In the weeks leading up to my wedding 10 years ago, I remember being excited, but nervous.
My soon-to-be wife and I were both virgins. The church gave us so many reasons to wait, and we’re glad we did. The problem was that it told us nothing about what to do when we got there.
Like any other couple, we figured things out, but looking back, it makes me wonder if the Church needs to reconsider some of the ways it talks about (or doesn’t talk about) sex. Why are we so against talking about it, when we are so vocal about talking against it?
I want to make an invitation to us, the Church, to join the conversation (as oppose to shy away from it again). The truth is that sex is found in a lot of areas of Scripture. It was designed by God. And we Christians need to speak up about it, in non-judgemental, honest ways.
We could do a better job and have a sex-talk that is more than the usual “don’t have sex” talk. We seem to think that we’ve done our job if we’re sending our young people into the marriage bed as virgins. But things don’t always happen that way, and even if they do, being a virgin doesn’t guarantee that you’ll have a good sex life. Either way, the amount of conversations I have had with young couples who have struggled with their sex life is staggering. And often, they feel like they don’t have many places to turn to for help.
If we preach all the verses against lust and seduction and sexual sin (which we should), then we also need to teach all the verses on beauty and creativity and romance and awesome sex.
There is far more to this topic than can be covered in this article, but here are some things we should be telling young married (and soon-to-be-married) couples about sex:
Set Realistic Expectations
On day five of our three-month honeymoon, my wife, Catherine, and I had an honest conversation. We were enjoying each other. Stumbling through our first few times, but with more good than bad. The problem was that there was an expectation created by our other virgin (barely) friends. It sounded something like this, “Oh, you guys won’t see the light of day!” and “You will be in the hotel room all day long.”
But it didn’t turn out like that. It was good. We felt connected, but after a few minutes each morning, we were ready to go out, explore the land and just walk around holding hands and chatting about what to do in life.
It was then when we discovered that sex is amazing, but it is also gloriously overrated. And that truth set us free to have a phenomenal sex life for the next 10 years.
We stripped the act away from every other expectation that was not simply “Fun. Us. Together. Now.” And in that context, we serve each other and loved each other for a decade.
Some people believe that sex in real life is like sex in the movies. Everyone always gets an orgasm (at the same time) and there is no need to run to the bathroom to wash yourself.
Our world system has created such an idea of what sex is that it has corrupted the truth. And so people get lost in pornography because they are trying to recreate this fantasy that was created by another fantasy and only in a fantasy can it become “real.”
Real-life sex is not like most of the depictions you’ve seen—and that’s OK.
The truth is, sex is work. A labor of love and joy, yes, but still a labor.
Sometimes it takes time for both parties to really get into it. You’ll have to be patient with one another. But remember this, the whole point is to enjoy each other. Actually, the best sex happens when you focus on making it the best sex for your partner.
So work hard at having fun. Don’t take yourselves too seriously. Be creative.
Communicate. Learn about each other and decide what works for you two.
If you get stuck along the way, then ask questions. Don’t keep your issues behind closed doors. Yes, it’s your sex life, your privacy, your intimate space, but there are others out there who have been together for a long time and have a learned a few things along the way.
Sex gets better, especially if you have been doing it with the same person for 10 years.
I am all about waiting till the wedding day, but I don’t think we should just stop talking about it after that.
Because God also gave us the Songs of Solomon. A kind of ancient Jewish Kama Sutra that would allow poetry and open conversation when it came to sex and romance (and strange metaphors for breasts).
My encouragement is simple. Have an actual sex-talk. Not one about what’s bad about it, but one about what is good and holy and fun about it. Have an “update” talk with your spouse about where your expectations are. Have the uncomfortable conversation with your counselor, pastor or mentor about your upcoming wedding night or the issues you’re having in the bedroom.
You are obviously not an expert.
Neither am I.
So let’s talk.