When Sex Seems “Wrong”
by: Ashley Willis
Sex is a beautiful gift from God. I think we can all agree on this. However, many of us grew up with well-intentioned parents and churches who hesitantly approached the subject of sex like it’s a “secret we should never speak of.” Sadly, this often leads to confusion and feelings of inadequacy or even a disdain for sex later in life.
As a teen, I was part of an amazing youth group that discussed all of the “hot topics” of the day. They would even have question-and-answer sessions in our small groups. So, when sex happened to be the topic, many of us were eager to hear what our leaders had to say.
One of my friends nervously raised her hand and asked the leader, “Um…how far is ‘too far’ when it comes to making out.” The leader paused for a moment and then proceeded to tell us-in Christian code language-that she was basically one kiss away from an orgasm, so it was probably wise to not even kiss a boy until you are married.
As you can imagine, I left that small group conversation very confused and disgusted. I couldn’t believe that kissing was considered off-limits too. For years, I had learned that sex was a huge, shameful no-no, and I would nearly ruin my life if I ever even thought about doing it. I know my parents and church had good intentions in teaching me this way, but to be honest, it just made me scared of sex.
Friend, please understand that I am not trying to throw parents and churches under the bus. Sometimes, it’s hard to know how to properly address sex without revealing some holes in our own stories. None of us are perfect. We all make mistakes. However, when we grow up in a household and/or church that fosters a negative view of sex, we can end up harboring hard feelings towards sex and hurt our spouse and marriage. We need to reframe our perspective and align it with God’s truth.
So, what does the Bible say about sex?
1. It is a BINDING covenant that is physical, emotional, and spiritual. (Genesis 2:24)
2. Sex is designed for a HUSBAND AND WIFE within their marriage. (Genesis 1:27 and Hebrews 13:4)
3. It is GOOD. (Genesis 1:31)
4. Sex is meant for PROCREATION AND PLEASURE. (Genesis 1:28, Proverbs 5:18-19, 1 Corinthians 7:3, and Song of Solomon 7:1-3 and 6)
These are all POSITIVE things about sex within the union of marriage. They aren’t something to fear at all. Each of these points back to the fact that sex is truly a gift from God-not a curse.
I didn’t understand this as a young woman. With good intentions and to keep me pure, my parents and youth leaders primarily taught me about the life-altering consequences of careless sex instead of how sex masterfully fits into God’s plan for marriage and family and that it is a good thing.
So, I pushed my feelings down deep and prayed for God to help me to save myself for marriage. And, I did-with God’s help. On one hand, I couldn’t wait for my wedding night, but on the other, I was honestly scared to death. The only thing I knew about the actual act of sex was what I learned in health class and what I saw on television-so, not much.
My husband and I had a wonderful wedding night but it took me a long time to overcome the belief that sex is a shameful, hurtful, and dreadful act. I had a hard time “flipping the switch” from a young, willfully innocent woman to a married woman who could fully embrace the beautiful gift of sex with my husband. I’d been bound and determined to not do “it” at all costs for all of my youth, and then-boom- I could be uninhibited. It was difficult for me to reconcile this in my mind and heart, and it took some time for me to shake this negative programming. I’ve found this to be a similar hurdle for many other Christian youths who were taught to fear sex, but the good news is that we can change our perspective.
If you struggle with this, please know that you are not alone. I encourage you to be honest with your spouse about your feelings, thoughts, and expectations when it comes to sex. Also, ask your spouse about their feelings. Then, pray that God will help you both to have a thriving sex life that is both pleasurable and binding for the two of you and glorifying to Him. Pray that God takes away your fears and negative view of sex. Then, whenever you start dreading sex or thinking negatively about it, take those thoughts captive and replace them with God’s truth. It could be as simple as telling yourself, “Sex is a gift from God that He made specifically for marriage and to bring a couple closer to one another.” This may seem a little cheesy, but I promise you that it is Biblical (2 Cor. 10:5) and effective. Also, try scheduling sex. This will help you both to have something to look forward to, and it will help you to prepare your mind and heart for intimacy. Send flirtatious texts throughout the day, and get excited about it!
Some of you reading this have negative and fearful feelings towards sex because of your past experiences with it. Maybe you are ashamed of your sexual history because you had sex out of wedlock. Perhaps you have been accustomed to looking at porn and using that to gratify your sexual needs, even though you know sex is good for you or your marriage. God loves you, and He will forgive your repentant heart the minute you seek His forgiveness. Don’t allow the enemy to hold this over your head and keep you from having a beautiful intimate life with your spouse.
Some of you were abused and forced to do sexual acts that make you sick to your stomach to even think about, much less try to do with your spouse. Please know that you have nothing to be ashamed about, and your pain breaks God’s heart. He wants to heal you. He doesn’t want you to live in shame and brokenness. He wants to make you whole. If you have been a victim of sexual abuse, Christian counseling can help you. You may have pushed those horrendous thoughts and feelings down deep, but the only way to heal is to bring all your pain to light and surrender them to God. A Christian counselor can help you to do this and set you free from this heartbreaking burden that is hurting you and your marriage.
God doesn’t want sex to be a sticking point in our marriage; He wants all of us to have fulfilling, enjoyable sex lives because we are sons and daughters of the One who designed it and His Word defines it. Let’s accept God’s truth about sex and embrace it like the tremendous gift that it is for our marriage.