In our last post we wrote about how people often fall into one of three categories; those who over think sex, those who under think sex and those who skirt around it. Those who over think sex may view it as nothing more than a self-pleasing hobby. Those who under think sex may deny their own physical, emotional and spiritual gratification, believing that sex should take no part in personal gratification. And then there are those who skirt around the subject of sex, perhaps from painful past experiences in their sexuality or due to other negative thoughts they have about sex.
But the ultimate goal when it comes to sexual intimacy within marriage is to understand it. Being determined to work towards studying out the subject, and being purposeful to understand what God designed it to be. Today we wanted to look at 3 practical ways to grow in your understanding of sexual intimacy in marriage. By implementing these practical ways one can not only have a fuller, richer understanding of sex, they can also begin to understand sex as physically, emotionally, and spiritually pleasing. It’s not shameful, embarrassing, or painful in any way. But is instead peaceful, engaging, purposeful, and invigorating – just as it was created to be!
1. Strengthen Your Friendship With Your Spouse.
Certainly this makes sense. If you want to increase your understanding of sex then you have to be around the person you are going to actually have sex with. That being said, it is important to be in a growing relationship with your spouse. All of us have busy lives and there are a bunch of things we fill our schedules with. If our intent is to increase our understanding of sex then we have to make time to actually talk about and engage in sex with our spouse.
Restore and strengthen your friendship with your spouse. We recently went on a date and noticed what appeared to be a mother-son relationship gone bad. Both of them sat at the dinner table not speaking with one another. After eating their appetizer, they both pulled out their cell phones and texted others not present. The worst part wasn’t the apparent broken relationship, it was that neither of them cared to heal any wounds they may have had.
If your marriage
relationship friendship is anything like this, you must choose to restore it, and to make decisions at all costs to ensure this is your top priority. Marriage is friendship. Period. When you choose to love your spouse as your best friend, to want to be with them at all cost, to want to open up and talk with them, to want to be with them, to leave little love notes to them, to touch them, hold their hand, hug them, kiss them…you’ll want to engage sexually with them as well. When the marriage friendship is truly firing on all cylinders you will discover a much greater understanding of sex. The most difficult aspect about marriage as friendship is that it is a choice. You will have other friends that have more similar interests. You will have other friends that you may really enjoy being around. Marriage as friendship is a choice. But again, when you make the choice to keep your spouse as your best friend, you will discover that your sexual relationship, and your overall understanding of sex will increase exponentially.
2. Study the subjects of marriage and sex in detail:
On this point, we must be very careful. While there is a great deal of “good” information on the subject of sex, there is a whole lot (we mean a WHOLE LOT) of bad information on this subject. Before we dive into the good, we would like issue a few warnings about what kind of information about sex would be harmful to your marriage.
Bad Information on sex:
a. If the information you are reading/listening to causes you to disrespect, criticize or think disparagingly about your spouse…take a step back. Consider if the information is inappropriate or if your response is inappropriate. If you’re not sure, then pray about it, or talk with a trusted friend or counselor.
b. If the information only focuses on the physical pleasure of sex and never discusses the emotional or spiritual benefits of sex, it’s likely bad information. These types of books, blogs, etc. are generally written from those who over think sex. It’s self-pleasing physical pleasure, and nothing more. Sex is so much more than this, that you owe it to yourself to throw it out and engage in good material on the subject.
c. If the information contains imagery that causes you to be sexually attracted to someone other than your spouse – don’t just take a step back, get rid of it…immediately. You want your spouse to fixated on one body – yours. You also want to ensure your eyes are fixated on one body – theirs.
Good information on sex:
a. The bible. It may sound odd that we included this one first, but there is a whole lot of great information in the bible on the subject of sex.
A loving doe, a graceful fawn—
let her breasts always satisfy you;
be lost in her love forever. (Proverbs 5:19)
Not only is there great information on sex, but also on the subject of marriage. Read about the marriages contained throughout the bible. What made them work? What happened that caused marital problems? Is there anything they did that can still be applied today? You may be surprised at just how biblical wisdom in this area will increase your understanding on sex.
b. “Good” books. There are a number of books we’ve mentioned before on the subject of marriage and sex, and we may eventually create a resource page just to keep them updated. Nevertheless, there are a few books that we have found very helpful. These include:
The Meaning of Marriage by Tim Keller – This one has only come out within the past year. And while it doesn’t contain a ton of information on the sexual relationship, there is a chapter dedicated to it. Nevertheless, this is probably the best book on the subject of marriage we’ve read. It’s amazingly good. So good we’re planning an 8-week small group study on it this fall. (If anybody else wants to lead a small group of friends through the same study, feel free to contact us and we’ll share our study materials with you.)
Intimacy Ignited by Dillow/Pintus – This is a top-notch study on the book of Song of Songs and how to implement scriptural wisdom within your marriage relationship. While women generally enjoy this type of book more than men, the fact that this one is written by both men and women is very helpful. Any couple who actually reads this book and discusses it together will strengthen their sexual relationship.
Sheet Music by Kevin Leman – Dr. Leman writes in a whimsical style sure to keep men and women readers hooked. Probably one of the best books available today on the subject of sex.
Intimate Issues by Linda Dillow – The best book on the subject of intimacy written specifically for women.
The Good Girls Guide to Great Sex by Sheila Gregoire – Who says only bad girls get to have great sex? Sheila Gregoire’s book is a great read for all women looking for a better understanding of sex.
There are lots of other “good” resources on the subject of marriage and sex, but these are the ones we can recommend wholeheartedly. Seriously, read these books. Not only will your understanding of sex increase, but you will discover that sex becomes a primary way for you to better understand your spouse. And when sex becomes a primary way for you to understand your spouse, your marriage will become one that others will want to emulate.
3. Strengthen Your Relationship With God.
We know that for many people God and sex don’t mix. Including the bible on #2 above may not have been what you’re looking for. Generally speaking, if someone wants to learn about sex they figure reading the latest edition of MAXIM or Cosmo or talking to their friends will give them enough know how to improve their sex life. While reading a magazine article or talking to a friend may give you a few pointers it will rarely increase one’s actual understanding of sex.
Sex is much more than mere performance. The One who created you has the ultimate understanding of what sex is. Beyond that, He says a lot about it. The bible says that our relationship with our spouse is a picture of the close relationship He wants to have with us. Think about that for a minute. How close are you to your spouse when you’re enjoying sex with one another? How does it feel? How exhilarating is that moment of climax? This is the type of relationship God wants to have with you every moment of every day. And when you truly take opportunities to read the bible, pray for your marriage, and grow closer in your friendship with God, you’ll grow closer in your friendship with your spouse as well.
We cannot emphasize enough that each of these ways of better understanding sex is a choice. It’s a choice to be best friends with your spouse. It’s a choice to read and study good material on the subjects of marriage and sex. It’s a choice to strengthen your relationship with God. But when you make these choices, your understanding of sex will increase far beyond what you ever imagined. And the more you understand it, the more you’re ready to engage in it fully, with mind, body, and soul.
Have another “good” resource you’d like to recommend? Any “good” resources specifically for men we not have mentioned? Feel free to let us know in the comments below.