Understand God’s Intention About Sex

I have met all kinds women in Awaken-Love classes. Many have healthy marriages, but just as many have real struggles.  Some women hate sex or have a husband dealing with porn. Every once in a while, a woman in the midst of real crisis attends. An affair or porn has devastated her marriage, and she and her husband are trying to rebuild. Though the road is not easy, they inherently understand that embracing God’s gift of sex is part of the answer to create the intimate marriage they desire. Regardless of where women are, what they’ve been told, or what they’ve experienced – even if they are separated and their marriage might not survive – they need to understand God’s intention for sex.

Learning God’s Intention

Many women walk in on the first day of an Awaken Love class as strangers, secretly carrying wounds, disillusionment, and confusion. Stifled by the silence surrounding the topic of sex from their family and church, they courageously jump at the opportunity to find answers. Over the course of six weeks, as they learn what God wants for them, their views, mindsets, and attitudes on sex are turned upside down.  Women wrestle to cross the chasm separating them from where they are—feeling dirty, disappointed, duty-bound, drained, or disinterested—to the place where they can begin to believe that sex is an awesome gift from God to women, as well as men.

Armed with God’s truth about sex, women understand what direction to move or even what boundaries to set as they navigate brokenness. As I share about God’s intention for sex, sometime the tears stream down a woman’s face because she has never experienced anything remotely close to intimacy during sex. Sitting through class is hard, but she begins to see God’s vision for her, and it gives her hope. God is a good God. He intended for marriages to experience extravagant, intimate connection during sex.

Uncovering the Lies

During class, we talk about the reasons we feel the way we do about sex. We recognize that our negative ideas and attitude come from somewhere, and we go searching for those sources. We talk about the messages we received about sex from our families, churches, schools, friends and culture. Every lie, or wrong message the world has told us about sex gets dug up.

Slowly, the pieces of the puzzle begin to fall into place. We begin to see how we got to this lonely place. Women listen to each other’s stories of shame or regret and somehow, we find that we don’t feel so alone. We create a judgement-free zone to gently help each other move toward God’s design for our sex life. Through community, prayer, and God’s grace, women begin walking toward freedom. It is an amazing thing to watch.

I have grieved alongside wives as they shared their husband’s struggle with porn. I have felt the shame men and women carry from porn, erotica, or masturbation. People that grew up in the purity culture struggle to believe that God wants them to enjoy freedom and passion in their marriage bed.  Living in a broken world feels hard and complicated Yet uncovering the lies and dealing with our baggage is an opportunity for growth and for change. It invites us to understand the healing of our heavenly Father and see Him work miracles. As we bring God into our conversations about sex, we find freedom.

Final Thoughts

We need to understand the battle. The battle is not won by white-knuckling or denying our sexuality. The battle is won by creating what God wanted for us—intimacy – to be known. Rather than hanging onto isolation and shame, we must courageously share our story and create opportunities for others to share theirs. In Awaken Love classes, regardless of your past, or your present, you stories will be received with compassion and grace.  Just like Jesus did, we speak truth in love, extend grace, and offer hope and healing.

We all have had different experiences, and our own unique journeys.  Even if your marriage is a mess, God wants you to know what real intimacy looks like.  Regardless of the health of your marriage,  I pray that God has something for you as you learn about His intention for sex.

Comments 10

  1. Hello Ruth, above you state how porn, erotica, and masturbation can have an effect on a marriage and can be shameful. I do agree how porn and erotica can cause illicit ideas but masturbation with your spouse even away from your spouse can enhance the marriage. Or are you correlation masturbation with the use of porn and erotica?

    • mm

      Some women carry shame about past masturbation as a child or single person that they need to deal with in order to enjoy the freedom God gives them in marriage.

      • Masturbation is a great way for spouses to connect with each other whether they are together or away from each other. Before marriage it is also a great way to stay abstinence. Ruth, dont you think masturbation is beneficial as a single person? Most everyone will explore their own body while growing up. What Is there to be shameful about, isnt it natural. I dont think it would be realistic for someone to have never mastubated before getting married, especially if they stayed pure until marriage.

        • mm

          You might be surprised by the different experiences women and girls have with masturbation. Some girls just naturally discover pleasurable areas of their body and others don’t. For some masturbation can be helpful when single, but for others it can become controlling or something that fills them with shame. I don’t think one answer fits everyone. Masturbation is something that should be handled with care and discernment.

  2. It is a shame that the early Christian church got off on the wrong track as to sex within marriage. This may have been in part a reaction to the rampant sexual immorality in the ancient, pagan Roman Empire. As well, ancient, pagan schools of thought influenced individuals, such as (St.) Augustine. The sad fact is that the true purpose of sexual morality (to motivate people to keep their sexual activity within marriage) was forgotten along the way. Holiness came to be thought of in terms of purity. Purity came to be identified with rejection of the senses and the body in medieval Christian thinking and writings. Yet, if you go back to the Gospels, Christ did not require ascetic renunciation of His followers.

    My point is that in the Western world today, much of the confusion and misunderstanding of God’s purpose for sex within marriage is due to centuries old Christian thinking.

    • mm

      I think sometimes we are completely unaware of how our history and culture shape us. And yes it can have a profound impact, but it does not have to control us.

  3. So how do you overcome what you only learned from your husband? We, by God’s grace, were each other’s first in every way, and I came to marriage with some godly info and a positive, healthy view of sex. Through 9 years of marriage and 4 kids, we’ve maintained regular and mostly satisfying intimacy. And yet, there are still conversations we have, where my husband insists it is just a physical need. I know we have deeply connected many times through physical intimacy, and yet his statements leave me confused, hurt, and suddenly insecure where I hadn’t been. Do I just disbelieve him, or assume he is ignorant about his own self (which is where I tend to lean towards), or…? Thanks, appreciate your ministry!

    • mm

      Your husband probably has not really taken time to think about whether sex is more than physical. His body asks for sex and he enjoys it physically. But if you asked him, “If sex is just physical, than would you be just as satisfied masturbating?” My guess is that he would quickly answer “No”.
      One of the questions we ask in Men’s Edition is, “What do you wish your wife understood?” Over and over men say things like, “I wish she understood how connected I feel to her after sex.”
      Regardless of what your husband thinks, if you believe sex is more than physical, then make it more than physical. Stay present, share yourself, sense God’s presence, and discover something new. And someday, your husband might just realize how much sex means to him emotionally and even spiritually.

      • Thanks for your reply, and the encouragement. I am definitely more of a thinker and he is more of a doer. I appreciate the reminder that what intimacy truly is doesn’t change just because he can’t analyze and flesh out all his inner feelings to me:)

        • To slow learner, as a husband I understand what Ruth and your husband are referring to. Yes, it is a physical need but not just physical. As Ruth referenced then he would be satisfied with just masturbation. Although masturbation is a form of release its not the physical need and emotional connection needed to be fulfilled. I think your husband either doesn’t have the right words to describe what he is feeling or not sure how to say it. I’m sure if he just masturbated with no intimacy with you he would feel unfulfilled… Maybe masturbate together too!

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