A word that is often associated with sex is needs. Many of us are all about getting our sexual needs met. But instead of focusing on our personal needs when it comes to sex, I would like to offer four general needs surrounding this vitally important topic.
1. We need to talk about it.
Sex was designed by God. It is a vital part of Creation. None of us would be here without it. So why do so many of us, especially those in Christian circles, have such a difficult time talking about it?
And why is it that when sex is talked about in the church it is almost always spoken of in negative terms? Adultery. Lust. Debauchery. Fornication. Coveting your neighbor's wife. Admonitions are sternly given from pulpits across the country that sex is, indeed, a dangerous thing. We are warned that, if we're not careful, our sexual activity could lead to unfaithfulness, unplanned pregnancy, blindness, and the falling off of body parts.
Di you even know that there is actually an entire book of the Bible devoted to the incredible pleasures and raw wonder of sex? Sadly, many believers aren't even aware of that. Because most preachers won't touch it with a ten-foot pole. Solomon's song has been censored by many a church board for inappropriate sexual content. Makes one question the validity of Timothy's statement that all Scripture is God-breathed and useful for instruction.
Dr. Kevin Leman is a Christian psychologist who bravely has gone where not many Christian leaders have gone before. In his book, Sheet Music, Leman broaches the subject of sex with refreshing, albeit rarely seen candor. He writes about the sheer fun of marital sex, addressing taboo subjects like oral sex, sex toys, and sex positions. Some readers may be shocked to learn that just because you're a Christian you don't have to do it in the missionary position.
For many in the church, talking about sex is forbidden (verboden, for my Dutch friends) because there is shame attached to it. To find the origin of this unfortunate connection between sex and shame one must go all the way back to the Garden of Eden. Soon after God created the first couple, Eve sinned by eating the fruit God specifically told her not to eat. (I contend that Adam should be exonerated because Eve was naked when she invited him to have a taste.)
The Bible tells us that then, in an effort to hide from God, they sewed fig leaves together and covered themselves. And, because they covered their naughty bits, the logical conclusion of many a biblical commentator is that sex is to be forever associated with shame.
The reality is, eating the forbidden fruit had nothing to do with sex. The "nakedness" Adam and Eve tried to cover was their open exposure to an all-seeing, all-knowing God. They were ashamed because they were in the wrong, not because they were in the raw.
Sex, as God designed it, is never to be disdained. We should never feel ashamed to talk about such a common and important part of our humanness.
2. We need to understand its purpose.
A primary reason God invented sex was to populate the earth. "Be fruitful and multiply" was God's command to Adam and Eve. They had to have sex to have children. But it certainly wasn't a chore. I can't imagine that Adam wrote Eve at the top of his "To Do" list, if you'll pardon the pun.
Sex was also designed by God to feel really, really, really, really good. It is meant to be pleasurable, even enjoyable. It is a wonderful, phenomenal gift given by our Creator to deepen intimacy between a husband and wife. It is God's intent that the spiritual bonds of marriage be enhanced and strengthened by the physical act of sex.
3. We need to identify and overcome obstacles.
As I have worked with people in my ministry who are struggling with relational issues, I am genuinely saddened by the number of hurting souls who have confided in me that they are living in a sexless marriage. It is not uncommon--even for people who have been married for a relatively short period of time--to confess that they hadn't had sex in months, sometimes years.
In my experience, sex is rarely the cause of marital trouble. It's a barometer. A lack of intimacy between husband and wife usually indicates more serious issues beneath the surface.
In Sheet Music, Dr. Leman identifies the greatest enemy of sex for most men as the lack of imagination on the part of their wives. The killer of sex drive for most women, Leman writes, is exhaustion.
These are not insurmountable barriers. They are often easily taken down by simple communication.
Men, if you want your sexual needs met you must meet your wife's emotional needs. Seek ways to relieve her exhaustion. Give her a break from the kids once in a while. Take her on dates. Do things for her around the house before she asks you to do them. There is truth in Leman's statement that "sex begins in the kitchen." If you actively look for ways to make life easier for your wife you may discover that sex can also end in the kitchen.
Another common obstacle to sex is a distorted perception of sex. I once counseled a woman who shared that she grew up in a home where sex was never discussed. There was no noticeable affection between her parents. They never gave her "the talk" when she reached puberty. She wasn't really clear about when she graduated from a girl to a woman.
Having been raised in a rigid Christian environment, she abstained from premarital sex. Not because she was committed to honoring a loving God with her purity. But because she was terrified of disobeying an angry God with her sinfulness.
The day before her wedding her mother offered her this nugget of "wisdom:" Sex is something you need to do for your husband. Give it to him and he'll keep coming home at night.
It is impossible to experience sex as beautiful, pleasurable, and a gift from God when your concept of sex is so distorted that you don't even know it's possible for a woman to experience an orgasm.
There are many different issues that threaten to snuff out sexual drive. Husbands and wives owe it to each other, to themselves, and to God, to identify and work through those issues.
4. We need to enjoy it to the full.
An intimate relationship, by definition, is a relationship marked by intimacy, or closeness. Intimacy relates to one's deepest nature. It is love that is intensely personal, and completely uninhibited. By design, sex between a husband and wife is to reflect the intimacy of their relationship.
To be full-filling, in the true sense of the word, sex must engage our entire being. In God's plan, sex was never meant to be casual. Casual sex is void of intimacy; it is merely a physical encounter. God-ordained sex is the mystical union of body, mind, and soul. It is two becoming one.
A fulfilling sex life takes work. But, considering how much awe, wonder, and sheer pleasure the Creator put into it, it is too important to not put forth maximum effort.