I’m sure you’ve heard that Christian sex is supposed to be beautiful, but let’s be honest: that isn’t everyone’s reality. My friend, Sheila, is here to talk about Christian low libido and some changes we can make in order to enjoy the beauty of Christian sex.
When my daughter Katie was 8 she asked me how babies were made. I stammered through the explanation as best I could, keeping a straight face and trying not to sound nervous. She was cuddling with me on my big yellow comforter, and as she listened, she tensed up. “He puts WHAT WHERE?”
I tried to calm her down with that message we’re all supposed to give our daughters: “but this is a beautiful thing in marriage.” I don’t think she bought it, because the next morning she greeted me with a huge hug and said, “I’m so sorry you had to do that with Daddy, Mommy, but thank you for making me!”
Whoops. Something was missed in translation.
Sex, when you first explain it, doesn’t necessarily sound like a beautiful thing, no matter how much we’re supposed to assure our offspring of the wonderfulness of it. Lots of the messages we get about sex as we grow up–and even when we’re married!–don’t make it sound too beautiful, either.
We’re told that men need sex on a regular basis, and in order to have a good marriage, we should say yes with great frequency. We’re told that men may lust if they look at other women and they’re not satisfied at home. We’re told that sex is the way women can serve our husbands.
The more I write and speak about sex, the more I find that the big roadblock many women have to enjoying great sex is that they have no idea how to get their libido to kick in.
Maybe that’s hardly surprising given all these strange messages we get about sex. It’s supposed to be beautiful, but it’s never really explained why. Instead, we hear God made men to want sex all the time, and so we have to satisfy our husbands or they may lust. Frankly, that doesn’t sound very beautiful.
I think there’s a missing ingredient in how we frame sex to women, and so let’s explore this basic question just a little bit in order to learn more about Christian low libido.
What is it that’s so beautiful about sex?
I grew up thinking that God was embarrassed of sex, and didn’t like to talk about it much. I remember one Sunday in junior high, I was sitting in the pew in church with all of my friends when the pastor opened the Bible to Genesis 4:1. He read:
“And Adam knew his wife Eve, and they conceived unto them a son…”
We all started giggling hysterically. Adam “knew” his wife. Riiiiiiight. God must be embarrassed of using the real word!
As I’ve done some research, though, I’ve learned that the Hebrew word for “to know” that is used there is also used throughout the Psalms when David says, “search me and know me.” It means a deep longing to be intimate, to be fully known, to be totally and utterly connected. When God used that word for the sexual act, I think it was to tell us that sex is more than just physical. It’s also highly emotionally and spiritually intimate, too. You’re supposed to feel like you’re truly “one flesh”. Sex can actually be hot and holy at the same time!
When I did my surveys for The Good Girl’s Guide to Great Sex, I found that the couples who felt more spiritually and emotionally connected also had better sex. It makes sense, too, when you look at how God created women’s sexual response. We’re more likely to be able to feel pleasure when we’re able to truly let go. And that’s hard to do unless you can be completely vulnerable with someone because you trust them.
Here’s something else that’s cool: God uses sexual imagery to talk about how He feels about us. Jesus is the bridegroom, and the church is the bride that is getting ready for consummation in heaven. It’s all very sexual, because sex is the height of passion here on earth. It’s the most vivid metaphor that God can give to explain how passionate He is about us.
And passion is at the heart of knowing Jesus. When we are fully able to lose ourselves in Him, and to stop trying to be in control, we experience such joy in Christ. Sex works the same way, because that’s really the definition of passion: to lose yourself because you’re not in control, but then, at the same time, to find a richness that you never could any other way. It’s invigorating.
That’s what sex is supposed to be–an intimate, passionate joining where we feel the height of physical pleasure, and we’re able to totally lose control with the one person that we can be completely vulnerable with. It’s not just about saying yes to your husband every 72 hours so he doesn’t explode. It’s about not missing out on this amazing thing that God has created for us.
Many women, though, are missing out. Maybe we’ve never figured out how to make sex feel good. Maybe we’ve grown up with shame-based messages about sex, so it’s become a distasteful duty. Maybe we’re just so chronically tired or exhausted and since we don’t feel a deep physical need for it, we’d rather just forget about it.
Christian Low Libido
What if there’s supposed to be something more?
What if we don’t have to see sex as a passive exercise which we “let” him do every so often while we wait for that “beautiful gift” that’s supposed to show up, and we learn how to change the way our brains think about sex and the way our bodies react to it?
For women, our response and arousal cycle is much more focused in the brain than anywhere else. If our brains aren’t engaged, our bodies won’t follow. And we haven’t been taught how to desire sex. We’re taught how to control our sex drives before we’re married, as part of the Christian sex advice we receive. But few of us have ever understood how we can switch them on after (let alone why we should).
Once you’re married, you’re not just allowed to think about sex–you should think about sex!
God wants you to experience the fullness of it. And you’re allowed to stop trying to be in control, to stop thinking about your to do list and all the errands you have to run and whether there’s milk in the fridge, and you’re allowed to just concentrate and enjoy what is happening with your body. It takes some discipline to learn how to do that. It takes some practice. But it’s worth it, because you were created for passion.
Yes, sex is a beautiful thing in marriage, but that doesn’t mean it’s automatic. Maybe, in your marriage, it’s time to awaken passion. I’ve created a “Boost Your Libido” course for women who want to learn more about Christian low libido. Maybe God isn’t just calling you to more passion with Him, but also to more passion with your husband. That part of you can be awakened, and when it is, it’s amazing to see what God can do with the rest of our lives, too!
Boost Your Libido is a super practical 10-module online course (with video!) that will help women understand what libido is, the roles our brains and bodies play in libido, and how to escape from a boring sexual rut in our marriages. The modules build on each other step-by-step, so you can start seeing immediate results! We don’t need to settle for safe.
Sheila Wray Gregoire has been married for 25 years and happily married for 20. The author of nine books, including The Good Girl’s Guide to Great Sex, she blogs almost everyday at To Love, Honor and Vacuum!