I’m 42 years old, and I’ve been married to the same beautiful woman for almost two decades. Over the years, I’ve had to work through some myths and misconceptions about sex. Many of these misconceptions started early, before I was married, and they’ve taken years to straighten out. If I could send 10 sex and intimacy tips to myself before I was married, this is exactly what I’d say…
Dear Pre-Married Self (circa 1994),
I know you’re so pumped about getting married because you found the girl of your dreams and you plan to get married and, well, SEX! However, I have some bad news. The rapture happens the day before the ceremony. I’m writing this from heaven where all unmarried Christians become cherubs. Kidding!
You get married and you have sex. It’s all good. However, I’m writing this because you have some preconceived beliefs about sexual intimacy that are—hmm, how do I say—totally WRONG. And before you get married, I’d like to clear them up for you, because, you know, we’re pals. So let’s get started.
10. Sexual intimacy doesn’t happen like it does on TV or in the movies.
Much of what you know about sex—and how sex works—comes from advertising, TV and the movies. In other words, sex looks like a spontaneous connection where animal instincts match perfectly at the same time to provide flawless love-making filled with romance, Marvin Gaye and candles that automatically appear in the windowsills. Sexual intimacy doesn’t really work like that. There is rarely Marvin Gaye, and the candles might appear a couple times a year. Don’t be disappointed; real sexual intimacy is much better than it is in the movies, because it’s not just physical but spiritual, the way God intended—although, I need to be honest, it is different. Also, stay away from Ryan Gosling movies. Trust me on this one.
9. A note on frequency. Brace yourself.
Right now you’re thinking marriage is filled with sex almost every second of the day and thousands of times a week—because, why wouldn’t you!? You should live in this dream world for as long as you can and ride your trusty unicorn into the Skittle-stained sunset where you pet your wild Ewok and cross the Bridge to Terabithia. Stay there. As long as you can. That is all.
8. Sex is like fine wine—it gets better with age.
Sexual intimacy is something you get better and better at. It takes communication, practice (I saw your eyebrow raise on that one) and time. This is the way God intended it. Right now you think your sex IQ is at a genius level, but you couldn’t pass the Sex ACT with what you know. (No, there is no Sex ACT; I’m using an illustration—you really should read more.)
When you first get married, you are the equivalent of an awkward junior higher when it comes to sex. Be patient. Listen to your bride and learn as much (about her) as you possibly can. This will serve you (us) well.
7. Sex is not just about getting, but giving.
Are you laughing? I’m serious. God made sex in such a way that it requires both of you to give. And it’s good to give. Don’t be a taker all the time. Sexual intimacy is a great place to model sacrifice and service. If you get that into your head now, the getting will be even better. There’s great beauty and mystery in the giving. You’ll be tempted to think only of yourself, but intimacy is a two-way street. Remember this. Be generous.
6. Men and women don’t think about sex the same way.
This might be the biggest lesson of all. For you, sex is wrapped up in the physical attraction, and it’s very visual and instantaneous. However—you might want to sit down for this one—women think about sex in terms of the relationship, their security, and how much they feel loved and pursued. For you, sex is like a light switch without a dimmer: You’re totally ready at any moment (unless you’re asleep … like dead asleep). For her, sex is like a crockpot that takes a good part of the day to come to a simmer. You will both be frustrated by this. That’s OK; it’s part of God’s wiring to bring you together on a deeper level. You have to learn to listen to each other and to think of the other more than yourself. The good news is that you don’t have to have a six-pack to get things going; you just have to learn to listen and love her. It’s the emotional six-pack.
5. Sex doesn’t complete you.
Right now, you’re putting a ton of stock in the power, importance and value of sex. Let’s be honest; you think about it constantly, and in a way you’re ruled by it. You need to know sexual intimacy is fantastic and satisfying and incredible in so many ways, but it’s not meant to be an idol, and it’s not something you should chase after like the Holy Grail. You will need to fight this and work to keep sex in proper perspective: as a gift from God to be enjoyed in marriage. When you start worshiping the gift over the Creator, you know things are out of balance.
4. Sex can be fun and funny and playful.
There are many angles of sexual intimacy, and some of them you’re totally unaware of right now. You think of sex in one dimension—serious pleasure. However, sexual intimacy done right is a form of vulnerability and authenticity, and when you totally love someone and have nothing to hide—and I mean nothing—you are free to be your truest self. That brings moments of play, fun and moments of complete hysterics. It’s not all straight-laced and serious. You have this to look forward to. You’re welcome.
3. Pursuing her is like a legal sex drug for her soul.
I hinted at this previously, but this is probably the best secret I can give you. Seriously. Get a piece of paper and write this one down. It’s the Mac Daddy of all sex tips, but it really has nothing to do with sex. Pursue her. Make sure she knows you want her in more ways than just the physical. Pursue her mind. Pursue her heart. Pursue her dreams. Pursue her in every way possible. This sounds like insane advice, right? How in the world does this factor into sex? Well, remember, she doesn’t think about sex like you do—you’re all skin and eyeballs, and she’s all heart and soul. If you want to make things work on a deep and rich level, pursue her. Also, I’ll be honest, this took us many years to figure out, and we still need to work on it, but it’s God’s honest truth.
2. It’s more mysterious than you think.
Again, right now your thoughts about sex are pretty simple. You’re stuck in the physical, but God designed sexual intimacy to be way more complex than two bodies finding their way together. That whole one-flesh thing you’ve read in the Bible—that stuff is real. It’s hard to explain and I don’t fully understand it, but something magical happens in the act of sex, something cosmic that links you to her in a way that’s soul deep. That’s why it’s so critical to keep sex within marriage. This is also why it’s so important to keep your thoughts about sex focused on her … always. Here’s a tip: Protect your mind, protect your marriage.
1. Sex in marriage is a form of worship.
This might sound a little crazy. Most of your thoughts about worship are confined to church and singing right now. So when I say sex is worship, you probably think I’m nuts. But soon you’ll get a bigger, more holistic picture of what worship really is—and you’ll see that your whole life is an act of worship. It’s a fun point in our spiritual journey, trust me. Along with that is the beautiful command from Scripture to have sex with your wife—unashamed, unabashed, unadulterated and often. This act is a form of Christian worship, plain and simple, like singing an ancient hymn with your bodies. That sounded a little creepy. Let’s just say it’s worship.
I really hope you’ll take these thoughts to heart, because when it comes down to it, sex is more wonderful than you can imagine, and you have one beautiful girl God has given you, and you really need to treat her well.
Hey, while I have your attention … a couple additional unrelated tips. Please don’t get that tattoo you’re thinking about. Oh, and when you see the commercials for a show called Lost, just ignore them.
Brian from 2016