Growing up in the church, I noticed that sex was a taboo topic. Sex wasn’t spoken of often. As if talking about sex somehow makes us impure and dirty. So when I got engaged, I noticed how many marriage gurus (much to my surprise) were placing so much importance on sex in marriage. One marriage expert, Dr. Kevin Leman author of “Sheet Music,” spoke of sex in the marriage podcast “Dear Young Married Couple.” He says, “sex is like a thermometer in marriage.” In that he, as a marriage therapist, could often tell how a marriage was doing based on how sexually active the couple was. Well, if marriage is so important, why aren’t our churches talking more about it?
Sex = Bad
I believe churches often stress abstinence so much that some churches choose to simply not discuss it at all. Figuring that marriage would be something the married couple would discuss after they are married.
But, I’ve noticed that in choosing not to discuss marriage at all, young couples are entering into marriage with incorrect mindsets of sex: a lot of people my age believe sex is just a fun time, or a transactional thing you do between the person you love or sex is some scary thing. Not simply a powerful glue between two married people (more on this later). I once heard someone describe sex as fire: it can provide warmth when in the safe confines of marriage, but it can be a dangerous inferno when outside the confines of marriage-destroying every aspect of your life in its blaze.
Let’s Talk About Sex
The Bible speaks often about sex. God created us as sexual beings, thus why his first command to Adam and Eve was “to be fruitful and multiply” (Genesis 1:28). So its normal to have urges, or feel like you need sex. That doesn’t make you weird, or depraved. Of course I don’t think its healthy to be obsessed with sex. And there are some people who don’t have these urges, and have been blessed with what the Apostle Paul calls “the gift of singleness (1 Corinthians 7:6-9).” But for most people, the urges are there and strong. Why wouldn’t they? If no one had sex, humanity would die off!
The Apostle Paul even implored married couples to not abstain from sex for too long or you could fall to temptation (1 Corinthians 7:5). God designed sex to bring us pleasure (Proverbs 5:18, and the whole Songs of Solomon). But He wanted us to have sex in marriage. Outside of marriage, there are so many dangers: STDs, emotional and spiritual damage, and of course having children outside of marriage.
Sex: The Fire That Rages
Researchers at the Institute of Family shows that women with 3-10 or more sexual partners were most likely to divorce, while women with 0-1 sexual partners were least likely to divorce. More research shows that having multiple sexual partners before marriage could lead to less happy marriages. Pretty surprising considering our society enforces the idea that having multiple sexual partners is fun and liberating, huh? This data also goes against the idea that you need to have multiple sexual partners to determine who is your “sexual match.” Oh, please. If anything, sexual intimacy develops throughout a lifetime of marriage, and having sex with only one partner strengthens that intimacy. In having multiple partners, it could be easy to compare sex with your partner, and sex with previous partners.
There are also spiritual effects of premarital sex. Bible speaks of being careful who you have sex with. First Corinthians 6:16-17 says “Do you not know that he who unites himself with a prostitute is one with her in body? For it is said, “The two will become one flesh.” But whoever is united with the Lord is one with him in spirit.” This is a clear warning that whoever you have sex with, you become one with. Genesis 2:24 also says “Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh.”
You see this is why sex is so important. It isn’t just a pleasurable moment of fun between two people. Sex is a spiritual covenant between you, your partner, and God. Having sex tells God you two agree to be partners for life. Thats why today, just like in the old days a married couple had to have sex in order to consummate the marriage. Meaning the marriage wasn’t valid unless the two had sex. Sex is like the glue holding two people together. Thats why sex can be a thermometer in marriage because it strengthens your oneness with your spouse.
Sex is Great and Important
But I digress. Sex is important. It’s amazing, and can only get better with your spouse as you grow to understand what the other wants. The verses above provide further proof that when you have sex, you become one with someone. So, the emotions, personality, and even desires of your spouse becomes enmeshed with your own. I can fully attest to this. My husband and I since becoming married have become a lot like one another: our personalities, goals, and desires are more unified now than when we were dating. This isn’t to say were the same person, but we are definitely one. God designed it this way to maintain unity in marriage.
So what do you do with all this information? I believe engagement is a great time to discuss sex. Don’t get too spicy though! But definitely discuss it during premarital counseling-not by yourselves. Talk about how often you would want to have sex, even going as far as making a sex schedule. I know, that sounds so silly right? But life has a way of getting in the way of things-even important things like sex. Your spouse may be in a season where he has to work long hours and you two can’t just have sex whenever you want. It definitely does help. Plus making a schedule gives you something to look forward to throughout the week! Sex should be a priority in marriage. Don’t be afraid to talk about your sexual desires or fantasies with your spouse (in marriage!). Or to spice things up with flirting, lingerie or romantic weekend getaways.
I’m not saying of course if you have had sex outside of marriage you’re a completely broken being with no hope. Of course not! God can restore any situation, and provide healing and newness if that’s your story. But, if we choose to live God’s way in regard to sex, we will be much better off than doing it the world’s way.