Shouldn't Christians Have The Best Sex?

Linda Riley, LMFT & Certified Sex Therapist

The Greek philosopher, Sophocles said, “One word frees us of all the weight and pain of life. That word is love.” The Russian novelist, Fyodor Dostoevsky’s definition of hell is the “inability to love.” The apostle Paul says, “Without love we are nothing.” Life without love is an empty meaningless experience. God has designed us with both the need to give and to receive love. The capacity to love is a gift from God as love is a Divine energy. Our world seems to be moving, away from love for God and for others towards self-love. As a result of this shift, we are experiencing great difficulty creating healthy loving relationships, both emotionally and sexually. Love is what brings meaning and depth to sex. Helen Singer Kaplan says, “Love is the best aphrodisiac.”

God designed sex to be an awesome experience; magical, mysterious, romantic and most of all passionate. It was intended to be a powerful means of unity and pleasure. But our culture has reduced it to an ordinary and often meaningless experience. Often it leaves one partner feeling used or damaged in ways they barely comprehend. In today’s culture, sex is viewed as a harmless form of entertainment and not just “adult” entertainment, as children of all ages are wounded by inappropriate and wrongful sexual encounters. As people move from one partner to the next they feel a sense of disillusionment and dissatisfaction and often even boredom. We are spiritual beings and we were designed in specific ways for specific purposes. Our spirituality affects our sexuality, and when we disconnect the two we forfeit the beauty, meaningfulness and pleasure sex was intended to bring. God invented sex and it was meant to be a most extraordinary experience.

Sex works best in the context of a committed loving relationship. When we diminish both ourselves and our sexuality by sharing it at random we damage ourselves both spiritually and emotionally. Sometimes these encounters leave us with sexual dysfunctions like loss of sexual desire. Since sex is designed to enable us to become one flesh, we give a part of ourselves to those we have sexual intercourse with. Sex outside of a committed loving relationship is an act of selfish gratification. Our first sexual experience as a child, teen or adult, profoundly affects our feelings about both our sexuality and sex in general. Our sexuality is more fragile than we realize and often sexual experiences leave us wounded in some way. One young woman, I worked with in therapy, told me she thought that having sex while drunk at parties was just part of the whole college experience. She didn’t realize how damaging this was to her until she became involved in a meaningful relationship and found she had lost her sexual desire.

Pornography has become an epidemic problem and it will ultimately destroy attraction and desire for one’s sexual partner. It’s all about selfish gratification .and is both addictive and progressive. Generally we don’t realize this until it is too late, because of the way culture normalizes pornography. Arousing pornographic images get projected on to women and result in a depersonalization of sex. Just like with drug addiction sexual addiction escalates and more is required to arouse and satisfy, opening the door to sadomasochism and masochism as well as pedophilia. Pornography always diminishes a person’s capacity to love and experience intimacy. I have counseled with numerous women who have told me their partners prefer to masturbate rather than to make love to them. When marital partners lose their sexual connection they start to feel like room-mates and become bored and unhappy in their marriage.

If you have and maintain a strong emotional and spiritual connection than your sex life will never become dull and boring. The better the relationship the better the sex will be. The best sex involves not only meeting our partner’s physical needs but their emotional, spiritual, and intellectual needs too. Marriage is God’s best gift; it holds the answer to the existential loneliness that is inherent in human nature. God created us in His own image and we are fundamentally relational beings because He is a relational God. The loneliness that is so pervasive in the world today stems from our loss of connection with both God and our partners. We live in a “ME” culture and we want what we want. Even therapists influence clients to focus their energy on themselves, asking questions like “What do you want? “Or, “What makes you happy?” Real happiness occurs when we develop the capacity to think more about others than ourselves. It comes from giving love not just trying to get love. Wouldn’t our relationships be better if we were asking questions like, “How can I make you happy”. And “What are your wants and desires.”

In our very sexual society we think sex is about erections, intercourse or orgasms. This creates a goal orientated approach to sexuality and it also brings a feeling of pressure to perform or at least to please into our bedrooms. We need to realize that sex is really about pleasure and connection. What causes sexual dysfunction or inhibits good sexual function is our: anxiety, fear, anger, hostility, resentment and lack of commitment which manifests in a lack of trust for our partner. Pressure to perform or please makes us anxious and worried about failure or disappointment rather than relaxing and just accepting erotic pleasure. Spiritual growth is about becoming a healthier person by addressing issues like, selfishness, anger, anxiety, fear, and forgiveness. It enables us to become more loving and sensitive towards our partners and hopefully it allows us to better communicate our deepest longings and emotions. So, if we are actively growing as Christians, shouldn’t we have better sexual relationships?

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About the author- Linda Riley is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist, Certified Sex Therapist, woman's support group leader, divorce recovery expert, and guest lectures for medical staffs around the country. She is a radio and television guest, with over 25 years of experience in marital conflict and intimate communication between the sexes.

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