By Russell Holloway
Christian Counseling Finder Co-founder
God created us to be sexual beings. Before the fall, Adam and Eve where basically naked gardeners commanded by God in the book of Genesis, “Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth.” I don’t think God was talking about filling the earth with tomatoes, I’m pretty sure He meant children, which requires, you know, close physical intimacy. – The book, Song of Solomon, also in the Bible, paints a deeply intimate picture, both sexually and emotionally, between a bride and groom. The first line in Song of Solomon reads, “Let him kiss me with the kisses of his mouth!” (ESV). What!? Kind of intimate don’t you think? I’ve been told that in the past young Jewish men were not allowed to read Song of Solomon until the age of thirty, because it was too sexually provocative. Cool.
As a marriage counselor the topic of sex and intimacy comes up often. Intimacy is an important part of every marriage. In my opinion it is where the physical, psychological, and spiritual aspects of two individuals intersect. God takes sexual intimacy seriously. It has the potential to be powerful and wonderful, but sexual intimacy also has the potential to produce profound harm and pain when it is selfish, abusive, or unhealthy. Let’s avoid that.
Positive sexual intimacy goes way beyond sexual technique. How a couple is intimate is not unimportant, but couples that trust each other sexually and learn to communicate about intimacy almost always report progress in the technical aspects of sex. Below are five things couples can do to improve sexual intimacy.
Establish & Protect Trust
Couples in general, but especially women, report higher levels of sexual fulfillment when there is trust in the marriage. Trust can be impacted a variety of ways. Positive experiences with parents can make it easier for a person to trust a spouse. One study suggests that the number one predictor of a woman’s ability to enjoy sex, emotionally and physically, is the quality of her trust toward her parents while being raised. Broken trust in prior romantic relationships can also have an undesirable impact on a person’s ability to enjoy sex with a future spouse.
What to do? Do things that build trust. Work toward radical honesty. Do not avoid difficult topics and conversations. Do not say things with the intent to be cruel, but do not be afraid to talk about things that are uncomfortable or might be painful. People usually tolerate uncomfortable truths better than evasive or dishonest communication. Be honest in word and behavior.
Stay Away From Pornography
There is a great deal of secular research that shows pornography has a negative impact on sexual intimacy with your spouse. Watching porn is not going to make you a better lover. In many cases pornography, even when the spouse is unaware, erodes trust in the relationship. Bing, Bing, Bing! remember trust!? … Pornography negatively impacts fantasy and desire, important aspects of a healthy sexual relationship. And, pornography builds up unrealistic expectation about sexual performance. Hint: The way people have and seem to enjoy sex in porn videos is not how couples really have, or enjoy, healthy sex.
Generally speaking there are three healthy reasons couples have sex: First, physical release or enjoyment; Second, to improve the quality of their attachment, build trust, in other words, make love; Third, if both mutually consent, to have children.
It is okay for Christians to have fun during sex. (If there are any Pharisees reading this, yes, as long as the two are married.) … Again, read Song of Solomon. It looks to me like those two were having fun! … Sometimes we take sex too seriously. It is easier for an individual to figure out what he or she enjoys during sex if both are having fun. It is easier to communicate and in a healthy way, experiment, if both are light hearted and playful while being intimate.
Learn to Communicate
The ability to talk about sex with your spouse is vital. It requires a lot of trust. (There’s that word again.) When I counsel married couples I work hard to help them learn to be comfortable in talking about sex. A person should never feel pressured to do something sexually they do not want to do, a big trust killer there. Individuals need to feel safe to tell their spouse what they enjoy sexually, what they do not enjoy, what they might like to try, and what they want to always avoid. … And, if you can talk comfortably about sex, where many people feel emotionally vulnerable, you can talk easily about most other topics, like, “Honey, your breath smells like onions, but I sure do love you. Kiss me anyway!”
Have a Sense of Humor
Sex is often clumsy and awkward for couples. Have a sense of humor and laugh when things don’t go as planned. Just do not give up. You have your entire marriage to figure it out. … If you need help rebuilding trust or learning to talk about sex, seek outside help with a counselor. I’d advise asking in advance if the counselor you are considering is comfortable talking about sex, not all counselors are competent in that area of practice. … Thank you for reading. May your marriage and your marriage bed be blessed. ☺