For the next few weeks we will be reposting from He’s Not Your Prince Charming, reaching way back in the archives to remind and reteach and rethink what we’ve been learning together. I have asked my blog team to help choose their favorites, and I am hoping you will add fresh comments to shed new light on these posts.
In the meantime I will be writing ahead for the new series, studying, reading, thinking, and praying about what to say and how to say it. Any suggestions and thoughts about what you’re wondering about will be most welcome— after all, you are my girls!
From my heart,
I sit, this morning, in my “summer office” on the back deck. Surrounded by books and bits and pieces of notes I’ve jotted on scraps of paper, my Bible open and your comments ringing in my ears, I linger over a delicious pot of Singaporean tea as I ponder what to write.
How do I answer your cries of grief and longing, shame and wishes?
"… it seems that we have approached from all angles and I still don’t enjoy or desire sex, at all. I know I’m not the only one!"
"… my husband’s needs are being turned down by me because I am just so tired!"
"… I can be really tough/resentful of my hubby when he fails to live up to my expectations of him being my knight in shining armor who saves me from our kids, which then leads to zero sex drive on my half."
Oh my daughters! Surrounded as we are by messages and images and lyrics wrapping our womanly worth in our sexual allure, your honesty gives me an agonizing glimpse into your soul.
So many of you are haunted by a sense of loss, of being less-than, of inadequacy.
Just a few generations ago women were fed a different sort of lie:
"To the sensitive young woman who has had the benefits of proper upbringing, the wedding day is, ironically, both the happiest and the most terrifying day of her life. On the positive side, there is the wedding itself; on the negative side, there is the wedding night, during which the bride must “pay the piper”, so to speak, by facing for the first time the terrible experience of sex.
At this point, let me concede one shocking truth. Some young women actually anticipate the wedding night ordeal with curiosity and pleasure! Beware such an attitude! One cardinal rule of marriage should never be forgotten: GIVE LITTLE, GIVE SELDOM, AND ABOVE ALL GIVE GRUDGINGLY. Otherwise what could have been a proper marriage could become an orgy of sexual lust."
(written by a “pious” Pastor’s wife to young women in The Maddison Institute Newsletter, Fall 1894)
Note the date- barely over a century ago!
Aren’t we living in the age of sexual enlightenment? Didn’t your parents fight the sexual revolution and win?
Aren’t we living free? Throwing our inhibitions to the wind as we indulge ourselves in sensual pleasure?
I don’t think so.
In fact, your letters tell me a different story. No less heartbreaking than the young brides a hundred years ago who viewed the wedding night ordeal as paying the piper in the terrible experience of sex.
Now 'pious' women believe a different lie: That sex just isn’t all that great most of the time.
In fact, a survey by the National Opinion Research Center seems to confirm that conclusion:
“Nearly one-quarter of American women never achieve orgasm and another half only climax occasionally. This means that almost three-quarters… go without orgasms either some or all of the time.”
(Intimate Issues, Dillow, Pintus)
How in the world do I line that up with the Song of Songs?
One hundred and sixteen verses smack dab in the middle of our Bibles so filled with erotic passion and unabashed pleasure between a young bride and her husband that unmarried Jewish men were banned from reading it!
Everything’s there- technique, adventure, disguise, fantasy, teasing, vivid description… all inspired by God!
Which leads me to conclude that the truth about sex is far different than the lie perpetuated in the nineteen century-
Lie #1: That sex is a terrible ordeal, and thus should be given grudgingly and seldom in order to have a “proper marriage”.
Or the lie of the twenty-first century
Lie #2: That sex is not all that great, and thus can be given grudgingly and seldom because its not all that necessary to a great and lasting and satisfying marriage.
Here, my dear girls, is the truth about sex:
- Sex between a husband and wife is meant to be great. Amazing. A mystical and magical intertwining of hearts and bodies in a powerful explosion of pleasure that creates intense feelings of love for a lifetime.
- Sex between a husband and wife is meant to happen often. Not as a special occasion when all the moods line up and kids stay away and there’s plenty of energy left over at the end of the day.
- Sex between a husband and wife is meant to be an act of intimate worship. Together. God is in that room! Watching, pleased, waiting for your expression of gratitude for such a surprising and soul-satisfying gift.
- Sex between a husband and wife is meant to be protected. It is fragile. Vulnerable. A target of all three of our enemies: the world, the flesh, and the devil. When sex is rare or gets perverted or causes pain or incites dread, something is wrong!
- Sex between a husband and wife is meant to be for you. Yes, you! You need sex. Your soul needs sex. Your emotions and moods are modified by sex. Sex is meant to make you happy, relaxed, free— to realize your own beauty, to relish your own body as you give yourself in abandon.
One of my favorite comments said this: "I need to see this topic with fresh eyes…"
Yes. We do. We must.
As women who are learning to listen to God, who are longing to be close to God, who are craving what He wants for our lives… we need to see the topic of our sexuality in marriage through the freshly washed eyes of Scripture.
Yes, we wish to be godly, giving mothers.
Yes, we wish to use our gifts and talents to honor God.
Yes, we wish to bring justice to far away places and hope to our neighbors.
But I think its time we audibly add another wish—
We wish to fully and frequently embrace our husbands in the intimacy of sexual passion— for our sakes and for his.
For God. For glory. For joy.
And because this is so vital to the health of our souls as well as our marriages, I’ll be covering all five of these truths in coming posts. If you have any questions, please send them either via the comments (anonymous is just fine on private topics like this) or to firstname.lastname@example.org. I’ll try to answer in future posts.
From my heart,
P.S. Can you help me with this conversation? Sitting here all alone I feel awfully vulnerable. Your comments- whether the words are about your story or your longings or your questions… help me to know that I can keep talking to “my girls” about intimate issues.