Relationships

Christian Sex: 6 Steps to Fulfilling Sexual Intimacy in Marriage

christian sex

Christian sex is the union between a husband and wife within marriage. It entails the complete consummation of body, soul, and spirit as the couple fully becomes one. Money and sex tend to be the top two areas for marital strife. Of the two, sexual problems usually have a more devastating impact that can rock a marriage to its core. The sexual temperature within marriage, defined as the level of mutual sexual satisfaction, usually reflects the overall health of a marriage. If a marriage is healthy and connected, both partners typically report relatively frequent and fulfilling sex. However, if a marriage is unhealthy and disconnected, one or both partners usually report infrequent and unsatisfying sexual contact. Sex is also usually one of the first things to enter a romantic relationship when things are going well and one of the first things to disappear when things turn south. Unfortunately, many men feel sexually unsatisfied in their marriages while women tend to feel used just for their bodies. Obviously, learning how to have fulfilling Christian sex within marriage is essential. The first step to a satisfying sex life within marriage is developing a close friendship with your spouse.

Sex tends to be one of the most powerful forces on Earth, evident by the high rate of sexual misconduct we see all around us. It’s rare to go longer than a few weeks without some high ranking official being caught in some type of sexually explicit excursion. Why would someone who seemingly has it all, high paying job, beautiful family, etc, throw it all away for sex? One of the answers is because the power and pull of sex can often be overwhelming, especially for men. One example was the rise and fall of Gil Jones, a pastor who brought a fledgling Flatirons Church in Colorado from a few hundred to [10,000] all within a few years. On the outside he seemed to have the perfect life, rising stardom, skyrocketing church, and a beautiful wife and children; however, he started having an affair with a woman on staff, which ultimately led to his demise both personally and professionally. Unfortunately, stories like this are common and they reveal over and over the blinding power of sexual sin that leads people to [risk] it all for only a few moments of pleasure.

Since God created Christian sex, He knows how destructive it can be if used in the wrong context, which is why He set very specific boundaries for it within marriage.

“Flee fornication. Every sin that a man doeth is without the body; but he that committeth fornication sinneth against his own body.” (1 Corinthians 6:18, KJV)

As with all things in the Bible, God has our best interest in mind and wants us to live abundant lives by following His mandates. One analogy for sex is a river, if it is contained within the banks (marriage) the water can flow beautifully and powerfully. However, if the river exceeds the banks and spills over into the landscape surrounding it (sex outside of marriage) great devastation can occur. Everyone knows the risk of unwanted pregnancy and STD’s. However, there’s also the risk of premarital sex preventing young relationships from continuing long-term because it often stunts the tender development of other areas of crucial intimacy, such as spiritual, emotional, and mental. In addition, sexual intimacy creates a chemical connection that binds two people together, leading to heartache and regret when relationships end because of the special physical bond that was created. More and more, Christian sex preserved for marriage is viewed as outdated and old fashioned. However, it’s essential we come back to this ageless truth to live out God’s design and experience His blessings from it.

Unfortunately, our culture has experienced a loosening of sexual behavior over the past 50 years. Media giants learned early on that “sex sells.” Therefore, they use it every moment they can by lacing sensuality through commercials, ads, programs, movies, etc. Many Christian men allow themselves to be inundated with these images and messages and have not trained their hearts and minds for purity by filtering through this daily bombardment. Instead, they often have varying levels of sexual indulgence ranging from pornography to lusting over women’s bodies they see in the media and public. Without a doubt, God created men to be visual and to feel attracted to the female body, which is clear in multiple Scripture passages dating back to B.C.

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“…Your graceful legs are like jewels, the work of an artist’s hands. Your navel is a rounded goblet that never lacks blended wine…Your breasts are like two fawns, like twin fawns of a gazelle…Your hair is like royal tapestry…Your stature is like that of the palm, and your breasts like clusters of fruit. I said, “I will climb the palm tree; I will take hold of its fruit. May your breasts be like clusters of grapes on the vine…and your mouth like the best wine” (Song of Solomon 7:1-9, NIV).

However, this God-given desire for the female body has gone into overdrive with most married men feeding their sexual appetite with unholy sensuality from their environment. When this occurs, the man’s sex drive soars, he begins objectifying women without any emotional connection, and it creates unrealistic expectations for how female bodies should look and how women should respond during sexual contact.

Six Steps to Fulfilling Christian Sex Within Marriage

1. Husbands need to strive towards sexual purity

The first step to more satisfying sexual intimacy within marriage is for husbands to clean up their sexual practices. Men need to develop eyes for their wife and their wife alone. They need to put filters on their computers and TVs so no sensuality is accessible. They need to cancel all magazines and newspapers that feed them sexually. They need accountability partners to discuss their sexual purity with on a regular basis. They need a heart change where they become more motivated on glorifying God than gratifying their lustful desires. They need to view each sensually arousing linger on another woman beyond their wife as a sin. “But among you, there must not be even a hint of sexual immorality….” (Ephesians 5:3, NIV). In essence, they need to starve the sexual beast within that has been having a well-fed diet for years and years. They need to regain control of their sexuality rather than feeling like it controls them. They also need to become transparent with their wives by sharing their sexual temptations and struggles in order to build trust and collaboration. The road is steep and the challenges are immense, but it can be done.

