ill. She was a virgin, and Amnon thought he could never have her…
Since he was stronger than she was, he raped her. Then suddenly Amnon’s love turned to hate, and he hated her even more than he had loved her. “Get out of here!” he snarled at her.
Her brother Absalom saw her and asked, “Is it true that Amnon has been with you? Well, my sister, keep quiet for now, since he’s your brother. Don’t you worry about it.” So Tamar lived as a desolate woman in her brother Absalom’s house. from 2 Sam 13
1 out of 6 women in America have been raped. 1 out of every 33 men has been raped. And estimated 60% of victims don’t report the crime. Victims are more likely to experience depression, PTSD, addictions and suicidal thoughts. The odds of past sexual abuse effecting your marriage are steep.
The bible says Tamar lived in desolation. I can’t think of a better word to describe how many sexual abuse survivors feel. Being able to feel safe requires a lot of healing. Being able to be vulnerable and sexually available to someone after sexual abuse is almost impossible. Many survivors are just too scared to go there. For them, sex isn’t good. It is the source of pain.
5. Physical Pain
“When I had cancer a few years ago, everything went so quickly. I felt raped by it. I was left without the ability to have children or the desire for my husband.”
Sometimes we just can’t. We really cannot have sex. Physical illness, disease and disabilities rob us our ability and desire for intimacy. Sex can be painful or repulsive. It can become a burden that heaps guilt and fear on top of guilt and fear. When we can’t engage sexually the essence of marriage is marred.
Kate Cardwell, in When Sex Hurts, shares:
Sex brought anything but joy and comfort. Every time we had intercourse, I experienced intense burning pain. While I wanted to say “yes” to intimacy, my body said “no.”
So, what if this is your marriage? Let me assure you, there is hope.
At some point in our marriage my husband and I have dealt with each of these in some form. Here’s what I know. You can’t just throw a bible verse at these issues. You can’t read a Dr. Phil book to conquer them. And no amount of girl talk will come close to a solution. But healing is possible.
Hosea, an adulterous wife, wrote:
“But then I will win her back once again. I will lead her into the desert and speak tenderly to her there.
I will… transform the Valley of Trouble into a gateway of hope.
She will give herself to me there, as she did long ago when she was young…
I will remove all weapons of war from the land, all swords and bows,
so you can live unafraid in peace and safety. I will make you my wife forever,
showing you righteousness and justice, unfailing love and compassion.
I will be faithful to you and make you mine… ” Hosea 2: 14-20
Tenderly. Hope. Safety. Love. Compassion.
If we want to experience sexual healing in our marriage we have to deal bountifully in those graces.
Kate Cardwell says:
“Never are prayer, honesty, patience, courage, and compassion more important in marriage than when dealing with a sexual disorder. Romans 8:28 states “in all things God works for the good for those who love him who have been called according to his purpose.” He will not waste any of our pain, and in “all things” we learn valuable lessons.
We’ve learned to become more open and honest with each other—qualities that didn’t exist between us before. Brian and I have found that if sex is to be mutually satisfying, as God intended, we must find oneness outside intercourse while we seek to find oneness within it.”
God created us mind, body and spirit. In order for us to overcome our obstacles and experience healing we have to deal with each aspect of who we are. In our marriage we have sought medical help when needed it. We benefited from Christ-centered counseling. And we continue to immersed our selves in God’s word, prayer and spiritual fellowship.
Through our solidarity during conflict and crisis, my husband and I deepened our connection. We recommitted ourselves to our union. No matter what. And yes, we started having better sex.
Place me like a seal over your heart,
like a seal on your arm.
For love is as strong as death,
its jealousy as enduring as the grave. SoS 8:6