2.) Husbands must understand and respect their wife’s need for emotional sex before having physical sex

Wives often need to have emotional sex before they can have physical sex and emotional sex is anything that helps a woman feel special, cherished, and emotionally close. During the dating phase, men usually wine and dine their girlfriend through lots of quality time, conversation, fun activities, love letters, etc. However, most men stop these activities after marriage yet expect to have sex regularly without realizing how important those behaviors are for women to feel open to sexual intimacy. Robert Lewis said it well in his ten second, ten point rule. He said married men tend to be ready for sex after about ten seconds of visual stimuli from their wife, such as her getting out of the shower, changing into her PJ’s, etc. However, most women tend to be ready for sex after ten points and a point is anything that makes her feel special and close, such as having an intimate conversation, making them a cup of coffee, calling them during the day to see how they’re doing, etc. Therefore, the best way for men to cultivate sexual intimacy in their marriage is to cultivate emotional intimacy first. God is clever and it’s no coincidence that if a husband is doing his part by courting his wife in these ways, his number one need for sexual intimacy is often fulfilled. However, if he becomes complacent and stops courting his wife, there’s an immediate natural consequence with her turning away from sexual contact, which is a perfect built-in accountability system.

3.) Husbands need to increase their quality time, emotional closeness, and non-sexual touch

Men’s rate of affection tends to increase when they want to have Christian sex with their wife and some men will only touch their wife when they want to be sexual. Understandably, this makes most women resentful and suspicious towards touch because they know there are ulterior motives. In contrast, women want to feel like touch is an authentic extension of their husband’s love towards them and not a ploy to get their sexual needs met. Therefore, men need to make it a daily practice to provide physical affection without any sexual expectations in return. In addition, husbands need to provide daily emotional closeness through sharing their thoughts and feelings and spending quality time together. Most women need to feel this level of connection before they are open to sexual contact.

4.) Wives need to embrace their sexuality

Flipping the switch from sex being evil to something beautiful after saying “I do” can be extremely difficult. Therefore, it’s important for wives to remember that God desires for married couples to fully enjoy sexuality.

“Eat, friends; drink and imbibe deeply, O lovers” (Song of Solomon 5:1, NASB).

Christian women often struggle [to give] themselves permission to be sensual within marriage and may need time to see it as a healthy part of who they are.

“….May my beloved come into his garden and eat its choice fruits” (Song of Solomon 4:16, NASB).

Women need to meditate on being a sexual creature and talk with other women who are further along in this journey to learn how they can embrace their sensuality.  They need to work through cognitions that may be causing inhibition, such as “sex is dirty, sex is a sin, Christians can’t be sexy,” etc. Learning how to embrace sensuality is essential because sexual inhibition will compromise their sexual pleasure and their husband’s. Married couples should spend time reflecting and discussing their experiences with sexuality growing up. What types of messages did they hear and what types of experiences did they have? Was sex portrayed as something beautiful or sinful? Was Christian sex something to be cherished or something dirty? Understanding one another’s background and what has impacted their sexual development is essential to moving forward as a married unit in physical oneness.

5.) Wives need to realize Christian sex is one of the most powerful ways to bless their marriage

Women need to understand and respect their husband’s deep need for sexual fulfillment instead of judging it. Most women feel disgusted with their husband’s consistent drive for sex rather than accepting it as part of how God has made them. Also, they must recognize a man’s need for sexual intimacy is just as valid as their need for emotional intimacy. Men crave sex to feel connected, to relieve stress, to celebrate a happy occasion, to offset feeling depressed, etc. For men, sex is often a magic bullet that satisfies many urges. In addition, husbands who are sexually satisfied will be less susceptible to sexual sin elsewhere. A recipe for disaster is a wife who is sexually closed off and a husband filled with sensuality everywhere he turns. Therefore, women need to remember that their bodies and sexuality is one of the most powerful ways God has given them to bless their marriages.

6.) Wives need to have sex for the right reasons

Because most men have higher sex drives than their wives, women often find themselves having sex just to get it over with or to avoid having a conflict about it. While it’s admirable for women to be sensitive to their husband’s need for sexual intimacy, if the majority of the time they are doing it simply to “meet his needs” then it will usually make things even worse for both of them. Continually having Christian sex out of obligation usually decreases desire by building resentment and dread towards physical intimacy. In addition, men can often tell when their wives are approaching Christian sex as a chore rather than as an opportunity for authentic connection. Therefore, wives need to be mindful of their motives for being sexual to discern if “just to get it over with” is occurring the majority or the minority of the time. To increase libido, wives need to openly communicate with their husband on things he could do to help maximize her natural desire, which is probably related to point number two above. In addition, women need to reflect on the times when they did have natural sexual desire to determine what was different, what worked, what contributed to it and how could those elements be replicated now. Doing so will be a win/win by helping wives look more forward to sexual contact as something enjoyable for them as well, which will also create more sexually satisfying encounters for their husband.

When the above six guidelines are followed, a beautiful dynamic is created where sexual intimacy becomes a fulfilling activity for both partners that binds their hearts, minds, bodies, and spirits, just as God intended.

**This article about Christian Sex originally appeared on ChristianCrush.com. Published with permission. 

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Dr. Wyatt Fisher
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Dr. Wyatt Fisher is a Licensed Clinical Psychologist and Marriage Counselor in Boulder, CO. He's passionate about helping couples experience deep satisfaction in their relationships.

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